So many conflicting
rumors have been circulated regarding the past, present and future
of Ruskin University, that I believe the Socialists of the United
States would like an Impartial statement of the facts In the case.
By way of preface I desire to explain that I am In no way connected
with the management of the university, while I have had the best of
facilities for personal observation of Its work and acquaintance
with Its officers and students, since my residence la at Glen Ellyn,
where It Is located, and I am financial secretary of Local Glen
Ellyn of the Socialist Party, the membership of which consists
largely of Ruskin students.
While the Ruskin College was operated at
Trenton, Mo., Walter Vrooman was Its chief financial support. His
connection with the Institution was definitely ended at least three
months ago. Socialists can hardly be blamed for looking askance at
Ruskin while Vrooman was a director. He Is a generous, whole-souled
fellow with the greatest enthusiasm for Socialism as he understands
It; but he Is hopelessly erratic, and he refuses to work Inside the
Socialist Party, because he wants to be dictator In whatever Is
doing. He Is out now and It Is needless to discuss him further.
Ruskin University Is an amalgamation of
various schools, among which are Ruskin College, which removed from
Trenton under the direction of George McA. Miller, and the Chicago
Law School, at the head of which was 3. 3. Tobias. This Tobias
became the chancellor of the university, In charge ot Its Chicago
office In the Schiller building, while Miller, with the title of
Dean, was In actual charge of the class work at Glen Ellyn.
An essential part of the University work which
had been agreed upon by all parties concerned before the
consolidation was that economics and sociology should be taught by
Socialists, from the Socialist point of view, not, however,
excluding their presentation from the capitalist point of view also
If found desirable. As a matter of fact the only course on these
subjects. In the spring term of 1903 was a course of lectures on
Socialism by May Wood Simons. I had the privilege of listening to
most of her lectures and found them Instructive and stimulating In a
high degree. They were attended by a large proportion of the
students, and bad a marked effect In clearing their Ideas.
Toward the end of the spring term Chancellor
Tobias evidently became alarmed at the growing prominence of the
Socialist thought in the University, and resolved to check It If
possible. He gave out Interviews and newspaper letters falsely
asserting that a small group of students was alone responsible for
any Socialist tendency on the part of the University, and he
undertook from that time to get rid of Socialist students and also
of Dean Miller.
An animated though not noisy contest ensued
for the control of the Glen Ellyn property and I am happy to
announce that Miller has won out and that under his direction
scientific Socialism will be taught at Ruskin by A. M. Simons, May
Wood Simons, and probably soon by other members of the Socialist
Party. Miller himself has not thus far been a party member, although
he votes the Socialist ticket, hut the logic of events Is bringing
him to ns Irresistibly. When he comes Into the party organization It
will be to stay. I have known him for years and know that he Is a
man to tie to.
Ruskin College may continue to affiliate with
the various Chicago schools that with It made up Ruskin University,
but It will have Its own board of trustees, and Its own local
government, so that there will In future be no Interference with Its
established policy of teaching the truth on social problems. It Is
the purpose of the college to furnish Its students with employment,
for a sufficient portion of their time to enable them to earn their
board and room rent. Courses, both resident and correspondence, will
be given by Mr. and Mrs. Simons as originally announced In history,
economics and sociology. I can unhesitatingly commend the school as
one to which Socialist parents can send their sons and daughters
from fourteen years up, with the assurance that their minds will not
be perverted by the capitalistic atmosphere such as surrounds most
colleges. It Is also the best possible place for a young workingman
who desires to get a broad education while earning his own living.
It appears that Inquiries from Socialists
addressed to Ruskin University have been deliberately neglected by
Tobias, who received the mall. To ensure getting a prompt answer
address Inquiries personally to Geo. McA. Miller, Glen Ellyn, 111.
The fall term opens September 15.
Charles H. Kerr