Middletown, Conn., May 23–The federal government is bound to play a larger part than ever before in education, believes Dr. James L. McConaughy, president of Wesleyan university.
He warned that if colleges do not do more to provide educational opportunities for boys in the lower income classes the government may assert its right to the college properties.
McConaughy said that whatever the result of the war, colleges are certain to be tremendously affected. Those with no state aid or control are going to be tested as never before. Many sources of their income, he went on, will dry up; and gifts to colleges will shrink. The state no longer will give freedom from taxation unless citizens are convinced that these independent institutions are serving the public welfare.
Dr. McConaughy said that a majority of American families have incomes of less than $2,000 a year; a child in such a home has one chance in 10 of going to college, despite the fact that he may show as great intellectual promise as a child in a wealthy home.
“We must to more in the way of providing an educational opportunity for boys from these lower income groups, from those homes where no member has previously attended college. If we do not the state may assert its right to our property, perhaps through confiscatory taxation, in order that higher education in America may be truly democratic and educational opportunities be equalized.
“If that happens, the independent school and college will vanish. … America would lose much thereby.”
From the Belvidere Daily Republican (Belvidere, Illinois), Friday, May 23, 1941.