New York Times
CATTELL RETAINED BY COLUMBIA BOARD
President Butlerís Request Saves Psychology Professor from
LOEB INCIDENT A FACTOR
Faculty Memberís Letter Criticizing Century Association Said to Have
Influenced University Trustees.
Dr. J. McKeen Cattell, Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, still is a member of the Faculty. The Board of Trustees held its final meeting yesterday afternoon, and it was said afterward that the question of the professorís retirement was not considered. The Committee on Education of the board has favored Prof. Cattellís retirement on a pension. It became known that he owed his retention to the personal request of President Nicholas Murray Butler.
The failure of the Century Association to elect to membership Dr. Jacques Loeb early last month and a bitter letter written by Dr. Cattell, sponsor for Dr. Loeb, in which he charged that his nominee was blackballed because of race prejudice, also played a part, it has been said. Dr. Cattell, in a letter he sent to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Columbia, under date for May 13, protested against retirement, and there was an apparent danger of the Loeb affair being connected with the action of the Trustees if, in the face of his protest, Dr. Cattell were dropped from the Faculty. There seemed to be even the danger of another controversy as that which marked the turning out of Prof. Harry Thurston Peck.
Dr. Cattell received notice on May 9 that the resolution providing for his retirement would be presented to the Board of Trustees at its next meeting, it being proposed to give him the same pension he would have received from the Carnegie Foundation, but for the fact that he was not 65 years old. He had applied for a pension from the Foundation in 1910. The doctorís circular letter condemning the Century Association was obtained by the newspapers on May 13. At Columbia yesterday it was stated that the Trustees in no way were interested in the Loeb incident and that it had nothing to do with any action in regard to Dr. Cattell.
It seemed probable that Dr. Cattell would be retired until May 21, when G. L. Rives, Chairman of the Trustees, sent him a letter saying that the Committee on Education had favored his retirement "in accordance to a previously expressed judgment of your own and also in accordance with its own conviction that the interests of the university would be promoted by your retirement." But the closing paragraph of the letter read:
Your letter on May 13, 1913, addressed to the Chairman of the Trustees, confirms the committee in this latter opinion, but at the personal request of the President of the university and in deference to his wishes, the committee has decided not to present the trustees the resolution providing for your retirement, of which you were notified under date of May 9 last.
It was in the letter of May 13 that Dr. Cattell objected to his retirement. It was said yesterday that he never made application for retirement to the Trustees of Columbia and never was asked to resign. It was in his application to the Carnegie Foundation that Dr. Cattell expressed his desire to be retired. Why he changed his mind, no one in Columbia would say yesterday, and it was impossible to obtain the test of his letter written to Mr. Rives on May 13.
Dr. Cattell has been prominent on several occasions in his twenty-five years at Columbia. At the time of Prof. Peckís removal he had this comment to make in a pamphlet:
"The present tendencies in university control do not attract able and independent men. The bureaucratic system by which nearly everything is done by the President is subversive to academic freedom. It yielded to, the whole university life would become demoralized."