Educational Problems in College and University: Addresses Delivered at the Educational Conference Held at the University of Michigan, October Fourteenth, Fifteenth and Sixteenth, Nineteen Hundred and Twenty, on the Occasion of the Inauguration of President Marion Leroy Burton

By John Brumm Lewis | Go to book overview

THE SALARY PROBLEM

HON. CHARLES L. SOMMERS, A.B. Regent of the University of Minnesota

In mathematics, problems may be classified according to the definiteness of their solution.

A problem may have one, and only one possible solution, in which case it is said to be "uniquely determined."

A problem may have a limited number of solutions, or again, it may have an unlimited number of solutions, each of which satisfies its conditions. In this case it is said to be "indeterminate."

A problem may have no solution, in which case it is called "impossible."

The problem before us clearly falls in this last class. It is one that is neither "uniquely determined" with a single solution, nor "indeterminate" with many. It is a problem with no beginning and no end, whose terms and conditions change from month to month, and even from day to day; a problem that baffles and puzzles not only regents and trustees and presidents of our universities, but also the executives and administrators of all other institutions. It is the spectre that haunts the offices of railroad officials and bank presidents; it worries the managers of our industrial plants and troubles and perplexes the whole world of trade and commerce -- ever present and never presenting a definite solution. Truly, it is an impossible problem. One can study it and ponder over it -- in fact, one must do that -- but to no one of us will it ever be given to put down an answer in black and white, with the letters Q. E. D. below it!

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