WE WERE AT THE DENTIST'S the other day and a copy of Harvard Magazine happened to be on the table. Out popped this 1983 exchange between Henry Rosovsky, then dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, and - who else? - John Kenneth Galbraith.

Mr. Rosovsky, it seems, had found it necessary to warn his colleagues about "various kinds of personal relationships between faculty members and students."Mr. Galbraith's reply (excerpted, of course): "I was . . . both enchanted and distressed by your recent communication . . . My pleasure had to do with the eloquence and delicacy of the language . . . The reference to 'amorous relationships' in the 'instructional context' is superb and reflects an acute sense of Harvard faculty and even New England sensibilities . . . "

His distress, Mr. Galbraith said, resulted from the fact that 45 years ago, in a "non-instructional context" he met, fell in love with, and married a student. "I am acutely conscious of my need to be an example to younger and possibly more ardent members of the faculty." What should he do?

Mr. Rosovsky's response (in part): "The incident in question, by your own account, occurred over 45 years ago. I believe that the statute of limitations applies."

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