As Long As You Asked...
This section of the pre-registration issue has been designed to answer a few of the questions you may have about Harvard. While you may already know the answer to some of these, and may not care about the answers to others, but all your classmates will be impressed at the freshman picnic, if you can get a few of these under your belt. We guarantee it. Really.
1. Who is President of Harvard?
You may have read his name in The New York Times or the Boston Globe this past year, amidst the flood of publicity that Harvard has been receiving. He is the one and only Derek Bok--a former dean of the Harvard Law School, and a graduate of that school and Stanford College. Now, according to a recent murder/mystery novel, President Bok will soon join the Supreme Court, thus leaving his position to President Cheever. This may be fiction, but Bok has hinted in the past that he may spend less that ten years as President. He took over the job in 1971--you figure it out.
2. What is Radcliffe and who is the President?
Radcliffe College for a long time existed up at a place now known as "The Quad." However, in late 1972, the women moved down and became "integrated" into the Harvard undergraduate system. This took shape mainly with regard to co-residential housing--women have attended classes at Harvard since World War Two. Last year Radcliffe signed an agreement with Harvard which put into writing some financial arrangements, and acknowledged that in fact, Harvard would take care of undergraduate education for women. Now, the President of Radcliffe, Matina Horner, is happy, she says, because her role has been more clearly defined. You will probably hear a lot about Radcliffe this fall as it begins to celebrate its 100th birthday. The Centennial Drive is expected to raise a lot of money, of course.
3. Who really runs the University?
The people you are most likely to come in contact with are the various deans affiliated with the college whose job it is to deal with students. Henry Moses, dean of freshmen, was a freshman himself last year, and has made a noticeable effort to keep his name in the newspaper by organizing activities like pajama parties, a freshman literary magazine and regular group therapy encounter sessions. Some may call it summer camp, but almost all agreed last year that Moses had made it a happy experience.
Henry Rosovsky (or "Roso," as he is more commonly known), is dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He could have become president of Yale University or the University of Chicago last winter, but he didn't want to. Instead, Rosovsky worked on revamping Harvard's General Education program. (See story in this section.) Some say that Rosovsky would like to be the next president of Harvard--what other reasons would there be for turning down an offer like that from those nice colleges? P.S.: Rosovsky doesn't talk to anybody. . . .
John B. Fox Jr. '59 stands 6 ft., 4 in. tall, and is probably the only administrator who can take Professor Emeritus John Kenneth Galbraith (also 6-8) on, one-on-one. You won't have trouble noticing him as he ducks into his office in University Hall every morning to play dean of the College. Basically, Fox is responsible for picking up all the loose administrative ends of things that have to do with the College. He is chairman of the Administrative Board, which decides disciplinary cases, and uh, he helps Dean Rosovsky.
Archie C. Epps III, you will find, is dean of students. He actually talks to students, and last spring he was the only administrator who tried to get into University Hall when it was shut down during a South Africa demonstration. But afterwards, Epps came back and made a pass at answering questions about the University's position on divesting itself of its South African investments. Of course, there wasn't much to say about that.
And if you should ever have any questions concerning the Law, don't hesitate to call on Daniel Steiner '54, general counsel to the University. Bok brought Steiner with him when he became president in 1971, basically so he would have somebody who would tell him what he could and couldn't do. Right now, Steiner, the CIA and Bok are all very busy trying to figure out what to do about faculty members who pick up a few extra bucks "gathering information."
4. Moving on to bigger and better things: Who teaches at Harvard?
Yes, there actually is a faculty at Harvard. You read about them occasionally when they publish a new book. E. O. Wilson, Baird Professor of Science, stirred up a lot of controversy two years ago with his new book Sociobiology, which basically stated that ants and bees have feelings and altruistic instincts. That really threw everyone for a loop, and is still being disputed.
Bernard Bailyn, Winthrop Professor History, is trying to develop a new theory of American History. Right now he and his clones are throwing together some computer statistics on demographics, and discouraging people from majoring in American History. There are many Nobel Prize winners among us here at Harvard, including Kenneth Arrow, University Professor and recipient of the hallowed award in 1972 for his work in General Equilibrium and the Concept of Social Choice. Arrow, however, will be leaving Harvard next fall for the warmer and sunnier climate at Sanford.
Martin L. Kilson, Jr., professor of Government, is one of the more entertaining faculty around, and can often be found in places like the "Rendezvous," either reading or having a discussion with one of his students. Check him out sometime, even if you only stop in for a minute. Kilson does rant and rave a lot, but the man knows how to think.
