Reminiscing on his student days at the University of Moscow, Michasi Karpovitch, assistant professor of History, explained to an audience in the Advocate rooms last night why it took him eight instead of four years to graduate from college.
The first undergraduate affair in which Karpovitch took part when he entered college in 1906 was a meeting where the students decided not to attend classes for two weeks. Throughout the year strikes continued for political reasons. A small minority refusing to obey the dictates of the strike committee came into sharp conflict with the striking students.
"Stink Bombs" For "Academists"
Non-Strikors were scornfully called "academists"(a term of opprobrium) because they thought that a university was a place to study even in revolutionary times. One method of combating the "academists," known as "chemical obstruction," was to toss crudely constructed "stink bombs" in the lecture halls.
The next year on returning from Paris where he had studied at the Sorbonne, Karpovitch was thrown in jail by the authorities because he was suspected of subversive activities. According to the Russian historian his experience was quite "Byronic," for "the jail was very romantic." After leading a "Byronic" life for a month, he was allowed to go free.
Make Money on Lecture Notes
Discussing the organization of Russian universities, Karpovitch stated that one of the main ways for a student to make money was to take good lecture notes and sell them to his classmates for several rubles. As a result of this practice which was condoned by the professors, very few of the students took notes and "did not have their heads bent over notebooks."
Karpovitch explained that the Russian nature thwarts organization of any kind and thus there were few societies in the universities and most of these were of an intellectual nature.