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Letters

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The October 2 issue of The Crimson contains a story on Melanie Thernstrom's book about the Dunster House murder-suicide, Halfway Heaven. In passing, the article repeats a charge made in a much earlier Crimson article, to the effect that as a reporter Thernstrom used her position as a (former) Harvard instructor to gain access to confidential information.

This relates to an effort to discredit the original New Yorker story, which involved baseless allegations which were immediately withdrawn, all of which are discussed in Thernstrom's book.

If the Crimson thought there was anything to this allegation, the very least the reporter could have done is ask Thernstrom about it during the question and answer period at the reading, where the reporter was present. This was never done.

If the "campus administrators" thought there was anything to the charge, they would not remain unnamed, nor would they consistently fail to mention any specific incident where improper access was supposedly obtained.

As it is, unnamed (and hence unaccountable) sources within the Harvard adminstration have spread a vague suspicion over the book and managed to get The Crimson, wittingly or not, to collude with them.

As a student paper, The Crimson is the heir to an important tradition, that of being an independent student voice about Harvard affairs. A crucial part of playing that independent role is refusing to act as an uncritical conduit for unspecified 'information' put out by unnamed 'campus administrators.' --Richard Moran,   Professor of Philosophy

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