Matthiessen, Prall Blast Conant Policies In Walsh-Sweezy Case
The text of the Matthiessen-Prall letter appears on pages 2 and 4.
Reaffirming its confidence in the Walsh-Sweezy Committee and condemning Conant for too hasty a final statement, members of the Faculty today addressed an open letter to the President's Committee.
Signed by Francis O. Matthiessen, associate professor of History and Literature, and David W. Prall, associate professor of Philosophy, the communication represents the sentiments of many of the original signers of the memorandum which was presented to nine senior professors in May of 1937 asking for an investigation into the Walsh-Sweezy case.
The letter says that the Committee's report "possesses great value for the future development of educational policy." In regard to this report, published last Thursday, it continued: "In raising the question of the adequacy of the criteria employed in judging these two men for reappointment, it outlines a set of standards far more searching and intelligent than any that were used."
The letter also claims that the statement in Conant's letter to the Board of Overseers, which said that the report overemphasized the extent to which misunderstanding between the Administration and the Economics Department may have affected the case, was "unsupported by concrete evidence. . ."
It argued that, with the resignation last autumn of assistant professor John MacI. Cassels, one of the two Faculty instructors who had been promoted, "the whole situation has been substantially changed . . . Consequently it is not at all clear on what grounds the President declares that to follow the recommendation of the Committee would be both unwise and impractical. " . . . We wish to reaffirm our entire confidence in the Committee . . . On the other hand, our misgivings about the Administration that rose from this case have not been dispelled . . . We do not see how it was possible for the President to issue his final statement within a week after receiving your report and still declare that all its issues had been "carefully canvassed."