Henry Aiken Hits Pusey, Calls Harvard Unfriendly

Why shouldn't President Pusey be forced to stand in line and take the crud that's served in student cafeterias?" asked Henry D. Aiken, former Harvard professor of Philosophy, in a New York Times interview published yesterday.

Aiken taught at Harvard from 1946 to 1965 and is now at Brandeis. Reminiscing to the Times, Aiken said "Pusey hasn't taught a class in 30 years. Now he's encysted within a colony of deans and assistants, and the ordinary faculty member never sees him." In his 20 years at Harvard, Aiken said he was in Pusey's office only once.

In a CRIMSON interview, Aiken had two more general criticisms of Harvard.

Large Lectures

First, Aiken complained of Harvard's large lecture classes. He said that he used to teach part of Hum 5, which had 500 students. Aiken explained that he stopped teaching the course because "lecturing at such a distance, psychological and physical, to 500 students, was not a way to communicate."


Aiken said that large lecture classes have kept Harvard students from having access to their teachers. But at Brandeis, there are few classes with more than 60 or 70." He called Brandeis "A new, smaller, more negotiable, and more friendly university."

Place of Passage

Second, Aiken complained that under-graduate education has suffered at the expense of the graduate schools. He claims that Harvard has become simply "a place of passage to the graduate schools," and that the College has become primarily a university-college.

Aiken said that the aspirations of the graduate schools have hurt the Liberal Arts education. Aiken termed under-graduate education at Harvard "too utilitarian." He added that "General Education ought to continue throughout a man's entire education, including graduate school."

Aiken insists that Brandeis, however bad, is better than Harvard, however good. He concluded that "the Brandeis kids are more abrasive, more critical." Aiken has written a book entitled On Going To Brandeis, to be published next year by the University of Indiana Press.

Asked if he wanted to be a university president, Aiken replied. "No--I'm a permanent backbencher. Somebody's got to stand on the sidelines and scream."