All The President's Men
Who's In Charge Here, Anyway?
You're probably learning more about this University by reading this issue of The Crimson than the average Harvard student learns in four years. The fact is that Harvard students come here to pursue their own goals, often regardless of what goes on around and above them. Many are never aware of the forces behind the oldest, most prestigious educational institution in the country.
But contrary to the impression you will receive during the drunken days of Freshman Week and every moment you spend here thereafter, there is another part of Harvard. It's very different, but also vital to what you learn, how much you pay, how you're regarded by the real world and how you're treated in the unlikely event of a clash with the forces that lurk behind serenely closed doors here.
That part is the bureaucratic, well-dressed, English-accented, sometimes amiable, and sometimes condescending Harvard administration. It's no minor affair. Scores of deans, governors, administrators and vice-presidents steer this very wealthy ship into calm but profitable waters. Their journeys take them toward new academic and technological frontiers and breakthroughs, toward new standards of "Harvard etiquette," and onto the drydock for repairs.
Derek C. Bok, president of the University, loves to play down his role at Harvard. That's because he has played down his role at Harvard. Bok, a lawyer by training, has spent a considerable part of his 14 years in the prestigious position creating new administrative positions to handle the everyday functions of Harvard. He has begun to concentrate primarily on the ever-increasing challenges of the outside world. That's why U.S. News and World Report reported that influential Americans rated him the number one man in education in this country and the 20th most important person outside of Washington. But it may also be why only about 75 percent of Harvard students even recognize the globe-trotter.
You will certainly see him during Freshman Week and Commencement. You may notice him bending down to pick up litter while walking through the Yard, and you will doubtlessly read about him in the campus newspapers. But unless you take an interest in Harvard's affairs, Bok will not be a part of your daily life. Most likely he will be in California on a fundraiser, in Washington lobbying against President Reagan's student-aid cuts or in his plush Massachusetts Hall office dealing with back-to-back meetings.
Despite his growing absenteeism, the president certainly has not relinquished control of Harvard at home. Perhaps one of his most characteristic positions, Bok holds that universities have a social responsibility to inculcate ethical standards as well as academic and practical principles in the classroom. If one had to point to Bok's primary impact on American education, it would almost certainly be his belief that Harvard academia should not be isolated from the modern world. While he often claims that Harvard's mission is education and education alone (a position shared with some who think scholarly work should remain separate from modern culture and politics), he also emphasizes that that mission should reflect the ethical considerations and problems associated with contemporary society.
His annual report, devoted to educational issues at Harvard and across the country, receives national play and usually foretells of some major changes on the horizon for the University. Two years ago, he attacked medical education here at Harvard and all over the country for teaching doctors the basics of surgery but ignoring the psychological aspects of patient care. Last year he studied the benefits and setbacks of combining computers and education. Before you leave Harvard, you may witness vast transformations in everything from library catalogues to campus communications.
In addition, Bok clings tightly to his control of granting tenure to professors at Harvard. He rejects about 15 percent of those scholars selected for lifetime positions by Harvard's academic departments, almost always causing outcries. This year, Bok declined to tenure Paul Starr, a Pulitzer-prize-winning sociologist among the finest in his field. Bok had a vision for the department's future with which many professors disagreed. And the president certainly never escapes student protests over the University's $580 million in stock in companies doing business in the segregated state of South Africa.
Bok joins six others at the top in the long-lived, seven-man Harvard Corporation, the University's top governing body. At 335 years, the Corporation is the oldest incorporated, self-perpetuating body in the Western Hemisphere. Technically, it exercises complete control over every aspect of Harvard. Together, the men oversee Harvard's massive $600 million annual budget, a job that has come to occupy most of their time. No small task for just seven men, the Corporation members oversee University investments, conduct fund drives such as the successfully concluded $350 million capital campaign, manage the budget for twelve different faculties, and fight against national programs or policies bound to affect education adversely. You may occasionally see them emanating from the former President's Mansion near Lamont Library, but other than that, they'll be invisible until Commencement celebrations.
