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MAIL

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editor of the Crimson:

The editorial entitled "Regrettable Speech" which the Harvard Crimson published on Saturday seems to me rather vicious.

The criticism levelled at Professor Lake for "teaching a work with emphasis on its modern practical aspects rather than on its purely factual and historical content" is summed up in Gradgrind's "Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root up everything else."

Like William James, Professor Lake complains of the worship of degrees, and very rightly. The taking of courses for credit, the pursuit of degrees and titles for themselves, has been long recognized as one of the worst features of American Education from Normal School up. Every teacher knows how general and futile cramming for an examination is, and that too few students remember anything significant about the courses they took.

In short, the means are often taken for the aim, the sign for the thing represented. Thus Professor Lake's comments seem both familiar and well founded, and I cannot help wondering why the Crimson makes these remarks of Professor Lake's an occasion for criticizing a great and humane scholar.

The University's motto applies to present as well as past truth. But present truth is more awkward than past and a concern for factual teaching is sometimes a simple disguise for evasion of present truth. Yours very sincerely,   Marcel Francon,   Instructor in Romance Languages.

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