Decadence at Harvard

In relations to the general use of telephones in College rooms, a privilege withheld by the faculty of Yale College, the News has asked the CRIMSON for a report on telephones at Harvard, where over fifty per cent of the rooms have them. Below are summarized the objections stated by Dean Mendell, and the resultant comments on relative conditions at Harvard, as submitted by an editor of the CRIMSON.

College life today is on a plans of comfort and even luxury, which to many people seems a little dangerous in its implications. Anything that we can do to maintain a simplicity of life, anything we can do to establish standards of reasonable economy, is always worth the doing and never more so than today.

The Harvard man has his own telephone, his own bathroom, and has his mail delivered to his entry, yet he lives just as simple a life as a Yale man.

The telephone adds to the potty business and waste of time.

Experience has shown definitely that it not only saves time from a social point of view, but in organization work, such as the CRIMSON. To run an organization here without being able to get to touch with students in inconceivable. Social calls are usually made to arrange to have dinner with a friend, or something of that sort, and the time is wasted when the meeting takes place.


It adds an infinite number of people to the list of those who can intrude without reason on any possible leisure.

Only friends call as a rule and the consensus of undergraduate opinion finds it easier to hang up on a solicitor than to ease him out the door after a lengthy harangue. In Harvard, tradesmen soon became tired of wasting their time and money telephoning students.

It substitutes a mechanical relation for a personal one.

This is certainly true in the outside world; but here in college, arrangements with friends are followed up by activities with them, and thus the personal element is not lost.

Inconsiderate friends may ask you to climb three floors to get someone to whom they must speak at the moment.

We have found that we don't have to stand for this; if you refuse to do it, they don't call again, Furthermore, you usually don't know the person that lives three floors up in your entry, and there is no reason why you should do him a favor unless it's a life-and-death matter.

The students use of telephones would bring about the infinite annoyance of annual installation and removal, with accompanying charges.

All the new Houses and new Freshman dormitories at Harvard are wired already, and all the other dormitories have been wired for a long time. If you want to use a telephone, you just have it connected.

It would bring about constant difficulties over contracts and bills due to the generous use of an individual's phone by his friends for more and more expensive calls.

No one uses your phone here unless you let him. When friends do use it, they are honest in signing up for calls.

The University would have no control over the telephones, could take no responsibility for the bill, and would be in constant difficulty with the company.

Students who use telephones must pay a deposit at the beginning of the year; this prevents loss to the telephone company. The Business Manager of Harvard University says: "We have never been troubled by the telephone company to pay back bills." The New England Telephone and Telegraph company here says: "We consider the 900 student phones in Harvard pretty good credit."