Students React To Principles Of New Core

The appearance of the yearbook topped the list of conversations in most Harvard dining halls last night, but when asked, most students expressed some opinion on the principle of Harvard's new Core Curriculum, which will impose a more structured set of academic requirements on undergraduates.

Most students' objections to the Core focused on their belief that the new Core Curriculum will "ruin" Harvard's reputation as a liberal arts college.

"It doesn't seem to me that the function of a university is to impose an educational program, but rather it should provide the resources for each student to fulfill his or her own educational needs," Drew Fixell '78 said yesterday.

"I really think it's a big mistake. I object to the idea of structuring someone's education in that manner," Fixell added.

Fixell's complaint was reiterated by Brooks P. Nemark '80 who does not think the Core will have a positive effect on education at Harvard.

"We're old enough to guide ourselves. What makes Harvard interesting is the fact that we are able to take all the peripheral courses," Newmark said.

Newmark added, "This is a step back leading to the old English ideal of spoon feeding students.

Some students' reactions were more moderate and several students said although they are not violently opposed to the Core, they are disappointed there wasn't more discussion or student input.

"I'm really surprised that it passed by such a wide margin," John Relman '79 said. "I would like to have seen it discussed longer," he added.

John O. McGinnis '78 recalled the comment of one Faculty member who recently said the Faculty is not really interested in education, and that the Core would therefore pass just by inertia.

"There is a great need for a Core Curriculum, but this one doesn't succeed because it isn't rigorous enough," McGinnis said.

McGinnis added, "There is a tremendous bias towards history, and not enough emphasis on ideas."

On the other hand, a number of students said the Core will broaden undergraduate horizons and support the idea of strictly enforced requirements.

"I think it's a way of blocking the pressure of graduate school, forcing students to have a freedom they would not otherwise be able to have," Bard F. Artson '81 said.

Many students said they are not particularly concerned about the new Core Curriculum because it will not affect their educations. Many added, however, that they might not have come here, if they were required to follow such a program.

"I think the Core is a good idea, but I'm glad it didn't happen while I was here," Lesley Koenig '78 said yesterday.

"I'm relieved that it doesn't apply to me. You can get away with a lot under the present Gen Ed requirements, and that's too bad, but I'm glad I got away with them," Susan Hewitt '79 said