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Faculty postpones vote on CUP proposals

At the March faculty meeting, a vote on proposals of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program on sophomore options, advanced placement credit and prerequisites was postponed until the April meeting. The faculty will also vote on a proposal to revise pass/no-record grading in the freshman year at the same time.

Noting that the votes are not binding, CUP chair Robert L. Jaffe said, "I have no problem with postponing the vote to enhance further discussion."

Annual reports on harassment and student discipline were also discussed at the meeting. In other business, the faculty accepted Professor Stephen C. Graves of the Sloan School of Management as a candidate for faculty chair for 2001-02 and approved changes to Rules and Regulations of the Faculty involving test scheduling for graduate students. The full slate of nominations for faculty officers and standing committees will be presented at the April faculty meeting.

Discussion of the CUP recommendations centered on when to implement a modified pass/fail system for freshmen that would institute an A/B/C/no-record grading policy during the second semester of the freshman year. The committee recommended that it go into effect during the 2002-03 academic year.

Undergraduate Association (UA) president Peter A. Shulman asked that implementation be postponed a year, noting that all freshmen would be required to live on campus during 2002-03, with rush for fraternities, sororities and independent living groups held in October. "An additional year might make a big difference," he said.

Professors Alar Toomre and Arthur Steinberg wondered why the change was not scheduled to go into effect in September. Professor Jaffe said this was not possible because time was needed to advertise the changes.

CUP also recommended that a score of 5 on the College Board Advanced Placement Test or its equivalent on another exam be required for receiving MIT subject credit. Currently, the general cutoff for MIT credit is a score of 4. In addition, it suggested that oversight of the advanced placement policy be shifted from the Admissions Office to the Office of Academic Services. CUP reaffirmed a faculty member's power to enforce prerequisites and proposed that sophomores be permitted to designate one subject each semester as exploratory.


Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict said 148 offenses were reported in 1999-2000, "a very, very, very small number in comparison to other universities the same size." These were handled informally and formally in mediation sessions and at dean's hearings. Forty of the 148 cases involved alcohol violations.

The Committee on Discipline imposed sanctions in seven incidents of academic misconduct and one of personal misconduct in 1999-2000. Committee chair Professor Graves said, "We are beginning to see a blip [increase] on plagiarism in 2000-01."


Professor Emeritus Samuel J. Keyser said the survey for 1999-2000 turned up 55 harassment incidents, including 29 for general mistreatment and 13 for sexual harassment. This was the lowest total since 1996, when 52 complaints were received. A year ago, the total was 70.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 4, 2001.

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