Henry W. Holmes, dean of the Graduate School of Education, has correctly surmised that "the CRIMSON, in its editorials of the last few days, has taken a distinctly antagonistic attitude toward the new plan of 'Houses' at Harvard." Among the many benefits that Mr. Holmes himself sees in the new plan, several, at least, find small foundation in the teachings of past and present Harvard experience.
He foresees, for instance, a happy solution to Harvard's present eating problem in the House plan. Overlooking entirely the revolt against former eating requirements at Memorial Hall, and the diminishing number of men who one the Freshman dining halls as the year advances, he believes that future generations will not find themselves "cribbed, cabined, and confined by reasonable requirements as to eating in their Houses." Again in defiance of all Harvard experience with common dining halls he says that in the new Houses "food will be more wholesome and eating will be more civilized and enjoyable."
Mr. Holmes can see no cause for irritation in the requirement that room and board be paid for together. He bases this assumption on the theory that "Freshmen do not seem to be irked by that much compulsion at present." An inquiry as to how many undergraduates would like to continue under Freshman dormitory rooming and eating regulations throughout their college careers might throw valuable light on Mr. Holmes' contention here. But there is no reason, according to Mr. Holmes' statement why a student, once his House has been chosen, "will have no chance whatever to get into another House." It is certainly not difficult to perceive that any appreciable latitude in opportunity to shift Houses will soon lead to a general grouping on interest or class basis. That is, gentleman of leisure will tend to congregate in one House, determined scholars in another, publications men in a third until the object of providing each House, with a cross section of the whole college will be completely defeated.
Mr. Holmes further expects to see student relations and life at Harvard "more leisurely" and "happier" under the House plan. How greater leisure can he introduced into the life of a college without the relaxation of academic or extra-curriculum activity is difficult to see. In the expectation or greater happiness under the new system one can find little more than a blithe optimism common to all prophets of a utopian future.
With regard to future diminution of the complete freedom of student determination Mr. Holmos' chief concern is to moderate alarmist fears: students are "not quite so likely" to live exactly as they choose; there will be "little coercion in the whole undertaking"; "the Houses will not leave students quite on free." But Harvard men are not interested in the degree of restriction contemplated. They dopier the change in kind that makes an estimation of degree necessary.