Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/318

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indefinitely more complex and almost totally different conditions of the modern university. Particularly inept in its character and disastrous in its results—so it is claimed—is the relation which the president sustains to the different faculties of a great university, and to its trustees or corporation or other governing board. In too many instances, it is claimed, this relation interferes with the perfect understanding and cordial, intelligent cooperation, which should always be maintained between the faculties and the governing board. There can be no doubt that, among the men who know most about the secret working of the present system of university administration in this country, and who are best competent to pass judgment upon it, the need of some change is keenly felt; and if there is as yet too little unanimity of opinion as to what that change should be, there is a fairly uniform agreement that the time for a franker and fuller discussion of the difficult subject has fully come.

Before saying anything in consideration of the problem itself, I wish to define it—at least so far as this attempt is concerned—somewhat more carefully. In the first place it is evident that the scores of small denominational colleges are not to be reckoned in the same class with the larger private and state institutions which have some valid claim to the title "university." A constitution which worked on the whole so well for them in the older days may continue to work almost equally well under more modern conditions. In their case, the fundamental necessities are such that they can not become anything at all—not to say, anything great—without being for a considerable time under the almost unlimited control of one man, with a corps of a half dozen sympathetic colleagues who are subordinates. It must also be borne in mind, when urging the need of greatly modifying if not totally abolishing the office of president in the larger institutions, that the very importance of the personal element in the successful discharge of this office, can be converted into an argument which counts heavily in opposite directions. Certainly, the office of president in any one of these institutions, under the present system of administration, is no sinecure. He who accepts or holds it may not improperly claim sympathetic pity from his friends, and plead with them, if not with the public, to help him answer the question: "Who is sufficient for these things?" The answer would have to be: Few indeed are, by natural gifts or by training; and fewer—far fewer—of those who succeed by the current political methods in getting chosen to the position. And as in so many instances the final event makes evident, it would seem more fitting to regard the music and the ribbons, the pomp and the paraphernalia, of the inauguration ceremonies as consecrating a victim for a free-will sacrifice than as raising a deified monarch to a sort of imperial throne. It is neither becoming nor necessary to the argument to follow the example of a series of articles published not long ago