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(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:
In a recent issue, "Time" treated the Report on Some Problems of Personnel of the "Committee of Eight" as a kind of academic Magna Carta. It seems likely, however, that those close to the situation must infer from the objective significance of President Conant's acceptance of the Report "in principle" as announced in his open letter of May 32 to the Board of Overseers.
In consequence of circumstances which need not be related here, President Conant recently outlined to me one aspect of the University's appointment policy which, though special, seems to have an important bearing on the general situation. In my opinion, President Conant could quite properly have touched on this matter in his letter referred to above, since it involves all the essential elements of the difficult problem of academic appointment and tenure. At least, by so doing, he would have given an important clue to his thinking on that problem.
According to President Conant's statement to me, it is his policy, in offering certain appointments without limit of time under which the appointee would contract to give a particular specified course, to stipulate that the appointee assent to a qualifying clause of the following nature: "If at any time you should decide that you are no longer willing to give such course, or if in the opinion of a competent group of men you are giving such course unsatisfactorily, you would then agree to resign your position and would terminate your connection with the University." President Conant made it clear that this policy would apply only in special cases--such as might arise, for example, in connection with elementary language and composition courses.
Perhaps, in their search for an apt historical comparison, the editors of "Time" should have turned back a few more centuries to the story of the Trojan Horse. Very truly yours Marshall H. Stone, Professor of Mathematics.
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