University Latin honors create student concern
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012 01:04
Miami University students recently submitted a letter to the university expressing their concern over the newly implemented Latin honors distinctions.
Seniors Alex Underwood, Annie Clark and Traci Kim created a Facebook group to give students the opportunity to sign the letter. The group had about 160 attendees.
Previously, Latin honors were awarded to students based on overall grade point average (GPA). All students who received a 3.9 GPA would graduate summa cum laude, students with a 3.75 GPA would graduate magna cum laude and students with a 3.5 GPA would graduate cum laude.
According to Lucille Hautau, assistant to the provost, Latin honors will now be determined based on divisional rank.
“Latin honors are awarded on a percentage-based calculation within each of the academic divisions within the university,” Hautau said.
Hautau said the new implementation of the honors system will award summa cum laude to graduates in the top two percent of their academic division. The next five percent in the division will graduate magna cum laude and the next 10 percent will graduate cum laude.
According to Hautau, the decision to change the honors requirements is not a new one.
“The official change was voted on in April 2007,” Hautau said. “It isn’t new, it’s been out there for five years.”
She said University Senate approved the change and since 2008 the new requirements have been included in university documents such as the general bulletin.
Though this information has been accessible to students, Kim, one of the authors of the letter and creator of the Facebook group, said she wishes the university would have better publicized the change.
“We would’ve hoped the university would have made a bigger statement,” Kim said.
According to the letter, the authors and the signers said, “it is incumbent on a university to keep students informed of all institutional regulations and policies, and if this new set of standards is implemented for the graduates of 2012, we believe Miami will have failed to fulfill this responsibility.”
Kim said as she understands the change, it will help with the fact professors do not always give C’s for average work.
“It basically is going to account for grade inflation,” she said.
According to Hautau, with the new system, the registrar’s office calculates the average GPA in each division and posts it online for students to view.
Hautau said regardless of honors, commencement is something to celebrate.
“What, mostly, we would like to say [to our students] is congratulations,” Hautau said. “We are proud of them, and they should be proud too.”