The authorities of the college are, we believe, not especially favorable to this movement in the West and South for representation. The reason advanced is that the chances are largely that men from near the University will give more valuable service as Overseers. An indispensable requisite to valuable service from Overseers is faithful attendance at all the meetings of the Board. And could men from the South and West do this? And even if they could be here for the regular meetings, would they be available for service on committees or other duties? Moreover, men selected from Massachusetts and the other New England States are on the ground, so to speak, - in a position to keep in touch with the life of the University and follow every changing phase of its development. They have the leisure to devote to the consideration of educational questions, and are in direct contact with education in its most progressive type. They come from families which have been college-bred for generations and in which sound educational instincts and traditions are assured. For all these reasons they seem better fitted to grapple the problems of management and government constantly arising for the consideration of the Board of Overseers.
The first objection which must arise in one's mind to a Board of Overseers constituted solely of New England men is that it renders the government of the University essentially provincial in its character. And this must sooner or later react upon the University itself, as indeed it has already upon the college. Provincialism can hardly be courted by those in authority at this time when we are rejoicing in the wonderful development of the University and when it is the most cherished plan of the President that Harvard shall become in every sense a national university, drawing its support from colleges and schools all over the country. It may be doubted, too, whether the Board of Overseers would not be wonderfully and beneficially stimulated by the infusion of new blood, even though it has not been purified by very many generations of college training. Old ideas are not always the best; and when they are best they often need fresh energy to arouse them to their best expression. Besides Harvard has a duty to the country outside of New England. The argument for restricting the choice of Overseers to New England is largely a selfish one, and a great university has no right to be selfish. In the West and South they are grappling with the problems of education which have been gone all over here. A man trained by the experience of service with such a body as our Board of Overseers would be invaluable in those sections. They need the knowledge which we have to give them, and in return will give us some of their own spirit of wonderful and tireless energy and activity.
These considerations are certainly urged with considerable force by the alumni of the West and South. Under certain conditions we conceive that they would be sufficient to carry the day. It would be as necessary that an Overseer from either of those sections should attend the meetings of the Board regularly in order to secure to the section he represents the advantages which it claims to seek as to give to the University the service which it deems essential from an Overseer. If a man can be found in the West who can and will take the time to attend the meetings of the Overseers, we cannot see why he would not be a valuable man on the Board.