By: The Commentator Editorial Board  | 

An Absurd Concoction (Vol. 2, Issue 11)

The five year plan was originally proposed as a means for raising the scholastic standards of Yeshiva College and for bringing about the academic tradition it seeks to establish.

By giving students more time for study, it was expected to make for more intensive scholarship and to reduce much of the superficiality which is characteristic of many students at present. By reducing class hours in the college, it was supposed to facilitate the development of the Jewish Studies department and the reorganization of the college program. It was hoped, in this manner, to integrate the general and Jewish curricula of Yeshiva College.

It was a plan of such nature which was at various times recommended and which the alumni endorsed at its last meeting. While we question the possibility of such a plan and maintain that its realization would entail much preliminary deliberation, we are in the fullest accord with its objective.

The plan which the administration has in mind appears, suddenly, to be nothing of the sort. It is an absurd program which accomplishes nothing whatsoever. Students having an average of B or more, that is, those students who were expected to benefit most from an intensification of their studies and who were to be most fundamentally influenced by an integration of the curriculum, are in no wise affected by the plan.

Only those students who fail to maintain the B average will be required to take a limited program, thus forcing them to spend more than the normal four years in completing their regular course.

Does the administration really believe that the work of the less capable students will be greatly improved by removing two or three credits from their program, or is this merely a philanthropic gesture designed to relieve these students of their “crushing” burden? (Is there, perhaps, basis to the rumor that the plan was instituted to increase the stature of the boys?) Do the authorities actually believe that whatever benefits might possibly accrue to those students would be sufficient to offset the burden involved in attending college an extra year? The slightest consideration of those points should indicate how ludicrous the entire proposal is.

Above all, the plan is not only ridiculous. It sets a dangerous precedent which may tend to defeat the primary aims of Yeshiva College. If realized, it would lead us in a direction diametrically opposed to that in which we should be going. Instead of intensifying the present course of study, it is simplifying it for those who cannot keep up with it.

We would be committing ourselves to a policy of planning the program of Yeshiva with an eye to the capabilities of certain students who happen to attend rather than to the purposes which are our raison d’etre.

This is the first step toward changing Yeshiva from an institution whose goal is the attainment of a creative academic tradition in which the culture of the ages would be fused with our own Jewisn culture to a mere college for orthodox Jewish students.

Furthermore, the dual standards proposed in this program would place great difficulties in the way of future improvement. It is difficult enough to form a program as the plan now stands. Should an attempt be made to integrate the curriculum, the maintenance of a double program would be impossible.

We regard this plan as a negation of the very basic principles of Yeshiva College. No effort must be spared to defeat this plan. Student Council has already rejected it. Its resolution must be followed up by more concrete action.