AFTER READING Monday morning's newspaper, my friends across the hall in Lowell House were relieved. See, they're taking Historical Study A-12, "International Conflict in the Modern World," and they were worried about this Nuclear Free Adams House thing.
They have a term project to develop and deploy a cruise missile in the bell tower, and then use it to blow up the Lampoon sometime during reading period. It's 50 percent of their grade, and they were afraid they'd have to cancel the project if Adams House inspired a similar anti-nuke movement in Lowell. They're already past the date when they can drop the course without penalty.
Fortunately for them, while Gold Coast residents voted last week 114-24 in favor of a "freeze on the testing, storage or deployment of nuclear weapons" at Adams House, the organizers deemed that such a low level of participation meant they couldn't claim a mandate. Another eight people abstained, and 30 cast their ballots to call it a "farce."
The sardonic freezeniks who introduced and ran the0 referendum, John F. Tomlinson '87 and Matthew P. Cohn '87, acknowledged early on that they weren't totally serious about the thing. "Me and Matt were just sitting around in House Committee, and we said as a joke, 'Why don't we declare [Adams House] a nuclear-free zone?'" Tomlinson explained. "I think it's pretty funny--it's an opportunity to make a political statement and be a little humorous at the same time," added his activist cohort Cohn.
Tomlinson said that another, ason for the referendum was that "we didn't want to be shown up by New Zealand," whose prime minister recently forbade U.S. Navy ships to do there if they have nuclear weapons on board. Prime Minister David R. Lange managed to provoke an international diplomatic brouhaha and effectively dissolve a three-way defense pact with Australia and the United States. Those may be ambitious results for Tomlinson and Cohn to compete with, but hey, what is Harvard all about anyway?
But, my friends said you never know when some putatively lighthearted proposal will end up leading to disaster. Take the 1981 tax cuts, for example.
IT WASN'T JUST Max and Werner across the hall who are happy about the results. I know those weapon over in P-entry who have the breaded reactor in their suite are feeling better. The master's assistant says she's glad she won't have to find a pawn shop for that plutonium anklet she was on special occasions. And that gang up in D-51 is glad they don't have to take down their early-warning radar system.
Moreover, if Adams House is representative of the undergraduate body as a whole--and no snide one-liners about that, please--it looks like owners of hardened silos all over campus are in good shape. The House Committee wanted nothing to do with it. And residents had a lot of different reasons for shooting down the referendum.
"I believe in a strong defense," explained cold warrior Michael Caudill '87, "I think nuclear weapons are a necessary evil for the balance of power. Until there's away to gauge and regulate the Soviets, the U.S. should be wary of trying to reduce arms."
"That a majority didn't vote is not surprising," added Assistant Senior Tutor Daniel Frank. "Adams House is not a politically motivated group of individuals."
NOW THE BATTLE moves to Dunster House, where Neil McAliley '87 says he plans to go back to his House Committee with a move to ban "the production of chemical and biological weapons." The typically better-dead-than-red committee there scoffed the last time he came around with a nuclear-free plebiscite. But McAliley thinks the hoopla surrounding the Nuclear Free Adams House referendum may help him with his latest cause.
However, as McAliley himself will be the first to admit, there may be some heated opposition to the Lethal Microbe Free Dunster House movement. "Some Dunster House seniors are afraid it will interfere with their theses," McAliley said last weekend.
I know that Dunster House woman in my section for Biology 128, "Animal Viruses and Oncogenic Transformation," is already pretty far along on her anthrax bomb she's going to let loose on the Fly Club's garden party his May. It's 60 percent of the course grade, and I know she'd be pretty mad if all that work went to waste.