There is, at present, considerable excitement at the Columbia Law School, caused by the resignation of three leading professors-Professors Dwight, Chase and Petty. It is evident that a difference of opinion between these gentlemen and the government of the university has been the primary reason for these resignations. The occasion for this difference of opinion is, in substance, as follows:
Under the leadership of Professor Dwight the supreme aim of the Law School, hitherto, has been to fit students for the actual work of law practice. The newer policy, however, condemns this ambition as inadequate, and seeks to expand and remodel the plan of instruction. The idea is to carry out the old object of fitting students to be practicing lawyers, and in addition the advocates of this new plan would have taught at the Law School the theory of law in its highest ranges, as is done in the finest universities of Europe. This expansion and extension of instruction is directly in accord with the universal desire at Columbia of raising its standards until the university is on a plane with the best, in this country and abroad.
It is quite natural that Professor Dwight and his intimate associates should not be in perfect sympathy with those who advocate this new departure. And it is probable that their resignations were handed in because of this change of policy.
The excitement among the students is due largely to the fact that, under the new system, a third year course has been added, making their course more extensive than those of former graduates. A petition has been circulated among the members of the Middle class which states that the members of that class entered under the impression that the old system of instruction would be continued during their course of study; and, further, that Professor Dwight's name would be attached to their diplomas at the end of the course.
It is also reported that many of the class think seriously of entering the Harvard Law School, since the courses of the two schools will be so much alike.