University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA)

 - Class of 1897

Page 172 of 268


University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1897 Edition, Page 172 of 268
Page 172 of 268

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1897 Edition, Page 171
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University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1897 Edition, Page 173
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Page 172 text:

It is this denying the students the privilege of choosing for themselves the studies that they are to pursue that, more than all other reasons, causes men to become dissatisfied, and to leave college. That Senior electives have proved successful cannot be doubted by any one who has noticed the increased interest that the Seniors take in the special branches which they have selected. To bring the College completel} out of its state of depres- sion and make it a success in the future, electives are needed, not merely during the last two years of the course, but during every year except the first. We understand that some of the Faculty are in favor of the latter plan, and that nearly all favor the former. With a two-year course, which takes all who care only for a practical knowledge of agricultui e, it is certainly unnecessary to confine the regular students to one general course longer than the first year. At all events, we hope that the Board of Trus- tees will not be so forgetful of the future welfare and success of the Col- lege as to refuse electives to the Junior class next year. In 1S93 the first class of the Two-year Course entered college. What to do with it was then a puzzle which has not yet been satisfactorily solved. AVe do not condemn the course of study given, but we believe that, in gen- eral, the class of students it has attracted would be wholly condemned by ,the student body if there were not a few good men in each class. That there are men of merit in this course we admit ; yet the influence of the course as a whole has I ' esulted in bringing down the standard of the College. Considering that one third of the students here are men of this course, and that nearly all the support of the College associations rests with the remain- ing two thirds, — considering that the falling off in numbers of the regular students was almost identical with the founding of this course, and was, in part, caused by it, it may well be asked. Is not the Two-year Course a drawback and hindrance to the welfare of the College? The course of study itself is above repi oach, for it is one that has been long needed to fur- nish farmers ' sons with a cheap, practical education ; but we believe that for the good of the regular course, the Two-year course should have no connection whatever with the Massachusetts Agricultural College. We feel sure an improvement might be made in the system of cuts now in use. There are but few institutions of our size and standing that do 160

Page 171 text:

Complaint is also made of the character of our entrance examinations. We know that the Latin necessary to enter this College has caused students to decide in favor of other like institutions where only English branches are required at entrance. The need of more Latin for a scientific course than can be obtained in the freshman year, is doubted by many who thor- oughly understand what such a course should include. But after a student has passed his examinations and entered college, there are still many obstacles to prevent his remaining. If he is poor he can obtain woi k under the labor fund. Undoubtedly many men are en- abled to remain in college only by this aid ; but the students who ai e thus aided are few compared with those that might be if this fund were put under better regulations. It is all right for a Freshman to work all his spare time for a moderate recompense ; but after a year or two of such work he begins to see that he cannot materially increase the size of his pocketbook without working so many hours each week that he has neither the time nor the inclination to do well in his studies. He finds that his poverty prevents his obtaining the best advantages of a college education ; he stays out to vork for a term, and generally never returns. We sin- cerely believe that a graded scale of wages for poor and deserving students would prove of much benefit to them as well as to their employers. It is the Faculty who have the most to do with making the College suc- cessful or unsuccessful. The object of this institution, as stated in the catalogue, is to give a practical education. To do this, practical, energetic instructors are needed. We do not wish to criticise our honored Faculty, for we realize how much they have done toward making the College vs hat it is, but we believe that there are some members who are neither practical nor energetic. Their instruction is long drawn out, and seems to have in view only one end — to occupy the time. Such instruction cannot fail to cause dissatisfaction among those who are obliged to receive it. Indirectly Junior electives would solve this problem of how to improve certain branches. If students were allowed to choose for themselves the studies the were to follow for the Junior as well as the Senior year, there would be either improvement or obliteration of certain branche s. It would mean the survival of the fittest, and we think it was a fear of this that caused a refusal of electives last year. 159

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not allow moi ' e freedom as to unexcused absences. The students do not ask this from any desire to find a way to absent themselves from recitations ; but there are often times w hen a student honestly feels that the period of a recitation could be better devoted to some other work. As college men we are supposed to have minds of our own, and work not necessarily included in the schedule. VVe know that any independence given in this line would not be abused, and we think the Faculty ought to place more reliance on the judgment of the students in regard to this matter. A MATTER that should receive early attention is that of a battalion encampment. Last year considerable progress in this direction was made ; a petition was circulated among the students setting forth their desire for a week in camp, and asking that the Trustees take the necessary steps to secure legislative appropriations for this pui-pose. This petition was sup- ported by those in authority at college, and, so we understand, by the com- mittee of the Trustees into whose hands it was placed. Unfortunately, before a bill could be prepared the time for taking up new business in the Legislature had passed, and it was thought advisable to let the matter rest tmtil the following year. The advantages to be derived from an encampment are evident. Lieu- tenant Colonel Hughes, at the annual inspection last year, after compliment- ing the work of the battalion, remarked to the effect that more military training could be obtained in a week ' s routine in camp, than in a year of drill such as is obtained in schools and colleges. The Government insists upon military instruction at institutions under its control, that, in time of need, it may know where to look for men able to organize and to command. For the perfection of this ability and for the advancement of the service, the Government sees fit to place the State militia in camp one week each year. In studying Military we are working on the same line and for the saine purpose as do the militia, and only b} some such encampment, as they have, can we hope to become familiar with the practical side of a soldier ' s life. At the beginning of the present college year it was suggested by a member of the Faculty that the fall term next year should commence two i6i

Suggestions in the University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) collection:

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1894 Edition, Page 1


University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1895 Edition, Page 1


University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1896 Edition, Page 1


University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1898 Edition, Page 1


University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1899 Edition, Page 1


University of Massachusetts Amherst - Index Yearbook (Amherst, MA) online yearbook collection, 1900 Edition, Page 1


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