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We were informed some weeks ago, that the board of overseers were busy preparing a new set of regulations tending towards a so-called "reform" in college discipline, but we were not in any way prepared to receive such nonsensical resolutions as those passed at the last meeting of the board. If the purpose of the overseers is to set the university back on the same plan of college discipline on which it stood fifty years ago, the adoption of their last resolutions will accomplish that object most effectually. We had supposed that Harvard was no longer a "college" in the strict sense of the word, but a "university" in fact as well as in name, that students here were to be allowed some freedom of action, and not to be tied down by a multitude of school-boy rules. If we are not mistaken the same board of overseers tried to re-establish, early this fall, a form of compulsory attendance at prayers, but the indignation raised was so strong that the overseers hastily withdrew their resolutions and were fain to remain quiet for a while.
But during this period of apparent dormancy, the overseers were getting ready a set of regulations which cannot be too severely condemned. When the overseers advise that "every undergraduate be required to report early every morning, with a moderate and fixed allowance for necessary absences," have they forgotten the evils which flourished under the system of compulsory prayers which set a premium on all sorts of false excuses for absence? Do they suppose that the mere establishment of such a rule will insure its faithful observance?
Again, the overseers demand a more rigid enforcement of attendance at recitations. We do not see how this can be more rigidly enforced than it is at present, unless the penalty of dismissal from college be attached to every one who has the terrible audacity to "cut" recitations at all. The third suggestion that "the system of advisers, somewhat as applied to special students, be extended to the freshman class," is just about as foolish as the preceding ones. When a man enters college, he is supposed to have enough common sense-if he is ever going to have any-to attend to his own affairs without the aid of "advisers," and if the beneficent aid of "advisers" is given special students, we must remember that their position is by no means analogous to that of a freshman.
In spite of the foolishness of these resolutions there are two things in connection with them which please us immensely. First, that as they stand now, they can never get the sanction of the faculty, without which they remain inoperative, and secondly, that the overseers who voted against the resolution-headed by President Eliot and Phillips Brooks-are the liberal, progressive men of the university, under whose direction the real reforms in college work have been carried through.
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