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SDS Accepts Explanation For Bok's Debate Refusal

By R.w. Palmer

SDS has expressed satisfaction with President Bok's explanation of why he will not debate the Herrnstein issue, and has asked Bok to submit a letter to Science Magazine explaining that his note to Herrnstein was just one of several he has sent faculty members.

In a letter dated August 15, SDS responded to Bok's letter of August 8 in which he indicated that he lacks the technical expertise to evaluate Herrnstein's article on the heritability of intelligence.

Bok also wrote that he disagrees with the SDS position that Herrnstein be prevented from teaching required courses.

Bok said yesterday he doubts that he will send Science Magazine a letter describing the nature of his note to Herrnstein and said that he cannot spend all his time clarifying everything he has written.

Confronted Bok

SDS confronted Bok outside his office on August 8 to ask why he had not responded to its letters requesting an explanation for what it called Bok's "note of congratulations." The note was mentioned in the July 6 issue of Science Magazine.

Bok's letter, dated the same day as the confrontation, was largely a reiteration of what he had told SDS. The letter did provide the additional comment that he has previously sent letters to faculty members commenting on their publications.

Bok last week cited as an example a note he has sent John Rawls, professor of Philosophy, after publication of Rawls' most recent book.

Rawls said last Thursday that he had not received any congratulatory letters from Bok. But yesterday evening he explained that he had received a letter of thanks after he had sent Bok a copy of his book and that he had not considered that letter a "note of congratulations" when The Crimson contacted him last week.

Jeffrey A. Johnson, a member of SDS, said yesterday that SDS will try to see Bok today or Monday in order to find out whether he is going to send a letter of clarification to the editor of Science Magazine.

"We think he ought to be willing to send Science Magazine a letter if he's on the level. For the time being we take his explanation at face value," Johnson said.

SDS is presently preparing a point by point refutation of Herrnstein's article which it says will be based on "scholarly works," Johnson said.

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