TOLERANCE--RIGHT AND LEFT
University authorities were obviously uninfluenced by the agitation of the National Student League against the appointment of Professor Gini as lecturer on sociology. The agitation was, in fact, merely a routine matter--part of the general policy of the League in protesting against any action connected actually or in imagination with fascism. Nevertheless this discussion has aroused a question concerning the proper policy of an endowed university in making appointments to its faculty.
The argument of the Student League presupposes an interest in the political beliefs and activities of prospective instructors. Any such conception, however, attacks the foundations of the private university, removing its very excuse for existence. Government owned institutions are economically preferable, but precisely because the state must look to its own preservation and cannot tolerate disagreement supported by its own funds there remains a valuable place to be filled by the private university. Unless one rigid set of dogma is to be adopted as orthodox, heresies of every description should be permitted and even encouraged. Until all faith in liberal institutions has been destroyed one can believe that, especially in an intelligent university community, pernicious or fantastic doctrines will succumb to the force of logic. Certainly well defended views need not fear attack.
In state universities faculty members must be perpetually wary of any chance "Un-American" statement. Such a situation inevitably atrophies their mental life. When the attack of academic reactionaries is directed towards the left, communistic organizations justifiably protest. In an un-regimented state, however, similar tolerance must also be exhibited towards the right. The privately-endowed university, free from direct obligations towards the existing--or any other--form of government, should preserve the tradition of freedom by maintaining academic fitness as the sole criterion in making its appointments.