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Thoma, Harry C. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 38, Number V (Feb. 1937)

Editorials,   p. 191

Page 191

        D I TVlR I A L S
           Let's Have a New        Board                some unfortunate
investigation bringing it into the
                                                        nation's headlines.
None of these have been helpful
   IF THE recent controversy over the efficiency of   to the welfare of the
institution. We have changed
 President Glenn Frank proved nothing else, it did     deans, coaches, athletic
directors and now the presi-
 convince most alumni and students of University        dent. Maybe it's
time we changed the method of
 affairs that a definite need exists for a change in the  appointment to
the Board of Regents.
 method of appointing members to the Board of
 Regents.                                                     Tust a Matter
Of Good Taste
   We hold no brief for President Frank nor do we          J
hold any grudge against Governor La Follette; we         NOW     that the
recent controversy on the board
do hold a very definite brief for the University. Our  of regents has closed,
the best thing that all of us can
sincere interests in the welfare of our Alma Mater    do for the good of
all parties concerned is to forget
dictates that some change should be made in the board  the entire matter
of personalities involved. There is
set-up.                                                but one thing which
your editor wishes to comment
   It is not difficult to foresee future unpleasantness  on before drawing
the books to a close. That is the
if a governing head of the Commonwealth can at his   procedure adopted by
the regents at the hearing.
own discretion appoint board members solely of his      Probably no greater
three ring circus was ever
own liking. Who knows what the future holds for        staged on the University
campus unless it might be
the University if the life of its governing board hangs  the famous town-student
riots at the time of the
by the thin thread of some politician's whims.  It   World War. Why the Board
of Regents insisted on
seems to us that now is the time to effect the necessary  holding this important
hearing in the crowded, un-
change in the make-up of the board.                    healthy antechambers
of the President's office is diffi-
   President James Conant of Harvard in his reply     cult to comprehend.
Members of the press, certain
to a communication from Governor La Follette said     of the regents, the
president, students, alumni and
as follows:                                            practically all interested
parties wished to move to
   "The problem   (the Frank controversy) seems to    larger quarters,
specifically Tripp Commons.
me to be whether or not this present board of regents   The excuse given
for not moving the hearing was
has the capacity, competence and independence to     that the regents had
always conducted their meetings
make a judgment free from prejudice of a political   in this certain room
and they saw no reason for
or personal nature.  The question before the board    making the change.
They said they did not wish
is whether they have confidence in the President; the  to interject a Roman
holiday appearance to the pro-
question before the educational world and the people  ceedings. By virtue
of their remaining in these in-
of your State is whether they have confidence in the  adequate quarters,
that very thing was accomplished.
   oard of regentsl'                     _-Newspaper men were unable to ind
adequate space
   In order that the educational world may have im-   on which to write their
stories.  Cameramen were
plicit confidence in the University of Wisconsin       walking on everyone's
toes and having flashbulbs
Board of Regents in future years, we sincerely believe  explode in nearly
everyone's face. Students, anxious
that there is a more favorable condition under which  to witness the proceedings
which were to take from
membership to the board may be made. There have      them their president,
were forced to stand in the door-
been several suggestions made in different publica-   ways, jammed so tightly
against one another that
tions, but we think that something as follows would  breathing was at best
most difficult.  The noises re-
be most equitable:                                     suiting from the dismissal
of classes during the day,
  The board would be constituted, as now, of fif-    the cheers and jeers
that went up from the students
teen members. We believe that to eliminate any fu-   assembled in the hallways
was anything but con-
ture cry of politics it would be advisable to have   ducive to a decorous
three groups name five representatives apiece to the    A second point upon
which we wish to register a
board for terms of five years. Undoubtedly the gov-  protest is the insistence
that a time limitation be
ernor of the Commonwealth should name five. We       placed upon the speakers
appearing in behalf of Pres-
firmly believe that the alumni of the University, pref-  ident Frank. Not
only was he denied the right and
erably through their representative, the Alumni As-  the privilege of securing
adequate time in which to
sociation, should name five by a mail ballot of all  fue    prepare of dens
      adequa te time   limito
members or all alumni. Possibly the faculty should    fully prepare his defense,
but a definite time limita-
name the other group.   Some have suggested that     tion was placed upon
those who spoke in his behalf.
these remaining members be appointed by the non-     If the. presidential
contract was to expire on June
partisan state superintendent of education. One of    30, why all the haste
to accomplish the dismissal?
the Wisconsin daily newspapers has suggested that    Why wouldn't January
20 have done just as well?
these be appointed by the Supreme Court of the State.   The recent athletic
"investigation" and this past
Still another suggestion has been that they be elected  fiasco have done
immeasurable harm to the Univer-
at the time of the judicial non-partisan elections.  sity. It is our earnest
hope that in the future, if there
  The above suggestions may not be perfect, but we   must be such affairs,
that they be conducted in a dig-
believe that they would be immeasurably better-than  nified, decorous manner
instead of the shanty-town
the scheme under which appointments are now made.    back alley style which
has characterized them in the
Year after year the University has been involved in  past.

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