ABOUT DISMISSING PROFESSORS
The president of one of the leading universities in the east and the president of one of the leading state universities have recently expressed opinions in regard to the tenure of office of the university professor which deserve careful attention. In his annual report to the trustees, President Butler, of Columbia University, writes:
In the issue of Science for February 17, President Van Hise, of the University of Wisconsin, says:
It is certainly desirable that professors should be moral, efficient, sensible and loyal; they should have even other qualifications than those which they share with domestic servants. But it is a far cry from this to the claim that the president should dismiss professors whenever they seem to him to lack these traits. Such a claim obviously traverses academic traditions. Professors receive their appointments at the average age of forty years. If a mistake is made, it is the fault of those who appoint, and they should accept the responsibility. Professors who prove to be less competent in the management of large classes in the undergraduate college and in the professional schools should be relieved from them, but it is more economical to pay an occasional professor his salary without lull return, than to place the whole university under the law of supply and demand. By the nature of things, some professors are less competent than the average of them all, and any university could temporarily raise the average by replacing ten per cent, of the faculty. But it would be the old story of killing the hen that lays the golden eggs.
President Van Hise says:
A scientific man should give references to his authorities; but President Van Hise apparently thinks that professors in general hold such opinions and would like to form a privileged class. According to President Butler they do form such a class. He writes in his report:
President Butler, however, seems to realize that professors do not share his opinion as to their happy lot, for