COME UP SOMETIME
Several weeks ago a Faculty committee which for six months has been working out a plan for concentration in the new trans-departmental area field of Social Science submitted the fruit of its labor for consideration by the Faculty. The committee had worked fast so that, if the Faculty approved, 25 members of the class of 1943 could start out concentrating in the new experimental field next fall. But the last three Faculty meetings have been attended by a mere handful of loyal souls, far too few for a quorum. As a result the report has not been voted on, and now that the Faculty has adjourned for a month, it seems certain that not until the fall of 1941 can the plan go into effect.
Skimpy attendance at Faculty meetings is an old complaint. It was to remedy this that the Faculty Council, an elected representative body, was set up a few years back. Last fall, when the tenure controversy raged and the interests of Harvard teachers were directly involved, attendance zoomed; at one session nearly 300 Faculty members attended the largest meeting in Harvard history. Encouraged by the big turn-outs, the Faculty voted to suspend the Faculty Council for a year and to resume regular full Faculty meetings. But now the fever has subsided, mid-winter apathy has set in, and on alternate Tuesdays only a handful of men, like loyal rooters for the Brooklyn Dodgers, dot the vast, ornate Faculty room on the second floor of University Hall.
Neither cause nor cure for this unhealthy situation is clear. But an unhealthy situation it is, for an educational institution does not function effectively if the men who do the actual educating cannot, or will not, aid in shaping the teaching policies of that institution. Perhaps someone ought to start spiking the Faculty's tea with rum.