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About the Words of Martin Luther King

December 16, 1990

The discussion of the significance of Dr. Martin Luther King's so-called plagiarism in his doctoral paper seems to omit certain fundamental facts of academic life ("The Paper Chase," Dec. 11).

Unlike any other area of educational activity, the academic people who hand out Ph.D.s are approving the entry of their own competitors into the field. Thus, an intellectually aggressive scholar who shows incisive critical skills may be perceived as a threat by the established academicians who decide his fate in academia.

They will tend to favor and promote those they perceive as "team players" who will play ball with the system from which the established professor-gatekeepers derive their advantages.

IRVING L. SELK

Los Angeles

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