Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/512

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authorities are sorely tempted to abandon the attempt and put their investments in real estate—in buildings, plants, and inventories of trade catalogues—to be pointed at with pride so long as one is blessed with an easy conscience. Yet such abandonment means the loss of the soul—an ancient but not negligible hazard. Commencement addresses may be confidently counted upon to pay adequate tribute to the gains and glories of a triumphant education, with an indulgence in fustian in inverse relation to insight. It is plain and crass folly to disregard the losses and possibilities, which however intangible are by no means unreal. The wisest men have always been influenced in their judgment by what might have been; just as the future is shaped by those capable of conceiving what may be.

Reforms return to first principles to get a fair start, and are as often called upon to retrace false steps as to project the course for the future. A university is first and foremost an educational institution ministered to by a company of scholars; it engages many and diverse activities, all contributory to its welfare. Yet no other test of value is relevant than the educational one; no sacrifice in any measure of educational to other interests can be justified; no domination or intrusion of any foreign spirit can be tolerated. These premises lead with the directness of sound logic, with the constant reward that awaits singleness of purpose, to the conclusion that the university interests must be entrusted authoritatively to those expertly conversant with their nature. The professorship must be made a position of honor and authority. The evils that now cause anxiety but corroborate the vital import of academic home-rule; they do not establish its validity; it inheres in the nature of the influence which civilization has shaped to guard the intellectual interests of the race.

It is however important to view the situation in the concrete. By way of illustration I shall survey a few significant consequences of the system, which in turn are of a nature all compact. The directive forces that determine the movement and activities of the academic life do not validly or adequately express the real intentions, demands and ideals thereof; this is the comprehensive and the woeful wrong. The rest is but a bill of particulars, the recurring item in which is that through such suppression, a usurping, distorting predominance is given to a different and an unsuitable range of influences. First is the lack of initiative,—a disqualification the more serious in a career that professes to train for leadership; along with it is the absence of an authoritative referendum. The democratic implication of the terms need not be repudiated, if safeguarded by proper qualifications. The level at which a reference to a composite expression of will is demanded in order to secure the best result—and is not this in reality the aristocratic ideal of government by the most competent?—is reached whenever the qualifications of the referees are adjusted to the issues at stake. Such aris-