Universities: Threshold of What?

Woodrow Wilson Sayre, 45, a ruggedly handsome fellow with boyish charm, is President Wilson's grandson as well as a mountain climber, best-selling author (Four Against Everest), playwright, pianist, amateur architect, and onetime Democratic congressional candidate from California. He is also a hero to his philosophy students at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. Sayre, in fact, is just about everything except a scholar who can measure his monographs by the pound, and for that reason he was fighting for his job last week.

Sayre, an assistant professor, has been at Tufts since 1957. Last October, in a letter from a dean,...

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