While You Were Away
In case you spent the summer months away from Cambridge, here are some of the stories you missed from start to finish.
Chalk One Up For Divestment: As graduating seniors received their diplomas with all the pomp and circumstance they could muster, the University announced on June 11 that four prodivestment candidates had won election to the 30-member Board of Overseers.
Duke University Professor Peter H. Wood '64 and congressional committee counsel M. Washington ran on a pro-divestment slate and captured two of the six seats up for grabs. Two of the other winning candidates nominated by the University, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frances FitzGerald '62 and former MIT President Jerome B. '37, have spoken out in favor of divestment publicly, while another elected Board member, Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Albert Gore, Jr. '69 (D-Tenn.) has vocally supported sanctions against South Africa.
Although several of the winning candidates predicted their election to Harvard's second most powerful governing body would have a substantial affect on University policy in the future, some veteran Overseers said that divestment was quickly becoming a "dead" issue.
Na, na, na, na: In late June, Vice President for Financial Affairs Thomas O'Brien announced his next career transaction: withdrawing from his job of 15 years to become dean of the Business School at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Under O'Brien's guidance, the University's endowment reached the $4 billion level.
O'Brien, who decided to leave only a month after he was offered the new post, said the move had been long in the making as he had grown tired of his job, and that the opportunity to become involved in teaching was too good to pass up. Robert H. Scott, vice president for administration, was designated in August to succeed O'Brien, opening up another plum job in the Mass Hall administration.
Will He, Or Won't He?: Last spring it seemed that new Director of the Institute of Politics (IOP) and former Governor of Pennsylvania, Richard L. Thornburgh, had given up politics for academia. But then the four-year bug which has already afflicted more than a dozen of the nation's political leaders bit him: the Presidency.
With unpacked boxes littering the floor of his brand new office, Thornburgh began a "testing of the waters" for a possible bid at the Republican nomination. Brought to the IOP to introduce an emphasis on electoral politics at the K-School, Thornburgh may do so with a vengeance when he decides in the fall whether to run for the nation's highest office.
Straightest Arrow in Town: Accustomed to drawing praise from U.S. News and World Report and the Chronicle of Higher Education as the nation's top educator, President Bok received attention from a different sector in July when "M" magazine declared that Harvard's head was in. According to "M," the straight arrow is the thing to be today, and Bok flies as true as any the magazine could find.
As "M" magazine staffers put it: "If he's a hot dog, only his wife knows about it. That's a straight arrow in our book."
Condomania: In early July, St. Paul's church announced that it would sell its DeWolfe St. rectory and parking lot to the H.J. Davis company for the tidy sum of $7 million. The University had hoped to purchase the property in an effort to slow overdevelopment in the Square and provide affordable housing for its affiliates, but it bid only $4 million. Although the company promised to devote a portion of its profits to a fund for low-income housing, community leaders lamented the purchase, fearing the traffic and noise the construction and new development would produce.
The Newton-based construction corporation will this spring begin construction on a building housing 90 luxury condominiums on the 25,000 sq. ft. lot across from Quincy House. Due to the housing crunch in the Square, the spacious condos will probably cost upwards of $4000 a month to rent when they are completed in about a year.
Student Charged With Armed Robberies: Inearly July, California police arrested Jose LuisRazo '89 and charged him with committing sevenarmed robberies over the last two years. A memberof the football team and a Kirkland Houseresident, Razo walked into the police departmentof his native La Habra, California, in July toprovide information relating to an unsolvedmurder. But when officers began questioning Razo,who allegedly wore a ski mask and carried anautomatic pistol during the crimes, he confessedto the seven hold-ups. However, at hisarraignment, he pleaded not guilty.
Law School Tenure Controversy: In lateJuly President Bok said he would intervene in thecontroversial tenure case of Assistant Professorof Law Clare Dalton, who has charged that she didnot receive tenure because of her gender andpolitics. Although Bok said earlier he wasreluctant to review the case, Dalton appealed tothe President in May after she failed to win thetwo-thirds faculty majority necessary to insure alifetime post. The junior professor said she willsue the University on the grounds of sexdiscrimination if Bok fails to grant her tenure.
Meanwhile, law professors throughout thecountry have offered their input into the case,which liberal groups say is a referendum onacademic freedom at Harvard. More than 200 lawprofessors have signed a letter expressing concernover Bok's slow response to the Dalton vote andhis decision to override tenure for VisitingProfessor of Law David Trubek, another left-wingscholar. Like Trubek, Dalton is associated withCritical Legal Studies, a movement which holdsthat the law is rooted in dominant social normsand not abstract notions of justice.
Presidential Interviews: Harvard, almamater to six United States presidents, sought tofurther the special relationship in July whenK-School professor Marvin Kalb invited eachpresidential hopeful for a televised one-on-oneinterview to be conducted before an audience inthe Arco Forum. Kalb, the Murrow Professor ofPress and Public Policy and former diplomaticcorrespondent for NBC, said that National PublicRadio and Public Television Stations had agreed tocarry the hourlong interviews.
Van-itas: Phillips Brooks House (PBH)barely escaped catastrophe in late July when oneof its vans, filled far beyond legal capacity with26 inner-city children, flipped over aMassachusetts Turnpike guardrail. Although thechildren suffered only minor injuries, the21-year-old driver was charged with "operating toendanger" for overloading the vehicle, which wascarrying participants of the "Keylatch" summerprogram to an amusement park in southernMassachusetts. The accident raised questions aboutthe training PBH van drivers receive and promptedPBH to review its driving policies.
Burning Down the Bus: Near-disasterstruck PBH for the second time in as many weekswhen a Harvard shuttle bus that PBH borrowed burstinto flames on Route 93 near Medford. None of the30 children and counselors in the vehicle wasinjured. When noises started coming from the bus'sengine, the driver pulled the bus over and quicklyevacuated the passengers--members of PBH's InnerCity Outreach program--before the bus ignited. Thecause of the fire is still undetermined.
Dalton Redux: In an unprecedented move,President Bok announced that he will ask a groupof 15 outside legal experts--who overwhelminglysupported Dalton during her initial tenure bid inthe spring--to evaluate the arguments of heropponents in the Law Faculty. Bok's decision toseek advice from the experts signaled to manyobservers an admission of flaws within the LawSchool's tenure process, which Dalton and herattorney Nancy Gertner charge is "terriblyunfair."
Once the outside scholars present Bok withtheir conclusions--which is not expected to beuntil the end of the semester--Bok will decidewhat further steps to take in his review of thecase, he wrote in a letter to Law School DeanJames Vorenberg '49. Dalton supporters applaudedBok's decision, but conservative law professorscriticized the President's plan. However,professors from both sides agreed that Bok'sdecision to intervene would erode the Law School'sautonomy in the future.
Assault Charges Dropped Against K-SchoolProf: In late August, the much-publicizedtrial of Professor of Political Economy Glenn C.Loury for assault ended when the Boston woman whohad said Loury had threatened her with murderdropped all criminal charges. The 38-year-oldKennedy School professor--who had been PresidentReagan's first choice for Undersecretary ofEducation--pleaded not guilty in June toallegations that he had attacked South Endresident Pamela Foster. Foster is currentlyseeking a cash settlement from thenationally-prominent Black conservative.