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That the recent action of the University in granting Seniors greater freedom in course attendance marks a significant step forward in American university education is the practically unanimous opinion of other Eastern colleges. Their opinions, expressed in the editorial columns of the college newspapers, have almost without exception agreed with the sentiment of critics in metropolitan papers.
More Worthy Than Football Campaign
The step is greeted at Columbia as being similar to but more worthwhile than other ventures which have brought the University a certain publicity since last fall. Parts of the Columbia Spectator comment follow:
"Harvard has occupied considerable space in the public prints of late, what with the CRIMSON'S Confidential Guide to Courses, George Owen's majority-don't-like-the-game" article and the attack on football over-emphasis. It remained for the faculty at Cambridge, however, to hit upon the most novel and yet the most worthwhile plan for bettering college administration.
"Undaunted by the publicity-gaining proclivities of undergraduates and an alumnus of the institution, the Harvard faculty ruled on January 11 that Seniors in the college who were in good standing might use their own discretion in attending classes and lectures.
"A limited cut rule such as enforced at Columbia places upon the conscientious undergraduate the burden of exhausting his allowed absences. Permitting five cuts in a course does not mean telling a student to cut five times but it usually works out that way. With the necessity for cutting three or five times removed, the really interested student might attend a course to his heart's content, perhaps not cutting once in a semester.
"For many students a no-cut rule would resolve itself into a no-college decree. Will power might often buckle under the strain of voluntary participation in the distribution of knowledge. Probably most numerous among the group thus afflicted would be those on whom, one school maintains, a college education is wasted anyhow."
Princetonian Urges imitation
The Daily Princetonian cites the action of the University as an example which the Princeton faculty is urged to follow. After explaining the nature of the new ruling and its experimental nature, the Princetonian goes on to say:
"And still Princeton persists in carefully doling out by the term the number of cuts to upperclassmen who do not maintain a first or second group ranking. At the same time the University nurtures the upperclass plan of independent study and blinds its eye to the contradiction and paradoxical practice.
"Why continue to enforce a rule so utterly and completely out of harmony with the present plan of study? This one anomaly weakens the entire structure of the Four Course Plan."
"developing individual initiative"
"A Spur to Academic Excellence" is the caption under which the Pennsylvanian, the daily paper of the University of Pennsylvania, greets the new Harvard policy. Like the Princetonian, the editors of the Pennsylvania paper urge some sort of imitation at that institution. The editorial says, in part:
"Harvard University's new ruling regarding the attendance of Seniors at classes and lectures as outlined in yesterday's issue of The Pennsylvanian marks another step forward at the Cambridge institution towards developing greater individual initiative and stimulating greater student interest in scholastic work.
"There is little doubt that the promise of being allowed unlimited cuts, provided he makes grades of such a standard as to warrant his being placed on the preferred list provides an incentive for the student to do better scholastic work. It offers an immediate reward for special effort and recognizes the man with ambition and ability. And yet, what added incentive do students at Pennsylvania posses, other than a meagre possibility of gaining Phi Beta Kappa in the College, Beta Gamma Sigma in the Wharton School, or similar honors in other departments. In our opinion the institution of a Dean's List would inspire many students who are now satisfied to 'just get by', since they cannot obtain grades such as are required by the honorary societies to put forth greater scholastic efforts, towards ultimate goal of broader privileges.
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