Core Redux

THE TWO AMENDMENTS to the Core Curriculum proposal passed by the Faculty at its Tuesday meeting warrant approval as minor liberalizations of the plan, but the Core itself remains a major mistake that the Faculty now appears very close to making. The amendments authorize a standing committee on the Core Curriculum to establish a series of departmental by-passes to the Core requirements, and to investigate the possibility of a "floater" provision that would allow students to shift a one-half Core course to another field of study.

Both proposals could substantially improve the Core, but both the by-pass and the "floater" apparently will be very limited in nature, thus leaving the vast majority of students with the same old Core. Politically, the two amendments work for Dean Rosovsky. They will probably mollify most Faculty members dissatisfied with the plan, and they serve to distract attention, at least for now, from the fundamental issue: the educational validity of the Core.

On May 2 the Faculty will almost certainly vote on the proposal; barring a major upset, the Core will be implemented. Yet the Core misses the mark. It assumes that students should become familiar with a certain established body of material, but the Core will not be an improvement over Gen Ed. It will merely replace it in a more streamlined version that will further isolate the Faculty from undergraduates and decrease the value of an already problematic Harvard education.

WORSE STILL is the Faculty's apparent disregard of student opinion throughout the development of the Core. A petition circulated in the past two weeks garnered some 2500 student signatures in favor of more student input to the Core's development, and a Crimson poll shows that fully 65 per cent of undergraduates oppose the plan. Meanwhile, the Faculty accepts as representative of student opinion the support of two organizations with undergraduate members, the Committee on Undergraduate Education and the Educational Resources Group. Clearly, neither group represents student opinion on this issue, yet they constitute the only student input into the Core.

Given the momentum behind the Core Curriculum and the heavy personal and political investment involved in the plan for Dean Rosovsky and many Faculty members, the implementation of the Core is almost a foregone conclusion. Students have done little to show their opposition to the Core thus far. Yet with two-thirds of the student body against the plan, the resources for opposition exist. We support the Freshman Proctors' resolution against the Core and hope that concerned undergraduates will register their disapproval in coming days. Admittedly, the chances of stopping the Core have become quite slim, but for the sake of a better Harvard education and for opposing the elitist process used to formulate the proposal, we urge students to engage in organized protest against the Core Curriculum.