Two communications on the sparring petition appear on another page. To all who contemplate signing this petition we would desire to state a few plain facts. The end of a university training is mental and not physical. The support of exercise should be merely as a means by which this end may be accomplished. Does our university encourage athletic exercise in a measure adequate to this end? The Hemenway gymnasium - the most complete college gymnasium in the country, and the employment of two officials whose duty it is to superintend and develop athletic interests, answer this question emphatically in the affirmative. Compare Harvard with other colleges and draw answers from the comparisons. One of our correspondents stated that sparring was a national sport, as fencing is in Germany. Do the German universities maintain instructors in fencing?
This petition contemplates expending $500 at least. Let those who would sign ask themselves if such an expenditure is justified when there are such pressing needs for money for the library, the physical laboratory and the general support of the university. Are there not scores of ways in which $500 could be spent to maintain something already in need, and thereby advance a more universal end, than in the maintenance of an instructor in boxing?
The number of names already on the petition justifies our stand. But a few over one hundred have signed this petition, less than a dozen having signed since our first editorial.
The manner in which precedents work proves that there is danger in establishing a precedent to support special athletic exercise. The granting of petitions in all organizations depends more upon precedent than upon the number and character of names affixed to petitions. We believe that there is consistency in the policy of our faculty, and that such consistency would dictate the granting of future petitions for paid instructors in special athletic exercises, should this petition now in question be granted.