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Harvard Got Funds From Tobacco Council 'Special Projects' Unit

By Marion B. Gammill

According to an article in the Boston Globe earlier this week, Harvard accepted about $5 million from the aggressive "special projects' fund of the Council on Tobacco Research in the 1970s, but council officials yesterday disputed the accuracy of the article.

The Globe said that internal documents obtained through papers provided in a court case showed that Harvard received $4.8 million from the special projects fund of the council, which funded several scientists who disputed the purported link between smoking and illness.

The documents also showed that Harvard researcher Carl C. Seltzer, who is affiliated with the Peabody Museum, received up to $70,000 per years for projects.

Seltzer has publicly criticized research linking smoking and disease.

But in a letter sent to the Globe yesterday, Dr. James F. Glenn, chair of the board at the council, disputed the accuracy of the article.

According to the letter, "a review of our files...showed that the total amount of such Council Special Project Funding from 1972 through 1980 was less than $500,000."

Glenn also said yesterday that funds were granted to Seltzer for work on anthropological projects, but would not specify the amount.

He said that the council no longer has a special project division.

Harvard officials told the Globe that the material relating to the use of the special projects funding was in archives and could not be used to track down how the money was used.

Harvard Medical School currently has a total of $1 million in nine grants from the council, while the School Public Health has $898,000 in five grants.

university spokesperson Jonathan B. New said this week that Harvard has accepted $2.9 million from the council since 1990.

Glenn said the special project division was intended to fund projects relating to biomedical research.

But other documents obtained through the same court case, which involves leading cigarette maker brown and Williamson, say differently.

A memo by the general counsel of Brown and Williamson said the division was run by tobacco company attorneys interested in funding scholars and scientists whose research could cast doubt on finding s linking smoking and disease.

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