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Time for Decision


As observers of the semi-annual five-o'clock sprint can testify, today is the last day to hand in a study card free. Tomorrow it costs. Today's deadline marks the end of the shortest period of course-shopping ever, for gone is the petition (free) to add or drop courses for a week after study cards are due.

Until this fall, undergraduates could resolve course conflicts by taking liberal samples the first few weeks and then deciding whether or not they liked a course. This is a major decision under the lecture system, where the instructor's personality and delivery are so important.

Last spring, in a fever of administrative efficiency, the faculty amputated a week of shopping time, reducing the period to its present six day by eliminating "change without liability." The faculty complained that the old petition deadline delayed hour exams and created administrative troubles. It also though that, because of nomadic course-samplers, some professors hesitated before really beginning their courses, while others used up all their best jokes in an effort to sell the course.

Even under the two-week system, however, the delay in beginning a course is unnecessary, since only a few lectures are involved. And instructors who pull their punches are not giving a representative lecture on which students can base their choice.

The administrative trouble is unfortunate, but it is relatively unimportant: in an elective system, the fullest freedom of choice possible is a necessity. At the risk of slowing down University Hall's IBM machines, the College should give students back their extra week.

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