Last Saturday morning, while all the students who were not listening to Senator Taft on Cambridge Common were exercising their traditional Patriots Day privilege of sleeping late, something rather unusual was going on in the Houses. A group of earnest young men from Princeton, Haverford, and other colleges were dividing up into pairs and trios and visiting certain selected students rooms. Their purpose was to get the occupants of those rooms to come to a meeting that evening in Eliot House where they would tell all about their respective religious experiences.
This was no gag; it was a manifestation of a new movement which is aimed at achieving a reawakening of Christianity among college students through the methods of personal contact and exchange of religious traumata. This movement is said to be "gaining strength in colleges, especially in the Ivy League." The Harvard men contacted in this way were chosen, at least in part, on the basis of information given to the visitors by Harvard students who are also interested in a revitalization of Christianity.
What is wrong with all this is that those among the students contacted who had no interest in the spiritual movement and had no intention of recounting any religious experiences were strongly and justifiably annoyed by this invasion of their sleep and their privacy. If there is one tradition of which Harvard, as a market-place of ideas, should be most jealous, it is the tradition that any opinion should be allowed a hearing if anyone wants to hear it. But the market-place does not extend into the bedroom, and the affair of last Saturday abridged another important Harvard tradition--the right of every student to be left alone.
If the devout believers wish to state their views publicly or to an invited audience, then they are welcome here; there has been far too little frank discussion of important topics in colleges and in the nation generally in the past few years. If they wish to spread their ideas by personal contact based on voluntary introductions, that is their own business and nobody can complain. But we feel that the organized shock tactics in which last weekend's visitors indulged were inappropriate to a relatively mature and intellectual community such as Harvard. We hope that, in the interests of good order and simple politeness, they will exercise more discretion if and when they choose to visit the College again.