To the Editors of The Crimson:
I have been in the Harvard community for seven years, as an undergraduate and a graduate student. This year I have watched with sadness a decline in the integrity of a newspaper I have trusted and respected.
During the unrest of the last 60's, The Crimson not only reported the conflicts within and beyond the, University, it also undertook investigative reporting with a gravity of purpose unusual for a college paper. while excesses were sometimes committed, we, the readers, always knew that objective reporting and representative editorializing on major issues were the goals and, usually, the reality. The recent spate of articles on Prof. Kiely and Hugh Berryman have typified an inexplicable decline in what had augured to be an emerging Crimson tradition of high journalistic standards. This deterioration is inexplicable because many of the questions which stimulated discussion five years ago still exist: Harvard's involvement with its community and its government the goals of the faculty in selecting its professors, the increasing distance between faculty and undergraduate, the bureaucratization of Harvard, and others. And new questions have become prominent, particularly the quality of education and even the type of education which should be the philosophical goals of this institution.
Instead of exploring these to anything resembling their full potential, what has The Crimson offered? A series of virtually personal attacks on a single person who, after the dust of the Crimson accounts has settled, seems to have committed an error of carelessness, not conspiracy, with no tangible harmful effects other than those produced by the shrill invectives of the "reporters." More depressing than the defamation which will make those few professors who actually run review sessions hesitate before continuing the almost extinct practice of answering questions from students has been a loss of your credibility attendant to these "news" articles heavy with innuendo and with a manifest slanting of data that won't bear the burden of The Crimson's interpretations.
And now Mr. Shapiro continues to mine this degrading vein in the recent article on Kiely and Berryman, which is permeated with the author's editorializing and biases. These can't even be graced by the term "righteous indignation" because there is so little of substance offered to be rigteous about. Like its predecessors, the work degrades The Crimson because of its frenzied attempts to create an issue out of pettiness when this university is confronted by issues of its purposes, programs, and style far more significant than five years ago, issues that are being met with silence. These articles have demeaned your readers by supplying for us opinions not clearly arising from the data but seemingly from the almost palpable, unknown resentments of the authors. Further, these opinions are woven into the news stories, which reduces you from a newspaper to a gossip column.
We deserve better than what is being served to us on the front page. More tragic, however, is that you are losing, I believe, the credibility and respect that you gained from serious journalism over the last ten years. Samuel Johnson observed that tradition is fragile, like a meteor which, once fallen, cannot be rekindled. In publishing what appears to be a series of personal vendettas aimed a the tarnishing of reputations through unproven accusations and half-stated implications, you have demonstrated its fragility by debasing a tradition some of us had relied on for truth. whether or not it can be rekindled remains to be seen. George Schreiner '71 Harvard Medical School