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The Mail


To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

I am distressed by the vehemence of your recent editorial urging the abolition of ROTC at Harvard. Although this view is the current undergraduate fashion, I had hoped it would not be given even the small measure of legitimacy that a CRIMSON editorial confers. This position is contrary to the best traditions of both Harvard and the CRIMSON.

Basic to academic freedom is the concept that a student may follow any course of study, or study any subject, that he feels suits his needs. The corollary is equally basic, that the University should try to offer any course or course of study that a reasonable number of students seek to pursue. The new black studies programs around the country are only the most recent, and newsworthy, examples of this. Any action by anyone which seeks to limit the freedom of the University to offer courses smacks of censorship, and is distressingly similar to the recurrent incidents in which PTA's try to get books with dirty words removed from school curricula, or vigillantes try to remove such works from public libraries.

Some years ago, your ilk might have tried to abolish a seminar in the works of Oscar Wilde. During the World Wars, they tried to bar the teaching of German language and literature, and have since made sporadic attacks on Russian and Chinese studies. Perhaps French will be next, or Spanish; and how about criminology or police science? They too serve a "policy opposed by a sizable element of the population," and the Fletcher School at Tufts feeds its graduates to the "expansionist foreign policy" you abhor.

Really, sir, do you think the College should be made over in your image? If you despise the flute, should no one study it? Would you deprive the military of the small leavening that its complement of Harvard-educated officers provides, and leave us to the tender mercies of an officer corps wholly derived from West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs?

Are you planning to burn their books? Thomas Lumbard '58, L'62

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