Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/319

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THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

one of our most influential newspapers and denounce the great majority of college and university presidents as habitually guilty of falsehood and selfish intrigue. Indeed, such a charge is to be convicted of the untruth of exaggeration. It is quite enough to point out that the accusation itself, accompanied by the fact that it could find admission to a respectable weekly paper and be so largely credited as it undoubtedly was, offers strong reasons for devising some system of governing our universities which shall help to remove the temptation on the part of any of its officers to resort to such means of carrying their measures; and so make the charge intrinsically impossible and absurd. We desire, then, to keep in the background all suspicion of indulging in personalities, favorable or unfavorable to particular persons, while treating freely of the person of the president, its power and relations to the true functions of the university, in the prevailing system of university government.

And now let us consider what are some of the more important objections to the workings of the form of administration almost universally in vogue. These may be all summed up in saying that, in many, if not in the majority of cases, it hinders rather than helps the smoothest working and most valuable results of a university education. At once we must plant ourselves squarely and immovably upon the proposition that all the legitimate work of the true university culminates in its teaching. From this it follows that all the acquisitions of the university are subordinate to the quality and force of its faculties. Such an "institution of learning" may offer fine and even luxurious dormitories, and a cheap and well-served dining-hall for its students; it may give them agreeable and even refining opportunities for social life; it may have expensive appliances and large and splendid fields for athletic sports and culture; but if it has not the sufficient number and right sort of men in its faculties, it fails just where success is most imperatively demanded of it. All these other advantages, so far as the work of the university is concerned, are entirely subordinate. All the other officers are the servants of the teachers. Good health is indeed of vital importance; but in securing it, to refrain from dissipation and to take an abundance of open air in unexhausting exercise, is vastly more profitable than the existing extravagances and absurdities of college athletics. Social life is indispensable for the best development of the human individual; but it is not best obtained in the saloons, or clubs, or even in most of the sodalities popular with university students. I repeat: Everything else must be kept subordinate to the efficiency of the teaching, if the university is to discharge satisfactorily its chief functions. But that I am pleading for no narrow conception of these functions, let me refer to the sentences quoted above. It then appears that, not the students alone who are gathered under her walls are the pupils