Annual Report Finds Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Remains Largely White, Male
Harvard Square Celebrates Oktoberfest
Harvard Corporation Members Donated Big to Democrats in 2020 Elections
City Council Candidates Propose Strategies for Supporting Low-Income Residents at Virtual Forum
FAS Dean Gay Hopes to Update Affiliates on Ethnic Studies Search by Semester’s End
To the outside reader, the President's Report is interesting as showing what has already been done in College, and what is its present condition; the undergraduate turns with more interest to those suggestions of future changes which he is sure will, in most cases, be realized. It is gratifying, therefore, to find that one of the first things noticed is the unsatisfactory condition of the Gymnasium and its inadequacy to the wants of the University. The remedy proposed, though the best perhaps that is available, is, however, a sorry one. "As the University has plenty of unoccupied land, it would be advisable, instead of undertaking to alter the present structure, to erect a plain wooden building, extensible in any direction, for a Gymnasium and Bowling-alleys, and to convert the present Gymnasium into a swimming-bath, a use for which it is well adapted." A wooden building of any description whatever, placed, as it would probably be, near some one of the substantial brick or stone structures in the College grounds, could not but present a mean and cheap appearance. It is very unfortunate that the University has not the means to erect, what almost every other college in the country now has, a convenient Gymnasium in a substantial, handsome building.
The project of turning the present Gymnasium into a swimming-bath is, to say the least, unique. Particulars of the plan, however, are not given, and we are left to conjecture how often the water would be changed and the tank washed out, and whether it would be kept warm in the winter or allowed to freeze up, to serve as a skating rink. It is doubtless true that "Charles River is no longer fit to bathe in, because of the sewage which is discharged into it, and there are no public baths which are accessible to the students," and it is perhaps advisable that the College should undertake to furnish the facilities we lack. We would suggest, however, that there should be put into the Gymnasium, instead of one large bath-tub, a number of tubs of the ordinary size.
The meagre accommodations of the Thayer Club are also noticed, and the plan of transferring Commons to Memorial Hall is proposed. It is not proposed, however, as has been generally believed, to make Commons compulsory. "Several important gains would result from the changes suggested. In the first place, many students would board at the Hall who were not compelled to do so by poverty. The poorer students would of course resort thither, but many who were not absolutely poor would prefer to board there. Among students it is not well to have poverty the ground of association. Secondly, for hasty meals in a hot, crowded, vulgar room, under circumstances which make polite observances difficult and social enjoyment impossible, would be substituted a decent and comfortable service which would promote good manners and good fellowship. Thirdly, the moral effect of living in that superb Hall could not but be good. It is by far the grandest college hall in the world, and there are very few rooms for secular purposes in existence which can be compared with it. Built to keep alive precious examples of brave devotion to country, truth, and duty, it is a place to be proud of and to become attached to, - a place around which in successive generations pleasant associations and inspiring memories will gather, - a place to exert upon the opening mind of youth a wholesome though unnoticed influence."
An original outlay of from $20,000 to $25,000, with the price of board at from $4.00 to $4.50 per week, would secure these advantages to six hundred students. "On the other hand, the average cost of the board to the individual member would be reduced somewhat by the addition to the numbers of the association."
More suggestive than any suggestion is the following statement, made without comment: "It has been a common opinion that prayers were not only right and helpful in themselves " (this part of the opinion, we think, has been generally abandoned), "but also necessary to college discipline, partly as a morning roll-call, and partly as a means of enforcing continuous residence. It was, therefore, interesting to observe that the omission of morning prayers for nearly five months, at the time of year when the days are shortest and coldest, had no ill effects whatever on college order or discipline. There was no increased irregularity of attendance at morning exercises, no unusual number of absences, and, in fact, no visible effect upon the other exercises of the College, or upon the order and quiet of the place," etc. It is to be hoped that these facts will receive the thoughtful attention of the Corporation.
Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.