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A Government Department student-faculty committee, whose initial meetings last spring resulted in a new advising system for sophomore concentrators, will meet today to resume discussion of undergraduate complaints.
Student members of the Undergraduate Affairs Committee contacted yesterday said they have some personal concerns, on topics ranging from the inapplicability of junior tutorials to sexual harassment, that they would like the committee to resolve. The committee--consisting of Department Chairman Robert D. Putnam, Head Tutor Mark Beisinger, a concentrator from each of the 13 houses and a handful of senior professors--will set its agenda today.
The committee last year successfully recommended reforms in the advising system, resulting in a counseling program for sophomores instituted this fall. Putnam said the graduate student counselors are instructed to give career guidance to undergraduates "in what is a huge and somewhat impersonal department."
The department, the college's second largest after the Economics Department, has about 450 concentrators.
The committee last year also addressed student requests for more so-called bypass course offerings, upper-level classes that can be taken to satisfy the department's introductory requirements.
Bypass Surgery Requested
The students wanted the department to increase the number of bypass courses for Government 20, "Introduction to Comparative Government," and Government 30, "Introduction to American Government," committee members said. One member, who asked not to be identified, said students were concerned that Gov 20 was too loosely designed and that Gov 30 was too elementary.
The department has not increased the number of permissable bypass courses for reasons that remain unclear.
Student committee members also mentioned restructuring junior tutorials and giving faculty in the department less autonomy in choosing which courses to teach.
North House representative Alexandra H. Coburn '86 said she thinks the junior tutorial program should be restructured to give students the proper background for writing theses. She said such reforms would include making "esoteric" tutorials more mainstream and stressing research and writing skills.
Leverett House representative Michael N. Gooen '87 said he thinks department members are given too much autonomy over what they teach, often leaving students feeling that their academic needs have not been met.
Gooen said he thinks a committee needs to be established in which undergraduates and professors can discuss what students would like to see taught.
Dunster House representative Neil McAliley '87 said he is concerned about the department's three publicized cases of sexual harassment within the last six years.
He said he supports a graduate student proposal that students not be forced to associate with professors implicated in sexual harassment cases for five years after the finding, and that he would like to see this proposal addressed
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