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ERIC Number: EJ826285
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 29
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
A Struggle for Control and a Moral Scandal: President Edmund J. James and the Powers of the President at the University of Illinois, 1911-14
Solberg, Winton U.
History of Education Quarterly, v49 n1 p39-67 Feb 2009
In 1911 Jean Baptiste Beck, a scholar of international reputation, was appointed to a three-year term on the faculty of the University of Illinois. His personal eccentricities conditioned his adjustment to the community. In 1912 he married the daughter of a University professor, and as a result Edmund J. James, president of the University of Illinois from 1904 to 1920, informed him that, because of the relative rule, his appointment would not be renewed. Later, James cited lack of harmony in the Romance languages department as the reason for not reappointing Beck. Documents in the University archives reveal that the stated reasons were not the real reasons. At some point, probably in August 1913, James learned that Beck had flouted American moral standards by his conduct in Europe. Abundant documentary evidence made clear the nature and extent of Beck's transgressions. Thus James was caught on the horns of a dilemma that arose out of contemporary conventions. On the one hand, he deemed it impossible to retain Beck because he was unsuitable as a teacher of American youth. On the other hand, James could not publicly state the real reasons for not reappointing Beck. The Beck case was inseparably related to the larger question of the powers of the president of the University. Beck's brief career at Illinois illustrates the intersection of a struggle for control of the University with the personal qualities of a gifted professor. (Contains 105 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois