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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/507

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THE ADMINISTRATIVE PERIL IN EDUCATION

ing; he must make the nation understand the functions and the rights of the learned classes. He must do this through a willingness to speak and fight for himself" (J. J. Chapman).

The system is concentrated in the president. So often uncritically the recipient of praise as the visible embodiment of the source from whom all blessings flow, he is as naturally chosen as the one on whom all curses fall. Critically temperate statements admit the enormous powers he wields to mitigate or to aggravate the evils of the system; yet we are asked to consider that "the benevolent and efficient despot is the worst kind; the cruel and incompetent despot soon disappears" (J. McK. Cattell). The educational situation is naturally subject to the unfortunate influences of the social climate. "The individual has once more been subordinated, crudely commercial standards prevail, and control has been seized by the strong and the unscrupulous" (J. McK. Cattell). The relation between the president and the professor, though not untouched by the quality of mercy, is indeed strained, quite too commonly to the breaking-point. Its vital wrong is this: it sets forth that "we exalt administrative ability above scientific insight." Universities "should be the last to typify in their own structure the thought that discovering truth and imparting the vital principle whereby others may discover it are of a dignity less than that of organizing and management" (G. M. Stratton). This is the charge; that the president "is in large measure thought of, and thinks of himself, as the master, or the foreman, or the captain, of a body of men working under his direction; and this fact has a potent influence on the whole character and spirit of academic life in America" (New York Evening Post: editorial). Presidential inaugural addresses show the drift of the current: "And there is the style of ill-concealed arrogance, expressing the personality of the man who frankly thinks of his colleagues as subordinates, and who will ride rough-shod over their rights as men and their freedom as educators whenever his masterful instincts prompt him so to do" (Dial: editorial). The president is appointed "not to elevate the institution as an educational power, but to make of it 'a big thing.' . . . The executive duties of his office render the president less and less fitted as the years go by to represent the purely educational side of the institution, yet every year strengthens his control of all the interests. This condition is not in accord with business common-sense" (J. J. Stevenson). The universities seem to drift towards or to desire "high-priced imperious management" and "low-priced docile labor" (Dial: editorial)—truly a dismal combination. The censure is at times diverted to the governing board. "Our colleges have been handled by men whose ideals were as remote from scholarship as the ideals of the New York theater managers are remote from poetry. In the meanwhile the scholars have been dumb and reticent" (J. J. Chapman). And this in extenuation: "The financial gentlemen are applying in