As a general rule heralds have little chance for comprehensive self-expression. Their utterances are necessarily limited by the imminent approach of what they announce. About all they can say is "Repent! Repent!"; or "Here comes the President"; or "that's him--with the big waistcoat!" and then their remarks are lost as Mr. Coolidge, Mr. Gompers, or whoever, actually appears.
The report made by Professor Moore as chairman of the Committee on Instruction, and published last night is little more than an announcement, heralding the approach of something greater, and as such cannot be blamed for its vagueness, generality, and the repetition of much that was in the President's recent report. Both speak of the over-crowding of the University class-rooms, laboratories, lecture courses, and dormitories; both point out that something must be done in the direction of limitation: neither, for very obvious reasons, suggests a method. That will come later. What both reports have ably done is to impress on everyone interested the necessity of action--definite action. And due to this reiteration whatever plan is adopted is guaranteed at least a welcome. For it will come not as a gratuitous surprise but as a relief from unbearable conditions.
What method the Committee will recommend for limitation is, in its particulars, difficult to surmise. What its chief characteristic will be is perhaps fore-shadowed by the report, which flatly states that "the main consideration must always be the educational one." In other words, in limiting the size of its enrolment. Harvard will be consistently considered not as an asylum for amateur billiard players, a refuge for refractory aristocrats or an agency of the Parents League, but as an educational institution, existing primarily for those who seek an education. And with this settled the problem of the method of limitation is simplified. For it means that since no change is contemplated in the character of the University no change is necessary in its method of deciding between candidates.
Heretofore Harvard has gone on the assumption that candidates who sought admission sought it for purposes of education, and it has logically made its standard for selection the absolute one of scholarship. The criterion has proved on the whole just and reasonable, and the report of the committee would lead to the suspicion that it recognizes no necessity for a radical departure.