Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/326

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services rendered in their behalf. But let him never mind. Perhaps, if he is a true man he does really not much mind. But what he can scarcely help minding is this: His whole career, and the reputation and influence which he has won by a life of self-sacrificing labor, may at any moment be in peril through the caprice, or cowardice, or ill-will of a single man, or of a little group of men who have influence with that single man. Then he will have the choice between a silent submission or an ignoble contest with a probably inglorious—albeit triumphant—ending.

This last and worst of all the many influences tending toward the degradation of the professorial office is definitely connected with the present system of university administration. One can not wonder, and one can scarcely blame, the younger generation if they neither have nor profess the same unstinted devotion for an institution as that which sustained their forebears during lives of self-denial, hard work and low living. They are in it for what they can get out of it, much more than their old-time predecessors were. They need not be at all so careful as their elders were about any shadow being cast upon their reputation for the most upright and austere morality; but they are almost sure to be more careful about standing in with the power that has most to do with appointments and promotions. For the question may at any time be thrust upon them: Which shall I sacrifice, my hard-won position or my highly prized spirit of manly independence?

Immediately following the consideration of the evils of the present system of university administration in this country comes the question: Can these evils be abolished or lessened by any feasible changes in this system? And on the heels of this question follows another: If changes are to be made, what shall those changes be? In treating these questions it scarcely needs to be said that, as a matter of course, no system of administration, to whatever purpose that system may be applied, can avoid encountering and in all probability collecting about itself, a host of embarrassments and of obstacles to its perfect working. Institutions that have developed as large and old universities have, even in this comparatively new country, in fact developed, can not be subjected to radical changes, suddenly, and on grounds of theoretical significance alone. But as I have already said, so obvious and important in their power to defeat the smooth and successful working of the highest functions of a great and good university have some of these evils grown to be, that the time has fully arrived for a frank and thorough discussion of the topics suggested by them. And this discussion may be entered upon with the conviction that some of these evils, and those not the least of them, are so largely due to the nature of a worn-out system, that by changing the system we shall lessen if we do not wholly extirpate them.

In order to point the direction in which changes are both needed and promising, as respects the present system of university administration