Government students have gathered slightly more than 100 signatures on a petition demanding the cancellation of the junior essay this year.
The Government Department had previously decided to end the junior essay--a four-day take-home exam at the beginning of Spring reading period--starting next year. The students contend that it should be discontinued this year because the events of the past two weeks have made the small amount of studying time left before exams much more necessary.
Jack D. Burke '70, one of the organizers of the petition, said yesterday that he hopes to get the signatures of all 187 juniors in Government tutorials by the end of the week. The organizers also want to get signatures of the 100 tutors, only ten of whom have signed so far. They plan to give the petition to the department before the next meeting of the Government faculty.
No Mood for Change
"My sense of the faculty is that they've had it and they're not in the mood to change anything this year," Francis G. Hutchins, assistant professor of Government and the department's head tutor, said last night. Samuel P. Huntington, chairman of the department, was unavailable for comment.
Many tutors have been helping their students by discussing the questions with them ahead of time. Every tutor submits at least one question for the list of junior essay questions from which students can choose. The essay is graded by a committee of non-tutors and counts for one half the yearly mark.
Some tutors in the department said last night that telling tutees the questions ahead of time was not an uncommon practice, but that more tutors were doing it this year than in the past.
"It's true that some people are subverting the system--I can't stop that," Hutchins said.
Hutchins had supported a proposal before the faculty last month that would have substituted any paper written during the year in tutorial for the junior essay. The faculty decided instead to keep the procedures the same this year, and abolsih the essay completely next year.
The faculty has said that many tutorials have been geared toward a junior essay this year, assigning few papers because the tutors consider the essay the major paper of the year.
"They're putting undue emphasis on written performance in tutorial," Burke said, adding that if the department were to abolish the essay this year, tutors who had assigned few papers could still assign a long paper similar to the essay.
"Since the department has decided to drop the essay, it's been discredited in out eyes," Burke said. "Everyone admits it's unfair."
Burke emphasized that students were petitioning as members of the department, rather than as outsiders who wanted to disrupt. "When we started out, some of us had at least identified with the department--we didn't want to disrupt it," he said. Burke said that some people are in favor of boycotting the essay now, but that circulars sent out from the department in the past week have stressed that the essay counts for one half of the yearly grade in Gov 98.
"Everybody is tremendously annoyed and aggravated at the Government Department," said Andrew S. Effron '70, another petition organizer