The Mail: 'Poor Journalism'

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

Whatever one may think of Paul Cowan's "outspoken appraisal" of parisal rules, his article contains as example of poor journalism which may harm both the University and the CRIMSON.

Mr. Cowan writes: "It is also true that most Harvard and Radcliffe students, when they leave their Colleges, are no longer virgins; and it is finally true that many of these students have their first complete sexual experiences during Harvard's parietal hours."

Despite the importance of these assertions, Mr. Cowan offers not one whit of evidence to support them. He cites no studies; he refers to no authorities; he gives no sign of having done any research on this matter whatsoever. Yet, he and the CRIMSON present these statements as fact.

Mr. Cowan's assertion's may or may not be facts. I do not know--nor does Mr. Cowan. All we have are hunches. And the CRIMSON should not print Mr. Cowan's hunches on a matter so important as undergraduate sex practices. As a newspaper, the very first responsibility of the CRIMSON is to be absolutely certain of the facts before printing anything.


Aside from damaging the reputation of the CRIMSON as a reliable news source, publishing these assertions seriously imperils the interests Mr. Cowan seeks to promote. Mr. Cowan's assertions may be used by those who are trying to reduce parietal hours as a justification for their case. I hope this will not happen. And I do not think it will. Anyone who reads Mr. Cowan's article carefully will realize that his assertions are worthless because he does not document them and gives no hint of having done any research. George Beecroft '64