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February 15, 1925 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1925-02-15

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Lit i4an



VOL. XXXV. No. 99



°- ., .._,.,..r._._ .






- 4?

A Somewhat Different Treatment Of The Conditions Existing In Foreign Universities

Some Of The Difficulties

Encountered By Students In Prague

. The Struggle Against A New Dark Ages


T HE students wre in town". And I began look-
ing for the soft black hats, black ties and
frock coats that some one told me character-
ized many of the men students of the Univer-
sity in Prague. I did find a few flowing ties, a num-
ber of broad-brimmed hats set jauntily over longish
hair, but I soon gave up the idea that they all dress-
ed in that fashion. The far more usual uniform, or
distinguishing dress of a student was the one of al-
most universal necessity-parts of old uniforms,
made as neat and presentable as possible, but never-
thetess constant reminders of the late war and the
part that these young men had played in it as sol-
diers in a hostile army. If indeed the students of
this part of the world were susceptible to the fads
of dress that sweep our country from end to end, so
that a station full of returning students, as I saw
them at Grand Central at Thanksgiving, is an ani-
mated advertisement for fur coats of the same length
Deauville neckerchiefs, and properly squashed felt
hats, they would have hard lessons in economy, for
it is a problem to cover oneself at all, let alone gaud-
ily and gaily.
Yes, the students were in town, and withing a
few months of my stay in Czecho-Slovakia I knew
It well enough. The first acute awareness was be-
cause of the death of several from starvation. From
that time on, student life at the University of Prague
came to mean more than what a student does with
his time while being a student; it mant something
far different than his athletics, his examination, his
social life, his college spirit. Student life came to
carry an apostrophe "s", and the implication wa
how to save it.
It must be that the sipirts of Comenius and Hus
and other learned men and heroes of the little nation
of Szecho-Slovakia still find their way about the
c(d town of Prague and blow their living breath
of desire to know into the students who come to
this place for knowledge. Otherwise it is hard to
believe that a student finds within himself the
strength to go through with his courses. A few dry
facts to prove this:
The enrollment in the University of Prague is at
present about 30,000. That number includes 5,000
students at the German university; about -3,000 Rus-
sians- and Ukranians at the recently-formed free
university for refugee students, mostly of these two
nationalities; 3,000 are from Jugo-Slavia. Prague
today is the greatest Slav student .center in - the
world. and almost any language can be heard among
this group of men and women, It has always been
a great university, the third oldest in the world, so
that in the present educational crisis among Slav
nations, Prague has to hold her head high and her
arms wide or thousands of students who are so
necessary to the leadership of their different coun-
tries will be with no place to continue their work,
and learning will stand in a fine way of being at a
premium in all of the Slav territory. Classes are
vastly overcrowded; a law student told me he was
lucky to be able to get into a lecture room once a
week. All of his other work had to be done by him-
self against looming examinations.
Imagine studying for a difficult technical course
at a university whose language you spoke imperfect-
ly, or not at all, from a beek written in still a third
language! In other words, if you are, a Serb or a
Russian, you study at a Czech univer-ay from (most
probably) a text-book written in Germa that is, if
by great and glorious good luck you are able to beg,
borrow or steal a book at all. The greatest pleas of
the Russian refugee students were for text-books
and drawing materials. What is a little matter of
food and clothing?
What jaunty word "digs" is, and all the other.
terms by which our respective student quarters are
known. But aftter all, the superficiality of much of
student life as we know it is swept aside and you
have only the bare bones of the "search" left. The
old days when philosophers used to sit about and
discuss how many angels could dance on the tip
point of a needle do not seem so long ago when in
is a the same devotion to untiring argument about
the midst of a real student discussionat least there
questions that are not often heard in an American
university outside of the debating society or the lec-
ture room. European students have always been
devoted to knowledge, and if they are learning to
apply their knowledge as never before they have
these same conditions of misery and want to thank.
While little of undergradnate li2 comes under
the ,personal influence of professors, for the usual,
relation of of student and professor is npt that of
"hail fellow well met", there are individual men. who

