To the Editors of The Crimson:
George Bayliss's article on my insulting remarks towards Lesley college, which resulted in that institution's withdrawal of Summer Compass Program from the Cambridge Public School locus, failed to include some important background detail as to why the honor of that institution, and Dean Wiley, were impugned at the recent meeting of the Cambridge School Committee.
In Summer, 1979, we permitted the Compass program to locate in the Peabody School on Linnaean Street. Without the knowledge of the School Committee, Lesley College put on its Compass Program payroll the principal of that school. The reason became obvious when, during that summer, the principal, Leland Miller, evicted a successful summer program operated by the public Community Schools Department from its Peabody School quarters. At the same time, the Compass Program was allowed free run of the facility. Miller claimed it was necessary to do so to facilitate cleaning of the building. He also stated that, although not required to be present, he was at Peabody to meet the spirit of his School Department duties in efficiently maintaining his building. In fact, as he later admitted when confronted, he was on the Lesley College payroll. This was particularly distasteful, since the Community Schools Program is based at that same school and its participants were neighborhood residents.
When confronted with this information before a public meeting of the School Committee, Wiley indicated that he had, by letter, previously informed the School Committee that Compass had intended to hire an administrator from the Cambridge School System to protect the school facility. When David Holway, a member of the School Committee, retrieved Wiley's earlier written correspondence, no such intention was stated.
I am firmly convinced that the true-motive of Lesley College is simply that they cannot afford the program at its best budgeted level, nor were they willing to provide the range of scholarships to Cambridge school aged youngsters. Nor is it clear that the advantage in hosting the program was entirely for Cambridge Schools. Lesley got a free training school for its tuition paying students-practice teachers.
Nor has Lesley been unfavorably treated by the public school system. In fact, we presently oversee almost 20 students-teachers who are Lesley undergraduates.
Nor is it coincidental that Lesley College, which has grown dramatically over the past ten years, forcing the departure of many families from the Oxford-Massachusetts Avenue neighborhood, is objecting to the efforts of certain city officials to "down-zone" the area and to take other action to prevent expansion. These concerns have, in my firm opinion, been made known to city officials in a position to plead for more cooperation from Lesley, as the reversal of their decision to withdraw the Compass Program might be an example of such cooperation.
To be sure, my strong comments aimed at Lesley, provided a convenient excuse to allow Lesley to show us that they want more special consideration. However, I firmly believe that the institution is quickly becoming far less than a valuable asset to this community which it once was as it eats up our neighborhood.
In conclusion, to correct Mr. Bayliss's quote of me, between Harvard and M.I.T., the two buttocks of our city, there is a hemorrhoid called Lesley College, and it is growing more irritating and painful with each passing year. Glenn Koocher '71