The Language Study

The Harvard language requirements is an unnecessary burden to a pitiful minority of students who could not get a 560 on a College Board achievement test before they entered. It should be abolished, but it won't be.

The most one can reasonably hope for is a modification that would exempt those students who have great difficulty learning any language. At present, only a student which strephosymbolia, a rare disease which makes it impossible to learn foreign languages, can be excused from the requirement.

Last spring, former Dean of the College, John U. Munro, announced that the Office of Tests would study the impact of the present requirement on students, and would present its report to the Administrative Board.

Unfortunately, the Office of Tests has not yet begun work on that study because a staff member scheduled to do it left Harvard early this summer.

There is no excuse for further delay in undertaking the study. The number of students who will be affected by modification is, of course, small--Dean Munro estimated 25 to 50--but prompt action is still required to spare these students the agony of wrestling with a language they are unwilling and often unable to learn.