With fresh intimation from Germany that the Jewish persecution will not cease until the point of extermination has been reached, the Corporation's voting of twenty scholarships for refugee students comes like a voice from some free, untroubled world. Naturally, this august ruling body is not enmeshing itself financially, for it has stipulated that no awards, which amount to $500 apiece, will be made unless the Undergraduate Committee on Refugee Students can raise an equalize. Furthermore, the University is in part covered by a generous gift of $5000, and it looks very probable that the remainder will be donated by some humane alumnus or alumni. Thus the Corporation assumed almost negligible financial responsibility and left the actual success of the refugee plan up to the student body.
This, however, does not spell failure. From the readiness of Harvard students to send an ambulance to Spain a year ago, it is apparent that an appeal to their pockets for what seems a more practical humanitarian aim will receive full response. But we think that the appeal will succeed without door-to-door canvassing. As the incident of the Spanish ambulance showed, such a procedure adds the distasteful angle of compulsion to what should be purely voluntary contributions. By prominent display money can be collected just as well in the dining halls and in classroom entries.
Neither does the Corporation's rejection of responsibility detract from its recognition of the need for America to demonstrate tolerance for those being persecuted abroad. It has in effect applauded the humanitarian ideal of the Undergraduate Committee, and this must be remembered when in the future the occasion arises to defend Harvard liberalism. The number of the scholarships appears to be sensible; it approves assistance without basing assistance on an impractical and overemotional scheme; it condemns the Nazis with caution. Moreover, it points the course for other colleges in this country to pursue. For a widespread assertion of our faith in human tolerance the colleges must unite in the raising of funds to care for students fleeing a barbarous dictatorship. Then, Harvard's endeavor to help, eloquently termed by President Conant "a symbol. . . to show by deeds as well as by words that the humanitarian basis of democracy is not dead," will have become a dynamic national attitude against fascism.
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