The vote of the Faculty on changes in the elective system, approved yesterday by the Board of Overseers, is in accord with the principles which President Lowell laid down in his inaugural address. It has been a common rumor for some weeks that the matter was under discussion in the Faculty, and the announcement this morning indicates that the first step has been already taken.
It is, we believe, generally known that the plan which is in preparation will be carried out by arranging all College courses in a few sections. Each student at the end of his Freshman year will be required to elect one of these fields of study for thorough work to be pursued in his remaining three years, and will also be expected to get some knowledge of other subjects by taking a small number of elementary courses in each of the other divisions.
Such a plan will not make a radical change in the habits of the ordinary student, whose selection of courses is more sensible than most persons are willing to believe. The students who will be affected are the ones who are pursuing specialties to the point of narrowness, and the loafers whose exploiting of the elective system leads to mastery of no subject. The specialist will be required to broaden out; the student in pursuit of "snap" courses will be required to concentrate. Both processes will tend to the same end--the turning out of well-rounded men, equally ready to enter on their life-work or to pursue their studies in a graduate school.
It would be idle to say that the change involves no curtailment of the freedom of individual choice; the very words of the Faculty's vote belie such an assertion. But it is the freedom which has resulted in abuse of privileges that is to be abridged; and in the diminution of injurious liberty there is nothing but gain.