The procedure of granting degrees at Radcliffe commencement may be changed this year, according to Julia W. Cheever '66, First Marshal of the Senior Class.
Under the present system, degrees are granted according to academic honors (B.A., cum laude, magna, cum laude, and summa cum laude). Students are given their diplomas alphabetically within each category. The new system would change this to alphabetical order regardless of honors, except that summa degrees would be given separately. (Last year, only six students graduated summa.)
The rest of the commencement ceremony would not change, and the commencement programs would still divide the class by academic honors.
Miss Cheever has talked informally with about 60 seniors, of whom about 90 per cent favor the change, she said. She has written to all seniors asking that those who have "strong opinions" for or against the proposal contact her. The letter explains that some girls feel that "the focus of attention at Commencement should not be on these academic categories, especially since such a large percentage of the class will receive honors."
The letters will not be regarded as a vote, Miss Cheever explained, since so many seniors are out of town and since she has asked for only strong opinions. She added that she felt that a largo majority would have to favor the proposed change in order for it to go into effect.
She explained that some seniors feel that if a small number of girls are not receiving honors, it is unfair to them to focus the ceremony on academic honors. The letter notes that "the argument in favor of the present system is that the academic ceremony should give recognition to academic achievement."
Mrs. Bunting and the Deans would support the change, if that is what the Class would like to do, Miss Cheever said.