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Through the current hearings on the Glenn Frank case the nation can scize its opportunity to grasp the issues involved. Clarification of these issues has been overdue since the first whispers of the controversy burst into a roar heard far beyond the borders of Wisconsin. The core of the conflict is simple. The Regents must decide whether the undeniable progress made by the University under Frank's direction outweighs the President's alleged mismanagement of intra-University disputes.
On the debit side of the Frank ledger, according to his critics, is his handling of certain disputes centering around the conduct of University departments. In 1931 the President's efforts to remove the Dean of Women excited a controversy disproportionate to the true importance of the affair. In 1935 the state was startled by a scandal involving the extention division of the University. A year later a fight in the athletic department split alumni and others into two embattled factions. His opponents charge that through Frank's neglect and vacillation the sparks struck by incipient friction have too often blazed into long and bitter strife.
To the credit of President Frank is the progress which the University has made since 1925. Neither the analytical casuistry of Regent Gates nor the rhetorical thunderbolts of Regent Wilkie can disguise this fact. True, the most notable of Frank's attempted reforms, the Experimental College, failed to achieve the success originally expected. But a man should not be pilloried for the failure of an experiment, especially when the University profited by the lessons learned. The attempts of lay Regents to prove that the University has slipped do not ring true when confronted by the unanimous contrary opinion of competent educators.
The disputes which the President failed to settle did bring much unfavorable publicity to the University. But Frank has raised the University's prestige more than factional disputes have impaired it. The current hearings debunk Frank's record no more convincingly than the initial fulminations of the Governor's appointees. Their unseemly haste and petty discourtesies to Dr. Frank indicate the Regent's determination to railroad the President with but scant reflection. The Governor has already reflected for them.
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