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Students in Harvard College are handsomely taken care of. Not exactly rolling in luxury, still they have all the factors that make for that warm feeling of comfort and security, the only satisfactory condition for work. But the teachers, the teachers too, are a part of the fraternity that is a university. And the teachers at Harvard are turned out to fare as best they may in the jungle of the university's surroundings.
It is this condition that startles anyone accustomed to the older English universities. There the teachers are largely absorbed, and become organs of a greater organism. Their existence is of and for the university, and their affiliations are as much social as educational. On the other hand, at Harvard they live in their own hives, and descend upon the college only to apply the sting of knowledge. This is the traditional scheme. For this reason and for practical considerations as well, it is impossible to suggest that Harvard provide lodgings for its instructors. Furthermore, their independence has definite advantages.
But for many of the teachers this independence is a painful burden. Two classes, indeed, are sheltered by the university: those livers on the fat of the land, the House masters, and the young, unmarried tutors. But these constitute a small minority. The rest have independence thrust upon them, and are cast out to struggle in the Cantabrigian wilderness.
It wouldn't be so bad if Cambridge were an ordinary city, but it isn't. Living expenses are twice as high here as in Belmont, an average suburb. And whereas one may live modestly in New York for a monthly rent of $45, here in this comparatively tiny village there is no approach to such economy. The causes are two. First, there are the exceptionally high taxes. Second, there is the fact that so many houses and apartments of approximately the same standard are demanded that the owners are able to hold out for exorbitant prices.
Especially hard hit are the young tutors who have just taken wives. They seem to be punished for their faithlessness to their former mistress the Arts, whose Bachelors once they were. They must either remain within hale of the university and bear the brunt themselves, or move out into the suburbs with more agreeable living conditions. In the latter case the University as a whole suffers, for the students are clearly put at a disadvantage when they cannot reach their preceptors and consult them.
This high cost of living is one of the reasons why Harvard must always pay the younger members of her Faculty more than other colleges and universities.
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