The New Haven Nine

The Untold Story of...

"...Offenses against law and order, or failure to behave with the maturity and responsibility expected of Harvard and Radcliffe students will be dealt with as the Faculty and the Administrative Board shall determine." Handbook for Students.   Harvard College

It takes three hours to drive from Cambridge to New Haven--if you drive fast and you have enough gas and you know where you're going.

That night it took four and a half hours. There were nine of us, all freshmen. The next morning, when we sped back to Cambridge in two hours and twenty minutes, there were only six of us. Three members of the New Haven Nine were in jail.

We had left them all the money in our pockets--about $19--and a note saying that we had to get back to Cambridge. Mark had an Ec 10 hourly.

No one talked in the car on the way back. Matthew and Dan were sleeping in the back. Everyone else just sat I watched the countryside and I wondered what was going to happen to us. I tried to decide what I would do if they kicked us out of school.


They served turkey for dinner in the Union on Thursday before the Yale game. Somebody had organized a pep rally--the only one I have ever seen at Harvard. The stuffing was bland; the music was loud. Spirit was high.

"We've got to do something to Yale," someone said.

"We should. I'm up for it," I said. "What can we do?"

All too quickly, before any of the people at that table had a chance to think about what we were doing, the decision was made. We agreed to meet at 11:00 outside Canaday Hall for a trip to New Haven.

"This is great," someone said. "This will be the greatest thing we ever do."


It is very quiet in New Haven, Connecticut in late November at four o'clock in the morning--so quiet you can hear the traffic signals turn, so quiet you can hear the street lights buzz. And if you listen very carefully, you can feel the vibrations of the Yale University Police force's patrol car, as it inches down Elm Street.

We weren't listening very carefully.

The nine of us drove into town in my brother's bright yellow station wagon with Bruce Springsteen blaring on the tapedeck and eight cans of red spray paint in the back.