Guinier Criticizes Kilson in a Letter To New York Times

Ewart Guinier '33, chairman of the Afro-American Studies Department, sharply criticized Martin L. Kilson, professor of Government, in a letter printed yesterday in the New York Times Magazine. Guiner joined several other critics at Harvard--who have already written to the Times--in disputing the accuracy of Kilson's article in the Times Magazine on blacks at Harvard.

Guinier specifically attacked Kilson's description of the Faculty's revision of the Afro Department in January, charging that "every statement made by Professor Kilson about the Faculty's actions is false."

Kilson wrote in the Times Magazine article--which appeared September 2--that the Faculty decided in January "to remove students from participation in the department's academic affairs" and to establish a Faculty committee with no Afro Department representation to select new Afro Faculty.

The January Faculty resolution barred students from voting on teaching appointments or the awarding of degrees, but did allow students to serve on all committees of the Afro Department.

The Faculty committee on Afro Faculty selection has four members, including Guinier.


Tenure, Before or After?

Guinier also wrote that Kilson was "on his way out at Harvard when he was rescued by the civil rights movement." The Government Department had notified Kilson that he would not receive tenure, Guinier said yesterday, but he was reinstated because of the activities of black students in the wake of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

Kilson said last night that he knew he would get tenure three years before his official notification, and that Guinier's charge is "a total lie."

He also said his statement on the Faculty resolution on the Afro Department are "as fair a representation of what the resolution said as I can get."

Guinier sent his letter to the Times Magazine September 24, and later sent it to the Amsterdam News, a New York black newspaper, which also printed it this week.

Kilson wrote replies to Guinier's letter in both the Times and the Amsterdam News.

Guinier was a strong opponent of the Afro Department resolution, casting the lone vote against it in January. He wrote in his letter, however, that the Faculty recognized "the excellence of the work we have been doing under most trying circumstances."

Kilson said the people who have written The New York Times criticizing his article--including the Harvard and Radcliffe deans of admissions and a Princeton University undergraduate dean--"want to defend a crypto-racist, white sentimentalist view of the role of blacks."

This view, Kilson said, is "liberal and patronizing" because it tries to hide the inferior academic performance of blacks at Harvard. He said his critics, in disputing his article, have used statistics for the performance of blacks but have avoided comparing the statistics for blacks and whites