(We invite all men in the University to submit communications on subjects of timely interest.)
To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
If some kindly old gentleman were to suggest that the members of the Freshman football team be awarded the University "H," he would be ignored. If he were to suggest, furthermore, that men be given the "H" who had just failed to make the University football team because they had preferred to vote part of their time to the chess team, he would be laughed at.
The CRIMSON suggests that the Phi Beta Kappa should elect men on the basis of good work done in their Freshman years, on the ground that in succeeding years they might find order activities more absorbing, and thus fail to qualify for election under the present system. To some people it might almost seem that the present system is for this very reason better, since it requires a man to show that during two or more years he has the ability and the energy to do work of a high order. As a matter of fact, a man who has attained distinction in courses no more advanced, let us say, than German A, or History 1, has by no means proved hat he has either the ability or the inclination to persevere; and if it is only the chance of an early election to the Phi Beta Kappa that makes him work in the first year, one would like to ask whether his efforts, and whether he really deserves election at all.
Some time ago, the CRIMSON suggested that Phi Beta Kappa should set a definite standard of achievement (a certain number of A's, perhaps), as the basis of election, instead of electing, as at present, a certain number of men in each class. Now it calls for a greater recognition of the "outside activities." Yet the present system is the very one under which the electors have the greatest latitude for discrimination between the "grind" and the man of real ability and broad attainment. At present, the electors can recognize, and do recognize, intellectual achievement outside of the class-room, as well as in the class-room, in a manner that would be absolutely impossible were the election conducted under a hard-and-fast rule, in which a certain number of A's meant election. Such a system would lay the emphasis more strongly than ever on what Phi Beta Kappa, like the CRIMSON, believes to be over-emphasized already,--marks in courses.