Meetings of the Student Conference on Careers in Government, scheduled to begin on April 12th at Harvard, should arouse the interest of the whole student-body. With governmental agencies playing an increasingly important part in the daily lives of all, it is essential to understand many of the principles to be debated. Since the speakers are men of very different beliefs who have been active in various phases of political life, the aim of a well-rounded program will be attained.
To the more limited group of college students considering some branch of public service as a future occupation, the Conference will be invaluable, due to the rich experience that each speaker has had. Such questions as civil service and tenure are of perennial interest, but of particular importance now when many are employed for three months in government offices in an effort to share the spoils with as many as possible. It must be remembered, moreover, that government will continue to employ great numbers even if some of the New Deal agencies eventually close their doors. As the history of political parties proves, a new dominant party, despite pre-election charges of bureaucracy, usually continues to keep as many government berths open as possible.
In the past few generations, the usual attitude of college students has been that one cannot go into most branches of public service without soiling one's honor. Further objections are raised to the uncertain tenure, spoils system and inefficiency usually found in government offices. This attitude is partially responsible for the results about which they complain, but will never clean the political stables. Most important, students who are discontented with the so-called "messy" conditions of government service can discover exactly where political rubbish obscures and impedes progress, and learn practical measures for sweeping out the governmental house.