To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
I am dismayed and depressed to see that the CRIMSON persists in clinging to an archconservative position re the CLGS issue. Not only was the editorial of January 30 a restatement of the CRIMSON's stand, but it was remarkable in its shallowness and in the lack of awareness it demonstrated as to how people in the College really feel about their work.
Does the CRIMSON really think that the thesis is the undergraduate's "most important academic undertaking"? This is naivete of the most harmful sort. The reason that so many seniors are tempted to drop their thesis writing in favor of CLGS is that they perceive that the thesis is essentially nothing more than paperwork drudgery, enervating and mind-killing. Not all theses fit this description, but most do, so why Puritanically castigate a student who is wise enough to see that CLGS will give his mind more freedom and stimulation? Why not give him his freedom, instead of reacting with the pedantic hysteria that several departments have countered with by threatening to give "E" for an incomplete thesis?
The CRIMSON took a position on the side of the established order without bothering to examine the presuppositions of that order: most undergraduates view that thesis as just the last hurdle to the B.A. with some sort of honors, not as an outstanding and original contribution to knowledge. They know that the thesis will wind up in the basement of University Hall, probably never to be again, looked upon by human eyes.
What is the worst point about January 30's editorial is its status seeking. The CLGS program is not "debased" by the present ruling--rather the opposite, for the faculty has at last recognised that very often the thesis is a negative rather than a positive educational experience. But the CRIMSON instead subscribes to the shibboleth that it is better to get a cum laude by writting a thesis than in CLGS. The CRIMSON does indeed "link the idea of the CLGS with that of second-rate performance." It's time that this sort of academic snobbery was snuffed out. The Faculty made the first step, and the CRIMSON should support it. Eric Lacktman '65