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Compulsory Exercise at Harvard.


The following clipping from a Cincinnati paper has been received at the CRIMSON office:

"The Faculty of Harvard University has been considering seriously the advisability of establishing compulsory physical exercise for all undergraduates. The Overseers have recommended such a course for the Freshmen, and during the present week some definite plan for next year may be adopted. Other universities and colleges will be apt to poke a great deal of fun at Harvard for allowing such tremendous liberties in courses, attendance, religious worship, etc, only to draw a disciplinary line in athletics. In other words the Faculty will say the soul may go to perdition but the body will be kept healthy by law. After all such a position is not inconsistent. Compulsory attendance at chapel does not make a man devout, but a certain number of hours on the football or baseball field, in the shells on the river, or in winter at gymnasium exercises will make a man healthy.

But the Overseers and Faculty at Harvard should take a step back of the Freshman class. The physical degeneracy of American educated youth is not to be traced to life at the University, but life in the preparatory school. The Harvard Faculty should begin their laudable work of physical reformation by adding a new requisite of admission, in the shape of a prescribed number of hours given to athletics in the three years preceding an undergraduate's matriculation. Exercise is compulsory in all the great public schools of England, and Oxford and Cambridge, as well as Woolwich and Sandhurst, are recruited by boys who have had health knocked into then on athletic fields.

In America the tendency both in school and college is to narrow the number of those who take regular athletic training to those who find some hope of "getting on the team." In England there are dozens of "teams" in each school and the goal is good health and honest sport rather than winning a game. It is this spirit that progressive universities such as Harvard and Yale should foster in the preparatory schools, if necessary, by arbitrarily requiring a certain amount of physical development.

Anyone who has studied the "side lines" at a Harvard and Yale football game Knows that the tumult of college yells comes largely from undeveloped, weak and unelastic bodies. It is to be hoped that Harvard will not stop at the Freshman class but will apply the system to the schools that supply her students.

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