Home Faculty meeting students rally to save shopping week and urge faculty to vote against enrolling in the previous term | News

students rally to save shopping week and urge faculty to vote against enrolling in the previous term | News


A small group of undergraduates rallied Monday to save shopping week at Harvard’s Science Center Plaza, urging faculty to vote down a proposal to enroll in classes from the previous term at the next faculty meeting. May 3.

While many college students praise the flexibility of shopping week, which offers the chance to try out classes before enrolling, some teachers and administrators say it complicates class preparation and hiring. In December, a committee of the Faculty of Arts and Science recommended that the College replace shopping week with pre-term registration, in which students would register for classes one semester in advance.

At Monday’s rally, organizers handed out flyers urging students to encourage their professors to attend the monthly faculty meeting next Tuesday and vote against the previous term’s course registration plan.

William A. McConnell ’21-’22, a rally organizer, said the vote at the upcoming faculty meeting is “the last battle” in the movement to preserve shopping week.

“We have made a number of efforts and other people have made a number of efforts over the years to prevent the administration from moving forward with what has not been as successful. “said McConnell, a former editor of Crimson. “But it’s a vote we think we can win.”

Former Undergraduate Council President Michael Y. Cheng ’22, who helped organize the rally, said student advocacy efforts successfully kept “the flame of shopping week alive” during the pandemic.

Earlier this semester, the group of students working to preserve shopping week submitted a 40-page counter-proposal to the Committee on Class Enrollment’s plan for enrollment in the previous term. The counter-proposal called for shopping week to be maintained but with reforms, such as a non-binding “pre-indication” form submitted in the previous term to help teaching staff assess potential class sizes.

LyLena D. Estabine ’24, one of the student organizers, said in an interview after Monday’s rally that the authors of the counterproposal consulted with faculty and graduate students when writing their report.

“If the faculty votes no, it will provide students with an opportunity — it will provide the entire college, really — an opportunity to seek true collaboration and create a new system,” she said.

Estabine is one of several candidates for office in the new student government, the Harvard Undergraduate Association, who have made preserving shopping week central to their campaigns.

Monday’s gathering took place on the second day of Visitas, an annual program that brings newly admitted students on campus tours. Xander D. Patton, a future freshman, said shopping week was a “big draw” for him in his decision to go to Harvard next year.

Prefrosh Tahraji Milsap said that while enrolling in the course doesn’t make or break his enrollment decision, shopping week is one of Harvard’s “little touches of magic” that makes the school “special “.

Physics professor Howard M. Georgi ’68 spoke briefly at the rally, advocating that students speak to their professors in support of shopping week.

After the rally, Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana said he appreciated hearing students’ “thoughtful concerns”.

“We all want the same thing, which is ‘How can we create an environment for intellectual transformation?’ “, did he declare. “We share the same goals, but we also respect each other’s differences and points of view.”

Estabine said shopping week is an integral part of Harvard’s exploration culture.

“It is about reminding the College that we are the cornerstone and that as students who have come here in search of the best education the country and the world has to offer, we must and can play an active role in determining the details of what that education looks like,” she said.

—Writer Ariel H. Kim can be reached at [email protected]

—Editor Meimei Xu can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @MeimeiXu7.