Cambridge 02138

ERRORS AND AMPLIFICATIONS

Because our printer made a mistake in manufacturing the May-June issue, many readers who should have received the edition containing class notes and obituaries (pages 76A-P) did not. Those pages have been reprinted and mailed to the affected readers--all of you, we hope--along with the current Harvard Magazine. The printer has devised procedures to prevent a recurrence of this error, and we apologize for inconveniencing you. The many letters and calls of concern we received underscore the importance to readers of notes and obituaries.

A separate, technological, glitch caused an apostrophe and a pair of quotation marks to disappear from the subhead of John T. Bethell's article, "The Ultimate Commencement Address" (page 36). The line should have read: The making of George C. Marshall's "routine" speech.

Finally, as several readers noted, the May-June cover photograph, not identified in the magazine, showed Cologne in 1945. --The Editors

 

 

(STILL) BATTLING OVER THE BUST

I was disturbed by James Glassman's review of Roger Rosenblatt's new book, Coming Apart: A Memoir of the Harvard Wars of 1969 ("The Browser," May-June) --disturbed not because of anything Glassman said about Rosenblatt's book (I haven't read it), but because of his own inaccurate and presumptuous statements concerning the issues and events of that time. He identifies himself as a student radical (although he was not part of the University Hall takeover) and asserts that "we" were playing at being radicals. He dismisses members of Students for a Democratic Society as being either "Maoists with crewcuts" (just what does hair style say about one's political or moral integrity?) or as a "sloppy group...with an affinity for marijuana, rock-'n'-roll, and attention." Is this kind of pathetic condemnation the mark of a true journalist?

The activists that I knew spent many hours every day arguing and agonizing over how best to protest effectively against the Vietnam War and other issues involved with the building takeover. We were not seeking attention but passionately opposed the policies of the United States government and of Harvard. Men and women our age were being required by our government to kill human beings of another nation while risking their own lives. Students were allowed (encouraged) to hide behind the 2-S deferment. Having the poorer and less well educated carry the moral burdens and risks of war is indefensible in a democratic nation. Many of us felt that we had to take whatever commensurate risks we could in order to alter this situation. I, and many others, gave up the deferment.

Glassman characterizes the student demands as "silly and overreaching" and Harvard as a benign, non-aligned, fragile institution that was being attacked only because it was close at hand. Through its investments, government contracts and grants, and policy advisers, Harvard was no ivory tower. We were attempting to persuade the University to take a moral and political stand. Harvard loves to flaunt its power and prestige when the cause is generally lauded and the endowment won't suffer. Now it was pleading powerlessness and acting with the timidity of any corporation that knows who is buttering its bread. We were not trying to destroy Harvard. A destroyed Harvard wouldn't have had the clout to shorten the war by a few days.

The takeover of University Hall was an ill-mannered action for Harvard Yard, but at the same time it was the mildest of metaphors for the chaos, racism, and violence that Harvard was complicit in outside the gates. Glassman has shown that his allegiance--while he played at being a radical--was really with the University and the power it represented to secure his future--from the Harvard Crimson to the Washington Post. But many of us felt an allegiance with those who suffered as a result of that power. It was not a game, although often we felt as frustratingly ineffective as though it were. It seems that one has to have some real power before other people stop treating you as though you are only playing. That may explain the takeover.

Robert Shetterly Jr. '69
Brooksville, Me.


Glassman's overall conclusion is one that I share, namely that the students had no business disrupting the University.

Another reviewer, John Leo, focused upon Rosenblatt's belief that the radicals who took over the buildings had the long-term effect of driving out the "good liberals" from the halls of academe, and that those radicals irrevocably smeared the otherwise good label of liberalism.

In my view, however, the good liberals of Harvard spawned the radicalism that followed. In 1969 the Harvard faculty harbored gays and straights who found nothing unethical about seducing and cohabiting with students. Heavy drinking, nervous breakdowns, and divorce were common. Smoking marijuana in many circles was considered sophisticated. It seems that the so-called good liberals loved the aesthetics and freedom of Western civilization, but the inherited moral values were spurned. So the radicals took over, and the liberals gradually are being pushed out. I don't feel sorry for them. As you sow so shall you reap.