have a great deal of understanding for the problens
of undergraduate life and plenty of tolerance in
triying to help the student see his way through dif-
ficulties. One could not begin to give the credit that
is due to the devotion of these men who have stuck
at the hard and ill-paid job of teaching through these
last difficult years. I have seen, moreover, a certain
professor of the higher Technical Institute with his
wife's kitchen apron over his neat cutaway suit
helping in the building of the student colony. There

was given by the city to use for a colony of student
buildings; firms and individuals gave material toward
this work and the fininshed colony today affords
living quarters fur nearly seven hundred students.
The nine (two or more are planned) buildings, com-
prising the colony, are all the results of the labor
of men and women students enrolled in the Univeri
sity of Prague. Not only were the kitchens manned
and run by students, mostly women, but the digging
for foundations, the carpentering, all of the heavy
and skilled work was accomplished by students who
in this way earned a right to a place in the colony.
The work was directed by upper classmen in the
cngineering schools with a few paid foremen. It
stands as a monument to what grit and necessity

can do, In the early days of the enterprise, the
townspeople were so amazed at the unheard-of thing
of students working with their hands as laborers,
that they used to flock to the building lots to view
the curious sight. This curiosity was a temptation
to the busy business committee who planned to
capitalize it. Beginning with a national holiday,
October 28, the birthday of the Republic, admission
was charged to see students at work. Over fifty
thousand crowns were taken in the first day. In
addition, the kitchen force was mobilized after
serving a dinner for seven hundred student-work-
men, and the lot was covered by girls selling cookies
and chocolate-at a profit!-thereby greatly adding
to the day's proceeds.



by Robert S. Mansfield
AN, in the opinion of at least one student on
the campus, has no backbone. Whether with
grim satirical purpose or unconscious of the
exact meaning of his statement, this student has de-
clared that man closely resembles the jellyfish from
the base of the brain to the lower dorsal curve. IHis
language, to be sure, differed somewhat from the
statement printed above, but itis context was clear.
In a blue-book in organic evolution this stud',nt de-
cla;,ed that "a primate is an organism having no
backbone." Man is a primate, according to the best
This is but one of the thousands of foolish errors
which appear in blue-books at about this time every
year. T he geology department alone has compiled.
a list which fills some fifty pages composed entirely
of errors almost beyond the limits of the normal
imagination. Many are technical in phraseology;
man y ore absurdly simple, but all are inexc usably
cr on cons.
One student would have us believe that a "mas-
todon is the member of an evolutionary series."
Another disagrees with the jellyfish theory of man
by saying that "every primate that is alive today is
arboreal." Perhzips he, (or she) feels that nan real-
ly is tree-like, although asido from the green quality
no direct resemblance comes to mind. Another
rathe r.far fetched but none the less present, rap at
.man in general appears in a statement that the. gib-
bon, know to science us the lowest forr *of anthro-
-poid ape, is "a particular. branc h of fish.'
The uterodactyl, leng the favorite pa uontological.
reptile of common knowledge has been grossly mis-
represented In many instances. While in reality a
flying reptile, it has been called "an odd-toed form
of horse," "an even-toed animal--a dear," "a cow,"
"the adding of an extra finger on the hand," and "a
camel." Even in the wildest conjectures no scientist
has been known to problaim the pterodactyl a "dear."
From the ea'er pews of asp -ing freshmen in geol-
ogy 1 come the following bits of by-play. In mIany
instances wordls have of necessily been added to
make even literate English' of the quotations. At-
mosphteric conditions hava been given there due, if
It can be called that, ii the napers, fog, especially'
being mistr'eated--

