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A professor who Friday called lotteries a "barbaric" way to limit class size yesterday said he was forced to institute one for the popular Core class he teaches.
Professor of Anthropology Irven DeVore said yesterday, "On reflection what I meant was, random lotteries are a civilized solution to a barbaric problem." DeVore applied his comments to Science B-29, "Human Behavioral Biology"--known popularly as "Sex"--which yesterday cut 75 students from 640 who had applied for sections.
DeVore and Assistant Professor of Anthropology Terrence W. Deacon, who lead the course, said they designed the lottery to accommodate the 500-person seating capacity of the course's Science Center lecture hall. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of those enrolled miss lecture on any given day, the professors said.
However, juniors constituted virtually all those lotteried out, and some of them expressed frustration at the decision. "Our year has enjoyed a trend of being knocked out of classes," said Mark S. Gainey, '90, who said he had also been cut last year from Foreign Cultures 48, "The Cultural Revolution," which shut out sophomores.
DeVore said he was "terribly sorry" for those excluded from the course. "I had to be callous, but there didn't seem to be an alternative," he said.
Freshmen and sophomores won preference over juniors because Science B-29 is a "freshmen-sophomore course," DeVore said. He added that the course is "practically a requirement" for anthropology concentrators and is useful to the departmentfor recruiting freshmen. Also, seniors will neverhave a chance to take the class again, DeVoresaid.
"Sex" has been offered annually for 10 years,and DeVore and Deacon said they plan to offer itagain next spring. They guaranteed studentslotteried out now a space next year, Deacon said.
"We originally thought we could take everyonebecause last Wednesday and Friday there were onlya few more students than we could take," Deaconsaid. "But the few extra each day were not thesame few."
Students packed into the aisles of ScienceCenter B on the first day of class Wednesday, andthe class was televised to adjacent lecture hallsFriday and yesterday to accommodate students whocould not find seating, students said.
A small number of sophomores were alsolotteried out, apparently by accident. DeVore saidthe course heads had intended to eliminate onlyjuniors.
Jill C. Dickerson '91, one of at least twosophomores who were lotteried out of B-29, said,"I wish if they had to do a lottery, they wouldhave made up their minds and done it one Friday."
This is a real pain, but I don't feel there'sanything I can do about it," she said. "It's notthe professors' fault, but now I have to go theclasses which are on their third or fourthmeetings already.
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