(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the request of the writer, will names be withheld. Only letters under 400 words can be printed because of space limitations.)
To the Editor of the Crimson:
On October 14th a Crimson editorial criticizing Widener stated: "Undergraduates are the best bloodhounds to ferret out and solve undergraduate complaints." We regret that in its editorial of last Wednesday the Crimson assumed such a hostile attitude toward the investigations of the Monthly on a problem first broached by the Crimson itself. Since our facts as well as our motives have been attacked, we have no choice but to reply.
We are charged with making, "libellous, false and publicity seeking accusations", "untrue statements," and "falsifications." The Crimson bases its claim on two points: "That it takes only about twelve minutes on an average" to get a book, while the Monthly says twenty; and that the chasers actually receive $47.50 a month for a 39-hour week against the Monthly figure of $40 for a 42-hour week.
First, the Crimson's use of an official average time required to get the books is irrelevant. The point of our editorial was to prove that during the busy hours there are many delays which could be remedied by enlarging the stack staff, not that that the average time is too long. When a second test was made last Wednesday afternoon at 3.30 by sending a dozen call-slips to various parts of the library, it was found that no book came within twelve minutes, one was returned within thirteen, and the rest required eighteen. We believe such experiences are common at the delivery desk.
Secondly, the Monthly does not say that the chasers receive $40 a month for a 42-hour week, as a more careful reading would have shown. Our editorial reads: ". . . . these girls were last year being forty dollars a month for a forty-two hour week." No one has denied that this was the actual wage, and the girls themselves will corroborate this figure. This Monthly is delighted to learn that in the recent past there has been a weekly increase in salary of $1.71 and a weekly cut if three working hours, The Crimson may feel that this $1.75 now paid to these girls is a living wage; it is the Crimson's right to think so. The Monthly does not. The Crimson may feel that the university's traditional attitude toward organized labor and minimum wage restrictions is not "generally unsavory"; the Monthly does.
As for "publicity-seeking" and "cheap methods of gaining notoriety", we state without qualification that the publicity in the Boston papers was unsolicited on our part, and unknown to us before its appearance. We cannot feel obliged to avoid controversial issues merely because the local press finds the labor situation at Harvard worthy of front page coverage.
The Crimson concludes: "It is too bad that the magazine that was once so ably directed by such men as Santayana and George Baker should have been so careless." It is too bad that a newspaper once directed by Franklin Roosevelt should have been not only careless but defamatory in its treatment of our editorial. W. S. Gifford, Jr., A. S. Geismer, A. S. Trueblood Officers of the Harvard Monthly