Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/85

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81
UNIVERSITY STANDARDS

So I sat before him helpless,
In an ecstacy of woe;
The mountain mists were rising fast,
The sun was sinking slow—
When a sudden inspiration came,
As sudden winds do blow.

I took my hat, I took my stick,
My load I settled fair,
I approached that awful incubus
With an absent-minded air—
And I walked directly through him,
As if he wasn't there.

Actually the only reason why these twenty-seven activities do not stand in their proper, subordinate place—are not at once put where they belong—is the inconstant will of alma mater.

When, however, I said that the remedy was simple, I did not mean that it could be applied any how, any way. The means deserve careful thought and the exercise of such good sense as colleges may reasonably be supposed to command. But the main point is the will and determination of alma mater to have, and to have respected, standards of undergraduate conduct and achievement. In the face of such determination the loftiest structure buttressed by college tradition is a mere house of cards. Happily the mind of youth is plastic, and the hoariest college custom may on occasion be treated exactly as if it wasn't there. Certain qualities of heart and mind, with generous effort to improve opportunity, are minimum qualifications for membership in a college. The college has the duty and the authority—may it also have the courage—to set up and maintain standards which will justify indeed 2 and increasingly, democracy's faith in education.