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Students Lament Loss of 'Harvard Time'

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences decision Tuesday to adopt a new course schedule beginning in the fall of 2018 has left some students optimistic about the new timetable, while others lamented the end of school tradition.

Beginning in Fall 2018, FAS will implement a new course schedule with a built in 15-minute passing period to give students more time to travel to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’s Allston campus, set to open in 2020. Perhaps most controversially, the 7-minute passing time known popularly as "Harvard Time" will no longer exist.

“I think in general it’ll be beneficial to the students because not only do we have 15 minutes between classes, but it’s beneficial to faculty because they can teach more,” Ching W. Sullivan ’20 said.

Others, such as Matthew L. Ybarra ’20 have been confused by the proposal.

“I don’t really understand the new plan,” Ybarra said. “I was reading through it and it just kind of seems inefficient. Like, why change a good thing?”

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Allison S. Chang ’19 agreed.

“I think seven minutes is a good window of time. So I don’t really see a reason to mess with the system,” she said.

New Class Schedule
The new class schedule.
For some students, the change means a loss of a distinct Harvard custom.

“I guess it’s like a silly tradition and it’s been around for so long,” Alex C. Wang ’17 said. “I guess the change has been primarily made so people can go to Allston for the new campus, so that makes sense and I’m not offended by it. It’ll just take time to adjust.”

“I was very disappointed. I like Harvard time. It’s just nice. Also, it’s really unique to the school that we have it. And so it just feels like part of the schedule, and so it’s kind of weird to do away with it,” Emily S. Brother ’19 said.

In addition to the removal of “Harvard Time,” most classes will also be extended to 75 minutes in the new course schedule.

Johnny G. Powell ’20 said that the increased class times could require more student focus in class, but the increased time in-between classes could make it easier for students to arrive on time.

“I think that this should be good because it’s hard for me sometimes to get from the Science Center to the Barker Center because most of the time I will get there, late especially when classes go past the hour,” Powell said.

Powell also said he dislikes the potential increase in the number of evening classes because he prefers to keep his schedule similar to the one he had in high school.

Wayne Zhao ’17 expressed concerns about the uniform class length.

“They should definitely monitor that a little more, because for a lot of classes if you stretch some out to 75 minutes you might not have any benefits, and if you squeeze some to 75 minutes you might not get through enough material.”

Zhao said he thinks the new schedule will better prepare students for life after school, however.

“The real world doesn’t run on Harvard time,” he said.

—Staff writer William L. Wang can be reached at william.wang@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @wlwang20

—Staff writer Alexis J. Ross can be reached at alexis.ross@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @aross125

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