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History Lesson

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

In a premature move back to academic "normalcy," the History Department recently announced the resumption of the divisional examination requirement for all but a fraction of the veterans in the department. Under the departmental ukase, all men who have returned to College after a two-year leave in Service, and who plan to remain for just one year, are forced to take this exam covering the particular branch of history in which they have specialized. Men who began their training in History 5 or 63 back in 1941 or '42 are forced to resurrect their notes and memories and, without benefit of tutorial, gird themselves for a test that may mean the difference between a degree this year, a degree next year, or perhaps, no degree at all.

The inequity in the department's move hits the entire group of ex-G.I.'s who, by luck or accident of overseas shipment, could not return to Cambridge until September of this year. Before that time, all departments of the College, History included, had waived both general and divisional examinations for non-honors candidates who had been away from the College for two years and who planned to return for only one. But this last installment of historically-minded veterans found, after enrolling two months ago, that their department had veered from the path taken by all other divisions of the College and was prepared to demand the fulfillment of this latter requirement. Thus some twenty to thirty men are saddled with the task of trying to cover their specific field in some detail, without the assistance of an adviser or tutor, and all within the space of one academic year.

The desire of any group of instructors to return as soon as possible to the carefully-molded system of degree requirements is perfectly understandable. But when the University makes a commitment and allows one group of veterans to be exempted from a portion of these requirements, and when the individual departments, realizing the difficulty of careful review without trained assistance, waive the divisional requirements, it is only fair that all men in the same situation be granted the same consideration. Veterans who concentrate in history should be granted the same waivers as men in other fields. Veterans who returned to the University in September must be allowed the same help toward getting a degree as those who returned in February or June. Until the College as a whole returns to its pre-war requirements, there should be some consistency in the handling of veterans.

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