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none the less indispensable. In view of facts constantly coming to the knowledge of the public, as within a few weeks in regard to the acts of students of at least four “universities,” and multitudes of facts well known to college faculties, it has a comic aspect to talk of the student's governing himself. He must be governed, wisely and kindly, but governed. He is, by his accepted condition, “under tutors and governors." The coöperation of the young men should be secured, as far as practicable, and friendly relations maintained between student and faculty. This is, happily, taking place more and more. But neither individually nor collectively are students the persons to govern. They are not there to guide and regulate, but to be guided and regulated. It belongs to their age and fundamental relation. Not myself believing in the surrender of college government to college students, I will not criticise the views of those who do. I may say, however, that so far as my observation goes, the seeming surrender is but superficial, the faculty retaining always the ultimate control, referring only what it is pleased to refer, and with a veto power behind. But however this may be, it is certain that in some institutions the students themselves advocate no such arrangement. Thus at Dartmouth College, where the general good order will probably bear a comparison with that of any other New England college of an equal number of students, not only have the young men, in their free class discussions, always decided adversely to the plan, but their college periodical, on the 19th of last April, put forth a vigorous protest against the scheme, ridiculing it as "an abortive attempt " by the “ukase of a single sentence” to transmute “impulsive youth, needing guidance and restraint," into “mature men," dominated by wisdom and principle. It affirmed that the student's daily actions give the lie to the oft-repeated statement that appeals to his honor alone are necessary, pronounced the strong government to be the one that is “respected,” and ended with the assertion: “What our colleges really need is more of West Point.” Unquestionably students respect a firm and impartial college government.
I only add, without arguing, the opinion, resting on the principles previously indicated, that a general religious control should be asserted—not sectarian, but Christian : daily attendance on chapel service, and attendance on some Sunday public service, according to the preference of the parent or guardian. It is
pleasant to see many recent indications that public sentiment is moving again in this direction.
S. C. BARTLETT, President of Dartmouth College.
I ASSUME that we who are asked to discuss the question, "How far should a university control its students ?” are expected to consider chiefly the management of collegiate students rather than of students in professional schools.
Like the similar question, “How far shall a father control his son between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one ? ”it is easy enough to give an answer in general terms, but not easy to give one in detailed and specific terms.
Probably all will agree that the college authorities should aim to do all in their power to bring the student through his college course with a vigorous body, a mind well-disciplined and stored with knowledge, and a pure, strong, and manly character. The control which is essential to the accomplishment of this result with the great body of students may be, and should be, exercised. But there are serious practical difficulties in applying this simple principle in the management of a college.
There is the very grave difficulty which arises from the difference in the ages of the students. Some of them are in years, and in physical, mental, and moral development, mere boys; others are mature men. It is not at all unusual to find students sixteen years old and those twenty-five or even thirty years old in the same class. Methods useful with the former are absurd with the latter. If we may borrow terms from the German schools to express our thought, we may say that we are embarrassed by having in the American colleges boys so young that gymnasial methods, both of intellectual and moral training, are suitable for them, and men old enough and sufficiently advanced in mental development to be trained under university methods. I think the average age of the students in the Western colleges and universities is somewhat higher than that in the Eastern institutions of similar grade. This may in part account for what I suppose to be a fact,--that rather more freedom is accorded to students in most of the larger Western colleges than in most of the Eastern. The average age of those admitted to the freshman class in the
University of Michigan for many years has ranged from nineteen to nineteen and a half years. The average age of the undergraduate here is about twenty-one. Of course, such a body of students can be treated differently from a body whose average age is nineteen. Still, as a few of our students are only sixteen, we are not free from the embarrassment named.
Another difficulty springs from the fact that with a large proportion of students the college life falls at the period when their passions and impulses are at their maximum strength, and when experience and reason have not taught them self-control in a large degree. Though not vicious, they may be thoughtless, and are often carried away in a whirl of temporary excitement to words and acts which they soon after condemn. What is wise treatment of young men in these moods is not always easy to
Again, the problem of college government is often made serious from the fact that too often students, from some cause, have regarded the relations of college teachers to them as antagonistic; have felt that it was their privilege, if not their right and duty, to outwit their guardians and cause them as much trouble as possible. This is an old college tradition, for the existence of which students are not alone responsible. It is in part due to unwise methods of government, more in vogue formerly than now, and especially to attempts to exercise excessive control of students. The tradition, however,--and hardly anything is more enduring and invincible than a college tradition,-still afflicts some colleges whose faculties no longer give provocation for this hostile attitude of their pupils.
