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The twenty-two meetings of concentrators in various fields of concentration hold during the past month have given the Editors of the Crimson an unusually complete picture of the undergraduates reaction towards education at Harvard. This series of editorials will attempt to take up problems facing Harvard in relation to this material. The basic assumption which will underly all of these editorials is that Harvard exists first and foremost to educate its students.
The general problem is shaded throughout by an acute financial situation. Although the budget has been balanced throughout the depression, yet every department has been forced to advance cautiously. In each one of these there are a limited number of highly paid positions in the way of professorships and other chairs. Men holding these positions are given life appointments for the most part, and changes of personnel do not occur frequently.
In contrast to the few top positions, there are a great many low-paid positions in almost every Department held by tutors, section men, and lecturers. These men, often of great ability, are for the most part grossly underpaid, getting up to $3000 a year, often less. As evidenced by concentrators in the Economics, English, History, and other Departments, tutors are overworked and this is being, to put it coarsely, taken "out of the hides" of these men.
Further, none of these lower paid men are certain of advancement; many of them cannot be advanced because of the lack of funds and available positions. As a result men reach the age of 40 or 45 still on a small salary, and Harvard cannot throw them into the street. Meantime, realizing this situation, tutors and section men worry about their future. The calibre of their work of necessity drops because of insecurity and continual doubt; they are over-tired, inefficient; nervous breakdowns are not unknown.
This situation has developed with the depression. The tutorial system was instituted during the flush '20's when money flowed freely and waste was permissible. High calibre men were hired in the enthusiasm of the moment. Now the picture has changed with the lean years, and Harvard cannot easily support such an expensive educational plant. Shifts in fields of concentration have only complicated matters.
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