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Students Petition To Modify the Core

Group Wants Departmental Bypasses

By Andrew S. Chang

A group of students concerned about the restrictive nature of the Core curriculum began circulating a petition this week urging the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) committee reviewing the program to allow departmental bypasses for Core courses.

The petition, authored by Dunster House residents George T. Chang '97, Alexis L. Gallagher '98 and Natalka Roshak '98-'97 and Winthrop House resident James M. Cocola '98, calls for the FAS Core Review Committee to "amend the guidelines that define the Core to let appropriate departmental courses count for Core credit."

"We're not saying that the Core should go away," Roshak said. "We're saying that you should be able to take a philosophy course for Moral Reasoning credit."

The petition argues departmental bypasses are important because the current Core system "restricts [students'] ability to explore possible concentrations."

"A Historical Study A course doesn't offer freshmen a good perspective of the History Department," Roshak said.

Cocola said the petition's organizers are aiming for signatures from 50 percent of the student body.

"I think if you can get more than half of Harvard undergraduates to agree on one thing, you have substantial support," he said.

As of Wednesday night, the petition had already garnered the support of 1,500 students, or about 25 percent of the undergraduate student body, according to Cocola.

"We have also attracted signatures from graduate students and the Eliot House Allston Burr Senior Tutor," Cocola added.

The petitioners have been collecting support for the letter in house dining halls since Monday.

"It happens to be good timing because it's the start of a new semester," Roshak said.

The students said they plan to move their signature drive to Annenberg Hall and Loker Commons later this week.

"We'd like to be done tabling next week," Cocola said.

Organizers said they do not see the petition as a protest against the Core.

"It's a letter to the Core Review Committee," Roshak said. "We like the Core Review Committee. "We like the Core Review Committee. We want them to know what students want."

The group may undertake further action in an effort to reform the Core.

"There might be other steps," Cocola said. "It's still very much in the working stages."

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