Chicago Daily News
THOMAS IN DEFENSE PAINTS
Professor Says Troubles Are Those That Fell to Pioneer in Any Field.
Assuming the mantle of a martyred explorer into the realm of human behavior and crediting the dismissal from the faculties of the University of Chicago as a vicissitude likely to befall a pioneer, Prof. William Isaac Thomas, freed from the charge of disorderly conduct after being found in a loop hotel room with Mrs. R. M. Granger, has issued a statement.
He classed himself with Galileo, acknowledges that the study of the sex question is a dangerous occupation, and touches but lightly upon the incident which attracted nation-wide notice. Prof. Thomas announced that in the interests of science his associations with women have been at times "indiscreet," but "whole constructive." Compromising though many situations may have been, the professor declared that through these associations, he has gained many new experiences through which he has hopes of contributing a share of established laws of social relationship which will free the world from pauperism, war, crime, prostitution and revolution.
The savant was diffident, however, about calling his associations with the wife of the army officer as purely in the interests of scientific research. Prof. Thomas’ declaration that he had engaged the room at the Brevoort hotel for the purpose of meeting there a young woman with an "interesting history" does not jibe with statements of Jack Horner, the hotel clerk who asked for their arrest.
"Prof. Thomas and Mrs. Granger had been in the room an hour," he said, "when I called at the room and demanded that the man, who had registered as ‘C. Roland and wife, Gary, Ind.’ further identify himself. He said he would do so and opened his suitcase. It was the character of the articles in the suitcase that determined me to hold the couple for arrest.
"Both Mrs. Granger and the professor were in deshabillé when we entered the room."
"Social Sciences Have Failed"
Prof. Thomas’ statement says among other things:
"I have no desire to make a formal statement concerning the incident which led to my dismissal from the University of Chicago unless it is done in connection with a summary of my vies of life in general, of the problems of teaching and investigation, of freedom from public oversight in the fields of private life, and in general with the problems of securing a more efficient and happy society for only in this connection can the incident have a meaning and value.
"We are all aware that human relations are not what we would have them.
"The social sciences have failed. History has failed, political science has failed, economics has failed, sociology has failed, criminology has failed.
"When conditions become unendurable we resort to prohibition, sabotage, new legal enactments, revolution and eventually to bolshevikism.
"I have been a professional student of society for a long time and I have long felt a profound dissatisfaction with the unreality of what I was doing toward the solution of the problems of society.
Took Remote Path
"For myself, I confess that I took for a time an even more remote path that the historians, I attempted to reach an understanding through the study of the most primitive forms of society through the so called savage.
"But a number of years ago I concluded that the only proper way to understand the present was to study the present and that the proper way to study behavior (which is the ultimate basis of social control) was to study the individual.
"The earliest anatomists had to behave as criminals in cutting open the human body to satisfy their scientific curiosity.
"I have constantly been identified in the public press for years with the topic of sex, yet not one-tenth of my printed works are on the topic. Sex bears to my work only the relation it ought to bear as a part of human nature. It is a nasty thing or a dignified thing, according to the purpose with which it is approached.
In Many ‘Compromising’ Situations
"I do not wish to let the topic of sex run away with me; I am already sufficiently identified with it. But before leaving it, I must point out that sex is a dangerous subject to study, because it is the only remaining subject which has not been opened up freely to scientific investigation. In the last generation religion was also a taboo question. At present any one can safely do or say anything he pleases about religion, but the subject of sex is so dangerous that it can be handled with safety only by committee or commissions of safe and respectable men, and not by individuals, and even then it possesses unexpected possibilities of danger to the reputation of those concerned.
"I have met many women in many situations which would be called compromising, have gained through this much new experience, and have incidentally been instrumental in raising a number of persons concerned to higher levels of efficiency.
"As to the incident, which has provoked this statement from me, Mrs. Granger is a mature and ambitious young woman. Her life is mainly centered in her child and in a self-development which would lead to the development of the child. In her association with me she was, consciously or unconsciously, seeking a means which would assist her to that end. She is incapable of any of the sentimentalities which she did not say but which the reporters wished her to say.
Defends Mrs. Granger
"She has also literary ambitions. Se had read a number of my "life histories" in manuscript, and she stated that when she had previously lived in Chicago she had known a girl who had a remarkable history. She saw this girl and arranged to get her history, on her own account and her possible literary ???. She was to bring the girl to my office but before the meeting it developed that the girl could not come so far on that day and it was agreed to meet in the city.
"Mrs. Granger did not know that I registered her at the hotel, and she had such confidence in me that it did not occur to her to question whether the proceeding was discreet or not. We entered the room and were apprehended before the appearance of her friend.
"I am therefore not guilty of the charge as it is understood, but I am guilty of holding views and being capable of practices not approved by our social traditions.