Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/509

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503
THE ADMINISTRATIVE PERIL IN EDUCATION

majesté, to accept the president as his representative. The president is thus strongly tempted to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. With the right of promotion and dismissal comes the right of life and death; to exercise it is to incur the presumption of νβρις—to the unspoiled Hellenic conscience the sin beyond pardon. The practical result is too familiar. "The president may assume superhuman responsibility, but he is after all human in his limitations. He may regard common-sense as agreement with him, common loyalty as subservience to him, respect for the opinion of mankind as deference to that small portion of mankind which has money to give" (The Popular Science Monthly: editorial). Transferred from the personal to the corporate relation, the breach in educational policy is coming to be more and more between the professors fundamentally interested in the ends of education and the president and deans dominated in their educational interests by an administrative temper or habit of mind. "The millionaire and the college president are simply middle men who transmit the pressure from the average citizen to the learned classes." "The educated man has been the grain of sand in the college machine. He has an horizon of what 'ought to be,' and he could not help putting in a word and an idea in the wrong place; and so he was thrown out of education in America as he was thrown out of politics in America" (J. J. Chapman). There is at once a conflict of aims and of ideals, thus inviting, according to the type of provocation, a guerilla warfare or a civil war. The system provokes unrest, uncertainty, distrust; it removes harmony, corporate pride, professional independence. So much is clearly to be read in and between the cited lines.

Before resuming speech in the first person, it will be well to consider the rejoinder—the alleged incompetence of the faculties to play the part to which some of them aspire. "It has been said that university faculties are poor legislative bodies; if true, this would not be surprising, so long as their deliberations are confined to discussing questions such as whether they shall wear gowns at commencement, the decision being with the trustees" (J. McK. Cattell). "We appear at present to be between the Scilla of presidential autocracy and the Charybdis of faculty and trustee incompetence. The more incompetent the faculties become, the greater is the need of executive autocracy, and the greater the autocracy of the president, the more incompetent do the faculties become" (J. McK. Cattell). "But was there ever a more vicious circle of argument than that which defends the persistence in a system productive of such unfortunate results by urging that the personnel of the profession has now been brought so low that the restoration of its inherent rights would entail disastrous consequences?" (Dial: editorial). From this "lack of opportunity to discuss the larger problems of the university" with authority and responsibility, from this "living in cramped intellectual quarters"