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To the Editors of The Crimson
I was amazed to see the Crimson (October 28) question the commitment of Prof. Paul to the conduct of the defense at my C.R.R. hearing.
(Prosecutor) Stewart continually questioned the witnesses in a way that would have brought most defense attorneys leaping out of their seats, but brought only an occasional objection from William Paul McKay Professor of Applied Physics and Messing "advisor".
In his role as my advisor (not my advisor --and not my defense attorney since I conducted the bulk of my defenses he spent weeks helping to work out a strategy armed at exposing the absurdity of the administration's charges at emphasizing the political justifications for the Littauer sitin and at pointing out the politically repressive nature of the disciplinary process. It's true that relatively few objections were raised by Prof. Paul and myself to some of the prosecution's grosser tactics, such as persistent cross-examination of witnesses on material unrelated to their testimony; attempts to prejudge my "guilt" for the Committee; insinuations that I had prior knowledge that Wilson's office door would-be broken; and the refusal to drop the breakage charge although it could not be substantiated. However, it was Prof. Paul's and my conscious policy to let the prosecution reveal the inadequacy of its own "evidence." Neither he nor I thought that legal expertise would be the most effective tool for counteracting the administration: we agreed that the procedurally and politically offensive nature of my trial could be easily exposed without over-reliance on legalistic maneuvering retrospect. It seems clear that the prosecution did in fact do an excellent job of undermining itself: we couldn't have improved on it.
The tone of the October 28 article suggests a further point. Often students, including Crimson reporters, assume that faculty members form a unified bloc which always sides with the administration against students. This is sometimes true; witness only J.Q. Wilson's role in disciplining students or that of Kissinger in formulating the government's Southeast Asia policy. Yet one of the most encouraging aspects of the present anti C.R.R. campaign is the unity of faculty with students, behind proposals for reform, as evidenced by the support for these proposals at recent faculty meetings. Many faculty members are unwilling to continue to do the administration's political dirty work of punishing radicals: more and more have begun taking strong public stands against the administration on this issue: a number have participated in recent C.R.R. hearings as defense witnesses and observers.
So it is crucial that we not prejudge the faculty. On this issue and others, like Harvard's racist policy and its contributions to the war, we have to see a significant number of the faculty as potential allies. Ellen J. Messing
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