As construction proceeds apace on the new buildings in the Yard and as plans for the new Business School take more definite shape, the wondering student is apt to reflect on the state of the present buildings of the University. Ugly many of them are, and dirty. The janitors who clean the class rooms seem to have gone on a sympathetic and perpetual strike with the goodies who are supposed to clean the studies. But if the dirt were carried, out of the buildings, it would only add to the swirling clouds of dust which arise from the untidy gravel walks. All this the student can endure with an occasional grumble but when the air with in these buildings becomes bad, then both his nature and reason rebel.
No expense was spared in building Widener. The great vault of the Reading Room is gratifying to the artistic eye, and it helps materially to make the room healthful for study; yet despite these advantages the Widener atmosphere is none too pure. If the ventilating apparatus is at fault, if ought to be given immediate attention, and until its deficiencies are remedied the attendants might very well adopt the cruder method of periodically opening the windows.
The condition in Widener, however, is almost ideal in comparison to that of the overcrowded lecture rooms in Harvard and Sever. These halls were not built originally for the multitudes that now pack into them every hour. As winter comes and doors and windows are never absent mindedly left open, the change is entirely for the worse. Before vast sums are spent for new buildings, a little might very well be expended to remedy the defects of the old. New chairs and new desks are needed; above all new ventilating apparatus.
Since official machinery always moves slowly, it is too much to hope that such action will be taken at once. What can be done--immediately--is to instruct the janitors of these halls to open the windows for a few moments between each class.