Edward J. Ludwig, M.A.T. '64
Brooklyn


I am appalled by the snide and patronizing tone adopted by Glassman. He implies that both radicals and liberals were playing games.

He includes Harvard's faculty and administration in this fictional nursery when he states, "We could play revolutionary within the playpen, with both sides offering a wink and a nod." He describes the action--and by implication the whole anti-war movement--as "frenetic but ultimately fruitless." Wrong on all counts.

It is true that the movement--like all political causes--included those with dramatically different positions. My son, a Harvard undergraduate of the class of '72, was in the forefront of the takeover. As an SDS member, he was committed to direct action. I, class of '51, having run for Congress in 1964 on a third-party anti-war platform, still had some lingering faith in the electoral process. There were countless shades of opinion among us, all members of an unstable alliance called the anti-war movement. Yes, we spent a lot of time debating among ourselves.

But what Glassman has conveniently and incredibly ignored is the fact that this country was up to its neck in a war that was both illegal and immoral. The country we used to admire was in violation of the UN Charter and had ignored its own Constitution. As for morality, we were attacking a small, relatively undeveloped nation, an action that even a Reader's Digest Fellow in Communications must admit was hardly a matter of self-defense. As for Cambodia, has Glassman forgotten that we dumped more bomb tonnage on that nation than was dropped on Germany during all of World War II? The protestors may have been amateurs, and we may have differed in our approaches, but we sure weren't in any playpen.

As for our actions being "ultimately fruitless," Glassman has also forgotten that the war ended with nationwide revulsion, disgust, and a sense of shame for what we put our fighting men through in the name of "freedom." It changed our foreign policy forever. Countless interventions--particularly in Central and South America--have been avoided by politicians who remember that attacking small nations generates active resistance on the home front. Glassman may have ended up "a law-and-order libertarian," but those of us with better memories have ended up with renewed faith in our ability to protest when protest is needed.

Stephen Minot '51
Professor emeritus,
University of California, Riverside
Riverside, Calif.


Glassman cites the response by various notable professors to the takeover of the Harvard administration building. I wonder whether he or Rosenblatt ever heard the instant Freudian analysis of the event by Erik Erikson. Told by someone in the Eliot House senior common room that the students, after their successful assault, seemed to be acting in some confusion, "Of course," he remarked in his inimitable soft German accent. "They've gotten on top of the Mother, and they don't know what to do with her."

Peter Heinegg, Ph.D. '71
Schenectady, N.Y.

On page 110 of his book, Roger Rosenblatt quotes me as using the word "detest" in connection with a distinguished Harvard colleague. The quotation is incomplete and inadvertently conveys a meaning entirely contrary to my intention.

During an interview with Roger and speaking about Professor Gerald Holton, I was trying to draw a contrast between the disputes and passions of 1969 and today's more rational and civilized atmosphere. I had my differences with Gerry at that time. Today I am happy to say that we are friends: I greatly admire him as a person and as a scholar. My intention during the interview was to emphasize the unreliability of the earlier judgment. That aspect is entirely missing from the quotation.

I welcome this opportunity to correct a most unfortunate impression.

Henry Rosovsky, Ph.D. '59
Geyser University Professor emeritus
Newton, Mass.


I noted in Rosenblatt's otherwise fascinating book three smallish errors of fact and one whopper. Sever Hall stands at the eastern end of Tercentenary Theatre. Then assistant dean of freshmen Burriss Young spelled (and still spells) his first name with a double "s." The Harvard class of 1910 did indeed boast as members T.S. Eliot, John Reed, and Walter Lippmann, but not Conrad Aiken '11 nor Joseph Kennedy '12. And the crucial meeting on April 10 that followed the bust took place not in Memorial Hall, but in Memorial Church.

William Tennsler
Ottumwa, Iowa

 

 

SCHOOL CHOICE

Paul E. Peterson is quite correct ("The Case for Choice," May-June) that Americans do not regard their government--and their public schools--with the same level of trust they once did. However, his immediate leap from this unfortunate fact to advocating the abandonment of our publicly owned and publicly operated system of public schooling is unwarranted and deeply undemocratic.

