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The following article was written especially for the Crimson by Lewis Fox Princeton '26, Harvard 1L, a former member of the Princeton Senior Council and at present President of the N. S. F. A.
The recent relations between Harvard and Princeton have been marked by a plethora of heat and a paucity of light. The basis of friction between certain groups in both universities lies deeper than the two Princeton, game issues of the Lampoon. The Crimson editorial of yesterday should make this a it closed incident. Friends can afford to be frank, only hypocrites need resort to simulation. In a spirit of mutual respect and absolute candor let us examine the cause of this unfortunate illfeeling and assess it in its true light. I believe that the chief causes of the present situation are:
Four Causes for Friction
(1) The feeling of many Harvard men that Princeton plays football in a manner unbecoming a gentleman, that Princeton cares more for athletic victories than for clean sportsmanship.
(2) The further feeling among certain Harvard men that Princeton places chief emphasis upon uniformity of type and manner of dress, that she places a low rank upon things of the mind, that her outlook is immature and provincial, that membership in the Big Three is Princeton's chief claim to glory.
(3) The feeling of many Princeton men that Harvard is patronizing and supercilious in her attitude, that she nearly goes out of her way to be tactless and insulting, that Harvard has no interest in maintaining intimate relationship with Princeton and that she is doing so as a result of external pressure.
(4) The feeling of many Princeton men that Harvard is chafing under recent defeats, that she is unsportsmanlike like and seeks an alibi for her athletic failures.
Names Depend Not on Football
Both Harvard and Princeton contain a small but obstreperous number of undergraduates and alumni who believe that they can best promote the welfare of their alma mater by deriding her opponents. The greatness of Harvard and Princeton is predicated upon their contribution to the nation's economic, civic and intellectual life. In comparison with many colleges Princeton and Harvard have woefully inferior football teams. Eliot and Wilson have enhanced the prestige of Harvard and Princeton more than the sum total of football and baseball victories put together. This is not a new observation, most Harvard and Princeton undergraduates realize it. Harvard and Princeton together have been among the leaders in the country in the adoption of the preceptorial and tutorial methods of instructions. Agains in their systems of concentration and distribution and in the plan of upperclass study, Princeton and Harvard have blazed the trail in the advance of vital education. The Princeton and Harvard art departments have the closest cooperation in the purchase of books, exchange of professors and in the direction of research; a Princeton man occupies the former chair of Albert Bushnell Hart while a Harvard man occupies Princeton's finest position in mathematical research. Throughout the nation Harvard, Yale and Princeton clubs combine--not to proselytize in their localities but to spread the ideal of self-education. Is it logical that these groups would permit ungentlemanly playing, derogation of scholastic standards, patronizing and supercilious behavior Could such cooperation exist if the feeling of small minorities represented the true spirit of the universities?
Are Athletics Their Own Justification?
What then is the cause of these chauvinistic views? I believe it lies in the fact that athletics have too long been considered a separate part of university life, that they were their own justification. The general public cares little about Harvard's and Princeton's plans of independent study Alumni, faculty, and undergraduates imbued with the spirit of true scholarship have left the management of football to specialists. This is well and good so long as these men confine themselves to the training of athletic teams. When, however, coaches, athletic committees, humorists, or reporters seek to interpret the relations of two great universities in the light of their own particular jobs, it is time that the enlightened opinion of both institutions puts a halt to their actions.
I maintain with absolute conviction that no loyal Princeton man would tolerate the sacrifice of sportmanship to athletic victories, further I contend that Princeton could not allow her devotion to scholarship to be subordinated to externals of habit, dress, and thought. I know Harvard men well enough to say that they are gentlemen and are opposed to discourtesy whether in the form of conceit or mistaken loyalty. In other words I believe that the present friction is the result of misunderstanding, misrepresentation and prejudice.
To the removal of this friction I would suggest the following:
(1) A meeting of the college editors, heads of student councils, and other representative undergraduates to discuss the causes and truth of these charges. I would like to see similar meetings several times a year to discuss means of closer co-operation between the two universities. They would discuss in addition to athletics plans for co-operation between the CRIMSON and the Princetonian, between Phillips Brooks House and the Philadelphia Society, etc.
(2) Greater control of athletic policy should be vested in undergraduates. Policies should be largely decided by them, while the technical arrangements can be arranged by graduates. Athletics, including football, are managed for the entertainment of the undergraduates and not the alumni.
(3) There should be a greater exchange of news between the CRIMSON and the Princeton. Ignorance of each other's educational policies and standards is due to lack of information. The college papers can do much to further appreciation and understanding by ceasing their childish rivalries and seeking to interpret the aims of the other college.
What Is Sanction of Big Three?
What is the sanction and purpose of the Big Three? The time is long past when they could claim athletic supremacy over other colleges. They are exceeded in numbers and wealth. Is the title one of conceit and vain-glory? If such it should cease. Fundamentally the Big Three represents an ideal; the belief in the power of education as a personal force in a man's life. The Big Three believes that college must give a man a sense of selfcontrol, an appreciation of beauty, a philosophy of life. Athletics represent but a small part of that ideal and football a lesser division of athletics. The Big Three believe that the justification of football lies in its development of the student in its part in the scheme of education. Victories or defeats as such have nothing to do with the efficacy of this ideal. As Yale, Harvard and Princeton live this ideal they will earn the right to be called the Big Three. Their influence on American education depends upon their determination to repel any forces that through selfishness and distorted loyalty seek to break that fellowship.
Yale, Harvard and Princeton are bound together not so much by tradition or custom as by their common opportunity to aid the development of education. At times strident voices of a thoughtless minority cause commotion, but if the Big Three are bound by a mutuality of aim and a dedication to American education, their bonds of friendship will be unbreakable and abiding
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