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SOC SCI 125 SURVEY

The Mail

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

You are undoubtedly one of the most biased "newspapers" in existence, and the situation gets worse every year. Perhaps this is because you consider yourself to be a radical social club which prints a daily newsletter. At any rate you have once again shown how even "facts and figures" are distorted representations of reality.

Your article on "Harvard Family Incomes" is in itself perhaps more a comment on Soc Sci 125 than anything else. Why don't they join Soc Rel 149, which honestly proclaims that they want to view society through a radical perspective? Manipulating figures to support predetermined conclusions is revolting in any course which pretends to be an examination of "The American Economy."

Let us examine the facts presented to us as a result of Mr. Bowle's survey. First, he says that "The sample is sufficiently large to establish its main conclusions." In the first place, let me point out that this class is not a random sample of Harvard students--even less so than other classes because of its politically oriented topic. Therefore, any claims that the 163 students of Soc Sci 125 stand for "Harvard" are questionable, to say the least.

No one would question, however, that Harvard students come from generally high-income families. Mr. MacEwan, however, draws the conclusion that "the survey provides an economic lesson about the tie between education and income." I would suggest that to turn "Harvard" into "education" is a gross distortion. It is ironic, also, since so many Harvard "radicals" think they know much more than anyone else about the nation's problems.

What is the final use of these figures? According to Bowles, they are "to explain basic statistical concepts and to provide an indication about the class structure of universities. . . ." One can accept the implied conclusions, yet they do not follow at all from the survey taken. I would suggest that this "survey" shows instead how any determined statistician--whether radical or reactionary--can find facts and an interpretation which will fit his predetermined ideas. This is a sad comment on the instructors of Soc Sci 125--and on the increasingly overt politicization of education at Harvard. Jess Hungate '69

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