The Path to Public Service at SEAS


Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum


Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President


Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study


Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum



HE who peruses the "Index" must be struck with the ingenuity of the undergraduate. The list of societies, clubs, and what not which that manual contains must inspire him with a genuine respect for our inventive powers. Close examination of the list, and full understanding of the objects of the different societies it mentions, will, however, lay us open to a grave charge, a suspicion which no ingenuity will palliate, - a charge directed against our sense of justice rather than the force of our intellect; a charge of unfairness. I have deliberated long before fully resolving to bring this matter to the notice of the readers of the Magenta. I know well how potent are the suggestions made in these columns; how eagerly they are read, and how promptly they are acted upon. But, fully conscious of the responsibility I take upon myself, I cannot refrain longer from pointing out this one-sidedness in the objects of our associations, and suggesting some remedies. That I may not seem to pretend to greater ability and ingenuity than I possess, let me declare at once that the conception of what I am about to present was not wholly original with me. Great men suggested the idea, and great moralists have done much to encourage it. De Quincy has written an essay on "Murder considered as one of the Fine Arts." "The Prayse of Ignorance" was one of Tom Hood's "Whims."

There was once a "Hell-Fire Club," but we who call ourselves enlightened have here only the St. Paul's Society, the Society of Christian Brethren, and the Y X. The first and foremost need in Cambridge is some association representing the other side of this morality question. We incline altogether too much in one direction; we are becoming too staid, too learned. Some society which can be called "The Harvard Society for the Propagation of Vice," or "The Harvard Society for the Suppression of Virtue in Undergraduates," ought to be established before we become too wedded to our rut. I should recommend that the active members of this society should be undergraduates alone, but I think, at the same time, that it will be well to insure the success of the enterprise by making the members of the Faculty honorary members of the club. A certificate of membership - in short, a shingle - might be issued with an appropriate device; such as a scroll, held out by angels of the "Fallen Order," provided with horns, cloven feet, and all other usual accessories. If a skull and bones were placed at the top of this shingle, I have strong reason to hope that we should receive an assurance of kindred feeling from a certain society in that college which is situated at New Haven.

The benefits accruing to the College from such an association cannot be too highly estimated; it will free us from the charge of bigotry, and will effectually silence those who are endeavoring to make us out sectarian in our principles.

But the establishment of this association will prove our sense of justice in one direction only; we shall not be entirely free from the imputation of unfairness even when we are reaping these inestimable advantages. We shall be attacked in another quarter.

I have said that we are growing too learned, and in support of that statement I can assert, on the word of Tom Hood, that "the Boke Man is a Dunce in being Wise." I call for some antidote for such learned societies as the Natural History Society, the German Club, and the French Club; for the establishment, in short, of "The Ignorance Club of Harvard College." This I do not recommend; I insist upon it as a necessity. If we do not take some step in this direction, if we calmly submit to seeing the requirements for admission slowly added to, if we patiently listen to the announcement that the requirements for a degree will advance first from 33 1/3 per cent to 50, next to 75, finally to 100, - if we do this, we may as well remove to Somerville at once. But the membership of the Ignorance Club I would limit; in my opinion it should be made something to be striven for, and it should consist of not more than ten or fifteen members. The editors of the College papers should, I think, have the right to the first application. This apparent partiality will probably cause some persons to feel slighted, but I assure them that the suggestion is made only from a strong desire to see those persons members of the best of clubs who are best fitted for the positions.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.