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THE POLITICS OF TENURE

The Mail

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of The Crimson:

In last Saturday's article about the firing of Samuel Bowles, chairman of the Economics Department was quoted to the effect that teaching is a factor in decisions regarding promotion at Harvard. What hogwash! Anybody who has ever taken courses in the department is well aware that the men who teach those courses never could have been chosen on the basis of their ability to teach. The only reason that most students attend classes at all is because they have to get by the general exams given by those same men.

Also, the quote by the department chairman implied that while Bowles might be a good teacher there was some deficiency in his research and publications. Those of us who have supported Bowles believe that his research and publications are also of the highest quality. Indeed, he is widely known as one of the intellectual leaders of the revival of Marxism currently taking place among young economists.

The ridiculous part of the whole thing is that those who run the department are in no way require to give an accounting of why Bowles was fired. In the absence of a thorough explanation, we have further support of the conclusion that already seems most logical: he was fired for political reasons.

Since I am a student in the department, and am not so ignorant that I cannot learn from Bowles's case, I prefer to have my name withheld. A Graduate Student in Economics

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