Bungling at the Start (Vol. 2, Issue 10)
The resolution passed by Student Council against the application of the five year plan to the present freshman class, and its recommendation that members of that class be allowed to graduate in 1940 were the only reasonable measures to be taken.
The five year plan, a scheme revolutionary in effect, the influence of which must be felt in the entire future development of the college, was instituted without any program or design whatsoever. There was no opportunity for deliberation or criticism. There was no time for planning. No one had a distinct idea of the manner in which this scheme would be carrjed into practice.
The plan became an official policy of the institution before anyone had any chance to discuss its feasibility or to suggest the proper methods for realizing its aims. Students knew nothing of it until they registered in the fall. It was presented to the faculty after registration as a fait-accompli, not to be carefully considered and discussed, but to be accepted and ratified. Yeshiva was blindly launched upon a new course.
It is, therefore, off little importance that the administration may discover some justification, on purely technical grounds, for forcing the five year plan upon the present freshman class. This much is clear—that the administration, without any notice, changed a fundamental policy of the institution; that before the beginning of the present school year the new policy was not officially made public, that in a great majority of cases, the freshmen were informed only at the last moment, during registration.
We are, clearly, confronted by another example of the arbitrary procedure which we believed to have been totally abandoned by the administration.
The issue involved concerns, thus, not only the freshman class, but the entire student body and the faculty as well. We are determined not to allow a plan of so serious a [illegible] be [illegible] upon us without first understanding its effects and the precise [illegible] of its operation. We absolutely refuse to accept a plan which has not been sufficiently worked out to [illegible] us to see [illegible] how it will work.
Even the staunchest supporter of the five year plan must admit that as it has operated during the past half year it accomplishes nothing. Merely deducting three class house per week in no way helps the student; it gives him merely the added burden of another year at college.
From the point of view of its advocates, the five year plan, in itself, achieves nothing. Only when correlated with a comprehensive reorganization of the college and Yeshiva curricula will have any meaning. The programs must be so arranged as to relieve the student, not of several hours, but of several afternoons of college classes during the week, if the five year plan is to bring any results.
Has anyone a distinct notion of the manner in which this is to be done? Has anyone given any attention to the defects of the plan as now conceived? Even those most concerned with this matter appear to have but the vaguest notions.
In attempting to carry out the plan, the administration has already bungled things. Instead of first attempting to enlist the support of the students for its policy, the administration just imposed it upon them, expecting a silence betokening acquiescence. Actually, this manner of procedure has only served to incense student opinion. Under these circumstances, no co-operation can be expected from the students.
Only in one way can this situation be remedied. By re-opening the entire matter for reconsideration, by discarding the attitude of “five year plan immediately, at all costs,” by submitting the various problems arising from this plan to open minded study, we can gain the cooperation of all. The matter could be candidly discussed and prepared, and if adopted it could be put into effect in a suitable manner, systematized so as to attain its purpose.
Above all, student sympathy must be secured before the plan can succeed. By creating a belligerent and discounted student attitude, the plan obliterates any gains it might make.
If the administration refuses to consider the matter rationally, but continues to deal with it in an emotional and sentimental fashion the plan will never succeed. It is not a question of saving face or of upholding a policy. What is involved is the future of Yeshiva College.