Monro Moves to Assure Faculty Debate on Ranking
Dean Monro will raise the issue of ranks-in-class and the draft at the next Faculty meeting--if no one else does.
"I think it [the rank issue] ought to be on the docket because it is something that should be discussed," Monro said. "There is quite a lot of frustration in this community about the failure to discuss the matter, and I would feel quite uneasy if people felt that this thing is being suppressed."
Monro emphasized, however, that he would only raise the question of the University's policy of making students' rankin-class available to local draft boards and not the general question of the 2-S derferment.
"This problem is concrete, not abstract, and should be debated. Clearly, this has to be presented as a question of educational policy -- not just opposition to 2-S."
At its last meeting this month, the Faculty voted not to consider a resolution that condemned the 2-S deferments as "unjust." Oscar Handlin, Charles Warren Professor of American History, who introduced the motion to table the anti-2-S resolution, argued that the Faculty should not consider "abstract" questions.
Monro's resolution would ask the Faculty to continue support of the present policy of computing ranks, and then sending them directly to students -- leaving the student the choice of whether or not to send them to the local draft boards.
Although Monro made it clear that he is willing to offer a resolution, he repeatedly said that he would only do it in the absence of another motion. "If this thing shows up in any other form, I probably won't do it," he declared. His main objective, he said, was to insure some sort of discussion or debate.
It is quite possible that other Faculty members may raise the rank issue and, along with it, the question of student deferments. John Rawls, professor of Philosophy, who introduced this month's anti-2-S motion, is considering drafting a new resolution. This one, he said earlier this week, will probably tie together the issue of 2-S and the University's policy to sending ranks. Rawls and other supporters of the original resolution will decide by next week whether to raise the matter again in January.
It is not yet certain what effect a Faculty resolution -- if it opposed the computing of ranks -- would have on University policy. Earlier this term, Dean Ford said that the University feels bound, on the informal advice of counsel, to continue supplying the ranks. Thus, any resolution might only be a mere expression of opinion.
Monro left open the possibility last night that any Faculty action against the present policy could lead the University to change its position. However, a final decision would have to be made by the Corporation, the University's highest governing body, he said.
Monro said, however, that Harvard would be hard-pressed to justify abandoning its rank policy. The University gave ranks for 12 years, from the mid-fifties to the early sixties, without raising any serious objections, he said.
Critics of the use of rankings have claimed, among other things, that it promotes unhealthy competition and inflates the value of grades.
But, said Monro, "I think it is going to be hard to maintain this position, because we did it for such a long time."