`Barring the CIA'
John Hughes espouses freedom of access to ``a variety of ideas and ideologies'' in order to justify the existence of Central Intelligence Agency recruiters at Colby College in Maine [``Barring the CIA,'' Nov. 18]. Let's face it: Colleges do not aim for a perfectly open society. The intended atmosphere is one which encourages openness, diversity, and progressive attitudes. The CIA's covert destabilization of independent nations is not open. Neither does it foster diversity, and (especially in the Reagan era) the CIA is not progressive.
So let those Colby students who feel compelled to enlist in the CIA seek their employment independently.
Please, Colby, don't encourage criminal tendencies in the name of intellectual liberality. Choose the more nurturing of the two possibilities. Michael Fiscus Amesbury, Mass.
Since the issue of CIA recruitment on college campuses affects not only Colby College but many others, I think it is important to define terms like freedom of the press and freedom of speech precisely. John Hughes argues that Colby's faculty, by voting to ban CIA recruitment, is somehow violating the CIA's right to freedom of speech and students' rights to listen to that speech. Whatever one may think of the CIA or its recruitment, this is simply not a free-speech issue. Recruitment of employees is not speech in the sense protected by the Constitution. Rather it is direct action.
In the same way, it is perfectly legal to talk about a revolution, but it is illegal to actually carry one out. If the CIA were coming to campuses simply to explain its point of view and not to try to further it by recruiting employees, then this would be a free-speech activity and thus protected by the Constitution.
Mr. Hughes is of course right that most colleges allow a wide variety of employers to recruit students; but I think he would agree that colleges also share a certain moral responsibility in guiding students toward good citizenship in this nation and the world.
I am aware of no one who would argue that organized crime or drug dealers - or, for that matter, the KGB - should be allowed to recruit on campus on the basis of freedom of speech, though all of these groups might be permitted to present their points of view in lectures. This is because allowing an organization to recruit is in a sense a seal of approval: the college or university is saying, ``We in our wisdom believe this organization to be an appropriate place of employment for students with a liberal arts education.''
Thus, whether one agrees or disagrees with the Colby faculty, let us get the matter straight: The issue is not free speech; it is which organizations should be allowed to solicit employees using college or university facilities. Stephen Brockmann Madison, Wis.
Until the CIA can be compelled to refrain from acts like mining harbors, distributing assassination manuals, and targeting popular leaders abroad, it will be seen as an outlaw in the eyes of many people. And I believe the abolitionist hero Elijah Parish Lovejoy would be a leading crusader against this post-World War II form of tyranny.
To such abuses of domestic and international law, one can seek counsel from Thoreau. He advised those faced with injustice to ``Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.''
I applaud Colby's brave faculty! R. Jay Allain Northampton, Mass.
Mr. Hughes's condemnation of the faculty of Colby College certainly adds to its prestige. The faculty there aroused Hughes's anger by barring the CIA from recruiting on its campus. He sees a contradiction between this ban and the college's annual award to journalists who have distinguished themselves by their work in the cause of press freedom.
His criticism of Colby's faculty is uninformed, or perhaps disinformed. The CIA's disinformation campaign in Libya was widely publicized, but its propaganda efforts in Central America, Chile, and Angola have been reported only in the more radical media.
The CIA's covert activities have resulted in years of repression for the people of Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua, and Iran. The CIA could easily become the US version of the KGB if we are not careful.
If we prefer to keep the US government and its agencies accountable to the American citizens, we should applaud the integrity of Colby College's faculty. Kent Overturf Shreveport, La.