THE Committee on Houses' recommendation for an increase in parietal hours comes as no surprise; Dean Ford's decision to press for the extension now, rather than next Fall when the Committee's membership will have changed, does.
The issue apparently boiled down to "Why not?" Master Pappenheimer's subcommittee reported a week ago that Harvard was far behind comparable colleges in its social regulations. Moreover, drastic parietal extensions at schools such as Wellesley have not altered the nature of residence halls noticeably, nor have they disrupted the weekday academic functions of the undergraduates.
Now that the Harvard Deans and Masters have expressed approval, the Faculty will probably vote today to include the new hours in its 1968-69 "Rules for Students in Harvard College." By jumping to liberalize parietals at this time, the Administration will avoid a possible "student power" issue next fall. Also, the extension may ease some of the pressure on House offices for off-campus living, and it will certainly help the House system in the long run.
One blemish in the otherwise auspicious move was the Committee's failure to recommend that parietal enforcement procedures and penalties continue as they are now. Perhaps the Committee's inaction was merely Dean Ford's way to make the proposal more attractive to the Faculty. In any case, there is no point for the Administration to initiate new proctoring procedures in an area that the Houses have learned to handle satisfactorily on an informal, flexible, and individual basis.
Indirectly, the parietals decision demonstrates the value of including students on ad hoc subcommittees of standing Faculty committees. Such arrangements clearly increase communication between students and Faculty.