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CIA Recruiting Cancelled To Avoid Student Protest

By Gerald M. Rosberg

The Central Intelligence Agency has cancelled a two-day recruiting drive at Harvard, apparently to avoid student protest.

James W. Gurll, chief CIA recruiter in Boston, had planned to hold interviews at the Center for Graduate and Career Plans yesterday and today. But on Friday, Feb. 17, four days after the disclosure of the CIA's involvement with the National Student Association, the Center was told that no Agency recruiters would come to Harvard.

Gurll said yesterday that the drive had been called off because no more than a handful of students had registered for interviews, and it would be more convenient to bring the students to the Agency's recruiting office in Boston.

He said that the primary reason for the cancellation was not fear of a student demonstration and the resulting publicity, but he admitted that "there might have been a little of that in it."

A spokesman for the Students for a Democratic Society said that plans for a protest never got off the ground because of the CIA's early cancellation. But he added that if the recruiters had come they probably would have been greeted by a picket line. Another possibility, he said, was for a large number of SDS members to request interviews with the recruiters in order to "give them a lot of flak."

At Columbia University last week, 19 students sat-in outside an office where the CIA was conducting interviews. The recruiters, who were trapped inside for five hours, decided to discontinue their drive.

The CIA recruiters generally visit Harvard twice each year, Lawrence F. Stevens, assistant director of the Office for Graduate and Career Plans, said yesterday. "To the best of my knowledge," he said, "this is the first time they have ever cancelled a scheduled visit."

Gurll said that he was not particularly concerned about the bad publicity the CIA has received recently. "We always get more applicants when our name appears in the papers," he said.

He mentioned that the CIA had cancelled recruiting drives at several other colleges in the Boston area in the last few weeks, but he refused to name the colleges involved.

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