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Few Attend Calendar Plan Forum

By Katherine Shim

News Editor

Total student attendance at last night's forum on the proposals to revamp the Institute calendar was six.

The forum was held last night in 6-120. It designed as an open forum to "get information out and to get feedback," Undergraduate Association Treasurer Raajnish A. Chitaley '95 said.

At the forum, Professor of Physics Robert L. Jaffe, chair-elect of the faculty, presented an amendment to the Institute Calendar Proposal and solicited comments. The amendment, announced this week, proposes that both semesters be lengthened to 65 class days instead of the 67 class days suggested in the original proposal. It would also allow departments to move 12 required units into a 19-day Independent Activities Period.

Panelists at the forum included Director of Special Services Stephen D. Immerman, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Travis R. Merritt, Professor of Chemistry Robert J. Silbey, Registrar David S. Wiley '61, and Jaffe.

"This forum will be interpreted as -- one, people are very busy, two, students perceive that the crisis is over, and three, most people like the new proposal," Chitaley said.

Anand Mehta G, president of the GSC, said that many of the people who showed up were members of the UA or the GSC. "All but one [of the people who showed up] have been involved with the issue all along."

"It came down to a discussion of the new proposal... and with a show of hands of 3 students [which was total attendance at the time], the proposal passed unanimously," said Mehta.

IAP discussed

Mehta expressed concern that departments would use IAP to offer required coursework, with no alternative classes offered during the regular term.

"IAP should be used usefully," Mehta said. "but I have one potential concern that this proposal would allow departments to require that students come back for one IAP out of four years. Maybe 10.001 [Introduction to Computer Methods] would only be offered during IAP, or Course XVI [Department of Aeronatics and Astronautics] could have Unified run through IAP."

"But we should make sure that courses offered that are appropriate for IAP, like language courses, lab classes, or 2.70 [Introduction to Design]" still be offered, Mehta said. "10.001 might not be be appropriate to be taught during IAP. It is difficult for some people to learn computer programming in such an intensive time period."

"This still has to go through each department, the Committee on the Undergraduate Program , and the IAP Policy Committee before it can be implemented," Mehta added.

"Required courses will not be offered during IAP before it has been discussed" within the MIT community, Anne S. Tsao '94, UA vice president, said.

"Extending IAP by two days is seen favorably by the IAP Policy Committee," Mehta said. "Right now the last week is almost useless. By making it a full four weeks, IAP will be better," he said.

Benefits emphasized

"A benefit of the new amendment is that it creates full weeks of class. Finals will not end on a Wednesday like they do now. Most people do not start work on the Thursday after the last day of finals," Tsao said. "The proposal also encourages faculty to create more courses during IAP."

"The fundamental substantive change of the proposed amendment is that departments will be required to create more coursework during IAP," Chitaley said.

"Two really good things have come out of this proposal: spring term Registration Day will no longer be on a Thursday, instead it will be on a Monday. There will be no more Tuesday day of classes on a Monday," Mehta said.

(Editor's note: Sarah Y. Keightley contributed to the reporting of this s t o r y . ) <\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2><\2