President Eliot's annual report for the year 1903-04 is published today. With the Treasurer's statement and the numerous departmental reports it makes a volume of 465 pages, the first fifty-two of which are written by the President himself. Three matters touched upon by President Eliot are current subjects of intense interest. These are the present financial condition of the University, the greater and lesser evils of the game of football, and the proposed alliance between Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
On the first subject, the President states the financial results of the past two years--a deficit of forty thousand dollars in 1902-03 and one of thirty thousand dollars in 1903-04, the year under review, and predicts and inevitable deficit, in spite of considerable economics, in the current fiscal year. All savings in salaries, he points out, have been made in the annual appointments, the salaries of professors and other permanent officers having been maintained. To meet the demands of the present situation, a large factor in which is the falling in the rate of interest of funds from 7.82 percent, in 1871-72 to 4.77 percent, in 1903-04 and the consequently greater dependence of the University on students' fees, in spite of the enormous growth of the invested funds, President Eliot names the two obvious resources; raising tuition fees and procuring a larger endowment. The former resource he believes should be held in reserve and he cites in support of this opinion a resolution just passed by the Board of Overseers to the effect that "it is not expedient at the present time to raise the tuition fee of Harvard College." A larger endowment he declares to be the pressing need of the College, not only to meet the recent deficits but also to make possible a moderate advance in salaries to match the increased cost of living. Though it is the Corporation, consisting of the President, the Treasurer and five Fellows, that fixes tuition fees, and not the Board of Over seers, this statement from President Eliot makes it certain that Harvard's reliance is placed on the prospect of an endowment and that the question of raising the tuition fee is for the present dismissed. The best form of endowment President Eliot says is that for salaries, and he suggests the endowment of assistant professorships, instructorships and assistantships, as well as professorships. Gifts ranging from $12,500 to $125,000 could thus be most advantageously applied. Two million, five hundred thousand dollars is named by the President as a moderate estimate for the accomplishment of the reasonable objects now plainly in view for the College proper. His report closes with the words, "The oldest, the most essential and the most beloved department of Harvard University now needs the prompt assistance of its alumni and friends."
The Treasurer's statement shows that the general investments of the University earned a net income of 4.77 per cent, during the past year. The total amount of gifts for capital account was $633,988.55. The gifts for immediate use, principal and interest, amounted to $875,575,21, making the total gifts for the year $1,509,563,76. The income from investments amounted to $718,268.57 and from students' fees and room rents $823,235.02. These figures with $31,035.91 from sundry accounts and the gifts for immediate use mentioned above made the income for the year, exclusive of gifts of which only the income is available, $2,448,114.71.
Football and Athletics.
Four pages of the report are devoted to a severe but discriminating arraignment of the game of football. President Eliot declares it is time that the public should understand and take into earnest consideration the objections to this game. As the lesser objections he mentions extreme publicity, the large proportion of injuries, the absorption of the undergraduate mind in the subject for two months and the disproportionate exaltation of the football hero in the college world. "The football hero," he says, "is useful in a society of young men if he illustrates generous strength and leads a clean life; but his merits of body and mind are not of the most promising sort for future service out in the world. The alert, nimble, wiry, tough body is, for professional or business purposes in after life, a better one than his."
