General Eisenhower may run for the Presidency in 1952; at least many Columbia faculty members hope that he will.
Eisenhower's time at Columbia has been an unhappy period for both parties, in the opinion of some veteran professors. These men feel that Eisenhower is "completely out of his element" in attempting to run one of the nation's top universities.
Yet, for all his difficulties in adjusting to civilian life, many politicians still feel that the Eisenhower name is magic around the country and that he is by far the strongest possible Republican candidate there is.
In 1948 the General rejected the idea of running for the Presidency. It is too early for the General to show his hand about 1952.
Although Eisenhower has said nothing, there are signs that he definitely wants to be included in the G.O.P's '52 picture.
He allows much more time for outside activities, not connected with education, than most college presidents. He makes a great many non-Columbia speeches and sees a lot of minor persons who just want to come to his office and say hello.
His nomination for President by the Republicans would mean he could gracefully leave Columbia.
Eisenhower's speeches do not sound like those of either an educator or retired general. He has lost some of his frankness and has begun varying his stand according to the audience at hand.
In addition, Eisenhower's statements have become more conservative in tone--perhaps to appease the party he hopes will nominate him for the Presidency.
Most of the criticism about Eisenhower as Columbia president has not appeared out in the open, although the Columbia Spectator, the campus daily, has attacked him on a number of occasions.
The first criticism of Eisenhower involved his many absences from the campus on military matters in Washington, on vacations, and on speaking tours not connected with his Columbia duties.
The General's lack of academic background has drawn much attention; his only earned degree is from West Point. His critics say that, as a result of this lack, he cannot play an important role in forming education policy or selecting new men for the faculty.
Columbia professors have also spoken of Eisenhower's remoteness with the faculty. He brought one of his aides with him from the army to screen his work for him. At various times distinguished professors have found the General "unavailable" to them as he "only will consult with deans."
The financial condition of Columbia has been poor for many years, and at the time of his appointment many persons expected Eisenhower to go out and raise millions for the University. Unfortunately, for various reasons, there has not been a great rise in donations to Columbia since the General entered the picture.
Eisenhower's supporters say that he has brought a great deal of administrative ability to Columbia as a result of his army service. Critics say that he gave orders in the army and did not work with his subordinates.
Teachers Help Communities--
One point in Eisenhower's favor is the outside associations he has arranged for various parts of the University. Today the services of Columbia professors are being used more than ever before by communities near to and far away from the campus.
At the time of Eisenhower's selection, Columbia had been in an administrative declines for some time. In the last year of President Butler's long reign, he delayed many decisions, not wishing to bind his successor an he urged many professors to stay on beyond their retirement time, so that his successor could pick fresh men.
Following Butler's retirement, Columbia was run three years by Acting President Fackenthal. His temporary position prevented him from establishing new policies.
Therefore, much was waiting to be down when Eisenhower took over. While he has a number of very capable assistants, it is the leader who usually makes or breaks an administration. Many feel Eisenhower suffers by comparison with most of the other Ivy League college presidents.
One of the veteran professors at the University summarized the "Eisenhower problem" as follows: "The trustees should have known better than to pick Eisenhower. They knew that he had no educational background, but they thought they were getting a good fund-raiser. Today the trustees are getting what they deserve for their lack of insight."