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Latin, that hoary old man of the Requirements, is still on trial. Denounced last year by President Conant, his case is now being investigated by the Committee on Admissions. This will make recommendations to the Faculty Council, which in turn will pass judgement on him at a date not yet fixed.
But right now Latin is no longer a requirement for admission. Students can enter Harvard College and can be graduated from it without ever having known how to decline porta or conjugate amo. They merely content themselves with being Bachelors of Science instead of Bachelors of Arts.
Thus the Latin controversy has resolved into considering the merits of a compromise. And an absurd, worthless compromise it is. Its sin of omission is that in no way does it keep out students who are ignorant of Latin, any more than closing half a gate bars a passageway. Its sin of commission is that it has emasculated and maimed both dignities involved. For it turns out such fantastic freaks as Bachelor of Science in Music and Bachelor of Arts in Bio-Chemistry. These degrees must be revitalized. The distinction must be drawn between the B. S. derived from a knowledge of science and that derived from an ignorance of Latin.
One way to extinguish the monstrous anomaly is to revive the Latin requirement in its full power, for all those who wish to enter Harvard. But this course would clearly be a retrogression.
The other way is to abolish the requirement altogether, and this is the only valid solution. If Latin needs compulsion to help it win proselytes, it doesn't deserve them. But Latin is far from being the dead language it is usually called. It still has enough vitality and allurement to win scholars by its own powers. Thus the only course of wisdom is to kill the crippled Latin requirement, the last vestige of the tyranny of the Roman Empire.
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