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Large Lecture Classes are Bad For Harvard



This letter is in response to Susannah B. Tobins' article this past Saturday claiming that large lecture classes are fun. Susannah, why you seem to like the idea of being able to squint at your professor from the third balcony of Sanders theater is beyond me. But most importantly you miss the reason lecture classes are so large: the number of core classes is at a 10-year low. This swells the number of students in all the decent core classes to gargantuan sizes. Dean Lewis and others might wonder why our school is number three in the rankings when it is perfectly obvious: Harvard's classes are too large.

These classes make me feel like I am moving through a giant machine that eventually spits me out with only a diploma and feeling that I had once saw Marty Feldstien somewhere far away on the stage of Sanders theater. Last Semester I had classes that were huge core-like lecture classes. It was awful; I had no contact with my professor, no interest in the subject and no understanding of where my tuition fees were going. Susannah, articles like yours justify the University's policy of keeping down the number of core offerings. Instead of writing editorials about the pleasure you get from sitting on the butt-flattening benches in lecture halls, you should help lend public pressure to bring the arrogant administration of this University to its knees by explaining the real causes of huge lectures. --Dorian Berger '00

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