Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/21

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THE REACTION FROM COEDUCATION.

find themselves occasionally received on these terms, therefore, if they aspire to scholastic specialization in graduate schools. It will be remembered that the undergraduate courses constitute for many of those who plan to teach in the secondary schools the sole opportunity for specialization. For them the undergraduate curriculum affords essentially a professional training, and subserves exactly the same function as does the graduate school for those who are preparing for collegiate positions.

It behooves us to hurry on to a rehearsal of some of the more seditious social tendencies for which coeducation is held responsible. Foremost among these charges in point of fatuity—for some of them are not fatuous at all—is the asserted blight upon college spirit caused by coeducation. Now college spirit is a capricious plant which blooms profusely in the light of athletic victories and often leads a sickly life of hibernation at other periods. As commonly set forth, it consists in the belief that one's own college is the best on earth, which in some particulars is to an intelligent person always patently untrue, and at times of overwhelming athletic defeat, a thing extremely difficult for even a partisan to formulate with vivacity. Conceived more seriously, it consists in respect and affection for one's alma mater, and in earnest devotion to her welfare. It is unquestionably assisted by the accumulation of institutional legend and tradition. These things come slowly and with age. It is helped into a condition of self-consciousness by all vital student organizations which do not forget their dependence upon the college. Secret societies in many colleges are certainly injurious to college spirit, not because they work consciously against it, but because they absorb wholly into themselves sentimental interests which should include the institution, and because too often they stir up vicious animosities among themselves in a manner which necessarily detracts from the solidarity of interests in the student body at large. The elective system, with its disintegration of classes, has, wherever it has gained an extensive foothold, apparently modified almost to the point of extinction the old-time forms of college spirit. These considerations affect coeducational colleges neither more nor less than other colleges. On the more serious side of respect and affection for one's college, it is certainly difficult to see why coeducation should be disastrous to college spirit in the case of students to whom the system had always seemed the natural thing, unless it can be shown, as it certainly can not, that all coeducational institutions are intrinsically inferior to institutions for the separate sexes. Sufficient insistence upon the shame and ignominy of sitting in classes with the weaker vessels may undoubtedly undermine respect for his college in the mind of a lad brought up in a preparatory school for boys. Other lads could un-