No Headline

The Phi Beta Kappa election will be held before long in accordance with the regulation providing for it at any time after the beginning of the second half year. It will be remembered that at the meeting of the alumni society last June the plan of election was, with a two-fold purpose, changed from a strict adherence to rank; first, to permit the choice of men who deserve the honor but have been prevented by illness or other unavoidable circumstances from reaching the requisite rank; secondly, to permit the rejection of those whose marks are good but whose abilities do not promise for the future. This change is substantially a return to methods in vogue until very recently, but a more liberal concession than ever before granted to the immediate members in their choice. Under the new regulation the election will be held this year, probably for the advantage of the society. At the same time it seems to have an objection: It deprives the Phi Beta Kappa of the distinction which it might well have among Harvard societies of being a sure reward for faithful and persevering work. It will be no longer be possible to conquer one's way into the fraternity. The proportion of unsuitable men chosen under the regulation of rank would undoubtedly be small at any rate and their effect would be null in the society, which even now includes in its graduate body more than one man, chosen under more liberal rules than those in vogue last year, who has failed to set the world on fire. Would it not therefore have been almost as safe and much wiser to adhere to the regulation of rank?