"When moisture in the air changes to dust, we
get a fog," says one budding geologist. "When the
sun absorbs the moisture in the morning we get a
fog. The moisture was kept near the ground at
night by carbon dioxide in the air", declares another.
The nresence of heat in the atmosphere was ex-
plained by one student, evidently an inhabitant of
Mexico or some Central American republic, as fol-
low: "tie atmosphere is heated by revolution."
A wind gap, by way of explanation to the unini-
tiated, is formed when, after a stream has cut down
through a ridge, some agnecy has directel the stream
to another channel, leaving the cut in the ridge dry.
One student, obviously in violent disagreement with
the complexity of this definition has written thus:
"Water collects in pools in the rocks and wind comes
along and blows the water away and forms a wind
gap." Another writer on the same subject has more
fanciful ideas. "The westerly winds as they blow
towards the east may be effected by the winds from
the gulf (just what gulf not indicated) and also
winds from the east and as they all meet at once
it, may cause a wind gap."
Asp'rit oflevity mayI have actuated the writing
of this statement: "The monsoon winds cause a'
panic", but surely. no such motive could have been
behind another revelation which read: "The lMon-
soon winds bring moisture which is the only subste-
nance of the people of India," or behind this : "Ice
expands l ecause there is no room for it to con-
tract." One freshman whose thermometer was evi-
dently out of order committed to paged his. idea of
the cause for precipitation in this& original guise:
"Moisture in the atmosphere is precipitated when the
temperature of saturated air is reduced above the
bottom of the atmosphere."
It remained for one man to write a tongue-twister
of more than usual incomprehensibility. "After a
lake two and one quarter miles in diameter is froz-
en," he says, "Several bucklings up of the ice would
ensue after several crackling and contractings upon
being warmed and healings. If, on. the shore there
is a swamp, it too will be frozen in continuitywith
the lake. Bucklings on the lake synonymous with
bucklings on the land and this buckling up causes
ridges to form because it exerts considerable pres-
sure on the land."

The last Monthly Bulletin of the Confederation of
Czecho-Slovakia, published in English, gives an ac,
curate account of the Student Colony, from which
I have taken the following:
"Students offered their unskilled but willing
labor. Within two days after a proclamation in all
daily papers over seven hundred students were en-
rolled fcr work. Groups of ten each were formed
and started work in shifts, digging, quarrying, stone-
cutting, cutting wood and so forth. Everyone re-
ceived a booklet in which the hours worked were
put. After four hours the student laborer was en-
titled to a free meal prepared by girl students who
had hardly ever cooked before in their lives.
In Bluebooks
The various kinds of rock have come in for their
share of mistakes, most of them in gross ihisinter-
pretation of the scietific names given to different
forms. There is one direct statement to the effect
that "marble is a form of vegetation." Shale, mud
ha:rdcned into stone by the action of pressure or
heat or both, has been given a new source. One
enlightened student writes: "Shale is formed by
comprehension." And while rocks are under consid-
eration, it might be well to set down the following:
"The animals die and where wave action breaks
them up, they, due to resurrection, form into sedi-
mentary rocks."
Loess is a rock formed of fine dust by wind de-
position, to put the matter in a nutshell, and in some
of the slides used to illustrate this material in geol--
ogy courses here, Chinese dwellings cut into the
rock are shown. One student,' probably wakened
rudely from sleep in a lecture, was inclined to take
the slide too literally and wrote in his blue-book
that "loess may recognized by a Chinese family
living in it." Another, perhaps In an attempt at wit
write: "There are fissures and human relations In
the loess in China."
Too late to classify comes a variety of misinfor-
mation. "Plant life is animals that often do worlda
indirectly." we are informed. Anent the late ptero-
dactyl, one ardent follower of Izaak Walton calls
that injured reptile a flying fish. Insolation, the
term used with reference to the transmition of the
sun's rays to the earth, is called "the cutting off
of a land-tied island." It Is further noted that "ar-
borescent drainage is drainage from trees", whereas
geologists would have us believe that the term ap-
plies to a perfected system of river drainage, an
aerial view of which gives impression much like
the normal growth of a tree.I
One sweetly solemn thought comes to the fore
with the information that "moisture in the air is
caused by respiration, transpiration and aspiration.'
One is not a little disappointed to learn that pers-
piration, after all, has no part in that most useful
munction. And then one ispired although ungram-
matical scribes looses upon a gaping world the news
that "the atmosphere is so saturated that it can't
hold any more and so it leaves loose of its precipi-
'at Michigan
$200,000. Not all of this amount, however, is availa-
ble for use as loans since a large portion represents
principal which is not loanable by the terms of the
gift. Of the entire figure roughly $80,000 is free for
present needs. Through loans made from these
funds, many each year, temporarily embarassed, are
enabled to continue in school. Dean Joseph A. Burs-
ley is chairman of the committee which handles
this department of the University's work.
One of the things which the recent investigation
seemed to show was that the "touch-loans" as well
as the University loans filled a definite niche in the
working of the campus life. These friendly loans
take the place of the more business-like and pre-
tentious transactions of cmmerce in relieving one
man's temporary stress out of another's temporary
For students' financial affairs fluctuate due to a
number of causes. The sources of income is often
,remote and irregular. Vacations and large social
events have their effect. Then there is the first of
the month, which always brings the bookstore bill

