Two days ago when Paul V. McNutt received total manpower authority and voluntary enlistments were closed by Presidential order colleges were left out of the immediate plans. This unprecedented step toward war time efficiency settled some of Washington's mot pressing problems, but the plan is not yet complete. College that have been limping along because of deferments, reserve corps, and lenient draft bills, find themselves suddenly hamstrung by the disappearance of the former official policy and the lack of a new one to take its place. With all men from 18 to 38 and from 1-A to 4-F subject to the New Manpower Commission, colleges must either be abandoned or integrated more fully with war effort training. They are now directly dependent on Washington orders, but the long-awaited word seems to have stuck in official throats.
Meanwhile colleges and college students are left, almost without plans at the mercy of a new juggernaut draft bill. The ERC is now closed and its promised reopening for those in special training may very well result in the delay, the arguments, and the local draft board whims that characterized the previous inadequate Selective Service system. Meanwhile draft boards are hot on the trail of 'teen-agers who may be turned into infantry privates instead of valuable technicians because of this gap in the planning.
Another situation that has not yet been fully recognized is the Navy's V-1 program which is still open because it recruits seventeen year olds. At present the Manpower Commission has not authority to deal with students of this age and unless this is soon remedied the Navy might unintentionally destroy the balance of manpower the newly appointed commission is striving to create.
American colleges must play the largest part in training specialists for the war. The recent closure of reserve enlistments indicates that a new, all-embracing plan is already brewing. But the colleges must be given a definite idea of what and how much will be expected of them so they can start to expand facilities, plan curricula, and assemble instructors. The greater the delay, the poorer these preparations will be. With competent civilians finally in charge of manpower, the plan to come will probably be far more effective than the previous attempts. The men in charge of the Commission and the authority granted them inspire the utmost confidence. But the problem of war time education is still unsolved, and unless it is dealt with quickly, the hope inspired by the appointment of the committee may be short-lived.