The plan to organize "discussion groups" among students, which Harvard authorities will present at a mass meeting next Friday night, is worth every support. Obviously it is one of those schemes that contain the germ of an important success if only it can be incubated at sufficient heat, vitalized by the magnetism of the right personalities, and fostered by a careful regard for the exact means that will strengthen its life. Quite as obviously it is means of such novel kind that are now in much need in our colleges.
An anomalous condition seems to obtain today within the walls of academies. On the one hand, there is the manifest quickening of students' interest in life and affairs, and an increase of their sense of responsibility. This has been shown not only by their alacrity in any forms of military service opening before them, but also by such an appeal as lately came from Yale, calling on the faculty to establish forthwith a course, to be "compulsory on all and the hardest in the curriculum," that would aid them in understanding world movements today. On the other hand there has been the direct and gloomy witness of shiftlessness in scholarship given by the results of mid-year examinations as they turned out in most of our colleges.
Now it is possible to say with much truth that the stimulus of war interest is the very factor that has depressed students' industry in the other subjects. And yet what was the real nature of the ardent request filed by the Yale News, if its editors could only have known it? It was in fact an appeal for a Short-Cut to Knowledge. As wiser heads know, there is no such detour. The path of the regular curriculum is the one highway leading to the real Castle of Comprehension, if it leads anywhere at all. The students say they want the road. Cannot they be made to see what that way is by the guidance of the discussion groups? --Boston Transcript.