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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/518

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

ley's "Idols"; you may find it undisguised in Mr. Dooley's satire, and dramatically staged in "Stover at Yale." Parents are uneasy about the value of it all when their sons are in college (parenthetically with some one's else daughters); their worldly employers question it more pragmatically when college days are over. Alumni are divided between an indulgent retrospective loyalty and the enlightenment of maturer wisdom. All this smoke points to a constantly smouldering dissatisfaction, bursting occasionally into a flame of protest. Doubtless the causes of the situation so variously complained of, like the causes of the high rate of living, are both deep and wide. Yet it seems clear that things would not have drifted so rapidly nor so far, if the machinery of the university had been made more directly responsive to the educational sentiment. It is not so much a question of conservative or liberal, of standpatter or progressive. It is a question of a proper perspective and of the power to enforce it—of foreground and background, of what shall be put first and what second and what last.

Further illustration would encroach upon complex scholastic matters. One group of issues centers about the manner in which the university ideal is to be maintained while meeting and yet resisting the public pressure, or directing it to fruitful channels; for the university should be at once responsive and responsible. The several legitimate influences bearing upon educational provisions, whether publicly or privately supported, should have avenues of expression and of enforcement. Their adjustment is a delicate matter in which the representation of opinion and the disposition of authority will be both just and wise if the several factors are given due order of precedence. It is a question requiring argument, but must here be dismissed with the conviction that the academic representation is far too slight and unauthoritative, that the evils developed and others in the making are largely due to the overshadowing of academic by administrative interests. All this is but natural. Let any one of a group of interacting factors gain a headway, and the acquired momentum accumulates about it further aggrandizement unless opposed by rival forces. This type of greatness comes both by birthright of office, is achieved by set purpose, and is thrust upon the conspicuous recipient. Add to this the natural heedlessness exemplified in a prosperous and expanding environment—so pointedly shown in the exploitation of natural resources, now checked by the movement for conservation—and it becomes clear how sound policy has been sacrificed to temporary expediency, to the desire to get things done, to the neglect of the criterion of quality that in the end makes or mars. Think of the superfluous ease with which colleges and universities have been sprinkled over the land, and the misguided zeal of local ambition, and the passion for quick returns; and how inevitably must academic interests suffer under such pressure, how inevitable that administrators should seize and hold the reign of government to the