College ossifies men," declared Clarence S. Darrow yesterday, explaining his ideas on education and colleges. "It makes their blood, turn to water and their high ambition to petty desire. Such great numbers as now knock at the college gates make any college liable to fall in its purpose. And college in its anomalous situation as a meeting ground for Racine and swinehusbandry is beyond its depth.
"College has become a stamping mill. Almost all men wear its stamp after graduation. Few of them roll about sufficiently, afterwards, to gain smoothness or polish or even to lose the narrow, confined shape it gives them.
College Too Good for Most Men
"It is, however, better than no stamp, and too good for many who are given the impression from four years of it. Not more than one-quarter of America's 110 millions deserve more than a grammar school education. They need instruction which educators now will not give them. Such education will not come until men are classified according to their intelligence and their bent and until those lowest on the scale are given manual education."
The More Indifference the Better
Mr. Darrow expanded his views on customs to include college customs. As he bad no sympathy with the majority of universal customs, so he sharply criticised college taboos and formalities, saying. "All colleges would be better for a greater indifference to custom. Harvard cannot afford to be proud of the ground it has covered when it contemplates the distance remaining. No doubt an intelligent man can get an excellent education at Harvard, but those practices that constitute the Cambridge environment would hedge him about.
"For my part, I should prefer access to all the books I could and would digest and a satisfactory adviser whom I might visit at great intervals. That is about all the education I ever had, anyway.
"College athletics? I can see no gain from them. I believe in exercise, and I think that at some future date bodily exercise will be so conducted as to improve the athlete's mental state. Certainly it does not accomplish that now."