In deciding not to rescind their vote of June 11, by which the traveling of the University musical and dramatic clubs was closely restricted to the vicinity of Boston, the Faculty have taken a position which will be greatly deplored by many graduates and undergraduates of Harvard. While we doubt strongly the wisdom of this action, it is not at all hard to judge the considerations upon which it was based. The Christmas and Easter tours were apparently considered harmful in two respects: First, in the impression they gave to the public of college life; and secondly, in their effect upon the men who took part in them.
In giving exhibitions far away from Cambridge, it has been urged that the clubs have given to the public at large a distorted view of academic life. What has been called "the butterfly side," the apparently careless, frivolous part of college life is said to be brought into prominence, while at so great a distance, the earnest, scholarly side is entirely lost from sight.
In the second place it seems to be thought that the time spent by students in arranging for the trips, as well as the physical strain attendant upon the constant travel during the vacation, seriously affects their performance of college duties. This, we cannot believe is borne out by facts. If it were, in some instances, we see no reason, as we have said before, why they should not be treated individually.
As to the first-named ground of objection, we can not believe that the audiences before whom the musical and dramatic entertainments are given, are seriously misled concerning the nature of academic life, just because a company of undergraduates sing, play, or act during the few days of a vacation. Granted that the entertainments do show the lighter side of college life, what, in the eyes of any person, is a more natural way of spending the few days of respite from college duties? On this particular ground, the concerts allowed by the Faculty in term-time, in the vicinity of Boston, seem to be much more open to objection.
It can candidly be admitted, that the increasing conservatism of the Faculty in the matter of the personal liberty of the students, is benefiting the reputation of the University in a certain way, in that it serves to counteract the very erroneous ideas on the subject that have obtained in some quarters. But we doubt whether such a restriction as is imposed by this latest vote will not give the impression of being dictated more by considerations of mere "policy" than by absolute considerations of right and wrong.