Students' Association at Paris.
To the Editors of the Daily Crimson:
PARIS, March 20, 1891.
Those of your readers who are intending to study abroad, and especially at Paris, will, I am sure, be glad to learn of a movement which was started more than a year ago, and which has taken what we believe to be a permanent and a useful shape. The movement is one for receiving, giving information to, and introducing students who come from foreign ports to study at Paris. We hope, however, that the beginning at Paris may end in a truly international relation among the Universities of all lands, and may thus be helpful to students in any foreign country. Perhaps there is no other place where such help is so much needed as at Paris. This is true not only from the fact that Paris is a world centre and has so many foreign students, but also because there is, probably, no other place where the higher institutions of learning in a single city are so widely scattered in space and are under so many different systems of administration each with its peculiar rights, aims, and methods. The result of this great diversity, and these many systems, is that one coming to Paris for the first time finds great difficulty (even if he is master of the French language) in finding what he wants.
Two entirely different elements, working, too, from widely different motives, have been planning to find a way out of this difficulty. The one element is composed of the foreign students themselves, in whose midst are still fresh all the feelings of loneliness and "lostness" that depressed them as they were trying to find catalogues, programs of courses, lecture rooms, university offices, professors, and information about the kind, quality, and amount of work, for the first time in this large and unfriendly city. These students wish at least to do something to make the way easier for those who may come after them.
On the other hand, the professors and governing boards are beginning to realize that they must make some special effort to draw and to satisfy foreign students if Paris is to regain any of her mediaeval glory as a place and centre of learning. Yet more they are awaking to the fact that the other nations are making tremendous strides in the higher education and offering special inducements to students, and Paris does not wish to be behind in anything and especially as a centre of the higher culture.
After numerous conferences of foreign students among themselves, with French students and with professors, the following scheme was adopted. The scheme being an extension of the plan adopted with the appointment of a Comite de Patronage des Etudiants Etrangers about a year ago. March 18, 1891, the Committee of the General Association of the students at Paris in the name of the association (a member of any of the higher institutions of learning is elligible to this association which now has nearly 4,000 members) adopted a series of resolutions to this effect: That every university ought to establish a committee of reception (Comite de Patronage) composed of friends of the university, with some representatives from the students themselves, similar to the committees already existing at Paris, Montpellier, in Sweden, and in Scotland. That when a student comes to any university with recommendations from a general association of students, as for example from a University Club, he ought at once to be admitted to the General Association of Students. The association will at once put him in communication with the Comite de Patronage. This committee pledges itself to see that such student is given all necessary information about the university work and life and that he is placed in communication with some of his own countrymen who are familiar with the institutions of learning-provided such are in the city. In case there is no general association of students or University Club in the university from which the student comes, a recommendation from the university authorities will answer every purpose.
The remaining resolutions have to do with the internal organization of the students in the Association generale des Etudiants de Paris, into committees according to "nations," etc., for the carrying out of the main object of the plan.
This scheme is to go into effect immediately at Paris. On completing the arrangements, we celebrated the event by a dinner last night at the Restaurant Foyot. The number present was about 35 representing seven or eight nations, with several members of the Comite de Patronage. The dinner passed off most pleasantly, and the after-dinner speaking was of an especially high tone. The toast of Professor Lovisse deserves to be repeated. Referring to the great agitation in favor of protective tariffs he said: "I drink to the free eirculation of students of all countries, and to the free baggage of imponderable, untaxable knowledge, sentiments, and ideas"
Special thanks are due Mr. Beranger, President of the General Association, for the way in which he managed and presided over the dinner.
The Comite de Patronage has on it many of the most noted men in France. Those of the committee that I have met seem willing to do all in their power to carry out the object for which the committee was organized.
The names of the members of the committee are: MM. Pasteur, (President) of the Pasteur Institute, Greard (vice-rector of the Academy of Paris), and Viscount Melchior de Vague, all members of the Academy; MM. Boutung, director of the Eeale libre des Sciences politiques, Sorel (Professor) Xovier, Charms and Breal, all members of the Institute; Professor Lavisse (Secretary of the General Council of Faculties), Larry (former deputy) and Paul Melon (24 Place Malesherbes) secretary of the committee.
JOHN H. GRAY.