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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/479

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THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE CARNEGIE FOUNDATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF TEACHING AND THE STATE UNIVERSITIES

Science and higher education in this country have been placed under further obligation to Mr. Andrew Carnegie for his generous intentions in adding $7,000,000 to the endowments of the two institutions that bear his name. The Carnegie Institution of Washington has been given $2,000,000 without special conditions, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has been given $5,000,000 in order that its system of retiring allowances may be extended to state universities.

If the cost of steel had not been excessive through the tariff and the cost of kerosene had not been excessive through monopoly, every state in the union could have afforded to endow institutions for scientific research equaling the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and universities equaling the University of Chicago. But they would not have done so; nor would the gains of the people have been saved and combined to carry forward the construction of railways and other enterprises which the capitalistic system has accomplished. It is one of the anomalies of our complicated civilization that the tariff and the trusts, apparently for the benefit of capitalism, are long steps in the direction of state socialism, whereas the universities supported by the states are the nurseries of democratic individualism.

These remarks are suggested by the paternalistic and centralistic character of the pension system now extended to the state universities. Whether this extension is a benefit or an injury to these institutions is a question not at all easy to answer. It was urged by a committee of the presidents forming the National Association of State Universities, whose chief argument was that it is unlikely that the states will provide pensions for professors, as this might raise the question of pensions for all public officers, and that the state universities would thus be at a great disadvantage as compared with private institutions. President Pritchett of the foundation, in his report on the subject printed last year, argued that the desirability of the pension system and its adoption by the private institution would force the states to provide it for their universities.

But the desirability of a uniform and universal pension scheme for professors is at least open to question. If one university pays a salary of $3,000, and another pays $2,500 and provides an annuity the annual cost of which is $500, the charge to the institution and to society is the same. In which is the position of the professor preferable? Those who insure themselves for the benefit of wife and children are better citizens than those who stint their families in order to buy annuities for their own old age; but it seems that college professors are to be compelled to join the latter class. They must sacrifice a certain amount of freedom in accepting annuities in place of salary and are put into a caste that they can not leave without serious money loss.

On the other hand, it may be argued that the scholar should be relieved from all financial responsibility, in order that he may be free to do his work. It is also claimed that it is an advantage for an institution to be able to replace its older professors with younger men. The introduction of the system is of financial advantage to