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A Harvard professor, who was fired Monday from the board of directors of a New York publishing firm, yesterday called himself a "pawn" in the struggle for control of that firm.
James Q. Wilson, Shattuck Professor of Government, said he and another board member lost their positions with the New York Magazine Company in a move to make room for Rupert Murdoch, publisher of the New York Post, and Murdoch's banker, Stanley Shuman.
Murdoch plans to take control of the company, which publishes New York Magazine, New West Magazine and the Village Voice, Wilson said.
Wilson said the board's move took him "completely by surprise."
"One moment the meeting was going along peacefully enough, and the next someone made a motion to remove us from the board," he said.
Spokesmen for Murdoch at the Post said yesterday they could not explain the ouster of Wilson and the other member, Mary Joan Glynn, a cosmetics executive for the Revlon Corporation.
But Wilson said he did not feel he was voted out for personal reasons.
"What happened was the result of confusion, rather than of malice," he said. "It was some clever person's idea of a clever parliamentary tactic."
And Now to Court
A federal court judge in New York will today consider whether the board's action was legal.
Wilson said that board members had already asked him and Glynn to rejoin the board, but that both were "waiting until the dust settled" before deciding what to do.
Wilson said it would be difficult to expand the board from its current 12 members to the 14 it would be if he, Glynn, Murdoch and Shuman, were all members.
Wilson said he joined the board three or four years ago upon invitation from Clay S. Felker, the company's president and a friend of Wilson's.
The job entailed little time, with only four or five meetings in New York a year, Wilson said.
Wilson also said he joined the board "to see a business organization up close," because he takes an academic interest in such organizations.
Now, he added, "I know more about that kind of organization than I really want to know.
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