“Pre-Reg Sucks! Pre-Reg Sucks!”: A Brief History of Preregistration at Wes


Hate preregistration? Wish you could “shop around” around for desirable courses free from the shackles of the nightmarish two-columned ranking hegemony?

Turns out you’re not alone. Ever since the administration adopted a binding preregistration policy in 1976—hoping thereby to reduce course uncertainty for professors and students alike—the annals of Wes history have been rife with instances of anti-pre-reg student activism, calling the process stressful, impersonal (sup, pre-internet techphobia?), even “a monstrosity of paperwork for North College.”

Anti-Pre-reg furor reached a peak twenty-five years ago this week, culminating with a mass protest against the newly computerized course registration system. Protest efforts included a petition urging as many students as possible to pre-register for the same math course, “thus overloading the computer with requests for this unlimited enrollment course and straining the flexibility of the drop/add period next fall.” A 4/5/85 Argus article (Students Protest Preregistration) describes the ensuing protest in excellent detail:

Students made speeches, burned pre-registration materials in garbage cans, and chanted “Pre-reg sucks! Pre-reg sucks!” as members of the press from local TV and radio stations and newspapers looked on.

The demonstrators littered the halls of North College with pre-registration trash, but later picked it up again. Finally, they confronted a prospective freshperson in the admissions office and told her their objections to pre-registration, warning of what to expect if she comes to Wesleyan.

Meanwhile, other students expressed anger at the WSA’s seeming unwillingness to actively support students’ anti-preregistration sentiment. “All the WSA ever does is kiss ass,” declared Andrew Bennet ’86, “and that’s all they do now.”

I’m curious to hear from alumni about past course registration policies and its tenuous relation with student activism. Why exactly was pre-reg so controversial? What was the desired alternative? Comment away. Maybe even storm North College if the spirit moves you.

8 thoughts on ““Pre-Reg Sucks! Pre-Reg Sucks!”: A Brief History of Preregistration at Wes

  1. anon

    if this was an issue today the wsa would be front and center fighting for students. would it in a year? depends who you vote for…

  2. anon

    if this was an issue today the wsa would be front and center fighting for students. would it in a year? depends who you vote for…

  3. anon

    just deal with it. when you get your major, you get a much better chance of getting the classes you need.

  4. anon

    just deal with it. when you get your major, you get a much better chance of getting the classes you need.

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