There are doubtless advantages in a system of severe competition for large prizes under honorable conditions, as well as in permanent tenure of office with small salaries and a free life; but confusion and harm result from running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. A university which dismisses professors when the president thinks that they are inefficient or lack common sense is parasitic on the great academic traditions of the past and of other nations. A single university which acts in this way will in the end obtain a faculty consisting of a few adventurers, a few sycophants and a crowd of mediocrities. If all universities adopt such a policy, while retaining their present meager salaries and systems of autocratic control, then able men will not embark on such rotten ships. They will carry forward scientific work in connection with industry and will attract as apprentices those competent to learn the ways of research.
THE GRADUATE COLLEGE OF PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
Princeton University has now no president and could get on admirably without one. It is true that the professors at Princeton who disagreed with the president and opposed his policies were not dismissed for lack of common sense and common loyalty. On the contrary, they won victories in a fair field where each side contended for principles. It is also true that at Princeton one professor has been able, first with and then without the favor of the administration, to carry out the plans which he formed. But the question arises whether Princeton could not to advantage place the control of Its policies formally in the hands of its faculties.
If the new graduate college should, like the colleges of the English universities on which it is confessedly modelled, be placed in charge of its fellows and professors, letting them be responsible both for appointments and for finances, then there could and would be gathered there a group of scholars such as has not been seen in this country since the early days of the Johns Hopkins University. There are but few of the younger men on whom the future of scholarship and research depends who would not gladly go to such a college, whether as teachers or as students.
The graduate college of which Professor West has dreamed, for which he has worked and which he has now made an accomplished fact is described by him in the last number of The Century Magazine, with special reference to the ideal of the scholar's life. Thanks to the bequest of Mrs. Swan, to the liberal gift of Mr. Proctor followed by gifts from other alumni, to the subscriptions to a memorial of Grover Cleveland, who was the first chairman of the committee of the graduate college, and to the large endowment left by Mr. Wyman, the graduate college has resources amounting to between three and four million dollars. Of this sum about six hundred thousand dollars will be spent on the buildings, including the Cleveland memorial tower, the Proctor dining ball and the Thomson residential court. The greater part of Mr. Proctor's gift and practically the whole of the Wyman bequest will be devoted to the endowment of professorships, fellowships and opportunities for research and publication. With the library, the laboratories and the academic buildings of the university, with the beauty of its architecture, the charm of the open country, the academic and national traditions of the place, the infant college is surely endowed by the fairies with all ideal gifts.
Professor West has been charged with exploiting the externals of culture, and it may be that he exhibits a touch of the pedantry that he ridicules. But his article in The Century is broad and sympathetic; bis plans and ideals