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The Chemistry Department will drop a requirement in Chemistry 20, "Organic Chemistry," which had allowed only students with a high first semester grade to enroll in its advanced second semester course, Richard W Johnson, assistant professor of Chemistry, said yesterday.
Johnson said that complaints about the grade cut-off, which some students have called "elitist and snobbish," prompted the change, and added that he hoped making the advanced class open to all students would "remove some of the grade consciousness that has plagued Chem 20."
After the first semester, Chem 20 students are normally divided into two classes. Students who receive a B-plus or better are placed in the advanced class and the remainder are kept in a separate section.
Because the median of the advanced class is usually a B-plus/ A-minus while the median of the other section is a C, students have complained about intense grade competition.
"A lot of students know that they're not going to get a good grade the second semester if they don't get into the advanced section. Lorna A. Brundage '83, a student in Chem 20, said yesterday, adding that students who don not do well the first semester "are penalized because they're certain to get a lower grade in the regular section."
Johnson said that he hoped students would choose the advanced section "only if they think they are really interested in chemistry," adding that "we need to get back to the business of learning chemistry and forget about all the politics and grade grubbing."
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