Next in line, and perhaps the second most powerful man at Harvard, is Vice President and General Counsel Daniel Steiner '54. His primary responsibilities are overseeing the legal affairs of Harvard, supervising the Harvard Police, managing the University's vast landholdings and dealing with Harvard's more than 10,000 non-union employees. Unofficially, he represents the University in difficult times--a troubleshooter of sorts. Easily Bok's closest advisor and a personal friend, Steiner is privy to a vast array of University knowledge. While he spends most of his time dealing with complicated real estate and development projects, don't be surprised if you see Dan Steiner defending Harvard's position on investments in South Africa after a student rally or fighting legislation linking the draft and student-aid in Washington.
As Harvard's newest and youngest administrator, Vice President for Government and Community Affairs John Shattuck has certainly made his mark in local and national politics. Fresh from Washington, where he served as director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Shattuck has assumed responsibility for Harvard's extensive lobbying efforts in Washington. He has also strived to improve the University's sometimes stormy relations with Cambridge. This year, he fought cuts in student aid proposed by the Reagan Administration and voiced Harvard's concern that the proposed tax reform plan would lessen charitable contributions to the University. In addition, he overseas the Harvard News Office.
Fast-talking Robert H. Scott, vice-president for administration, is the University's systems manager. Scott is in the middle of administering a $250 million renovation program of the Houses and academic buildings. And in the near future, he will implement the vast computerization program now in the planning stages at Harvard. Less desirably, Scott has inhereted Harvard's long-standing, costly and controversial Medical Area Total Energy Project (MATEP).
Helping oversee Harvard's billions is Vice President for Financial Affairs Thomas O'Brien. A big, journal man with a ready wink and a smile, O'Brien is in charge of enforcing the every-tub-on-its-own-bottom rule. All of the University's 50-some departments, faculties, museums, research centers and libraries must prove to O'Brien, who approves each of their budgets, that their every-increasing financial demands are justified.
But much more than a glorified accountant, he is a key decision-maker in such areas as tuition and probably the administrator dealing most with the powerful Corporation. He therefore has input into the use of the and Harvard's day-to-day finances.
The last, but in the long run certainly not the least, of Bok's immediate crew is Vice President of Alumni Affairs Fred L. Glimp '50. Having just completed Harvard's record-setting $350 million capital fund drive last winter, Glimp now has the even more difficult task of maintaining good alumni relations and supervising fund-raising efforts during the lag period after alumni have been drained.
The Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) represents everything that makes this University famous. Its 350 tenured professors and about 500 instructors teach 6500 undergraduates and more than 2000 graduate students in what people around the world regard as some of the best liberal arts programs in the world. With scores of libraries, faculty members, museums, research centers and a budget running upwards of $100 million annually at his fingertips, Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence leads this huge, prestigious array of higher educators.
The dean, an economist considered Nobel-prize worthy, has just completed a first year in University Hall's top position, sticking to his characteristic silence and making few waves. He claims he's "getting to know people" during his twelve-hour workdays, but acknowledges that one of his major areas of concern is with the computerization of Harvard. He hopes to see an effective network of machines installed to help facilitate academic research during his tenure.
Aside from his usual budgetary and tuition concerns, Spence's plans include an analysis of the faculty, who must produce massive amounts of vestigate ways of easing the tension on junior faculty, which must produce massive amounts of research work in order to be considered for a tenured position that they will probably not receive at this stage in their lives. Spence, who reports only to Bok, must also appoint several new administrators to top positions in the College in the upcoming year.
Spence does not work alone. Two Assistant Deans, Melissa D. Gerrity and Phyllis Keller are both considered crack administrators. Gerrity, associate dean for financial affairs, is in charge of the budget, and is an important consultant on tuition and salaries. Keller, associate dean for for academic planning, helped develop the now well established Core Curriculum under former Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky. She also is involved in tenure searches.
Since natural scientists tend to use a lot more hardware and generate a lot more paperwork than social scientists, there are also two scientific deans serving under Spence. Dean of the Biological Sciences John E. Dowling '57 and Dean of the Applied Sciences Paul C. Martin '53 both have exercised discrete but considerable influence on an assortment of faculty issues. Dowling helped institute the first-ever University-funded undergraduate government. Martin was influential in creating a separate Computer Science concentration and is an important administrator in the computerization program.
