Over the past three weeks Harvard's delegate to the International Student Congress in Prague, Czechoslovakia, has made his report to the College by means of a series of articles in the Crimson. Pointing out the tremendous task to be accomplished in the fields of student exchange, university rehabilitation and other activities, he has called upon Harvard to support the newly formed international student organization by participating in a late December conference in Chicago which will lay the ground work for a national student organization. Only through such an organization, he feels, can American students participate effectively in the International Union of Students.
When the student referendum at Harvard last spring voted support for a delegate to an International conference, it gave promise of beginning a new era in student affairs. Up to that time University Hall had frowned on student attempts to participate in national organizations--not to speak of international ones. Certainly there are grave dangers attached to such participation. Professional leadership, partisan domination, and even outright graft have often corrupted the high ideals with which student organizations have been formed in the past. It is a basic weakness, resulting from the nature of student life which has time for only part-time participation in extra-mural activities.
Yet, there is an urgency in the need today that outweighs all negative factors. Already the mold of war is being shaped in the minds of men. To lie back and depend on press and radio, embassy and War Department to break down the barriers of militant nationalism is to invite that war. Students have greater responsibility than other members of society in promoting the international flow of ideas whch is the only basis of lasting peace.
Prague was the first step in meeting this responsibility. Here at Harvard, the Student Council is prepared to take the next. Out of the open forum this evening a special committee should be formed which will give time and thought to the problem of bringing the American student into the world. His debut has been long delayed.