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There has been a rumor, credited by many persons outside the University and even by students themselves, to the effect that last year a hundred and fifty freshmen were dropped. The annoyance and positive harm wrought by such a rumor is great. It gives an altogether erroneous estimate to students of the frequency with which men are dropped, and it makes the college appear, to those not connected with it, either degenerate in the character of its students or inefficient in the watchfulness of its officials. Indeed, the father of one of the dropped men said to Dean Briggs that, if any proper care had been exercised, there cetainly would not have been one hundred and fifty men in a single class who deserved to be dropped.
A glance at the actual figures shows how ridiculous is the rumor, and how unfounded are the complaints to which it has given rise. Four years ago, before there was any Administrative Board, thirty-nine freshmen were dropped at the close of the year; three years ago, when the Administrative Board first came into being, twenty-eight men were dropped; two years ago, there were twenty men dropped; and, last year, twenty-nine. That is to say, out of all the men rated as freshmen at the close of the year, only twenty-nine were debarred from returning to college as sophomores. The rumor will appear still more exaggerated if we examine other statistics of the class. It had, at the beginning of the year, four hundred and nine members. Of this number of course there were some who failed to complete the year on account of lack of health or funds; but, of this entire number only forty-four men were, by the enforcement of discipline, removed from their class either during the year or at its close and either for deficiency in studies or in conduct.
One hundred and fifty and twenty-nine are not number that are easily confused. Such a rumor never could have gained ground if students had refused to take hearsay for truth. The immense damage which this rumor might do to the college can readily be seen and it seems to us that, before such reports are spread, their accuracy should be tested. The Dean is anxious that, in such matters, the students should come to headquarters, and the reasonableness of the request is guarantee that it will be complied with. So much every undergraduate owes to the maintenance of Harvard's reputation.
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