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The Mail


To the Editors of the Crimson:

I took a summer course at Harvard because I was seriously interested in the subject of the course and because I believed that it would be of good quality.

The professor came into the classroom each day and bent his head over his notes to read them to us. Occassionally, he would wrinkle his forehead in an expression of great weight and importance to tally out of proportion with a what was being said. Also, occasionally he would lift his head to give a mechanical, passionless illustration of a point. Once or twice a week a student would make an observation the principal purpose of which was to show how extremely bright and receptive that student was.

I paid $290 tuition and fees plus another $210 for transportation, books and incidental expenses. I feel that Harvard University robbed me of $500 directly and a great deal more in time which I could have spent elsewhere more importantly.

The following statement appears in an article by Elizabeth Samuels titled "Summer School Opens Second Century Today." The Harvard Crimson, July 3, 1972. p 10.

"I'll bet we bring in a million bucks," into the Harvard community. Crooks (Thomas F. Crooks '49, director of the summer schools estimated. Weighing all the financial factors. Crooks suggested that the Summer School covers more than its own expenses. "I think we subsidize the winter operations," he said.

That statement typifies the Harvard social conscience to me. There is a self aggrandizement and insensitivity behind the seeming ingeniousness.

I sometimes think about the other students who listened with me during the summer to that full professor at Harvard, author of numerous books and articles, reading his notes. I sensed no anger in them, no feeling that this man was a cheat. Perhaps the thing which bothered me most about the course was the fact that we missed the opportunity to talk in depth about a subject which is fantastically interesting and important. I doubt that those other student will wake up someday, comprehend the absurdity of this situation, and feel angry.

I teach sociology at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill. Massachusetts, which does not begin to have the prestige of Harvard But I contend that more is happening in our classrooms for the benefit of students and society than in Harvard's contrary to the functional theory of stratification.

The Michelin guide to Paris describes learning at the Sorbonne in the old days to a way which reminds me of Harvard.

Studies were long. Two years were required for the B.A. the first stage, three more years for the M.A., and two further years for the "license." The Doctorate of Medicine required eight years of study, four theses and practical examinations in anatomy and other subjects. However, the remedies taught were limited to three for a long time: purges, enemas and bleedings. Charles Bouvard, for example, the physician of Louis VIII, gave him in one year forty-seven bleedings, two hundred and twelve enemas and two hundred and fifteen purges. As a result, he was made a noble. Valdemar Paradise   Assistant Professor of Sociology   Northern Essex Community College

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