Sporadic delivery of The New York Times last week resulted from labor problems at the Times, not from difficulties with the campus delivery service, Harvard Delivery News Service (HDNS) officials said yesterday.
Archie C. Epps III, dean of students, who oversees HDNS, said yesterday the delivery service received several editions of the Times too late for door-to-door morning delivery last week because of a "work slowdown" by Times employees.
"The stoppages are beyond the control of Harvard Delivery News," Epps said, adding, "I think this is not a repeat of last year."
Last spring, two students sued HDNS--which is the only campus service that delivers The New York Times and the Boston Globe--and won settlements equal to the replacement costs for missed papers.
Mitchell W. Smith '81 said yesterday some of the delivery problems this year may also result from people not allowing HDNS enough time to process their subscription coupons.
The appointment of Eric N. Reyburn '83 as an assistant to Smith should help prevent delivery problems this year, Epps said, adding that Reyburn will try to assure that the approximately 800 Times subscribers at Harvard receive papers every day.
Reyburn said yesterday he believes wildcat strikes in New York have caused later delivery of papers to the Boston area. "I'm sure many people think this is just a line," he said.
Circulation officials at the Times could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Once the Times begins delivering papers on time, HDNS will insure that anyone who does not receive a paper in the morning can call the service's office and ask to have the paper delivered to his House, Reyburn said.
"Everything is more efficient this year--it's just that the Times is arriving late," Smith said, adding that the Globe failed to drop papers at HDNS one day last week because its truck driver was new and could not find the HDNS office.
Jeffrey B. Matthew '81, one of the students who sued HDNS last year, said yesterday he will again demand a replacement-cost refund.
"Needless to say, it's the same old story," he said. "I don't understand why we're not allowed to get better service--either you use HDNS or you don't get a paper, and that's unfair," he added. Smith said he "has not thought about" a refund policy for this year.
Epps said a student organization must deliver the Globe and the Times to insure discount prices for the papers. He added that other student organizations have refused to take the responsibility in the past.
HDNS has not discussed any liability problems with the New York Times, Epps said, calling HDNS's option of reneging on its contract "not a practical alternative."
Benjamin A. Zurier '83, who last spring dropped a suit against HDNS after settling out of court, said yesterday he has not yet received the Sunday Times this year. "They're batting a thousand," he said, adding, "They haven't come through at all.