To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
The irresponsibility of the CRIMSON this past term suggests that any defense of your policies on the ground of "A Newspaper's Responsibility" is far removed from any facts in your own case. Specific serious instances of your irresponsibility where I personally know the facts are:
1) Your publication of the names on the "Reducators" list of 68 so-called "Communists, communist sympathizers or fellow travellers" (9/26/50) although advised by Professor Seavey of the Law School that the proposed publication was libelous. Note that the Cambridge City Council itself refused to publish the list, after City Solicitor Daly advised that it could not legally be given even to the nine City Councillors and the Chief of Police (10/20/50).
2) Your giving currency to Walter Winchell's unfounded statement that "Harvard has a murder on its hands," and to the charge that "somebody was responsible for the death" of Jeremiah Brickman, 2L, (11/16/50).
3) Your refusal, in spite of earlier promises, to give any publicity at all to the important fact that Harvard University students were both direct and indirect beneficiaries of the Red Feather Community Fund in either your advance story on the College Combined Charities Drive (10/25/50), or in your story on the opening day of the drive (10/31/50). (The three buried lines in your later editorial (11/1/50) were wholly ineffective, not merely because they came after most of your readers had already made up their minds, but also because you were entirely too brief to summarize fairly the written statement to you of the important facts involved--not merely the $17,000 of free medical services provided directly for students last year, but the nearly $500,000 in the 1951 Red Feather budget for purposes indirectly benefiting students this year.)
I take no position on your present disagreement with Radcliffe, about which I have no first-hand knowledge. But I do believe your readers are entitled to know the reputation for irresponsibility which the CRIMSON has acquired in my experience with it during the past three months. Livingston Hall, Vice-Dean, Harvard Law School
While we cannot claim that every story in the CRIMSON this term has been accurate in every detail, we can assure Dean Hall that we have never deliberately been inaccurate or irresponsible. As to the "specific serious instances" when Dean Hall claims to "know the facts":
1) After the CRIMSON had called Professor Seavey, a high Law School official himself called the CRIMSON to explain that the "Red" list was not, as we had originally supposed, now but that in reality it was the old "Reducators" list that received widespread publicity two years ago. We decided to publish that list because we felt that our readers were entitled to know which faculty members the sponsors of the list had called "Communists, Communist sympathizers, or fellow travelers." For we felt that only if our readers had this information could they understand the significance of the list and its political use. The CRIMSON felt and still feels that we gave our readers a fair picture of the accuracy of the list by publishing the fact that such persons as the following were identified by it as "Communists, Communist sympathizers, or fellow travelers": Brinton, Conant, Friedrich, Groplus, Holcombe, Metcalf, Pound, Sorokin, and Wild.
2) "Walter Winchell's unfounded statement that Harvard has a murder on its hands'" was founded on the statements of Assistant State Medical Examiner Dr. Michael A. Luongo that Brickman had probably received a blow on the head and on Luongo's refusal to let the police close the case. The CRIMSON felt and always will feel that such action by a state official is news of interest and significance.
3) The CRIMSON can well understand how Dean Hall, as Harvard chairman of the drive, had hoped that more publicity would be given the Red Feather; but the CRIMSON could never publicize one charity from the Combined Charities Committee's list of eight more than any of the other seven. It might be legitimate to criticize the CRIMSON for not giving even more publicity than it did to the drive as a whole. It is certainly not legitimate to attack any newspaper for failure to pick out Dean Hall's favorite charity and publicize it more than the others. The CRIMSON agrees wholeheartedly with Dean Hall that the Community Fund drive is very important and of both direct and indirect benefit to Harvard students. We are sorry that we could not devote even more space to the whole Combined Charities drive. We are not sorry that we did not discriminate among the charities involved in that drive