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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/342

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

ing, of successive short tacks to each gust of shifting sentiment. By all means evolution and not revolution; but also by all means steer and do not drift. If we are on the wrong track, let us manfully confess it and set the compass to a different course. There is already in the air a growing sentiment against autocracy, a decidedly increased willingness, even an anxiety, on the part of presidents to seek counsel and to prevent the ruptures invited by the official organization—all this parallel with an increasing development of organization upon principles antagonistic to real professional independence. It is obvious to all that so impossible a situation as that now made publicly available by the commendable willingness of Dean Kent to set forth the facts of the case is not likely to recur; and the next president of Syracuse University will be both a wiser and a happier man because of the public indignation aroused by this extreme example of presidential autocracy. Presidents are likely more and more to be benevolent, even condescending; and their efficiency is admitted. But as Professor Cattell says: "The benevolent and efficient despot is the worst kind; the cruel and incompetent despot soon disappears." The increasing graciousness and reasonableness of the administrative attitude, while it mitigates the situation for the present dwellers in the grove, must not be permitted to set aside the real need for reform. Such reform, I have urged, comes alike from the guiding dominance of principle, and the facilitation of a suitable organization. The most practical outlook is towards university presidents of different views of administration, of independent insight, not overawed by convention or popular prejudice, of a democratic temperament. I hold, as do others, that one of the first requisites is that faculties shall elect their own presidents; and the legal relations being what they are, I look forward (perhaps telescopically) to the day when no worthy man will be willing to preside over a faculty unless invited by them to this place of academic leadership. More than this, I believe it essential that the faculty invest the president with such authority and only with such as they regard as desirable for academic welfare. Professor Stratton, quite independently, has expressed the same conviction:

Still more important and beneficial for our present needs would it be to have the professors rather than the trustees elect the university president and determine the powers which he should yield. The office of president would thus remain, but he who occupied it would be the representative directly of the faculty, and he could be efficient only so long as he retained their confidence.

Equally important with this reform is another: the authoritative voice of the faculty in the determination of what measures shall be decided with the cooperation of the board, which by the board alone, and which by the faculty alone, and with this an essential representation of the faculty at the meetings of the board. An effective provi-