Names of people and places in Social Relations honors theses will be disguised this year.
According to an announcement issued by the department's faculty, it will now be "standard practice to conceal or disguise the identities of contemporary persons, places, institutions, or events that are centrally concerned in the thesis . . ."
The statement, issued by head tutor Joseph A. Kahl, said that "the principal purpose of the honors thesis is not to provide a concrete description or journalistic account of particular events, persons, or places, but rather to analyze social phenomena in such a way as to yield statements about general regularities in human behavior."
The move was brought on, said Kahl, by distorted press stories about parts of theses that have referred to Harvard and been used out of context. The most recent case was the story on drinking at Harvard done by Roger V. Pugh, Jr. '51 1L. Several magazines picked out the small part relating to athletes here and blew it into national notoriety.
Theses can mention the names of pertinent persons, places, and things, the announcement continues, "where (1) concealment or disguise clearly reduces or vitiates the scientific value of the thesis, or (2) the persons, places, institutions and events are so transparently wellknown to the public that no harm can come to them from the study."
This clause is necessitated, said Kahl, as many people interviewed by thesis writers are told or ask that the material be confidential.
The statement concludes "if, in the opinion of the Committee on Undergraduate Instruction, material in the thesis could cause embarrassment to persons or institutions concerned, the thesis shall ordinarily be classified as "Restricted."