Perhaps someone who will have more effect on your everyday classroom experience, Dean of Undergraduate Education Steven E. Ozment is new to his post, but, contrary to Spence, he has had no qualms about asserting himself from the start. As director of the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE), which puts out the CUE course guide, he has called Harvard education lacking in many respects. He has claimed that professors don't have enough contact with students, a typical criticism but one not usually voiced by top administrators. He has also said that both students and professors don't have the workload they should and that they have too much free time. Although he seems frustrated by the pace of change at Harvard, you may see some new crackdowns in education motivated by Spence's first appointment in office.
In 1636, Harvard had one building. Now it has about 1000. In 1636, its assets consisted of a small collection of books donated by John Harvard of England. Now it owns the second largest library in the world and has monetary assets in the billions. But Harvard College is still the core of this network. It's still the one that produced five presidents and scores of Congressmen and statesmen.
As you read this piece, the Dean of the Faculty A. Michael Spence, who controls the College as well, is reviewing candidates to assume the responsibilities of the dean of the College. The current dean, John B. Fox Jr. '59, announced in February that he will step down no later than June 1986. Fox said he will look for "new challenges" at Harvard, but where and when he will go remains a mystery.
Fox, an imposing 6'9'' tall, has towering responsibilities ranging from housing to the discipline of students in the College. But his most direct contact with students is through his leadership of the Administrative Board, or the College's disciplinary body, where he enforces "conduct becoming of a Harvard student." In other words, the lumbering administrator is the curator of Harvard's past; he's the enforcer of tradition.
Every Tuesday, Fox convenes 25 tutors, administrators and deans to determine the official response to transgressions of either academic or extracurricular nature.
The dean of the College also controls the Committee on House Life and works with House Masters to improve living conditions, although the Masters technically report to Bok. Fox's greatest challenges, and undoubtedly the most pressing issues of his successor, will be alleviating over-crowding in upperclass Houses. He will work with both Masters and the admissions office to reduce the problems created when five people try to live in four-bedroom suites. In addition, the dean has overseen and must continue to oversee portions of the $250 million renovation project now centered on the Radcliffe Quadrangle Houses.
Perhaps one of Harvard's most visible administrators, Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III considered a candidate for the deanship that Fox, Epps's boss, now holds, is amiable, English by environment, and available. Any student activist, politician, artist or reporter will almost certainly come into contact with Epps, who handles everything from finding rooms for press conferences after a divestment rally, to dealing with Final Club presidents who have now been disaffiliated from Harvard because they refused to allow women to join their clubs. This man is your only real link to the Harvard bureaucracy.
Associate Dean of the College Martha C. Gefter watches over the College's annual budget, paying particular attention to personnel matters and to dorm conditions. Gefter does most of her work behind the scenes, but is considered one of the most efficient administrators in University Hall.
There is also the ubiquitous Assistant Dean of the College John R. Marquand. He is the Dudley House senior tutor, secretary to the Ad Board, secretary to the Faculty, and an adviser to a handful of freshmen. Marquand probably knows more about the ins and outs of Harvard, either through his experience with its many facets or through gossip, than any other administrator. He prepares reports for the Ad Board and the Faculty but is perhaps most famous for his daily trips to campus hangouts to sip sherry.
The assistant dean for the House system, Thomas A. Dingman '67, a preppy, helps draft and implement the rules on upperclass housing both for dorm residents and the handful of off-campus students. Dingman comes under fire each spring for the disputed House lottery system.
Marlyn Lewis '70, another assistant dean of the College, is the unofficial women's advocate at Harvard. She has been the point woman recently for female student complaints of sexual harassment. Many feel that, even after the publicity surrounding three harassment cases, Harvard has ignored the problem. But Lewis, who has limited power, receives praise for her efforts at conciliation. She has also been involved in lobbying for a separate Women's Studies concentration.
But Dean of Freshman Henry C. Moses is the one who will squire you through your first year at the College. Although you're never quite sure what he's doing, and you may see him less than you see President Bok, you can rest assured that Moses and his staff are monitoring your activity to analyze freshman behavior, or if you're engaged in conduct unbecoming a Harvard student, probing your record to determine disciplinary action. Moses' office sits right behind Hurlbut, so Union dormsters beware.
John F. Baughman contributed to this report.