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To the Editors of the Crimson:
I was dismayed to see the report in the Crimson that Dean Whitlock had co-signed charges with Prof. Herrnstein regarding alleged interference with Herrnstein's "academic freedom and freedom of movement."
I was further disturbed to see reported that the head of CRR. Professor Burnham, was ruling out an open hearing on the case.
It seems to me morally absurd for a university to threaten to forcibly severe a student from the university, enforcing that severance with the law courts and police, for what comes down basically to "asking angry and impolite questions."
I do not support the actions of SDS or UAG in this and other matters: I do support their goals. Their actions, alas, have often been silly and alienating. But for a university to claim that a professor who teaches an incredibly biased course and refuses to allow opposing views to be expressed (one of his complaints is that students who were putting up posters protesting his "theories" refused to take them down!), who publishes a dangerous article in a mass-circulation magazine that also refuses to allow opposing view to have equal coverage--to claim that this man's "academic freedom" has been violated by rude students and that their academic freedom should therefore be taken away, well this seems like pure double-think to me. The charges against the students seem to be essentially that they showed no respect for Professor Herrnstein. Well, they have none: nor, perhaps, should they. The message is simply that YOU CANT LEGISLATE RESPECT, although this university seems willing to try.
I suspect the Dean and others disagree with me on this. That is their right. What is not their right, however, is to impose their view on others, especially when penalty is concerned. This whole matter is an imposition of will, because the composition of the CRR and its rules allow for an imposition of order, not an administration of justice. The problem is that where the administration does not have the right, it does have the power.
I suspect that I cannot get the administration to drop charges nor to charge Herrnstein with restricting students' freedom in his classes. But perhaps I can get the administration to arrange an open hearing for these students: there can be no justification for keeping it closed. Daniel Hirsch
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