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A House Divided


The patriotic loyalty of the Harvard Faculty is unquestionable. But their devotion to the teaching profession does not allow such a bold statement. They scurry through the Yard armed with bulky briefcases filled no longer with weighty academic tracts, but rather with pajamas and toothbrush for an overnight stay in Washington. The national emergency does make it possible for every capable man to find a job to do, but the intellectual standards of Harvard should not be impaired by the emergency. Men who devote only half, and sometimes even less of their time to teaching, are detrimental to these standards.

It has been estimated that 80 per cent of the Harvard Faculty are devoting some of their time to defense work. About 40 per cent are spending half their time in such work. Many are top-notch teachers. And although they are not devoting their full time to teaching, they are retaining their full status, complete with salary. Men like Professor Kemble in the Physics Department, Professor Elliott, Dr. Gordon, Assistant Professor Fainsod, Professor Emerson in the Government Department, Professors Langer, Fay, and Fairbank in History, and Economics Professors Mason and Black are holding important government positions. Because of their part or full-time absence, many courses have had to be radically reorganized or omitted. The tutorial staff, already pitifully small, has been further depleted. There are ten Government courses and nine. History courses, notable History 2, which have been affected.

Obviously these men cannot do their work in Washington well and remain steadily faithful to their professorial posts. But Harvard should not decrease in any way the quantity or quality of its educational offerings. It is very important that students today get the best possible education, both to help in national defense and to rebuild the post-war world. The errant scholars should be released entirely from their teaching positions for the duration of the emergency, and men who are willing to be full-time teachers should take over their work. National defense and Harvard would profit by the change.

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