Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

John Harvard's Journal

Brevia

May-June 2002

students peering out a window at Mass. Hall

Photograph by Jim Harrison

Sit-ins = Suspension

On February 28, President Lawrence H. Summers announced a new interpretation of the University's "Statement on Rights and Responsibilities," adopted in 1970 after the student occupation of University Hall in 1969. The new language, adopted by the Governing Boards, was prompted by the three-week sit-in at Massachusetts Hall last spring (shown above), led by protestors advocating a "living wage" for Harvard's lower-paid service workers. It specifies that "any unauthorized occupation of a University building" obstructing the normal activities of Harvard personnel "constitutes unacceptable conduct and is subject to appropriate discipline." An accompanying statement by Summers and the deans informs the faculties' disciplinary bodies of "our shared view that students who engage in such conduct should ordinarily be subject to suspension" (versus the milder probations and reprimands meted out last spring), with commensurate sanctions for other participants.

 

Social Scientist Speaker

The Harvard Alumni Association's guest speaker on Commencement afternoon returns to Harvard after some years away performing public service. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who held numerous government appointments before becoming a professor at the Kennedy School and director of the Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies in 1966, was later a presidential assistant, U.S ambassador to India and the UN, and briefly professor of government until he was elected a U.S. senator from New York. He is author of The Politics of a Guaranteed Income, of Beyond the Melting Pot and other volumes with Nathan Glazer, professor of education and social structure emeritus, and of Miles to Go: A Personal History of Social Policy.

 

Wages Escalated

The first renegotiation of service-workers' wages set in process by the Harvard Committee on Employment and Contracting Policies (see "Living Wage: Next Stage," March-April, page 58) raised starting pay for janitors to $11.35 per hour, retroactive to last May, up from $9.75. That rate exceeds both the range recommended by the HCECP and Cambridge's official "living wage." By the end of the contract, in November 2005, custodians' starting pay will escalate to $13.50 per hour ($14.00 for longer-service employees). In addition, the new rate applies to part-time janitors and to employees of contractors. Part-time workers will also be offered many of the benefits available to full-time custodians, and preferred access to full-time work as openings occur.

 

The (Higher) Cost of Saving

Want to save $36,000 or so on your student's Harvard education by having her or him breeze through the College in three years? If so, encourage even more diligence in high school. At its February meeting, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted unanimously to raise the eligibility requirement for advanced standing from four full Advanced Placement test credits with a minimum score of 4, to four such credits with a score of 5, effective for the class of 2007. The minimum AP score needed to satisfy the undergraduate language requirement will also rise to 5. The rationale, explained Harry R. Lewis, dean of the College, was simple: professors reported, and samples of performance in chemistry and economics indicated, that students placed in intermediate-level courses on the basis of AP scores of 4 did significantly less well than those who had earned 5s—suggesting a real difference in their degree of preparation.

 

The (Higher) Cost of Studying

The College's bill for tuition, room, board, and fees rises 4.9 percent, or $1,681, for the 2002-2003 academic year, to $35,950. That rate of increase, a steep acceleration from the 3.5 percent ($1,159) boost imposed in the prior year, confirms that the trend toward progressively lessen-ing inflation in term bills throughout most of the 1990s is over (see "Aid and Tuition Head Higher," May-June 2001, page 70). College officials cited financial circumstances (the recent decrease in the value of Harvard's endowment, and lower growth in distributions to the schools) and operating costs (growth in the faculty ranks, expanded freshman seminars, and undergraduate financial aid—for which spending will rise 6.4 percent) as causal factors. Among competing institutions, undergraduate bills are rising from a low of 3.9 percent at Princeton and Yale to 5 percent at Cornell next year.

 

Not-So-Secret Success

With federal biomedical research funding through the National Institutes of Health nearly doubling since 1997, the research prowess of Harvard and its affiliated hospitals have come to the fore. Data published in February show Massachusetts second among states in receiving NIH grants in 2001, with nearly $1.7 billion, trailing only California. The University, principally the Medical School, received $250 million of that total, and affiliated hospitals received $645 million more. The latter sums do not flow through Harvard's financial statements—a politically useful circumstance, given some congressional leaders' interest in seeing funds go to homestate institutions. As if confirming the University's prowess, in March the National Cancer Institute awarded Harvard $40 million over five years to create the Molecular Target Laboratory. Building on the Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology launched in 1997 by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the medical school, the new facility will speed efforts to identify both proteins associated with disease and chemical agents able to interact with them, thus advancing "chemical genetics" and making data available to researchers worldwide.

Nota Bene

Yet more manuscripts. The manuscripts and correspondence of Gore Vidal will reside at the Houghton Library, their author has decided. The archives had been housed at the University of Wisconsin's film and theater center, but, given his recent focus on writing novels and nonfiction, Vidal determined they should be in a different collection. The material will become accessible to researchers by 2007. Meanwhile, the Radcliffe Institute's Schlesinger Library has acquired the papers of contemporary feminist Andrea Dworkin.

Glandon Huntington Skopcol
Mary Ann Glendon Samuel P. Huntington Theda Skocpol
Harvard Law School Bulletin Jon Chase / Harvard News Office Kris Snibbe / Harvard News Office
Academic enlistees. Among the 60 scholars who signed "What We're Fighting For: A Letter from America," a statement in support of this country's war on terrorism since September 11, were Hand professor of law Mary Ann Glendon; Weatherhead University Professor Samuel P. Huntington; Kenan professor of government Harvey C. Mansfield Jr.; Robert D. Putnam, Stanfield professor of international peace and Malkin professor of public policy; and Thomas professor of government and of sociology Theda Skocpol. The letter, invoking the "just war" doctrine, was released February 12 by the Institute for American Values, a private organization "devoted to contributing intellectually to the renewal of marriage and family life and the sources of competence, character, and citizenship," founded and presided over by David G. Blankenhorn III '77.

