George Wald, Higgins Professor of Biology, yesterday criticized students for abandoning political activity in favor of the "scramble for grades."
Wald, the 1967 recipient of the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine, told the congregation of the Community Church of Boston that present student concern about grades at Harvard is worse than it was in the 1950s.
The Easy Way Out
"The type of student who takes my introductory biology course has changed significantly over the past two years," he said. Increasingly the student is looking to medicine as the easy way out because it is a lucrative profession that will also help society, he said.
Wald teaches Nat Sci 5, "The Nature of Living Things," which is taken by many undergraduates to fulfill part of the premed requirement.
He said that he knew of cases at other universities where armed guards have to be placed at the entrances to science laboratories overnight in order to prevent students from tampering with experiments of their fellow classmates.
Wald emphasized the importance of students recapturing the political spirit of the late 1960s. "The problems presently facing America are going to become a catastrophe if this generation of young people continues to turn away from their political obligations," he said.
At the present time churches are doing a better job than most universities in helping the politically oppressed in this country, Wald added.
The recent efforts of the National Council of Churches as a mediator between government officials and Indians at Wounded Knee, S.D. is a good example of responsible church action, he said.