Page images
PDF
EPUB

groups, on the other hand, are apparently given undue emphasis by even a brief consideration.

It would appear to us, considering the grade of the book, that certain subjects might well have been omitted, thus allowing space for a more extended study of selected topics. Thus in the algæ the author has been obliged to content himself with the scheme of classification presented in Engler and Prantle, while the outline of the fungi must leave the student with an uncertain knowledge regarding some of the groups which many teachers will look upon as important. So also the discussion of hybridization, biotherms, etc., may be misapprehended, owing to the brevity of the presentation. It is inferred from the course of work presented in this book that the author is seeking in part to meet the want felt by many teachers of a modern text-book of comparative morphology. To be sure, the facts relating to the thallophytes do not war-, rant at present a very satisfactory treatment of this part of the subject, but a text co-ordinating the data available to-day and following somewhat the plan of treatment in Campbell's Mosses and ferns would be a most welcome contribution. In offering this opinion regarding certain features of the book we do not wish to be misunderstood. Professor Atkinson has been exceptionally fortunate in accomplishing a very difficult piece of work. The studies have been carefully prepared and this scientific survey of the botanical field will be widely appreciated.

In his treatment of ecology the author has presented the most extended discussion of the subject that is to be found in any text-book. Especially to be commended is the review of the ecological factors and the analysis of plant societies. The great mass of material that has accumulated during the past few years—much of it of indifferent value—has been utilized with discrimination, and the results are now brought together in a more logical and coherent form than heretofore.

CARLTON C. CURTIS COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

IX

NOTES AND NEWS

By the death, on January 10, 1906, of PresiPresident Harper dent Harper of the University of Chicago,

American education loses one of its great leaders, and American life one of its most striking personalities. It is too soon, and the sense of loss is too keen, to attempt any estimate of the permanent significance of President Harper's life and work. It is not too soon, however, to offer tribute in all possible ways to his truly great and high-principled nature, and to the flawless moral courage with which, for quite two years, he faced a certain death.

President Harper spent his life, all too short, in public service. Never a direct representative of any part of the nation in its governmental activity, he was none the less a great and representative public figure, and the right-thinking men and women of America well knew that he represented what they hoped for and aimed at as the best. His boundless energy touched educational activity of every form and every type. His service on the Board of Education of the city of Chicago was most valuable, and would have been epoch-marking if his proposals for the uplifting of the city schools, for the elevation of the profession of teaching, and for the more sedulous and anxious care of the children, had been more warmly supported. Not alone Chicago University, but his entire life and his noble death, are President Harper's monument. There is no one among his contemporaries who can quite take his place.

The subject of college athletics has been so Athletic Craze much under discussion of late years that it is in Colleges

not surprising that both students and faculties have been exposed to criticisms which are unjust as well as to some which are just.

Some of the criticisms assume that the colleges are more given over to the passion for games than are the public generally. On the contrary, it is in large part the passion of the people for introducing games that stimulates the students to play them. When we read of thirty or forty thousand persons rushing to intercollegiate football games at Cambridge or New Haven, Princeton or New York, and most of these persons of respectability and intelligence and maturity, when we see that journals of the highest character devote at least a whole page to the report of a game and publish the portraits and biographies of the players as heroes of whom readers most desire to hear, may we not truthfully say that the public are as crazy about football as the students, and that the passion of the latter is only a part of the national passion which has taken possession of the country? And since this public admiration for the successful players has become so intense, is it strange that the ambition of so many young students is fired to win laurels on the playground? In short, are students alone to be censured, are colleges alone to be censured for sharing what we readily admit is an excessive interest in athletic games, but an excessive interest which has really taken possession of the nation and which is largely responsible for the undue devotion in our colleges to baseball and football. Let the public who criticise accept their just portion of the blame, in so far as blame is pronounced. One might as reasonably ask young men in college not to share in the excitement of a presidential election or as reasonably ask college faculties to prevent them from doing so, when every man out of college is wild with excitement about it. The colleges are no longer monastic establishments and cannot be regulated as if they were.

Again some criticisms seem to assume that college faculties are taking no pains to prevent abuses in athletics. They imply that colleges are institutions whose main business is athletics with an occasional lapse into intellectual pursuits. Now the fact is that our faculties, and so far as I know the faculties of our colleges and universities generally, have during the last few years in which this passion for athletics has been growing so rapidly, given attention to no subject of college administration more conscientiously than to the regulation and control of athletics. Serious abuses did manifest themselves early. Experimentation was necessary in order to determine what was the wisest and most effective way of preventing them. The difficulties were not small. But the case has been taken in hand earnestly and the results have been marked and beneficent. The college authorities as a rule have not been delinquent.

But the college faculties above all others do recognize and deplore the incidental evils still caused by the overmastering passion for great games cherished by both students and the general public. They greatly desire the cultivation of healthful outdoor exercise by all the students rather than the star acting of a few on a public occasion, and with a view to accomplishing this result they have been making efforts, in many cases like ours successful, to procure a field large enough to allow the whole body of students to take all kinds of exercise.

They regret that so often the minds of men on the teams are during the season of training for games preoccupied by their practice and they have adopted strict rules forbidding anyone who is delinquent in his studies to play in a game, and here, at least, that rule is enforced. They regret that anywhere there should be unfair and unsportsmanlike conduct in a game, and we believe that our teams do not resort to it. If anyone should permit himself to indulge in an unworthy act, our Board of Control, if made aware of it, would discipline him for it. One of the most difficult abuses to prevent is the offering of inducements to promising athletes in preparatory schools to come to this or that college, because these inducements may be and often are offered by students or graduates without the knowledge of the authorities. Recent articles in Scribner's magazine gave interesting particulars of this kind of proceeding in connection with Eastern colleges. It is not improbable that similar conditions exist in the West, but it is to be hoped not with the connivance of college authorities.

Indisputably, then, something remains to be done to rid college athletics of certain objectionable practices, and college faculties who have already done so much to abolish abuses are not likely to neglect their duty in the future. They all desire to secure the general participation of students in some form of outdoor activity.–From the Annual Report of 1905 of President Angell of the University of Michigan.

EDUCATIONAL REVIEW

MARCH, 1906

I

UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATON

upon business.

Tho few colleges are now beginning or in process of reconstitution it may not be amiss to notice the superiority of small governing boards. To be in the highest degree efficient a college's trustees should number not less than seven or more than eleven. In a corporation of seven, nine, or eleven, some sense of responsibility reaches every member. All endeavor to attend each meeting and to maintain grasp

The executive meets the full board often. Members are under little temptation to separate into cliques. Everything tends to sincerity, directness and dispatch.

Any old university's alumni, could they convene and deliberate, would be the best agency to elect the board's members. Nor is this gainsaid by the ill choices rather common under the desultory methods of voting by letter or by the alumni who chance to attend Commencement. Such elections, far from expressing the wisdom of the alumni, often denote simply the industry of a clique, being at times less fortunate than when college governments ignored alumni altogether. The actual sense of the alumni ought somehow to be secured.

State university governments should be stronger in alumni than most of them are. This desideratum, sure to be reached with time, will arrive soonest where the trustees are elected by the people. On other grounds as well the popular election of regents is believed to be preferable to appointment by state governors. In naming university regents a governor proceeds almost of necessity with an eye to politics, paying his own or

« PreviousContinue »