Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 84.djvu/454

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The low salary paid is a more potent cause of failure, and more generally recognized—especially in faculty circles. Married professors are expected to live on salaries ranging from a thousand to fifteen hundred dollars, pay from twenty-five to thirty dollars a month house rent (for houses can not be had in our section of town for less), dress in such fashion as to be be able on occasion to meet the trustees and their friends socially, and contribute to the formal entertainment of the student body four or five times a year. Needless to say, after the satisfaction of these demands nothing remains for the purchase of books, for travel or for study at eastern or European universities. The professor and his family are fortunate if they get through a year without running deeply in debt, and the almost inevitable result of an illness in the family or other unforeseen catastrophe is the starting of a train of evils from which the unfortunate teacher escapes—if he escape at all— only by finding a better paid position in some larger institution. Most of our faculty are so harassed by financial worries that their efficiency as teachers is seriously impaired. Such a condition as this might seem explanation enough of our failure to secure the best results, yet, serious as it is, it is not the fundamental difficulty in our college. It is a symptom rather than a primary cause.

A few courageous professors might so far endanger their popularity as to suggest that the overemphasis placed on athletics has some relation to our failure in realizing our ideals, and in this they would not fall far short of the mark, yet after all the explanation is not entirely satisfying. The overemphasis placed on athletics is in the final analysis but a symptom. The disease from which the college suffers might exist were there no such thing as athletics, and it were unfair to make athletics alone the scapegoat.

The trouble that afflicts our college and other colleges of its class is one that can not be cured by the excision of this or that diseased part. The situation, indeed, does not lend itself kindly to the metaphors of surgery; would we describe it truly we must employ a spiritual metaphor, for it is a rebirth that our college needs, and only by a rebirth can it be saved. The root of the difficulty lies deep in its very constitution. If we would discover why the institution has more or less persistently and systematically fallen short of its recognized duty, and prostituted its own ideals, we must look for the ultimate cause in its fundamental organization.

Ere we depart on this quest, however, let it be clearly understood that the personal ideals of the faculty with regard to scholarship are, for the most part, absolutely irreproachable. We know what sound scholarship is, and we honestly recognize the fact that we are not giving our students all that we ought to give them, though naturally we do not make the fact a subject for general conversation. Neither do we admit that the cause of this condition lies entirely within our own control. The