In the history of both the University and the country, the months since September, 1953, have been anything but uneventful. The proprietors of the CRIMSON editorial columns try to keep up a running commentary on both scenes, an experience traumatic, but nevertheless Invigorating. For the benefit of returning alumni and others who wish to review our policy over the months, here is a summary:
Fall of 1952 brought with it the most enthusiastic election campaign in twelve years. The CRIMSON jumped into one corner early. On October 6, the full board voted to support Adlai E. Stevenson for President, saying
"We support Stevenson because his views are a matter of earnest, intelligent thought and his record a matter of its honest application. He has shucked liberalism of its blind dogmatism and left only what is good. . . . Many thought it would be Eisenhower who would freshen up American politics, but he has only added to its staleness. . . . By making rapprochements (with Jenner and McCarthy), Eisenhower has strained the theory of political unity to the point of dissolution.
In Massachusetts, the CRIMSON split its ticket to support Christian Herter for Governor and Henry Cabot Lodge '24 for Senator.
In the course of detailing the issues of the campaign, the CRIMSON had this to say about Asian policy:
"An invasion of China would consume hordes of men and millions of dollars in an operation which . . . would be fruitless. In the battle's midst, the public would sicken of the drain and the campaign would grind to a farcical halt. . . . Using Chiang would be employing a discredited army and a has-been who is considered reactionary and dictatorial throughout the Far East. It would . . . burden this county with the worst sort of albatross."
And on Communists in government:
"What has always been the most curious to us is the undoubted fact that a number of Communists in government has never been more than a handful, a fraction of the numbers which have been assaulting France and Italy for years in vain. . . . It is natural to be troubled by the idea of foreign agents in one's government, but . . . it is well, now and then, to apply the test of pragmatism to vexed ideological issues: an Everest of feathers may turn out to weight only a few pounds."
The CRIMSON, having supported Secretary Acheson's policies all along, summed up its opinion of him at the start of the new year:
"One of the nation's finest Secretaries of State left office last week. . . . Between his becoming undersecretary and now, the free world was forced to recognize the danger of modern Russia. As Secretary, Acheson was the one primarily responsible for solving the vast problems that appeared during the transition from hope to reality. He had to set the very premises of foreign policy.
"People who have not seen the dangers in meeting craft and patience with breast-beating and haste, have attacked the Secretary because he forebore a Damn-the-Torpedoes search for quick results. . . . The Republicans may make fewer mistakes and they may even have more dramatically final victories to display four years from now. But regardless of their fortunes, they begin with an advantage over their predecessors: a solid foundation to build on. For this, the Republicans can thank the man they have attacked so wildly during the last four years, Dean Acheson."
Soon after the election furor arose a new one, over investigations into education, which tied up Harvard and the nation so closely that the CRIMSON wrote, in all, seven editorials on different phases of it. The CRIMSON, while gradually recognizing the inevitability of the investigations as a sop to public opinion, has consistently opposed the men and methods of their conduct. On January 15, we said:
"Education has a disease worth investigating, but it is not too many Communist teachers. Their number is so small that it constitutes no menace to a society already so zealously anti-Communist. What, ought to be investigated is the number of teachers terrified of purges and investigation, of men who cower and bootlick and teach less than they know because they are in danger of losing their jobs if anybody so much as points an accusing finger at them. When teachers start to withhold knowledge, it's time for students to stop going to school."
"Rather than have either Senators or Congressmen plunge into colleges like so many amateur sleuths, President Eisenhower might appoint a group of distinguished lawyers and judges officially unaffiliated with universities to do the investigating. Such a committee would have a better idea of just what is a subversive influence, and they wouldn't scream every unconfirmed rumor into a banner headline."
On January 28, before the storm broke, an editorial suggested that the investigating, if done at all, be conducted by a "royal commission," such as used in England.
Coming as it did on the eve of the investigations, President Conant's decision to retire could hardly be thought of except in terms of its impact on American education. That is why, on January 15, the CRIMSON wrote:
"for all our confidence in his choice and all our pleasure that he is assuming such an important post, we are saddened and worried to see him go. We are not really worrying about Harvard itself--he has put it in a better condition than even its most exacting critics can demand. But we are worried about education, in which Conant has long been the recognized leader. Conant reached greatness by refusing to dictate policy, by avoiding the panacea, the rule of thumb and the easy answer. He reached it by . . . demanding honest and unfettered seeking after truth. He was not only the leading defender of academic freedom--he was its personification. . . . Too few have had the courage and the will to follow his example, We cannot deny a sense of personal loss, because we are students in America and because we are Harvard students."
In addition to President Conant's resignation, the Corporation considered Provost Buck's. The CRIMSON paid its tribute to the University's second-in command on May 8:
"For thirteen years the Provost, with the President's, cooperation and advice, has presided over (the College's diffuse administration), initiating and carrying out consistent policies. vigorous in their aptness to the present and striking in their maintenance of Harvard's best traditions. . . . A Provost must somehow secure confidence while playing politics, a feat which Mr. Buck accomplished with astonishing success. . . . It is a rare combination, ruthlessness and warmth; but from this paradox of character have come most of the advances by which Harvard has retained its place as the foremost American college."
The role of religion in an undergraduate's life again became food for editorials this year when, in the Spring, the Corporation decided to put the to-be-appointed University Preacher, assisted by an Episcopalian divinity student, in charge of Phillips Brooks House, the College social service center. From the CRIMSON, this brought the belief:
"that certain pitfalls await any clergyman, regardless of stature, who steps into active direction of a secular institution . . . and it is difficult to see how (the divinity student's) position as an embryonic cleric can fall to inject a religious element into the organization. Heading P.B.H. with sectarians might well frighten off undergraduates who prefer to eschew organized religion in their extra-curricular activities. . . . P.B.H. has thrived partly because members have not thought in terms of one another's religion. This is the way it should remain. The Graduate Secretary should continue as a secular post.
Finally, the contentions over spring football practice reappeared briefly when limitations on substitutes were reimposed. Though there was enough disagreement within the staff to warrant an "On the Other Hand" column, disagreeing with the majority opinion, the CRIMSON reversed its former position:
"With the reinstitution of the limited substitution game, however, the resurrection of spring football becomes essential. Limited substitution should help equalize competition between big and small colleges. . . . Three weeks is hardly enough time to produce the versatile player now required."