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(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the request of the writer, will names be withheld.)
To the Editor of the CRIMSON:
Do you mind if I trespass on your space to correct a few errors in your editorial on the recent alterations for the selection of Rhodes Scholars? It is not quite fair to say that "the trustees are aroused to the deficiencies etc." as if they had not heretofore been conscious thereof. The trouble, The trouble, of course, has been the difficulty of altering the terms of a trust under English law. It is very likely that Rhodes himself wished the Trustees to have complete latitude to make such changes but the Will was so worded as to necessitate an act of Parliament. Again, you imply that heretofore the officials have disapproved of men who stayed only two years. While this has been a common view in this country and has perhaps been held by selection committees, it has never, I believe, been that of the Trustees and the present pronouncement is meant merely to make this clear. The Trustees have, in fact, often been ready to allow a Scholar who left at the end of two years to take the rest of his scholarship at some later date if he chose to return to Oxford. The scholars do not have to "sign articles" to remain any given time, or even to do any given work. When the note to Dean Nichols reads "tenable specifically for three years", it means, I presume, that the appointment is for that time if one chooses to stay.
Finally, whatever the plans of the Trustees to allow scholars to go to other institutions, it is untrue to speak of "two hundred Rhodes Scholars" as if all were Americans. According to the last report, "the number of Scholars regularly in residence for either the whole or some part of the academic year 1927-1928 was 187-viz., 94 from the British Empire and 93 from the United States of America." The so-called Americanization of Oxford is not entirely the fault of the Rhodes Scholars since at the time of their creation, few other Americans went there and 96 (the maximum number) was not an excessive proportion. Now that so many go on their own, I believe that the total of Americans has risen to about two hundred but even that is less than a twentieth of the total enrollment and I imagine that one could find several national groups (though perhaps of American origin) at Harvard in higher proportions than this. With regard to the displacement of the English by American competition, it is worth noting that in the past few years I think that only one American has played on the Rugger team and the few men who have rowed have not been Rhodes Scholars. It must be admitted that in Track the Scholars (Colonial as well as American) take a larger share and last year a motion was introduced to limit this. It might also be added that in intramural sports the aliens often occupy a good deal of space. Nevertheless, there is so much talk about the invasion of Oxford by Americans and this is so frequently blamed on the Rhodes Trust, that I hope that you will pardon me for seeking to correct any possible misapprehensions. I may add that while in the abstract. Oxford sometimes discusses the same matter, I never found that the fact of being an American caused the slightest prejudice against an individual. This, naturally, may vary with persons and, more particularly, with the Colleges. Sincerely yours, Mason Hammond.
Editor's Note: The above letter is interesting as the opinion of a former Oxford student, but obviously conflicts with the opinion of Oxford authorities as appears in the letter to Dean Nichols printed in the columns of the CRIMSON yesterday.
The facts contained in the CRIMSON'S editorial on this subject were drawn largely from this letter, written from Rhodes House, Oxford. The quotation drawn from this letter. "In consequence (the scholarships being tenable specifically for three years) there has been a tendency to look askance at any scholar who has ventured to resign at the end of his second year as at one who has let his committee down," seemed at the time of writing ample justification for the CRIMSON's stand on this point. The expression "social sin" employed by the CRIMSON was not meant to indicate that any definite contract had to be entered into by the Rhodes Scholars.
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