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McCrocklin Attempts Defense San Marcos and Austin The first public statement by Dr. James H. McCrocklin, the president of Southwest Texas State College, appears not to be the climactic event it had appeared in prospect to be. Final disposition of the questions raised about McCrocklin’s doctoral dissertationits similarity to his wife’s thesis and a years-old Marine Corps reportappears now to be at least several weeks more away, when the Graduate School faculty at the University of Texas, Austin, meets in early April, and when the regents who govern SWT convene in early May. These future developments may be rendered partially moot, however, if the report of the Detroit News, which has closely followed the McCrocklin matter, is accurate. Col. R. D. Heinl, Jr., the News’ military affairs reporter, wrote last week that McCrocklin will resign the SWT presidency before the April meeting of the UT graduate faculty. “Highly informed Texas academic sources now say that McCrocklin has privately conceded defeat and that his resignation is imminent, probably in advance of the UT graduate faculty meeting on April 8,” Heinl wrote in the Detroit News of Feb. 23. Heinl late last week told the Observer he is confident his source is right. He was emphatic in standing by the prediction that McCrocklin will resign. McCrocklin, told of the report, said, “I don’t know where that came from, I’ve never said that.” However, Heinl says, “He knows exactly where that came from. … It’s an absolutely impeccable source.” Heinl believes it very possible that McCrocklin will be stripped of his doctoral degree by UT. If so, the reporter says, it would be the first known case in U.S. education of “academic disbarment.” He quotes an “eminent Texas teacher” as saying, week before last, that, however the matter turns out, “When this is all over, there will be no reason to question the integrity of a University of Texas degree.” McCrocklin addressed the faculty and members of the student senate at 5 p.m. Monday last week. No other persons were admitted to the auditorium, which had been locked since midday. Several reporters present were turned away by the chief of the SWT police, who said that “it is the administration’s decision not to admit the press.” Reporters were told by students that the College Star, the campus paper, was represented inside, however. The meeting began promptly at 5 p.m. Without introduction, McCrocklin began speaking. He was visible through door windows to most of the 25 or so students and newsmen who waited outside. He held 6 March 7, 1969 the floor 13 minutes, reading a prepared statement. Seated behind him were eight men, evidently members of the administration. At the conclusion he was given a standing ovation by most of those in the audience. The day’s next event was the news conference, scheduled at 6 p.m. in another building. An Observer reporter, on arriving at the campus shortly before 5 p.m., was told by several persons that attendance at the conference would be by invitation only. After some inquiries it was determined that arrangements were being handled by Frank Buckley, chairman of the journalism department. Buckley was out, the reporter was told on phoning. Later, a student who said he had been present in Buckley’s office when the phone call was made, said Buckley was in his office at the time. GAINING ENTRANCE to the news conference proved less of a problem than it had first appeared. Buckley presided over a group of several persons who were checking press cards and registering the names of reporters. Inside were representatives of four Austin and San Antonio television stations, the Austin, San Antonio, and University of Texas daily newspapers, as well as Associated Press and United Press International. Bob Denman, a senior history major at SWT from San Antonio, who had been covering the story extensively for the San Antonio Express, told the Observer that the rumor about invitations being needed to the press conference had been “solid rumors.” Denman said he had heard about midday on campus that invitations would be required. He called the college news service but couldn’t find out anything. He then called his editors in San Antonio, who told him they had heard nothing of this but would check, and did so. Denman said he believes his early precautions about gaining admission led to SWT officials dropping their plans for requiring carefully screening who would be admitted to the conference. McCrocklin entered and read his statement. He offered no explanation or refutation of the findings of some faculty members that, sentence for sentence, 61% of his dissertation is identical to his wife’s master’s thesis and 56% of his dissertation is identical to the Marine document, the report of then-Maj. Franklin A. Hart. Instead, McCrocklin emphasized that he had written permission from Hart himself to use the Hart report. “The fact that the H art report was used has been a long-admitted fact,” McCrocklin said, citing pages VII and VIII of a book the Marine Corps published of his dissertation two years after its acceptance by the University of Texas. But McCrocklin offered no citation of having acknowledged the Hart report in his dissertation itself. McCrocklin cited in his statement pages VII and VIII of “the Haitian monograph” to back up his contention that “The fact that the Hart report was used has been a long-admitted fact.” The McCrocklin statement never quite makes it clear whether by “monograph” the reference is to his dissertation or to the book the Marines published based on the dissertation. Looking into the dissertation the Observer finds that page VII is part of the table of contents. There is no reference at all to the Hart report. There is no page VIII. Checking McCrocklin’s Marine book, which was published two years after the dissertation, the Observer finds that pages VII and VIII do acknowledge the debt to Hart, as Colonel Hein! has explained. Colonel Heinl has written in his paper about this question. Heinl says at the time McCrocklin came across the Hart report at Quantico, Va., while on active duty during the Korean War, he, Heinl, was working for the semi-official press of the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. Heinl recalls how, in 1955, members of the press staff at Annapolis, while in the process of preparing McCrocklin’s dissertation, became dismayed when a Marine historian spotted the similarity between the McCrocklin and Hart works. Heinl says it was reluctantly decided after some debate to go on with publication of the McCrocklin book since a good deal of money had been spent at that point getting it set in type. But it was determined, Heinl says, to list McCrocklin as “compiler” rather than as “author” \(though McCrocklin lists himself in the current Who’s Who as “author” of the preface of the indebtedness to the Hart report, which was dated 21 years before. In the preface of the Marine book, but not the McCrocklin thesis, it is said that the work is based “mainly on a report dated 31 July 1934 by a board headed by Maj. Franklin A. Hart.” The only references to the Hart report in the 456-page dissertation are three footnotes, widely scattered, on pages 27, 251, and 271. McCROCKLIN’S statement last week says, further, “My wife did use my material for parts of her thesis but only with my permission and the permission of the government graduate faculty members of her department at the time.” He said his wife acknowledged this in the first paragraph of her preface. McCrocklin said his wife had to use his material because “she could not have