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A national company that sells "survival kits" of food and candy to students during exam periods last month mailed solicitations to parents of Harvard students without the authorized use of a University mailing list.
Concerned by such mailings, the Harvard-Radcliffe Parents Association has warned parents in its newsletter that it is University policy not to release students' addresses. The warning urges parents to send the Parents Association solicitations they receive.
Eleanor C. Marshall, assistant to the director of the Parents Association, said yesterday that the association has received many complaints during the past five years from parents who ordered packages that were either not delivered or incomplete. The association received a letter this week from a parent who claimed the company did not deliver one of the two kits ordered, Marshall added.
Archie C. Epps III, dean of students, said yesterday that he did not know how the firm had obtained Harvard students' addresses. Epps and Marshall said the University never divulges information concerning students.
John N. Cinotti, a U.S. Postal Inspector in Boston, said yesterday that he had investigated the company several years ago, in response to these and similar complaints, but found no basis for legal action against the firm.
Massachussetts resident Michael L. Corvin runs the firm, which sells kits to schools nationwide under the name The Student Rescue Committee, Cinotti said, Corvin was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Cinotti said that while the mailings give the impression that the organization is student-run on the individual campuses, in fact Corvin is in charge of the company and all payments go directly to him.
Although many customers have complained, the firm delivers most of the kits, Cinotti said, adding that Corvin has refunded money to dissatisfied clients Corvin tells customers that kits that do not arrive may be lost in the mail or stolen in dorms, Cinotti said.
The survival kit, which sells for $9.45, includes fruit, cheese, candy and other snacks. The company also offers a "knowledge hammer" for an extra $1.25.
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