Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/541

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COLLEGE STANDARDIZATION

that no special student should be allowed membership in an athletic team. The mere fact of such membership is presumptive evidence that he is a special fraud.

The criticisms expressed in the present discussion are the outcome of observation, conversation and correspondence extended through a number of years. They are applicable, at least in part, to a variety of institutions, no one of which is here singled out as a special object of attack, either directly or by implication. The facts are well known to many who are engaged in the work of college education, and there is no wish here to individualize. One of the worst causes of their existence has been the all-pervading pressure of intercollegiate athletics. An institution with few professors and many students, which has much ambition for athletic reputation and therefore has admitted athletes with little discrimination, is confronted with an embarrassing choice of alternatives. It is well established that the average scholarship of athletic teams is low. Those who openly contend that a high standard of scholarship is preferable to a high standard of athletics are exposed to the danger of unpopularity among students, and perhaps-among others. Unwelcome criticism based on known facts may be deemed inconsiderate or in bad taste, but evils are rarely ever rectified by ignoring them.

About a thousand American institutions of learning are said to have been chartered as colleges, universities and technical schools, or at least permitted to call themselves by such names. There is no hope that fraud will cease to be practised among them, for every one of them is an index of local civilization, and legislatures are generally willing to incorporate colleges whose standards suit their constituencies. But a hopeful road to improvement is found if every legislature can be induced to follow the example of New York, settling by statute the conditions to be fulfilled for the issuance of a charter of incorporation. Every such charter should be granted for a limited period, such as ten years, and all charters should be revoked if the institutions holding them are unable to meet the requirements of the law. The strong institutions would not be affected, and would have no difficulty in securing decennial renewals. Charters now in existence can not legally be affected, but no new applications for charters would be made with the plea that these are intended to meet future expectations rather than present conditions. It is not to be expected that the law for Virginia or California would be the same as for New York or Florida; but the valuable gain would be the establishment of a definite standard in every state of the union, while the usual condition now is that of no standard whatever. The crying evil is false pretense, the assumption of misleading names, the claim to excellences that do not exist.

In contrast with the New York standard may be mentioned a certain "university" in Florida. Its catalogue in 1903 presented a