This leap is unwarranted because Peterson defines "school choice" solely as a choice between public schooling and a plan that would allow parents to choose to send their children--by means of vouchers, presumably--to private or parochial schools. He does not seem to be aware of the widespread movement over the past 30 or so years to provide parents with choice within our system of public schooling. This powerful movement began in the 1960s with the first "magnet" schools and has expanded ever since, until today many parents have a choice of schools not only within their local school district but between their local district and other surrounding ones. Two urban districts with such in-district choice exist under the nose of Harvard--the school systems of Cambridge and Boston. These two systems are able to offer parents an impressive choice of different kinds of schools designed to meet the diverse needs of a very diverse population.

Further, we now have the move, all across the country, over the past five or so years to create state-controlled "charter" schools, publicly owned and operated schools that are free of many of the educationally hobbling constraints that are all too often imposed on our public schools by local school districts and local teachers' unions. These charter schools are independent--but still public--schools created by like-minded teachers and parents. And they are schools that, like all public schools, are open to all comers. There are now 25 such schools in Massachusetts alone.

This charter-school movement has created precisely the "competition" that Peterson recommends. By spurring the development of schools with equal degrees of curricular and operational autonomy within public-school systems, the movement has essentially created in-district charter schools that can be chosen by any parent living in the district.

Peterson's privatization proposal is dangerous and undemocratic because it would turn the control of our system of public education over to the discriminatory and often heartless operations of our laissez-faire free market system. This is an economic mechanism that, as our current experiences with a privatized "managed care" health system are amply demonstrating, does not have a history of concern for the less privileged among us.

Our current system of private and even parochial schooling also gives us ample evidence of private sector imperfections with its practice of selecting its students by using a range of criteria that is not what one might hope for in any truly democratic society. These criteria include parental ability to pay, demonstrated "academic" talent, and an implicit guarantee of good behavior on the part of students, all under threat of students being expelled if any of these criteria are not satisfied. The result is a student population that is predominantly white, middle-class if not actually rich, and academically successful.

The provision of a voucher for all parents under Peterson's privatization scheme would in theory level this playing field and democratize this system somewhat, although the chances that such a voucher would actually cover the cost of most private schools is highly unlikely. But what would prevent private schools from refusing to admit students who show no signs of conventional academic talent, or who have a history of disruptive behavior, or who clearly have very expensive special-educational needs? What would prevent them from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, ethnic group, or gender? What would prevent such schools from using the parental voucher as a means simply of raising tuition, and thus continuing to discriminate on the basis of parental wealth? If strict public controls to prevent all of these injustices were to be put on all private schools that accepted vouchers, how would those schools then differ from, let's say, a public charter school?

If Peterson is truly concerned about the quality of education that is offered to the children of this country, he and his colleagues in the academic world, rather than advocating privatization, should perhaps spend their time learning about the good things that are going on in our democratic system of public education. They could then direct their attention toward making sure those good things become the norm in our public schools, rather than the exception they all too frequently still are.

Evans Clinchy '49, Nf '59
Senior consultant, Institute for Responsive
Education, Northeastern University
Boston


I am a secondary school teacher in a public high school. I just returned home from school after a 14-hour Friday to pick up my Harvard Magazine and once again be insulted by educational policy theorists who are out of touch with the realities of public education today.

Yes, in theory, school choice sounds like a wonderful idea. And for those parents who take an active role in their child's education, school choice would allow an opportunity to provide the very best education for their child.

But before the public decides once and for all to condemn public education for its inadequacies, one must first examine what it is that makes private schools successful and leaves public schools struggling to do the best job they can.

Private schools have the luxury of rejecting or expelling any student who does not meet expectations. Private schools typically have student-teacher ratios of 10 to 1. Contrast that with the 32 to 1 student-teacher ratio that I work with in a public high school. Finally, private schools have students and parents who truly believe in the power of education. Contrast that with public education--tomorrow I will send out failing reports to 50 of 147 students. Next week, I will receive concerned inquiries from perhaps two or three parents and students.

