Big Men on Campus Martius
The new Yale Plan, if judged by the accompanying fanfare of patriotic publicity, is a sizable step toward mobilizing education. Actually it adds little to the programs already in effect at Yale, Harvard, and elsewhere. Although students not preparing themselves for some definite form of war service "have no place at Yale," those who register as "waiting for the draft" may continue their normal academic schedules. Anyone wishing to delay a decision may do so, for there is no compulsion at any point. Most men, of course, will enter one of the reserves as soon as possible, or plunge into Japanese or Russian. Courses of special use in the war will be recommended to men in economics or physics, while those in the enlisted reserve will be urged to acquire the rudiments of an exact science. Most Yale men, like students everywhere, will adapt their schedules to the war.
The net change is the addition of steam-roller tactics to what was an advisory system. Planning to fill all deferred-status quotas at the earliest possible moment, Yale's advisors may assume the guise of recruiting officers. This will work little hardship on the men now in college who know the difference between V-1 and the Army enlisted reserve and who have checked on their qualifications for each, but the maze of available delayed-action enlistment plans can only add to the bewilderment of the new Freshman. High pressured into enlisting with the rest of his class within a few weeks of his arrival in New Haven, the confused reservist will find himself with two years of hard earned deferment in which to decide which branch of the service he should have joined. Meanwhile, new opportunities in the armed services or in technical fields will be closed to him.
As a program to distribute war service information the new plan could be as helpful at Yale as it has proved throughout the country. But the panicked speed with which all Yale men are being called to the colors adds little to a cause which requires clear thought instead of hysterical action.