The bomb tossed for American youth by Anatole France, Upton Sinclair, and Scott Nearing has brought repercussions from a score of universities. The students are said to have been asleep; but now that they are awake, they look about and reach for a club. Each belabors in his own way, but they are knocking, knocking.
At Vassar they wave a distaff over the heads of the professors, and threaten to force all their instructors to undergo grading by the student body. At New Haven they wield a stouter weapon. "The Saturday Evening Pest", a single sheet anonymously printed, has announced its purpose to bring about a complete change in the undergraduate point of view: "We believe--that Yale is preparing men not to live, but to make a living--that the life of the undergraduate is stupid, empty, and meaningless". At the same time the communication columns of the more conservative "News" have been rife with criticism from all angles.
The hardy Hanoverlans shoulder a heavy bludgeon. A remonstrance has been drawn from President Hopkins by the "vituperation" in "La Critique", another anonimity. This paper claims that "the greatest obstacle to the obtainment of an education at Dartmouth is the faculty. Most of its members are teaching because it would be impossible for them to succeed at any other trade". It is to be regretted that these particular Juniuses have found it necessary to become personal, to strike at particular sage heads about the faculty table.
This University appears to be still exempt. For a time the "Gadfly" gave promise of action: but it much-heralded appearance was more suggestive of a butterfly or moth. Yet there is no telling what secret ammunition may have been brought in; already there are rumors that a more penetrating criticism, from the same source, is about to be let loose. The game of setting up little tin gods and clay-footed idols to knock over is not particularly dangerous, and it has a certain virtue in putting the small players in trim for larger struggles. To undergraduate onlookers,' the present batters at Yale and Dartmouth keep their proper proportions. But outsiders are more gullible; finding that the critics take themselves seriously, they are quick to swallow the scandal. And how seriously the critics do take themselves!