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Termpaper Firm to Operate in Boston, Claiming State Law is Unconstitutional

By Erik J. Dahl

Although state law prohibits term paper companies from operating in Massachusetts, a New Jersey-based firm will open a Boston office in March, the company president said yesterday.

John S. Magee, president of Collegiate Research Systems in Camden, N.J. said his firm "will go to any level with this case, to the Supreme Court if necessary," to show that the state's law is unconstitutional.

James A. Sharaf '59, associate general counsel to the University, said yesterday that such companies are "a fraud upon the University." But he added that no University action would be taken until Magee opens his office.

Magee said his firm "offers information for everybody and anybody," and requires customers to sign a statement that they will not use the research results to defraud any college or university.

"If any fraud occurs, it's between the students and the university," Magee said.

Term paper companies have been outlawed in Massachusetts since 1973, after a group of Boston area universities took legal action against five such companies in 1972.

That suit, brought by Boston University and supported by six other universities including Harvard, resulted in a court injunction prohibiting the firms from doing business in Massachusetts.

Permanent Injunction

The state legislature passed a law the next year making that injunction permanent.

Magee said because of that law, he expected a "big heavy legal situation," but a more recent case has set a precedent for allowing companies to sell research.

A 1975 decision in Maryland overturned that state's law prohibiting term paper agencies, and Magee said he hopes that decision would lead to the striking of the Massachusetts law.

Rules Relating

Officials in the state attorney general's office were unavailable for comment last night.

The "Rules Relating to College Studies" for Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges states "a student is liable to disciplinary action if he makes use of the services of a commercial tutoring school or term paper company."

In the past, students have been dismissed for a year or more for using a term paper agency.

Magee said his company is not a "term paper agency," but offers "instant information that can be expounded upon" by students and others.

Collegiate Research Systems plans to open an office in Times Square in New York City on March 1, and will open an office somewhere in Boston soon after that, Magee said.

$6.50 A Day

The company will write research papers for $6.50 a page, Magee said.

Term paper companies first became news at Harvard in the spring of 1972, when student papers stolen from professors' offices during intersession were traced to a New York term paper firm.

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