NOVEMBER 16, 1959
NEW YORK—I returned home on Friday after an interesting visit to Ohio State University, where I was impressed by the efforts being made to help deserving students obtain a higher education.
Ohio State now has 23,000 students. It is situated in the city of Columbus, and the students live all over the city as well as near the campus proper. Concerts, plays and lectures are given in the Center, a beautiful building named after Mr. Mershon, who donated the funds for its erection. It has a large and remarkably well equipped auditorium, which already seems to me too small for the growth of the university.
Way back in 1938, when I visited the university, they were inaugurating a novel idea. They had built rooms under the sports stadium and were allowing students with little money to live in these rooms during their college course. Today this has become an elaborate setup. For $360 a year, boys can have board and lodging. They run their own cafeteria and do most of their own work. They tell me the food is good; and while I know they had tidied up for my visit, it nevertheless seemed to me that the rooms were comfortable places in which to live and study. They had a nice lounge and a television set.
More and more of our universities are making it possible for young people with limited means to go through college paying only the amount of money they can earn during the summer. This is a very satisfactory arrangement because in Ohio State many of the students are also on scholarships. Some of them of course, earn money as they go through. But if they need to give all their time to their studies, it is possible for them to do it.
Universities are realizing more and more that we cannot afford to waste our human material simply because students do not have the money to go to college. The thing that bothers me is that youngsters who originally have no hope of going to college, because of financial reasons, do not prepare for it in high school. I think it should be mandatory that any child showing the ability to go through college should be made to take the necessary preparatory courses in high school.
I have now finished reading the report entitled "The Shame of New York," written by Fred J. Cook and Gene Gleason, which constituted the October 31, 1959 issue of The Nation. I must say that I have never been more thankful that Senator Lehman, Thomas Finletter and I have been able to do a little to encourage the reform movement in New York City at the last elections. I hope that this report will bring us many adherents among New York's citizens. Its last story—about the little boy who was almost framed by the police—is one of the most terrible human tales I have ever read.
I agree with The Nation in its final conclusion that Governor Rockefeller as well as the Mayor himself has considerable responsibility in this whole situation. New York City needs a thoroughgoing investigation. I suppose this would be difficult for the Governor, for undoubtedly his organization should also be investigated and the same situation can be found in both parties. I can only say that we need men in the Democratic party who have the courage to put through an investigation of themselves. I would add that Mr. Robert Moses should not be above being investigated.