Faculty to Vote on Howell Motion, Discuss Changes to Advanced Standing

{shortcode-66ba5e461d8a64dcc0ea387ecbc5b512e0d06066}The Faculty of Arts and Sciences will likely vote on a final motion associated with the College’s controversial social group policy at their monthly meeting Tuesday.

David L. Howell, a professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, introduced the motion in November. It moves that the Faculty recognize that basic rights and freedoms may come into conflict with each other at Harvard, and in these cases, “it is the responsibility of the faculty and administration of Harvard College to establish policies that protect individual freedoms and rights while upholding the educational mission of the College.”

At last month’s Faculty meeting, the Faculty voted down a separate motion intended to counteract the policy, which, starting with the class of 2021, prohibits members of single gender final clubs or Greek organizations from holding athletic team captaincies or club leadership positions or being recommended for certain postgraduate fellowships.

During months of Faculty debate about the policy, the issue of shared governance between the faculty and administration emerged as a large part of the discussion. At the November meeting, Classics professor Richard F. Thomas charged that, if passed, Howell’s motion would cede control from the faculty to the administration.

In an interview last month, FAS Dean Michael D. Smith said that in his opinion, the Howell motion would not affect the dynamic between the Faculty and administrators if passed.


Faculty members will discuss several other substantive docket items prior to the Howell motion Tuesday.

Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris is scheduled to introduce a motion revamping the College’s Advanced Standing policy, which allows undergraduates to graduate in three years or pursue a master's degree in their fourth year at the College.

If the motion passes, all students will be eligible for Advanced Standing; previously, students were required to have earned high scores on several Advanced Placement exams before entering Harvard. Additionally, the requirements for bachelor’s and master’s degrees will not be lessened for students with Advanced Standing.

The motion also requests a review of the College’s current language requirement, which mandates that all students either pass a language placement test or enroll in two semesters of a language course.

“The subcommittee feels that the language requirement in its current form promotes inequity among the student body,” a report submitted by Harris reads. “Those students who attended a high school that provided strong language instruction are able to bypass a requirement while those who attended a less strong high school are not.”

Harris’s motion is only up for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting. The earliest it could be approved is at the February Faculty meeting.

The Faculty will also cast votes on whether or not to move Faculty meetings earlier by one hour, starting in the 2018–2019 academic year, in order to accommodate the new course schedule, and whether to approve a change to cross-registration policy for students in the College.

Dean of Harvard Summer School Sandra A. Naddaff ’75 will also announce the upcoming courses for the 2018 summer term.

—Staff writer Joshua J. Florence can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaFlorence1.

–Staff writer Mia C. Karr can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @miackarr.


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