Public education is not the problem. Countless dedicated teachers in this country are losing sleep at night worrying about how to get through to the thousands of phlegmatic, impassive, and apathetic students filling America's public schools. The problem is parents who have basically abdicated the responsibility of raising children. This country should focus on how to teach parents to parent--to care about and love their kids, to teach them responsibility, and to teach them the value of education.

Jennifer Mazanec Graff '91
Minneapolis


Peterson's article was a magnificently balanced work. I could see only two faults in it. First, it failed to take account of the most likely cause of growing public dissatisfaction with government's delivery of public goods and services. That is, that the paradigm of goods and services being provided with coercively extorted funds--which are then spent with little or no accountability, on programs devoid of the efficiency or innovation required for successful competition--is fundamentally flawed.

The second fault in the article was the assumption that conclusions about the academic success of private education for urban, traditionally publicly educated students can be generalized or extrapolated from experiments conducted in a context of fresh privatization. Administrators, students, and teachers alike have had many years to become accustomed to the folkways of public education; replacing inefficient educational behaviors with more efficient ones will take many more years, and the looked-for overall improvement in academic performance will take at least equally long. We can't even begin to judge at this early stage; we just need to experiment more and more.

All that is clear now is that publicly funded and managed education, as we have known it, is an idea whose time has passed.

Alan Herbert Cousin '81
Massachusetts chairman,
Republican Liberty Caucus
Wollaston, Mass.


The question of church and state is more complicated than Peterson indicates. There is no logical necessity for choice ultimately to include religious schools--although because of political considerations it might well do so. It would be perfectly possible, and logical, to limit choice to the local public sector, or even not-so-local, and there are districts which do this. But this solution itself is not without its serious problems.

Peterson claims that a parent's choosing a religious school does not "establish" any religion. But the law rejects supporting anything that approaches a state religion, state-supported. The providing of local school funds to a religious school certainly puts the state in the position of supporting a religion--and is therefore certainly unconstitutional. Nobody argues for denying access to a school "simply because it is guided by religious ideals": they object to paying for it.

He quotes J.S. Mill on the state's "contenting itself with helping to pay the fees." In fact, this already happens: every school is tax-exempt, and to that extent the public supports every school. If we go further, and let each student take his local school's portion to another school--public, private, or parochial--he weakens his local school to the point where it may no longer be able to function.

Leonard E. Opdycke '51
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

 

Paul Peterson responds: it is because I share with these correspondents a commitment to both better schools and more equal educational opportunity that I favor more experiments with school choice, including charter schools, public-school choice, and voucher experiments that involve religious schools. The following facts have helped shape my thinking:

1. Public schools do not accept all students. They accept only the students of those who live within certain well-defined boundaries. As a result of residential segregation, most public schools are economically and racially homogeneous. Cambridge is the exception, not the rule.

2. In the United States as a whole, public schools segregate African Americans today almost as much as they did 25 years ago. Latino segregation has actually increased over this period of time. The percentage of whites attending central-city schools has fallen dramatically.

3. Private schools are more racially integrated than public schools, and the overall social composition of the private sector differs but little from that of the public sector. In New York City, for example, 31 percent of the Catholic school students in 1992 came from families with incomes of less than $15,000, compared to 34 percent of New York City public-school students. And it is the neighborhood Catholic school, not Andover, which is your typical private school.

4. The law permits grants to students (and tax deductions to families) to cover the costs of education at religious institutions, as long as these grants or tax deductions do not discriminate among religions or between religious and secular educational institutions. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled constitutional a law that allows Minnesotans to deduct from state taxes some of the tuition and fees of both religious and secular schools. President Clinton has proposed a similar tax break for all families of college students, regardless of whether they attend a religious or secular college. Federal Pell grants may be used to pay the tuition of students from low-income families who attend Harvard, Notre Dame, the University of Massachusetts, or any other qualified college, religious or secular.

