(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.) January 12, 1930.
To the Editors of the Harvard CRIMSON:
The "Crime" column in Saturday's CRIMSON without doubt "scooped" the Lampoon in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. I personally enjoyed the column so much that I hesitate even to hint that though the treatment of the subject was excellent, the satire directed against Professor Coolidge was, to say the least, harmful to the development of a neutral attitude toward the House Plan.
It is of course to be expected that as the hereditary defender of Harvard Individualism the CRIMSON should attack with promptitude anything that showed signs of giving corporeal form to the dread dragon of Paternalism. The University would have been disappointed had it failed to do so in so easily identifiable a case as Professor Coolidge's letter to prospective members of Lowell House who were in or near Group VI of the Rank List.
From a less journalistic point of view, however, it might seem that Professor Coolidge's letter did not deserve the rather biting and extremely personal satyrical treatment that it received at the CRIMSON's hands. In the first place, keeping off probation is the least requirement for participation in any degree in anything extra-curricular. It may well be the province of the head of a House--for whose duties there are as yet no precedents--to seek to keep the members of his House in good scholastic standing--which does not mean Group III, or even Group IV.
The keenest resentment felt by the CRIMSON, it seems, was to the informal tone of the letter. It may have been a mistake to address in this way a Harvard undergraduate, jealous of his natural right to flunk out of college. He immediately suspects that there is a hidden significance--to be dreaded--as the CRIMSON has shown. Perhaps Professor Coolidge would have done better to make the letter coldly formal. That the CRIMSON took the attitude it did is an indication of the way any attempt to promote informality between the student body and the faculty, in the Houses is to be treated. Such an attitude of armed neutrality is not conducive to allowing the central idea of the House Plan a fair trial. It is furthermore a more childish attitude than ought to be taken by the Harvard student body. We ought not to have such an exaggerated sense of our own individuality that we resent any contact with other--and especially older--individuals which might in any sense seem to limit this "precious" possession of ours. Such an attitude does not permit of full individual development, to say the least.
With all due respect for the CRIMSON's editorial wit, therefore. I should occasionally like to see it directed into new fields. Resignedly. Coburn T. Wheeler '30.
So many letters, both commendatory and otherwise, have been received as a result of Saturday's "Crime" column, that it is impossible to print them all. The above letter, however, seems to contain points which make it the most intelligent comment on this particular side of the controversy.