IN his annual report for 1878-79, President Eliot reviews the new statute concerning degrees and the changes in the requisitions for admission. He then speaks of the advantages of the new plan of grouping electives, which gives room for large extension of instruction. In connection with this subject he says:-
There is no reason why Saturday should not be used precisely like any other day. Every student and every instructor may well have one or more free afternoons, or free days, in the week; but there is no good reason why all the students and all the instructors should have the same afternoon, or the same day, free. On the contrary, a grave abuse has grown out of the traditional disuse of the Saturday hours. Many of the students whose homes are within fifty miles of Cambridge go home on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, and do not return to Cambridge until Monday morning. A large proportion of those who thus go home every week do no real studying while they are absent from Cambridge. High scholarship is not to be won on such easy terms. The serious student should regard the days or weeks in term-time, when regular lectures, recitations, and laboratory work are intermitted, as time to be used for reading, writing, and converse with comrades in intellectual pursuits. The summer vacation is, in itself, a quarter of the year; to take vacation in addition during one-third of each of the other weeks in the year means to use but half of the year for work.
In speaking of the prosperity of the Dining Hall Association, the President recommends the plan of having two sets of hours for meals, as was suggested by the Crimson last October, in order to accommodate twice the present number of students. He then speaks of the result of employing janitors:-
The buildings are cleaner than before; they are better protected from pedlers and thieves; and the work done for the students is done at a lower price than the "scouts" formerly charged. It had become quite impossible longer to give free access to the College buildings, by night and by day, to a large number of servants, hired by the students without much caution, and under no responsibility whatever to the College. Repeated efforts have been made to bring them under some wholesome regulation, but without success.
He next discusses at length the question which has lately been raised in regard to the Divinity School, and reviews the condition of all the departments of the University. In regard to the deficits in the several departments he says:-
In such cases of temporary embarrassment the Corporation are now completely helpless. They are powerless to avert the injury which is inflicted upon the whole University by serious though temporary reverses in any one of its departments; they cannot contend against that sense of general instability which such reverses are calculated to inspire; they cannot prevent frequent breaks in the continuity of the development of the various departments, although that continuity is essential to economy of administration, to robustness of growth, and to the dignity of the University.
The remaining topics of interest which are spoken of are the various bequests, the instruction in Chinese, the need of new buildings, the salaries of officers, and the proposed system of retiring annuities.