All told there almost 400 tenured faculty members at Harvard, and about three times as many who teach in various capacities. You, most likely, will end up spending most of your time with graduate students as your teachers, and may even get one as your thesis adviser. Want to reconsider?
5. Next big question: Where does the University stand in relation to the City?
Uh, good question. Believe it or not, Cambridge is not part of Harvard, but vice-versa. There is a long history of town-gown battles which Harvard usually wins, and tries to convince people that some sort of reconciliation has been made. The most recent example concerns the new Radcliffe athletic facility on Observatory Hill, which residents vigorously protested until about a month ago. The gym should be finished by next spring. Take 2--Recombinant DNA research. Former Cambridge Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci successfully led the fight to ban the controversial work for five months in 1976. That put both MIT and Harvard in a bind, and caused lots of tensions when work in other super-security P-3 facilities around the country began producing results. MIT opened its laboratories last year, and Harvard's should be finished in about a month. Welcome to Harvard.
6. Will Harvard ever run out of money?
Probably not, but just to save face with other Universities, most of which are in bad shape financially, Harvard has initiated a somewhat serious effort to cut back. Two years ago, a guy named Stephen S. J. Hall, former vice president for administration, had 115 brainstorms on how to save money. That was the winter Hall decided to turn off all the heat in the Houses over Christmas vacation,, producing extensive flooding due to cracked water pipes, costing a whole lot.
In an effort to keep the Freshman Union open on weekends, we had the Fox Plan, which was to make up the extra cost by abolishing hot breakfasts in the Houses. Another mistake -- somebody didn't know how to add, but by the time they realized that in fact Harvard could afford hot breakfasts and meals at the Union seven days a week, it was too late to turn things around. This year has promised to be different.
7. What is Harvard like--culturally speaking?
At times it may seem to you that Harvard is trying to turn you into a type, so that when you get out of here (although there are plenty that engage in this practice while they are here), you can walk around all puffed up and properly conceited. It may, of course, be the fault of the students, but there is simply not much going on here, in terms of diversity of student organizations. The black students' organizations appear to be on their way out, unless somebody finds some money this year, and the DuBois Institute for Afro-American Studies is also reported to be having its problems.
Actually, Harvard thrives on your basic Ivy League activities--classical music, a little jazz and film type of stuff. Whenever you get bored, go to the movies.
8. Who can help with the $7500 tuition bills?
It is fairly easy to borrow from Father Harvard--interest free--while you're still an undergraduate. And if the Senate has its way, some of your parents may be able to receive up to $250 a year from the federal government, in the form of a tuition tax credit. This does not promise to be a good plan, though, because not everyone will qualify for help--i.e., lower-income folks.
9. Is there a student government at Harvard?
Yes and no. Since 1969, when the Harvard Undergraduate Council liquidated itself, until last spring, student government at Harvard consisted of a wide variety of student-faculty committees. Their official powers were rather dubious, and their actual influence negligible. Student apathy was par for the course and there was no effective forum where student opinion could be gauged and acted upon. The administration assumed a paternalistic role in most affiars, denying students any significant say in the governance of the University.
Last fall, a group of undergraduates got together to discuss the possibility of starting an assembly to represent the student body better. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention differed as to the degree of real statutory authority students might successfully acquire from the faculty and administration. Most delegates soon realized they would have to make some major compromises if the proposed constitution were to be ratified by a majority of the student population, and gain official approval. The Constitution eventually won the approval of more than 75 per cent of the undergraduate student body.
10. Does Harvard ever make mistakes?
Funny you should ask that. Why, just last spring, a well-known senior tutor on campus notified one of his advisees that he didn't have enough credits to graduate. The unsuspecting undergraduate, or graduate, or whatever, was in Big Lake, Alaska at the time. He immediately wrote back, as did his mother, explaining that in fact, he was eligible for the great sheepskin. Of course, another look at his files prompted a return telegram, letter of explanation and profuse apology.
Then, a few weeks ago, thanks to modern technology, 1600 incoming sophomores were notified that they would all be housed in Grays Hall this fall. (Actually, some of you are supposed to be living in Grays Hall next year, right above University police headquarters. Think about it.) About 40 phone calls later, Harvard discovered its mistake, and most sighed a breath of relief that they did not have to go through another year in the Yard.