and others. A good show at the Whitney or a "sup-
er-production" at one of the moviesmay produce a
perceptible quaver in the money situation. Always
when one man's finances are low he will find another
high, and later when their positions are reversed the
situation may again be saved by a "touch-loan." As
in business this loaning is for profit: there express-
ed in, dollars, here in friendliness and good fellow-
But don't the lenders often lose out, you ask?

"The work on the colony grew rapidly and two
to three hundred students worked daily with songs
on their lips and gaiety in their hearts. Forgotten
was the prestige of students In law, medicine, fine
arts. Everyone worked for the realization of a
sound new idea.
"A rule was made that only those could live in
the completed building who had given 750 hours'
work to it. But soon several student books showed
work of over two thousand hours, all between lec-
tures and hard study. And many of these students
had no intention of living in the dormitories when
completed, but were living with their families.
"High school boys and girls came from country
towns with their professors over the week-ends to
help with the work. By and by the great public be-
came interested in such a new enterprise and great
numbers came to look upon students working with
their own hands. So many crowded in that it was
necessary to erect barriers to protect the workers
and finally it was decided to charge the curious an
entrance fee.
"Of course all the students who started did not
persevere to the end. Some had to study, some lost
interest. But those who remained completed nine
dormitories, just a year after building began. One
of these was for girls and the others for boys. As
yet money is lacking for the central building and
the tenth barrack. The students did their best; the
idea was right and in spite of faults made, it came
through. It won even the sympathies of organized
labor and on Sundays skilled workmen came to
give their services to the students. Even in time of
a certain strike a whole factory crew came and
offered free help, which was something unheard of
before. Czech legionaries also gave their services.
"Today the colony is fully occupied by students.
It has a Board of Trustees which includes represen-
tatives of ministries, student bodies, the city, and
friends of students. It also has student autonomy to
regulate its inner life. All is not faultless because
it is new and needs development. But the value of
the colony, regardless of the fact that it housed
seven hundred and fifty students in the worstecrisis,
is in the pioneering example given. Students can
work with their hands. Instead of sending protests
and petitions they can start work and help them-
selves. And now most of the Sokol unions which
build their gymnasiums and club houses have adopt-
ed this scheme of self-help and get quick and cheap
results by the -manual cooperation of their members.
"So the colony in Letna, sitting on one of the
hills of Prague, facing the glory of the setting sun
over the towers of the great cathedral of St. Vitus
and the castle of Hradcany marks a new epoch in
our national life and shall forever remain'as a vic-
torious sign of a new idea1."
This really tremendous undertaking was made
possible to a great extent, I believe, by the gift
from the Y. M. C. A. and the Y. W. C. A. of a stu-
dent home the previous year, to all of the students
in Prague, irrespective of race, nationality or creed.
The foyer could accommodate about six thousand
members with its study rooms, baths, cafeteria,
clinic, assembly room and separate men's and wo-
men's wings containing social rooms, rest rooms and
so forth. When we say accommodate we mean that
when the membership reached six thousands, which
was shortly after the opening, the house was so
crowded from seven in the morning until closing
time at night that you couldn't have found space
for an extra waste-paper basket. This foyer is
absolutely the only thing in the way of student's
house in the entire city. It would take a vastly
longer article than this to tell of the use's and the
needs of the Studentsky Domov, Prague.
Soon after the opening of this foyer, the numbers
of refugee students, which up to that time had been
only a few hundred, increased to several thousand.
Since that time, separate faculties have had to be
organized to meet at all the demand for study of
these m'en and women who,are most of them almost
through their courses. Money has again been raised
from America to build a wing on to the Student
Home to attempt to accommodate the 'thousands
clamoring for admission. Admission means a warm
place to sit, to study, to bathe, to meet one's friends,
to eat decently of nourishing food.
It is the Studentsky Domov that has become the
student center for Czecho-Slovakia. The offices of
the Student Renaissance Movement are here, both
German, Cech and Russian and Ukranian' It 'is
here that the Czech stu'dents played'hosts to the
Confederation Internationale des Estudiants' first