 

 

BOY IN THE BAND

I have a small correction to the identification of one person in the 1972 Harvard Jazz Band photograph on page 64 of the May-June issue. Person number three in the photograph is Steve Sacks (incorrectly listed as Howard Bloom); we were both in an R&B band called "Heian," led by Akira Tana '73, during our Harvard years, and I've done a bit of playing with him in the New York City area since. A card I received from him recently announces his impending move to Hong Kong; as of May 1 he will be reachable via e-mail at "[email protected]".

Jerome Harris '73
Brooklyn

 

 

MARSHALL MISSES

In Charles S. Maier's "From Plan to Practice" (May-June), a minor error appears. The acronym ECA stood for Economic (not "European") Cooperation Administration, which later became the Foreign Operations Administration and the International Cooperation Administration.

Albert H. Hamilton '47
Washington, D.C.

Charles Maier responds: Mr. Hamilton is correct.

May I add a personal footnote to your excellent coverage of George Marshall's Commencement talk at Harvard. On that day in 1947 I was supposed to receive my doctoral diploma in government at that Commencement. But I wasn't there. I was walking down Kirkland Street with a chum. When my friend reproached me for not being at my own Commencement, I replied loftily, "Oh, it will just be some pompous old blowhard saying nothing."

This is not the only time in my life I have missed opportunities. If I ever wrote a memoir it should be entitled, "I wasn't there."

James MacGregor Burns, Ph.D. '47
College Park, Md.

 

 

ANIMAL RESEARCH

After reading the advertisement placed in the May-June issue of Harvard Magazine by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), I feel it necessary to respond to the misleading allegations leveled against the biomedical research community. PETA is opposed in principle to the use of animals of any kind in research and teaching. PETA has also condoned violent methods to oppose the use of animals in research. Its advertisement uses distorted information to deny the volumes of major medical advances that would not have come to benefit humans or other animals without animal research. So it comes as a surprise that editorial policy would allow such an ad to be placed in Harvard Magazine.

I would like to explain to your readers the procedures and policies that are used at Harvard (both at the Medical School and in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences) to ensure that our laboratory animals are used humanely and in compliance with all federal, state, and City of Cambridge regulations.

In accordance with federal law, Harvard has formed one Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and one for the Medical School and School of Public Health. These committees--consisting of scientists, veterinarians, University administrators, and representatives of the community who are unaffiliated with the University--meet regularly to review and approve or disapprove all proposals for the use of animals in research and teaching. I would also note that the medical school established a Standing Committee on Animals in 1907, decades before the government required their establishment.

We are inspected at the federal level by unannounced visits by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at the state level by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and at the local level in Cambridge by the commissioner of laboratory animals (no other city in the country has this local review).

Daily care, seven days a week, for the research animals is carried on by a full-time staff of veterinarians and trained animal technicians. Twenty-four-hour veterinary care is provided 365 days a year.

Of primary concern to the IACUCs, veterinarians, technicians, and faculty members using animals is to use them humanely. Particular attention is paid to minimize pain and distress, to minimize the numbers of animals used, and to seek alternatives to the use of animals when possible.

The benefits both to humans and nonhuman animals that have resulted from animal use in research are incalculable. I am sure that our colleagues at Harvard who use animals in research wish that viable alternatives to the use of animals existed at this time. However, they do not, and until they do, the readers of Harvard Magazine should be aware that we will continue to use all means necessary to treat animals humanely. The Harvard faculty takes this responsibility seriously.

Arthur L. Lage, D.V.M.
Associate professor of surgery
Director, Animal Resources, Harvard Medical School and Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Secretary, Standing Committee on Animals
Boston

I was deeply troubled by the PETA advertisement. The opinion there expressed that animals are no longer essential in biomedical research I consider incorrect. While an opinion does not deserve censorship, the supporting statements in the advertisement are false and deceitful. They constitute a malicious attack on contemporary biomedical scientists, ignoring the fact that protocols dealing with experimental animals are subject routinely to careful ethical review by faculty committees. The assumption that newer research techniques can supplant the use of animals is erroneous.