To meet these and other difficulties, what means of control are commanded by the college authorities?
First, they can make and, so far as practicable, enforce rules and regulations to govern the conduct of students.
Secondly, they have the moral aid of the elevating and regulating power of the intellectual pursuits of their pupils, and also of such appeals as can be made to them when assembled.
Thirdly, the personal power of the teachers in their close intercourse with the students can be employed in removing the pestilent idea of official antagonism to them, and in elevating their aims and character.
Of these three instrumentalities for controlling students, the first should be used as little as possible, and the other two as
much as possible. Control by mere authority should be used as little as is compatible with the high ends sought in the conduct of a college. It must, indeed, be made plain to students, so that there is no shadow of a ground for misunderstanding on the point, that the faculty, and not the students, govern the college. But this being established, let the rules be as few and as simple as possible, and only such as can be reasonably well enforced. Let the hand of authority be displayed only when indispensably necessary. Punctuality in attendance and fidelity in work should be insisted on. If a fair degree of success in obtaining these is secured, the other details of the student's life may generally be left to him with safety. But he should be made to understand that a decent and manly life is expected of him always and everywhere. It is unwise and useless to confront him, in a pamphlet of college laws, with a long list of mala prohibita, which he is forbidden to commit. No college faculty has genius enough to name all the acts which ought to be forbidden. The wily student who is presented with the catalogue of forbidden sins is tempted to commit all which are not included in the list. But he knows what is decent and becoming and manly as well as the Professor of Moral Philosophy, and if informed that conduct which is manly will always be expected of him, he is much more likely to refrain from unbecoming acts than if held in subjection to a long code of petty rules and to a system of espionage.
The professors should not depend so much for the control of students on legislation as on getting near enough to their pupils to exert a positive moral influence upon them, on appeals to their manliness, on engendering in them the spirit of right-doing. Some teachers lack this power. But it should be coveted and sought after as one of the “ best gifts” of a college officer. Members of the faculty should spare no personal efforts to indu dents to abandon bad traditions and usages. They should strive to reach and control the younger students through the counsel and influence of the older. That is one of the most effective ways of controlling thoughtless, impulsive students. By all means the attempt should be constantly made to produce a public opinion in college in favor of manly conduct and in condemnation of all kinds of unmanly conduct, from mere childish tricks to disorder and vice.
Nor will a wise administration content itself with dealing with students as a mass. There should be most careful and considerate
treatment of individual cases. The number who are inclined to go wrong is usually small, unless in some special excitement which takes good men for the moment off their feet. That small number should be constantly looked after with the desire to make something of them if possible. Sometimes a professor who has special nearness of access to one of these men can do more for him than the executive officer of the college. But by sympathetic admonitions and appeals, by enlisting in the work older students, who are his friends, by all means at command, the effort should be made to save him to a career of industry and virtue if possible. If he cannot be saved, of course he must be made to withdraw ; but unless he has been guilty of some flagrant offence, there should be as little demonstration as possible about his withdrawal. There is room for great wisdom and tact in dealing with these individual cases, which form the centres of wrong-doing.
While, then, it should be distinctly understood as not open to debate that the faculty must govern the college, and must absolutely decide in any issue between them and the students, still the constant aim and unceasing study should be to make it unnecessary for them to use their authority by cultivating in all ways among the students the manly and earnest spirit which makes the resort to authority unnecessary, and especially by leading the students to feel that their teachers are not spies and antagonists, but their true friends, eager to assist them in every way. A great improvement has taken place in this generation in the relations of college officers and students, and in the general demeanor of students. That improvement has been largely due to the adoption to a greater or less extent of the principles advocated in this paper. In most colleges the petty and detailed supervision of the student's daily and hourly life has been relaxed or abandoned. Less reliance for insuring good conduct is now placed on manifold restraints than on the appeal to a manly spirit in the student. I am of the opinion that the introduction of the elective system in the latter part of the college course has also been most beneficial from a moral, as well as from an intellectual, point of view. The compulsory pursuit of unwelcome studies in the junior and senior years used to cause much friction and discontent.
But notwithstanding the gratifying improvement which this generation has seen in the management of colleges and in the