The Boston Transcript has commented upon the low journalistic standards of college papers. It points to their faulty typographical arrangement, their misuse of English, their lack of consistent policy, and concludes that faculty control might well prove the solution of the unfortunate situation.
Unquestionably college papers will bear a great deal of improvement. After a careful survey of the field, no intelligent reader will take exception to the Transcript's charges. But the remedy suggested involves grave dangers for it infers a misconception of the purpose of undergraduate publications.
Through them the college man seeks to express himself. As a self-respecting individual he shuns the thought of a watchful guiding hand, under which his own theories might lose their identity. He is trying to work out college problems and solve them to the best of his ability. Naturally he resents interference, as he wants his paper to represent his own thoughts, unslashed by the blue pencil of a professional censor.
To the vigorous undergraduate paper, continuity of policy is thus impossible. The policy of the paper necessarily changes with successive boards, as each one in turn presents its ideas to the reading public. The Transcript notes that the present CRIMSON policy favoring preparedness does not coincide with that of the board of two years ago. The reason is plain; the present board has a radically different attitude. How could a faculty censor improve matters? Certainly he could no feel justified in binding the CRIMSON editors to a fixed, consistent policy, to which they could not sincerely subscribe.
If faculty advice in regard to the form of writing stories and the make-up of the paper could be given in a purely advisory way, it would not cause the undesirable friction that authoritative supervision would cause. For some college publications such a plan might have many beneficial results. Perhaps it is true that the majority of papers have vacillating policies, but a condition of this kind is evidence of active thinking among college men and of the existence of groups holding diversified views. This results in intellectual progress which may well vindicate occasional changing of horses in midstream.