Since Dean Hanford's statement on the abolition of attendance records has been universally misinterpreted, many Juniors and Seniors are disagreeably surprised this week to find themselves threatened with probation. Members of the group are those who have cut meetings of regularly recorded courses before and after vacation in the belief that their attendance was unnecessary.
The controversial statement possessed the implication that first and last class requirements were being relaxed. While it stated that "excessive cutting . . may be the cause for disciplinary action," the terminology led one to believe that moderate infringement, such as cutting two or three classes, would be treated lightly. Even the second statement did not promise probation to the most during offenders.
On other grounds also, the present situation appears unfair, for in the last few years the University has dealt liberally with infractions of the rule. Now some Juniors and Seniors are officially, to all practical intents and purposes, allowed to extend their vacations with impunity, while their classmates are threatened with disciplinary action for doing likewise. Certainly, the Administrative Board at its meeting tomorrow should do no more than warn the offenders and use the data to determine its future policy.
As the basis for future action, however, one might describe this policy by the same word with which President Conant has described the present status of the S.B. degree, "absurd." To adopt a discriminatory measure of any sort even for the commendable purpose of simplifying administrative machinery cannot find justification.
Since the purpose of last year's rulings was to allow upper-classmen freedom in regulating their work, the College should be satisfied if men fulfill the standards demanded by their examinations. Although violations of the confidence will inevitably be made, a compromise with the underlying theory does not give these principles adequate chance for success. Preferably, upperclassmen not on probation should be allowed to cut at their pleasure; at any rate, the College should mete out similar treatment to each member of the two classes.