The main objection to football, President Eliot says, lies against its moral quality: "The game is played under established and recognized rules; but the uniform enforcement of these rules is impossible, and violations of the rules are in many respects highly profitable toward victory. Thus coaching from the side-lines, off-side playing, holding, and disabling opponents by kneeing and kicking, and by heavy blows on the head and particularly about eyes, nose, and jaw, are unquestionably profitable toward victory; and no means have been found of preventing these violations of rules by both coaches and players. Some players, to be sure, are never guilty of them, and some are only guilty of them when they lose their tempers; but others are habitually guilty of them." The common justification offered for these "hateful conditions," President Eliot says, is that football is a fight and that its strategy and ethics are those of war. New tricks are always desirable as surprises; the weaker man is the legitimate prey of the stronger. "One should always try to discover the weakest man in the opponent's line, as, for example, the man most recently injured, and attack him again and again. If a man, by repeated blows about the head and particularly on the jaw, has been visibly dazed, he is the man to attack at the next onset. If in the last encounter a player has been obviously lamed in leg or arm or shoulder, the brunt of an early attack should fall on him. As a corollary to this principle, it is justifiable for a player, who is in good order, to pretend that he is seriously hurt, in order that, he may draw the opponent's attack to the wrong place. These rules of action are all justifiable, and even necessary, in the consummate savagery called war, in which the immediate object is to kill and disable as many of the enemy as possible. To sur prise, ambuscade, and deceive the enemy, and invariably to overwhelm a smaller force by a greater one, are the expected methods of war. But there is no justification for such methods in a manly game or sport between friends. They are essentially ungenerous, and no sport is wholesome in which ungenerous and mean acts, which easily escape detection, contribute to victory, whether such acts be occasional and incidental, or habitual." President Eliot acquits both the public and the average player of any liking for these football evils. "The average college players would much rather play fair than foul. The Players have not devised or enjoyed the stupid methods of training which impair the physical condition of most of them before the important games take place." President Eliot concludes his discussion of football with these words: "On the question, whether or not football victories do, as a matter of fact, contribute to the growth and regulation of a college or university, there are evidently two opinions. But if a college or university is primarily a place for training men for honorable, generous, and efficient service to the community at large, there ought not to be more than one opinion on the question whether a game, played under the actual conditions of football, and with the barbaric ethics of warfare, can be a useful element in the training of young men for such high service. The essential thing for university youth to learn is the difference between practising generously a liberal art and driving a trade or winning a fight, no matter how. Civilization has long been in possession of much higher ethics than those of war, and experience has abundantly proved that the highest efficiency for service and the finest sort of courage in individual men may be accompanied by, and indeed spring from, unvarying generosity, gentle manliness, and good will."
The report of Professor H. S. White as Chairman of the Athletic Committee removes a well-nigh universal apprehension regarding the expense of admission to athletic contests by pointing out that the average cost of admission to a game for a holder of a Harvard Athletic Association annual ticket is about twelve cents. Nevertheless Professor White States that the committee hopes that the charge for admission to games may be reduced even further.
Proposed Alliance With Technology.
As the present state of the negotiations between Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology does not come within the period under review, President Eliot throws no light on it in his report. His only direct reference to the matter is his insertion of the text of the communication submitted to the Harvard Corporation last spring by the Institute Corporation on the question of an alliance between the two institutions for the better performance of their respective trusts. In his reference to what Harvard is now doing in applied science, however, President Eliot makes it apparent that Harvard has no intention whatever of abandoning that field of education; and the inference may be drawn that, whatever the outcome of the negotiations with the Institute may be, Harvard will adopt no plan which can be construed as anything but a larger and better provision for the fulfillment of her present truest.
That Harvard's contribution to a working alliance with the Institute would be by no means limited to the McKay money, and the general prestige of the University, is plainly indicated by several facts to which the President draws attention: First, that the requirements for admission to the Lawrence Scientific School are higher than those of any other technical school in the country, being now on a par with the requirements for admission to Harvard College; second, the high standard of the several professional courses in the Scientific School, such as mining engineering, electrical engineering, architecture, etc., as distinguished from the course in general science, which obviously demands less concentration on a single subject and gives less play to the element of professional seal which dominates the professional courses.
President Eliot points out that, contrary to an opinion that exists in some quarters, the professional courses show an increase in the number of their students in the current year (1904-05) and that the School as a whole "has always been, is now, and is intended to be, a place for steady work and the most strenuous endeavor on the part of both its teachers and its students." That this is not an empty claim is indicated further on in the report by the fact-that the average working time for the four-years' course in mining and metallurgy is fifty-two hours a week, or nearly nine hours a day, and that two-thirds of the men who