Shortly after the establishment of general principles for graduation, the faculty
instituted rules governing academic probation. At the beginning of 1920, eleven
students were put on probation for not averaging 50 in all their classes and making
a grade of at least 70 in two courses at the time of the Christmas examinations.
If they did not improve by the Easter examinations, they would be dropped from the
college rolls. (The college continued the old practice of three examinations a year.)
This procedure appears to be the first mechanism for removing students from
college for unsatisfactory performance academically. It still involved much wagging
of jaws in the faculty meeting; it still was not automatic; but it was a major step
away from a constant review of each student's virtues. In February 1922, the faculty
set a required grade average in all courses of 75 both to stay in school and to
graduate, and a month later the faculty decided that any student making less than
75 in each of two courses would be dropped from the college unless the president,
the dean, and the faculty advisor decided that poor grades were not due to willful
negligence. Dropping would be automatic after another term if there were no improvement.
Finally, in December 1922, the faculty barred any student on probation from representing
the college (i.e., being on a debate or an athletic team). Like the change in curriculum
four years before, no record of debate is given, nor does the change appear to be
a response to rising student numbers, since the population of students held at prewar
levels. Tedious as the mechanism is to recite, it marks the beginning of a revolutionary
change in attitude away from the nineteenth-century approach of considering each
student's case as unprecedented and toward a governance of rule.
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Reprinted from Professor James Scanlon's Randolph-Macon College: A Southern History