Recent news dispatches in the papers of the country have done much to convince the reading public that American colleges have suddenly become "riot conscious". An imposing list of student outbursts was recently tabulated in "Time" which produced concrete evidence of academically ructions ranging in geographical extent from Harvard Square to the plains of Michigan.
According to reliable information Yale has decided to put her foot firmly on any student rioting in New Haven. Suspension for one year is the fate of any man who is a participant or in any way connected with a student riot. This rule is manifestly the essence of paternalistic supervision. If the American college student is to be considered as "grown up" and to be treated as a person of mature years and judgment, then such a penalty as that handed out by the New Haven authorities, though harsh, may be justified in instances when actual damage to property or persons is involved. But one cannot be sure that any student body has reached the point where all of its members are level-headed and can remain uninfluenced by mob spirit under the circumstances that usually lead to college riots. There is a broad distinction between rioting with a definite destructive purpose in mind and occasional outbursts of misdirected energy, even though there be nothing whatever in the latter to justify them in any way. Moreover the broad clause which indicts men who may not be active participants in rioting is quite liable to be used to the harm of those innocent of intentional misdoing.
The Yale authorities, by their summary methods of punishment may indeed put an end to the rioting nuisance, but their manner of doing so does not seem to suit the conditions of Yale, or any other college.