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CUC proposal in spirit of ‘no upper limit?’

By Aric Barnes     4/19/16 6:07pm

A few years ago, the banners that currently line the inner loop marked milestones and achievements of Rice students, faculty and supporters. Many of these banners contained the words "no upper limit." Edgar Odell Lovett, Rice's first president, coined this phrase when he said in his 1912 inaugural speech:

"The new institution … aspires to university standing of the highest grade … For the present it is proposed to assign no upper limit to its educational endeavor."

This idea has guided the achievements of many Rice leaders, faculty, students and alumni throughout our university's history, as was shown by those banners that lined the inner loop. While the phrase means something different to everyone at Rice, I believe it means that everyone at Rice can do anything they set their mind to, including taking more than five or six classes in a semester. The current proposal by the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum to limit credit hours among new students and undergraduates undermines this idea of "no upper limit." A limit to the number of credit hours would impose an upper limit on the ability of students to develop their academic careers and pursue their dreams.

Many have written to the Thresher about this topic, and many have spoken to student representatives, faculty and administration. Over a thousand students responded to a survey on the proposal, and 87 percent of them expressed opposition to it. The CUC should acknowledge students' engagement with this issue and listen to students when deciding on the proposal, since the proposal affects students. At the very least, the CUC should remember the words of one of the first men who helped make Rice the place it is today and think about what he might say in the current discussions on campus.

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