To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
Whether because of the erratic distribution of the second class mail or for some other cause, your edition of May seventh was not delivered to me in Baltimore with the result that I have not until today seen the article of Mr. James K. Glassman called "A Report on the Future of the University." Because that article quotes from a report of an interview with me which appeared in the Baltimore Sun but fails to note the corrections which were later published in the journal, I hope that you will permit me to set the record straight.
At no time in an interview which lasted an hour and a half did I say or suggest that opposition to ROTC at Harvard was confined to Maoists. What I did say was that a significant part of the leadership in the seizure of University Hall came from members of or candidates for membership in the Progressive Labor Party--a fact which appears to be generally accepted by all students and faculty with whom I have spoken. The characterization of that party as Maoist was not mine but that of the Sun reporter.
I made it clear to the reporter that while the great majority of the student body did not condone the violent acts of those who seized the building, many sympathized with them in their avowed purpose to abolish ROTC at Harvard.
Mr. Glassman's article portrays me as saying that the Governing Boards of Harvard are unwilling to abolish ROTC for fear that Harvard will lose federal research grants. This is a complete distortion of what I said, due in part, it is fair to say, to the way in which a portion of my remarks were reported in the Sun.
What I said was that the Governing Boards at Harvard had always avoided taking official positions on political questions for two reasons. First, they had no right to speak on such subjects for the Harvard constituency, which includes all of its faculty, students, as well as its alumni. Second, to do so would be to invite political interference which could take many forms, any one of which would be disastrous to academic freedom. It was in that connection that I used the simile of slapping a lion in the face.
I did point out that the fact that many students and faculty are recipients of government loans and grants renders them particularly subject to political reprisal. However, I added that the Harvard Governing Boards have always been zealous to protect the freedom of the faculty and students to express their views on any subject and will continue to resist any encroachment on that freedom from the government, the alumni, or any other source.