Faculty Vote to Reform Cum Laude Degree Requirements

As expected, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences yesterday voted to remove the words "in General Studies" from the Cum Laude in General Studies degree. Seniors who achieve a grade point average of a B or above but do not opt for an honors track within their concentration receive this degree.

The vote, however, was far from unanimous. As it was a voice vote, it was hard to ascertain what percentage of the faculty voted against the measure.

Dean of Undergraduate Education Laurence Buell argued for the measure at the meeting, saying that the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) had recommended it to reduce student and parental distress at the faintly pejorative ring of the words "General Studies."

One professor spoke out against the measure, saying that parental distress is not a good reason to remove the words.

Saying that the effort appeared at odds with the EPC's work to have all concentrations have a "capstone" experience, which is usually a thesis, the professor said he did not understand why FAS should reduce the incentive for students to chose honor tracks within their concentrations.

In response, Buell said that the EPC may in the future consider whether the degree should exist at all. The change will take effect beginning with the Class of 1996.

-Elizabeth T. Bangs and Jonathan A. Lewin