The statement that "animal experiments produce results that are far from relevant to human health" is blatantly false. Currently, we are in the midst of a global effort to eradicate poliomyelitis by mass-vaccination campaigns; no case of poliomyelitis has occurred in North, Central, or South America for the past four years. The research that produced polio vaccines was dependent on monkeys in its development. A comparable situation now occurs as an AIDS vaccine is sought; related viruses occur in monkeys, and research on the simian viruses is providing important information on the essential composition of vaccines for humans.

I have spent my professional life in biomedical research with some success, as witnessed by receipt of Harvard's Ledlie Prize, based on the isolation of rubella virus and the cytomegaloviruses, and of the Nobel Prize for our work on poliomyelitis viruses. In this research, animal experimentation has been an essential component. At no time have I observed any evidence of the situation alluded to, namely that "an entrenched system automatically funnels research dollars to established animal laboratories, while effective alternatives to primitive and out- moded animal research are underfunded and underutilized." I consider this an erroneous statement that impugns the integrity of biomedical scientists.

I believe your readers deserve an editorial comment with an assurance that determination of the veracity of statements appearing in advertisements will henceforth govern their acceptance.

Thomas H. Weller, M.D. '40
Strong professor of tropical public health emeritus
Harvard School of Public Health
Needham, Mass.

 

Editor's note: the magazine's board of directors has established a policy accommodating the publication of advocacy advertising on issues relevant to the Harvard community. The rationale is that a magazine concerning the life of a great university--which is dedicated to free and open discourse--must not be in the position of suppressing debate. The magazine recognizes that the commitment to publish issues advertisements involves the risk of publishing claims with which readers may strongly disagree, or even statements which may be subject to factual rebuttal. Where false speech occurs in issues advertisements, we believe the remedy is more speech countering the falsehoods; thus we gladly receive and publish letters on any of the magazine's contents.

 

 

BOOK THEFT

As the individual who was chair of the department of fine arts when the most recent case of rare-book theft at Harvard became known, I have quite serious objections to one particular aspect of Christopher Reed's treatment of the case ("Biblioklepts," March-April): the not-so-veiled references to Torres's wife, who was then and still is a student in good standing in the department and in the University. ["What was his modus operandi?" Reed wrote of Torres. "Did he have an accomplice? How much did his wife know? Has all that he may have stolen been recovered? Will answers to these questions be forthcoming?"]

Certainly, an early question on anyone's mind had to be whether his wife was in any way aware of, much less involved in, these thefts. However, merely to float the question, as Reed does, leaves the answer open. Immediately upon receiving the news of Torres's arrest, I had an interview with the student in question, and can only say that, although in no way a legal or psychological professional, I was left with no doubt as to her complete lack of awareness and involvement in the situation--as was her principal academic adviser. On these grounds, I sought advice from Harvard counsel, and helped her to find independent legal representation, should she require it; but I would also point out that at no time did either the Harvard security forces or the Cambridge police question her innocence in the affair.

Furthermore, it is my understanding that she did not finally "file for divorce in June, the month [Torres] was apprehended," as stated, but rather in mid-May, which is precisely what was occasioning Torres's packing to return to Spain when he was apprehended. If so, Reed was misinformed, if not irresponsible, in not having fully checked his facts. As it stands, Reed's statement could leave room for speculation about the student's motivations being merely those of self-interest, and even garner sympathy for the clearly disturbed thief, abandoned in his hour of need.

I am concerned that the omissions and ambiguities in Reed's account could do serious damage to the reputation, and even the future career, of a young professional-in-training. I would hope that public editorial retraction of any intimation of opportunism or complicity would follow for one who should be enjoying the full benefits (sic!) of membership in the Harvard community.

Irene J. Winter
Boardman professor of fine arts (on sabbatical)
Cambridge, England


Editor's note: Professor Winter is correct that Torres's former wife (not named in Harvard Magazine, but named in the Boston Globe) filed for divorce on May 22, not a day in June. As to the query about how much his wife knew of Torres's activities, we note that at the time "Biblioklepts" appeared in print, detective sergeant Richard Mederos of the Harvard University Police Department had by no means concluded his investigation of the Torres case. Indeed, because Torres has not yet come to trial, and the case has not been otherwise adjudicated, Mederos regards the case as still open. He says that Cambridge police have at no time been involved in the investigation.

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