Thursday, May 31, 2007

Rite Of Examination (Part 3)

To the Candidates at the Rite of Examination, the interplay of rituals and officers might seem complex, for the exact order in which minor rituals are performed is circumstantial and liable to change at short notice. Here, therefore, before we present the last part of the Examination Rite, we examine the rules which bind the Praetor and the Lictors.

1. The Praetor presides over the Examination. In the sphere of examination, his authority is supreme and he reports directly to the Imperator (or the Principes, in this context). He may have a deputy or two deputies appointed by the Consuls or the Legates.

2. The function of the Praetor is to ensure smooth running of the Rite of Examinations for the level of Candidates to which he is assigned. He ensures that all Candidates have equal opportunites available during the Rite, for each day that the Rite is to be executed.

3. The Praetor must therefore have two priorities in mind: a) all Candidates must be treated fairly and equally, and where this is not possible due to extenuating circumstances, it must be made obvious what the terms of redress are; and b) all Candidates must be deterred from malpractice while being reassured that their practice will not be hindered in any way.

4. The Lictors, or Invigilators, are to watch over the daily Rites of Examination. They must be active and alert, continually monitoring the flow of the Rite and making appropriate response. They must deter and if necessary detect malpractice, ensure a ready supply of material, protect the sanctity of the Great Hall, and help Candidates perform well by seeing to their critical needs (such as silence, climate control, and the need to void oneself in the face of fear).

5. The Praetor and Lictors therefore hold a sacred trust. If a Collegium does not hold the Rites properly, then there is no appropriate Test and therefore no assessment of knowledge that is worth the reputation of that Collegium. In view of that, no communication between Praetor and Lictors should take place except for matters regarding the performance of the Rite. Neither should Lictors behave in any way or carry out any task which is not a necessary function of the Rite.

6. On the other hand, given the variability of the situation, the Praetor and Lictors must have discretion to alter or amend the Rite in emergencies. This discretion must be treated with utmost reverence and care, for it is not to be applied lightly or taken in hand without due responsibility.

7. In the event that anyone partaking in the Rites breaches the spirit or letter of the law, penalties must accrue accordingly. This has not always been so in the past, but where will and power are one, so mote it be, as our great master Vergilius has said.

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