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Terming President Conant's idea of limiting the number of college graduates "a ploughing under the human brains," the Cambridge Union of University Teachers yesterday voted to send the President a statement expressing "strong dissent" with his annual report.
The Union, which includes more than 100 Harvard teachers in all and which numbers seven on its executive council, has as its president David W. Prall, associate professor of Philosophy here. Prall succeeded J. Raymond Walsh, former Economics instructor here. The Cambridge Union is a local of the American Federation of Teachers, of which Professor Jerome Davis, formerly of Yale University, is the National President.
Coolidge, Matthiessen, Sweezy in Group
Besides Prall, Harvard teachers on the executive council of the Cambridge Union of Teachers include Albert S. Coolidge '15, lecturer on Chemistry, Earl G. Latham '31, instructor in Government, Francis O. Matthiessen, associate professor of History and Literature, Earl G. Mims, instructor in Government, Erbest J. Simmons '25, assistant professor of English, and Alan R. Sweezy '29, instructor in Economics.
After expressing agreement with the part of President Conant's report dealing with the recruiting for the learned professions from all levels of society, the Union statement takes issue with the President's "policy of limitation," claiming that Conant is "joining the advocates of an economy of scarcity."
Education No "Commercial Enterprise"
"His (Conant's) policy of limitation of the number of educated men is in effect a ploughing under of human brains," the statement reads. "This is thinking in terms of a static society, in which only a comparatively few doctors, teachers, engineers, etc. can be supported, because so many of the people haven't enough money to pay for professional services."
"This is mistaking education for a commercial enterprise," proceeds the Union letter. "But what of the actual human needs of our whole democratic society? Great numbers of families receive little or no medical care. Many of them are ill housed, ill clothed, ill fed; many of them have only a caricature of an education. To meet the actual needs of our whole people it is perfectly clear that we are not producing nearly enough trained professionals."
Prall Comments on Statement
"This restricting of liberal education was one of the first changes made by the Nazis in Germany," the Union warns. "It follows a principle characteristically approved by fascist governments." In conclusion, the statement declares that President Conant's idea "would have been profoundly shocking to those Americans who founded and fought for democratic education in America."
Asked to comment last night, Prall said, "Some of us would like to make stronger statements, and some of us would like to make weaker statements."
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