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May has been a difficult month for John Bethell, the editor of the Harvard Bulletin.
With his May issue already two weeks late, Bethell took the unusual step last week of giving out galley proofs of an article by Martin Kilson, professor of Government, to four black students. The students came back to Bethell with a list of seven factual errors they said they found in the text, and asked that the Bulletin hold the article until the June issue.
Bethell checked out two of the black student's assertions with L. Fred Jewett 57, dean of Admissions, and found that Kilson was in error. Bethell then decided to hold the article for the June issue so that further checking could be done.
Mass Hall got into the act when Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University, made inquiries into who owned the copyright to the article. Kilson has submitted a revised and extended version of his article on blacks at Harvard to The New York Times and Steiner said that if Harvard owned the copyright to the piece, he wanted to make sure no inaccuracies would be printed.
In order to help the black students present their views to The Times, Robin Schmidt, assistant to the vice president for Community Affairs, directed the Harvard News Office to inform editors of the Magazine section of the black students' objections.
Kilson termed the actions by the Bulletin and Steiner violations of his "intellectual freedom." He called the incident the Bok Administration's "Watergate" and said that it was "shocking that the editor of a serious organ would release galley proofs to a partisan political group."
He also said that the Bulletin would not have released the galley proofs if he were winte.
Bethell responded that he had released the galley proofs so that the black students would have a chance to publish a reply in the June issue.
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