Imprisonment and silencing of "a large number" of the faculty of Charles University in Prague by the new regime in Czechoslovakia led President Conant last Monday to take the drastic step of withdrawing the University's emissary to the 600th anniversary celebration of the central European institution.
The convocation, perhaps the most important event of the international academic year, will honor a university which gives precedence in age only to Peking, Paris, and Oxford. Representatives from every major center of learning in the world had accepted invitations to the gathering late this week.
President Conant's action, taken in concert with several other American universities and colleges, came after he had requested and received information from Washington on events in the Prague school since the coup d'etat two weeks ago.
President Conant cabled Dr. Paul D. White '08, Clinical Professor of Medicine, who had already departed for Europe, to destroy his credentials containing the official "greetings" of Harvard to Charles University. White, who served as director of a hospital unit in Czechoslovakia for two years directly after the war, has been named to receive an honorary degree himself at the ceremonies.
Other Colleges Follow Suit
Other Ivy colleges to act with the University in withdrawing men who had already been named as delegates to the forthcoming convocation included Yale, Princeton, Cornell, and Columbia. They acted at the same time, following the lead of Harvard.
The decision here to withdraw the greeting leaves White the choice of returning or continuing his trip to receive the degree as an individual. David M. Little '18, Secretary to the University, was unable to state last night what action White might take, asserting only that "it's up to him--he can go on if he wishes, in his private capacity as a citizen and a professor. The President has cabled him full details."
The action, terminating more than two centuries of friendly relations between the two schools, is not without precedent, added Little. "We did the same thing in 1936, when the Nazis were beginning to take over the Faculty of Heidelberg University."