Latin Honors becomes stricter

At this year’s graduation, seniors can expect to hear a few less names with Latin honors titles attached to them due to the change in the honors system, starting with the class of 2010.

The GPA requirement to graduate Cum Laude has been raised from a minimum of 3.3 to 3.5. Similarly, the minimum for Magna Cum Laude has been raised from a 3.5 to a 3.7 and the minimum for Summa Cum Laude has been raised from 3.7 to 3.9. This alteration follows the leads of Allegheny’s peer institutions which have also made it more difficult to graduate with honors.

The change was set in motion in December of 2005 but was not applicable to any students who attended Allegheny when the requirements were changed. Instead, the first class to operate under the new system would be of the next catalogue year: 2010.

Although these updated requirements have been official for four years, the change was never announced to this year’s graduating class, leaving some students who were expecting to graduate Cum Laude at a 3.3 or 3.4 sorely disappointed.

“In any one of our catalogues, anyone from seniors through freshmen, the Latin honors is reflected with the change that happened,” said Brett Fuchs, ASG President.

“With that said, there wasn’t wide discussion about it so it wasn’t until recently that most students were made aware of this.”

Even with the amendment to recent catalogues, some students were still misinformed of what graduation requirements applied to them.

“I was told that the ’06-’07 catalogue would contain all of my course requirements,” said Drew Pirrone-Brusse, ’10. “It’s an inconsistency they need to take care of.”

There is also some argument that students who earn a 3.3 at Allegheny deserve to graduate Cum Laude due to the difficulty of classes here.

“Getting a 3.0 here is already more work than anything I’ve ever heard of,” Pirrone-Brusse said.

Still, students seem to concede that while the change may seem unfair in some aspects, it could also help Allegheny.

“I have a few friends who have been affected by it,” said Nicole Buckle, ’10. “They work really hard and deserve recognition but obviously Allegheny is striving for excellence so there are two sides to it.”

Allegheny’s faculty also seems to support the idea that the raised requirements will lead to higher standards of academic achievement.

“It represents Allegheny’s commitment to a rigorous set of standards,” said Professor Benjamin Slote, Associate Dean of the College.

Assistant Professor of French Laura Reeck shared the same sentiments.

“I do think that a 3.3 today does not mean what it meant 10 years ago and a 3.5 today might not mean what it meant 10 years ago so I think that it’s a necessary adjustment,” she said.

Reeck went on to say that this modification will make graduation with honors a more valuable achievement.

“The change is meant to restore to the honors a sense of distinction,” she said.