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I am trying to identify a novel written in the mid-late 60s. In the near future, students attend an elite, high rise university. They are given unprecedented freedom to skip class and form sexual liaisons, but those who fail are beheaded in a public ceremony.

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If you are happy with hanging rather than beheading, then it may be "Primary Education of the Camiroi" by R.A. Lafferty.

Synopsis of sorts: http://text-patterns.thenewatlantis.com/2009/01/learning-from-camiroi.html

  • Could you add a synopsis to your answer, e.g. from the link? Link-only answers tend to be discouraged here, since if the link dies the answer becomes essentially useless. – Rand al'Thor Dec 9 '15 at 20:07
  • (+1) A great story by a great writer. Not sure it quite fits the description. It's a short story (not a novel) about ordinary (not elite) primary (not university) education on the planet Camiroi. Hanging is not for failing in a subject but for failure to learn discipline: "If a child has not learned discipline by the third or fourth grade, he is hanged. . . . By the neck until they are dead. The other children always accept the example gracefully and do better. Hanging isn't employed often. Scarcely one child in a hundred is hanged." – user14111 Dec 9 '15 at 20:48
  • If the question is about Lafferty's Camiroi story (unlikely in my opinion) then it's a duplicate of this question. Parts of the story are summarized and quoted there. – user14111 Dec 9 '15 at 21:00

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