The Corporation's explanation of its failure to use the present H. A. A. surplus for the completion of the new gymnasium is far from satisfactory. Foresighted as this laying-up of treasures for the future may appear to be, the neglect of the present athletic welfare of Harvard is not justified. Since the Cambridge climate makes it impossible for students to gain exercise outdoors during a large part of the academic year, this policy of the Corporation to sacrifice present welfare to a future reduction in the price of football tickets, or the complete abolition of extramural athletics is short-sighted at best.
In the light of the fact that competition with other colleges has appeared in the past a desirable stimulus to undergraduate athletic interest, this second point supporting the Corporation's plan may be thrown out at once. Whereas an income-bearing endowment which would be established with a view to making Harvard athletics independent of paid admissions is a pleasantly Utopian scheme, a capital improvement such as the erection of a thoroughly complete gymnasium should legitimately be considered a part of an institution's complete endowment. The situation may then be seen to resolve itself into a question of which of these two forms is the more desirable to effect first.
Obviously the immediate completion of the gymnasium is thoroughly in accord with the University's admitted policy of athletics-for-all. The proposed reduction in the price of tickets would enable more students to see athletics, but the gymnasium would make it possible for more men to engage in them, certainly a sounder point of view when seen in the light of established University theory and practice. Perhaps the crowning argument for this use of the present surplus is the fact that the authorities of the H. A. A. who have been in daily contact with the University's athletic problems for many years are heartily in favor of it. Since the Corporation is not technically qualified and is forced to get all its information on the problem at second hand, their stolid stand-pat attitude is particularly obnoxious.