BokExplains Globe Quote

Derek C. Bok wrote three Belmont City officials last month to deny having criticized the town's present school system at the press conference which followed his official appointment as Harvard's next President.

The Boston Globe of January 15 quoted Bok as saying at that conference that "Belmont schools are not as well-financed as they could be, and the Belmont school system is not as good as the town should have."

But Bok explained in letters which he wrote the same day to Belmont's school superintendent, school committee chairman, and selectman that he had been referring to the condition of the school system in 1964-when he decided to send his oldest child Hilany to the private Belmont Day School-rather than today.

Bok made his comments about the Belmont schools when a reporter asked him why he had sent his two older children to private school.

Bok's denial, which was printed in the Belmont Herald, disappointed some Belmont citizens who are still dissatisfied with the town's school system.

Courage to Criticize

Joann Pinck, dean of studies at Pine Manor Junior College, had praised Bok in a letter to the editor of the Belmont Citizen for having the "courage" to criticize the school system.

Pinck said yesterday that Belmont's school system, although it has improved since 1964, is still "very conservative." Bok said that he is "not qualified to judge the system as it exists today."