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In undertaking "a thorough investigation of the subject" of the concluding reappointments of Dr. Walsh and Dr. Sweezy in the Economics Department, and in arriving at the decision that the terms of the two men were not brought to a close because of prejudice or bias on the part of the University, the Student Council has put a stop to what ever shred of doubt might still remain in the public mind. The council's action shows clear beyond cavil that academic freedom has not been violated, and that the men have been cut off because of the general conditions of promotion that prevail with in the College. So far as Dr. Walsh and Dr. Sweezy are concerned, the controversy in ended.
But the Student Council has not stopped short. It has one on to investigate the problems to which the dismissal of the two economists inevitably leads. Does the present policy of the University over-emphasize research at the expense of teaching, and does the College cut off men in their prime whose teaching capacities are admittedly of the highest caliber and promise? Does the University adapt departmental budgets to meet the shifts in demand for various fields that occur from time to time? Is the system of hiring and firing really keeping at Harvard the most promising men, or is talent thrown to the winds merely because no openings can be found for capable instructors, despite the fact that their immediate services are vital to the University?
These are some of the questions which follow from the periodic dismissals which daily go unheralded and stir no comment, unless the teacher involved has a vociferous personal following. But they are questions that affect the University today, for, like any living organism, Harvard cannot continue to flourish unless it draws the best men in at the bottom and keeps them once it has wound its tentacles around them. For the Student Council to tackle these problems shows it is accepting its responsibilities in the College, and the investigation should prove the most important an far-reaching of any of the numerous enquiries which the Council has sponsored this year.
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