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Adler, Philip A. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Volume XVI, Number 4 (January 1917)

[Editorial],   pp. [unnumbered]-110

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VOLUME I 0 -            Madison, January, 1917           Number 4
Editorials .....................................
An Introduction to Ultra Violet Poetry..........
Underexposed ..................... Esther Forbes
Some Implications of "Free Speech    "............
........................... Jeremiah Herrod
Verse .........................................
Jane Samples Sin .............. George Amundson
Education and Democracy ...... Howard 0. Eaton
Correspondence ................................
REE speech," interpreted by any sane indi-
F    vidual would be said to mean the freedom of
presenting any reasoned ideas that concern the nation,
the state, or the university. Wisconsin has always
vaunted the fact that within its doors freedom of dis-
cussion was sacred. The university has lately discov-
ered however, that it is rather difficult to get within the
We do not intend to join the throng of those who
have heralded the action of President Van Hise in for-
bidding Mr. Max Eastman to speak on the campus as
a deed of a reactionary and an enemy to freedom of
discussion. We believe that, though we can see no
reason why Mr. Eastman should not have spoken in a
university building, the president must have viewed the
question from many sides that the student body cannot
see and must have acted for the best interests of the
The students take issue, however, with the interests
that make it necessary to suppress the presentation of
ideas that are not in accord with those held by the pow-
ers that be. We will not insinuate that they are politi-
cal. We must claim that they are not democratic.
Mr. Eastman came with a solution for the same so-
cial problems that confront us all. He came to en-
lighten, not to convert, his audience to that solution.
Does the fact that he claims for his theory what "al-
truism and Christianity have not been able to do to
solve these problems" make him ineligible to address
the student body? The laws say, "Yes." The stu-
dent body which does not agree must blame the law,
not its interpreter. It must see that the interests of the
university for whose sake President Van Hise has
braved this flood of criticism do not require a cringing
attitude toward the ideas long obsolete and undemo-
cratic. It must, as it has done in the case of Mr. East-
man, show by its reception of new ideas that the deci-
sion of free speech rests with the students, not with a
ruling of narrow and biased politicians.
NY intellectual impetus given to the student body
by the students themselves is indeed worthy of
distinction and support. We are only too apt to absorb
all we can out of the classrooms and then, thinking we
have done our duty, rest at ease. It is thus a pleasure
and an encouragement to see the appearance of the
Wisconsin Forum. As Professor Fiese said, "It pre-
supposes an intellectual leadership that I did know the
students had and betrays an intellectual interest that I
am glad to see."
Another member of the Faculty said, "It is not the
work of any clique, is not bound by any tradition, and
is not pledged to any platform except the presentation
of ideas." Contrary then to a generally accepted
opinion, the Forum is not a socialistic society, nor, in
fact, a propagandist organization of any kind. It will
not attempt to foist any cult nor dogma upon the stu-
dents. It has been formed to present modern ideas to
the students and to provide an opportunity for discus-
sion in an atmosphere removed from the formality of
the classroom but still under intelligent leadership.
The Forum will also seek to stimulate the aesthetic life
of the University by bringing the students into contact
with artists of recognized ability.
We read in the Forum pamphlet: "The Forum will
supplement the classroom. It aims to fuse compart-
mental education and to combine learning with living."

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