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
Editors Daily Crimson:
The writer in Friday's CRIMSON who objected to the line of argument used in your editorial of the day before would probably have remained silent had he perceived the fallacy of the argument from percents. He cannot see how Yale may, with a smaller number to start with, gain more proportionately and at the same time gain less in real numbers. Let us suppose that we have two cities-one with a population of ten thousand and the other with five hundred thousand. The former makes again of one hundred per cent. in a given time, while the latter only gains four per cent. The writer of the communication thinks that because the small town is making a greater proportional growth it is actually out-stripping the large one. Now when the small town gains 10,000 inhabitants the greets one gains 20.000. How long will it be before the small town equals the large one? The writer cannot perceive that as long as the small town does not gain more in actual numbers than the large one, it can never come any nearer to it than it was at the beginning. It is true nevertheless.
Again, the writer is very much at fault in his conclusions about the statistics used by the CRIMSON. He cannot understand why the recent gains of Yale over Harvard with respect to western men should be called accidental. Taking the Advocate's figures between 1878 and 1886, you will find that the number of men at Harvard from the west rose from 191 to 348-a gain of 157, while the number of such men at Yale increased from 288 to 410-a gain of 122. Perhaps the writer is not aware that Yale has made its extraordinary growth during the three years beginning with '87-'88. Until that year it had been growing very slowly indeed. Between 1882 and 1886 Yale gained only 38 students while Harvard gained 316; since that time Harvard has gained 391, and Yale (mainly in three years, remember), 343. Is there any very good reason why this extraordinary spurt should be called anything but accident, seeing that it never happened before?
It is quite true that Harvard has gained since 1882 264 men from the west, to 235 for Yale. Equally true is it that since 1886, Yale has gained 213 such men to 193 for Harvard. But this increase has been made in the usual ratio. Between 1882, and 1886 the ratio of their gain was 22 from the west with a total gain of 38. I claim that it is not far wrong to say that the great increase in the number of western men at Yale is abnormal, just as it is fair to say that the immense growth of the whole college in late years is abnormal.
Would it not have been just as fair to argue, before 1888, that Yale was becoming a mere side show compared with Harvard, as it is to conclude the Harvard is becoming provincial on account of the recent growth of Yale? Either argument is false and trivial because it is based on insufficient data. Why not rather view the subject from the point of view of several decades, as the CRIMSON does, instead of trying to find ground for alarm in the figures for five, or more correctly, three years? If there is "versatility of misapprehension" anywhere, it is not confined to the CRIMSON.
Again, Harvard from '82 to '86 made a total gain of 316, and 22.8 per cent. or 71 of these were from the west. Since 1886 we have 391, of whom 193 or 49,4 per cent. were from the west. That is to say the proportion of western men in our gains is now more than twice as great as it was five years ago. Between '82 and '86, we gained on an average 18 western men a year, since 1886 we have gained an average of over 38 men a year. This year we gained 51. Does this look like a tendency to become more and more provincial?
I base the above argument on the figures in the Advocate. Any one may satisfy himself of its truth in five minutes. It is quite true that the college proper has gained only 13 western men in the past year and has not been gaining as fast as Yale in this respect for some time, but I argue that there is nothing in the least alarming in this fact, because the facts for a few years show nothing of the tendency of the college.
Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.