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The Muck-Raked Undergraduate


President Lowell of Harvard used to tell a story of the worried parents who could not tell their twin sons apart. They sent them to different schools in different parts of the country, brought one up on a ranch and one in the effete East, and still they could not tell them apart. Finally they sent one son to Harvard and the other to Yale. After four years the boys returned home, one what was known in New Haven as a typical Harvard gentleman, the other what used to be known in Cambridge as a typical Yale roughneck. And, the story continued, still the parents could not tell one son from the other.

We are reminded of this by an earnest attack upon young Yale men contributed by Henry F. Pringle to the current "Harper's." Mr. Pringle paints an appalling picture of the attitude of the young men who sing "For God, for country and for Yale." They are, it appears, "on the make." Before going to college they begin looking for prominent roommates; at college they arise at 5 o'clock in the morning to seek advertising for "The Yale News," and they spend their week ends on Long Island and Park Avenue, ostensibly dancing with debutantes but really seeking the acquaintance of prominent business men. The goal of undergraduate life at Yale, according to Mr. Pringle, is to make a final club, having achieved which the young man concentrates upon more prominent acquaintances and the search for a rich wife. Princeton Mr. Pringle finds more democratic than Yale, but also infested with young men "on the make," and Harvard is better in that "charm" may be a substitute for success in student activities.

This is all pretty depressing. But, on reflection, our sympathies go out more to Mr. Pringle than to Yale. He seems to have been unfortunate in his contacts. We suspect that the typical Yale undergraduate is still almost indistinguishable from the typical Harvard man, or even from the typical Cornell man, and we like them all. We have yet to meet the undergraduate who would tolerate a "prominent" roommate whom he disliked. Doubtless the young Eli of to-day has less ambition to be a Jonathan Edwards than had the undergraduate of two centuries ago; but, after all, the colleges change, and should change, with the country. We don't recognize Mr. Pringle's picture.

Indeed, Mr. Pringle himself seems to alter his focus on his last page. The trouble, he suddenly concludes, is the "professional alumnus." The undergraduates have a more sensible attitude toward athletics and "activities" than the alumni have. But, if so, why all the pother? Can it be possible that Mr. Pringle does not really live among hungry-eyed young men on the lookout for rich wives, but merely saw the opportunity for a lively magazine article? N. Y. Herald-Tribune.

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