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A mass meeting under the auspices of the Union and Forum was held in the Fogg Lecture Room last night for discussion of the need and plans for some regular course of Physical Training at Harvard. Charles Grilk '98 presided.
President W DeW. Hyde of Bowdoin College, the first speaker, spoke more particularly of the plans at Bowdion where gymnasium exercise is required of all students from November to March. The college has worked on the theory that excellence in physique and in scholarship tend to coincide, and has attempted to provide every student with a sound body. Onethirteenth credit, which corresponds to a one hour a week course, is given for the gymnasium work done. There can be no inherent objection to the requirement of physical exercise from every student. Requirements must be met in life. The objection is sometimes raised that a university should teach knowledge and not practice, yet Harvard has already departed from this in the presentation of English which is taught because every one should know it. The same arguments apply equally to the requirement of English and of physical training.
Mr. A. Hemenway '75, was the next speaker. He promised as chairman of the committee on physical training and athletic sports that he would see that the necessary funds were provided for the proper establishment of the proposed system if the students were really desirous of it.
Dr. H. P. Bowditch briefly alluded to the historical view of the relation of body and mind and spoke of the great advance in the treatment of the body. The college owes a distinct duty to boys who have had little opportunity for physical development. To perform this duty measurements of every student should be made and exercises prescribed for the correction of any defects which may be found in the individual. In addition to the physical training a short course of lectures on the care of the body should be a required course for Freshmen. Credit should be given to men who have developed physically during their college course, for physical development is an indication of a development in self-reliance and other qualities of character.
Professor William James spoke briefly on the mental effect of a proper development of the body. He heartily favored the proposed scheme and the idea of giving credit for the work done.
Dr. D. A. Sargent, the last speaker, spoke of the widespread recognition by college faculties of the necessity of regular gymnasium exercise. He also devoted considerable attention to the details and advantages of required exercise for Freshmen. The giving of credit would have a tendency to soften the requirement and take away the sting of punishment.
A vote of thanks was extended to Mr. Hemenway for his generous offer made in the course of his speech.
A motion was made and unanimously adopted that the Faculty be requested to appoint a committee a consider the plans proposed and report their decision.
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