General Congress in 1921. It is here that the stu-
dent cooperative shop is housed and the shoe-mend-
ing shop run by refugee operates.
Athletics? The students in Czecho-Slovakia has
little time for them. Right now he has little enough
reserve strength for them even if he could afford the
time. But there is a growing interest in them as
intercollegiate possibilities in the future. The Y. M.
C. A. has done a great deal in its army program to
further the idea of competitive athletics. Volley


The Almg'hty Dollar

by Edwin C. Mack
S OMEONl has estinmated that the interest at
sibx p'Ctr cent on the friendly "touch-loans" made
in the country in a year, if actually paid, would
be enough to force the German mark to par and put
the Bulgarians back in fighting condition.
But right here on the University of Michigan cam-
pus, according to an investigation just completed,
more than $200,000 annually changes hands in this
'way. In speaking of "touch-loans" we attempt to
distinguish between the small amounts loaned by
one student to another, and regular bank or Univer-
sity loans. Add to this the suinm borrowed from the
university student loan funds, v,hich during the past
year closely approached $15,000, and you have a
rough idea of the function of "money to loan' in
modern finance.
When, some time ago, a man who had made a
c asual survey of students' loans-to-each-other atn-
nounced that the Aransacctions certainly totaled over,
$180,000 yearly, he was greeted with surprise and djii-
'belief. A more ,thyrough investigation was under-
taken, It mere thai4 confirmed the first hasty sur-
nises, though tlec very nature of subject prevented.
anything more than careful estimates..
The ayerage muombor of a fraternity, sorority or,
house-club, loans approximately $23 in the 'course
of a school year. whe loans oc'ur in sizes involv-
ing everything from five cents to several hundred
dollars. The above average was arrived at by secur-
ing the estimated loans of a group of 20 representa-
tives from that portion of the student body. There

Following the same line of procedure among the
independents showed an apparent average of $20 per
year. Tlw closer association which tends to obtain
in the first group may account. for the fact that the
independent, on an average, borrows and loans $3
a year less than society members. One may easily
suppose that where a larger number live together
and know each other familiarly, the extension of this
sort of loan will be more common.
Cn the authority of the World Almanac of 1925,
the University enrollment was assigned at an ap-
pr 'cimate total of 10,000. Subtracting the number
of society members from this we find there are
6.940 independents. At the rate of $20 apiece this
would send their total loans up to the enormous
figure of $138,800!
Combining the two grand totals, a final figure of
$209,180 is reached as the closest possible estimate of
the amount "touch-loaned' by University of Michi-
gan students in a year. That sum at six per cent
would in a year return interest of $12,550.80. Yet
its records are seldom written, frequently forgot-
ten, and almost always indefinite. Two hundred
thousand dollars and more changes hands without a
signature and without the advice or assistance of
lawv! Such is one of the interesting phases of "cam-
pus finance."
The financial report of the University (Bulletin
of the new series, volume 26, number 16) shows that
the University loan fund extended 171 new loans to
students during the year which ended last June.
These loans aggregated $14,860. When added to al-

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