UA offers initiative on P/F
By Gaurav Rewari
The main focus of last night's Undergraduate Association Council meeting was a resolution to make a concerted effort to save second-term freshman pass/no-credit grading.
Alan B. Davidson '89 made a strong appeal in favor of the UA's acting quickly and decisively on the issue of freshman pass/no-credit grading. He said that at present "things aren't looking too good for freshman pass/fail" and that the faculty is "looking to get rid of it." However, according to a recent survey over 70 percent of the student body felt that freshman year pass/no-credit was a good thing, Davidson commented.
In the light of this, he announced that a group of students had formed a petition drive that would seek to rally further student support for the retention of the second-term freshman pass/no-credit option. According to Davidson, most of the faculty was under the impression that the majority of the student body was against pass/fail. The proposed petition drive seeks to clarify this misconception.
The petition reads as follows: "We the undersigned believe that the second term of pass/no-record grading during the freshman year is an integral and beneficial part of the MIT educational experience, contributing greatly to the health of the Institute, and as such should be retained. Furthermore, we believe that the administration should seek to improve the freshman year by addressing the more fundamental issues that affect freshman education, such as teaching quality, advising, and the relevance of the core curriculum."
The proposal was met with much enthusiasm on the council floor. UA President Jonathan Katz '90 made a call for swift action and increased student involvement. If anything is going to make a difference, he said, it is going to be increased "student manpower." Some members also suggested a letter-writing campaign aimed at increasing faculty involvement in the effort. The canvassing of faculty and the organizing of meetings to garner student participation and spread more enthusiasm were targeted as very important to the petition drive process. It was agreed that even if second term pass/no-credit grading had to go, it would not go "without a good fight."
Poster policy examined
Another issue that came up for debate at last night's meeting was the current Institute poster policy. This was triggered by the Institute's dissatisfaction with the present situation in which a lot posters are put up on the walls of Institute buildings.
Paul L. Antico '91 and Andrew P. Strehle '91, the UAP-elect and UAVP-elect, spoke to Director of Campus Activities Susanna P. Hinds about altering the current MIT postering policy. A few changes that they suggested included: more bulletin boards in the Student Center and along the Infinite Corridor, heightened awareness of the poster policy, better management of election postering, stricter enforcement of punishment against policy violators, and the hiring of a student to assist Physical Plant in the regular removal of outdated posters.
Stacy E. Segal '90 observed that putting up bulletin boards every few feet along the Infinite Corridor would be no guarantee that students would not continue to put up posters on the walls. If this were to be the case, she said, then putting up the boards would constitute a "useless expenditure."