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Regardless of its wrong assumptions about President Conant's annual report, the Cambridge Union of Teachers has made one thing clear. No official report which will obviously attract wide publicity and public reaction should be issued without extra care that there are no ambiguous statements. Misinterpretation of any public state-men is easy, and twisting the meaning of veiled educational proclamations is easier. Although many in the University are still puzzled and confused by President Conant's report, few can possibly believe that by "limitation" Mr. Conant meant a drastic curtailment of enrollment in all colleges. Naturally, to the man in the street "diminution of the total number of students" would signify, if anything, an aristocratic revolt against the old American tradition of "opportunity for all, closed doors to none."
Formerly headed by J. Raymond Walsh, ousted Harvard Economics instructor, the Cambridge Union, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, headed by the ousted Yale teacher, Jerome Davis, apparently represents public sentiment. Though agreeing with some of Mr. Conant's demands, it declared, in opposition, that the country needed more educated men. It said, also, that his proposal would not solve unemployment. And it concluded that, if the number of students were limited, democracy would speedily end.
But it is doubtful whether Mr. Conant expects to solve unemployment by his proposals as much as he wants to improve the quality of Harvard graduates. Certainly, he does not consider the University, as some educators look at their institutions, a business for the mass production of college men. Yet, his intentions do not free him from the rightful charge that the dubiousness of his report promoted many inaccurate interpretations and much public resentment.
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