  Service sector. Harvard Business School has created a "service leadership fellows program" to enable students to pursue one- or two-year postgraduate tours of duty in the nonprofit sector. Salaries will be subsidized to approx-imate offers from for-profit enterprises. Organizations interested in hiring such fellows range from the Mississippi governor's office to the agency considering a replacement for the World Trade Center: the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corporation. The latter is led by John C. Whitehead, M.B.A. '47, LL.D. '95, who has supported work on nonprofits at the business school.

 

Counting-house chief. Concluding a 24-year Harvard career, John H. Hanselman stepped down as recording secretary at the end of February. In that role, since 1985 he has received and reviewed the terms of all gifts to the University. He will now return to his earlier role as a fundraiser, working on behalf of Cambridge University as its eight-hundredth anniversary nears.

 

Curricular planning redux. As if underscoring the effort by Dean Jeremy R. Knowles to promote better planning of Faculty of Arts and Sciences teaching resources, the Crimson reported that 18 members of the history department, including seven Americanists, will be on leave part or all of the 2002-2003 academic year, forcing students to scramble for thesis advisers and putting a strain on the supply of Core courses. The dean's concerns about such gaps were outlined in his annual letter (see "Arts and Sciences Aims," March-April, page 61).

 

Lawrence-Lightfoot
Sara
Lawrence-
Lightfoot
Joshua Lavine, Harvard School of Education
"Genius" chair. Fisher professor of education Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot has been named chair of the board of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, whose highly publicized "genius" fellowships are only a small part of its $180-million annual charitable grantmaking program.

 

Popular place. Applicants to the College class of 2006 numbered 19,605, a new record and up by slightly more than 500 from the prior year; 2,068 hopefuls were admitted for a class of 1,650, anticipating a customary yield rate (the proportion of those offered admission who agree to enroll) of nearly 80 percent. Those totals include a record 6,126 applicants who sought early action, 1,174 of whom were accepted in December.

 

Seminars on the move. Following the redomestication of the former publishing and landscape programs (see "Brevia," March-April, page 73), the last vestige of the Radcliffe Seminars has found a new home, too. As of July 1, the visual arts and writing courses will move a few blocks up Massachusetts Avenue to Lesley University, whose president, Margaret McKenna, directed the Bunting Institute from 1981 to 1985. Lesley, which offers extensive adult-education programs, recently created master of fine arts degree programs in visual arts and creative writing.

Lubchenco
Jane Lubchenco
Jim Harrison
Prized biologist. The eighth annual Heinz Prize for the Environment, which carries a $250,000 honorarium, was conferred on Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. '75, Valley professor of marine biology at Oregon State University. A past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ecologic-al Society of America, Lubchenco has advocated marine reserves to preserve ocean biodiversity.

 

Arts and humanities honors. President George W. Bush has conferred the National Humanities Medal on Robert Coles, Agee professor of social ethics and professor of psychiatry and medical humanities, and the National Medal of Arts on cellist Yo-Yo Ma '76, D.Mus. '91.

 

Reviewing the Review. Harvard Business Review editor Suzanne ("Suzy" on the magazine's masthead) R. Wetlaufer '81, M.B.A. '88, stepped down following a Wall Street Journal report that she had become romantically involved with Jack Welch, former chairman of General Electric Company, with whom she was preparing an interview for the magazine. The Review's decision to retain her as a nonexecutive editor-at-large prompted editors Harris Collingwood '77 and Alden Hayashi to resign. The events engendered profuse national news coverage—ranging from serious exploration of the intersection of personal and professional lives to mindless gossip—perhaps best put in perspective by humorist Andy Borowitz '80. His on-line satire of March 14 (available at www.borowitzreport.com) purported to unveil the magazine's new "beer 'n babes" format, with a reflagged Hottie Business Review competing against Maxim and Stuff as well as Forbes, Fortune, and Business Week.

 

Overseeing an overseer. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ph.D. '68, facing new charges of plagiarism in her book The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, agreed to take a leave from her regular appearances on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and stepped aside from judging this year's Pulitzer Prizes. Goodwin, a member of the Board of Overseers and a government department faculty member from 1969 to 1976, received strong support in a letter from Tyler professor of constitutional law Laurence H. Tribe published March 18 in the Crimson. Tribe took exception to a critical editorial run in the paper; he noted that Goodwin's "admittedly sloppy" sourcing never resulted in "purveying false or misleading information."

The Faculty Yields

brick building, front facade

Scrambling to relieve pressure on overcrowded undergraduate Houses, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences is allocating two more floors in the modern apartment building at 10 DeWolfe Street (between Quincy and Leverett Houses) to College students next fall at the cost of displacing faculty members who currently reside on the upper levels of the six-story structure. In addition, the Wolbach and Jordan buildings within and beyond the Pforzheimer House complex are being renovated to create additional space. Harvard Planning and Real Estate is helping the displaced professors find alternative housing before their August 1 deadline to decamp.

The Arts of Islam

"We all need to learn more about and better appreciate the achievements of the Islamic world," says James Cuno, Cabot director of the Harvard University Art Museums. That undertaking has been greatly facilitated by the gift from Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood of her collection of 120 Islamic art objects, most notably manuscript paintings and 60 ceramics. Mrs. Calderwood began studying Islamic art as a special student at Harvard in the 1970s and went on to enter the Ph.D. program. Below: Afrasiyab and Siyavush Embrace, from the manuscript of Firdausi's Shahnama, Iran, circa 1530.

illuminated page from Islamic manuscript

©2002 President and Fellows of Harvard College (Harvard University Art Museums)