To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
Over here in Korea, we don't get too much news from home, and what news we do get is usually from Stars and Stripes, the G.I. paper. I picked up a copy today containing an item about some sort of "face-slapping" incident. It seems that some Harvard students slapped each other 17,288 times. How silly can people get!
At present I'm serving with the 5th Regimental Combat Team, but I'm also a Harvard man (Class of '53) on a leave of absence. For that reason I am particularly annoyed that my college should be so badly portrayed to the world. Of course the public reads of Harvard's academic and scholarly achievement, but the gullible average reader is more apt to remember the little pranks and foolish escapades of several students. It is not only this face-slapping record. It is an accumulation of all the trivial stunts of students through the years that can hurt a college's reputation. That includes the water-bomb incidents, the disengaged trolley wires, goldfish swallowing, etc. Things like that give the public the impression that colleges are nothing but kindergartens in which well-to-do young men idle away their time.
One may say that everyone gets restless as spring approaches and that a person has to "let off steam." But surely there must be something more constructive to do than set a face-slapping record. I hope the CRIMSON staff tries to discourage these student pranks and stunts rather than play them up as good human interest stories. However, I feel sure that the vast majority of Harvard students are not idle pranksters and practical jokers, but are well on their way to manhood. It's only a few immature ones who harm the reputation of the university.
Thanks for allowing me this space to do a little griping, which is a soldier's prerogative. Corporal Jerry S. Rice '53