What Was News

Four years of movers, shakers and Harvard newsmakers

1996

September 1996
U.S. News & World Report ranks Harvard third after six years in the top spot. The College returns to the top of the charts the next year.

The Kappa Eta chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity begins renting apartments in a house on 45 Mount Auburn St., a development that Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III terms "unfortunate."

Stephen V. David and William A. Blankenship, former members of the Class of 1996, plead guilty on charges of possession of hallucinogens, marijuana and ketamine. The two former Currier House residents received suspended sentences and were placed on probation for two years.

October 1996
The University's athletic department releases a report showing that it spends nearly twice as much on men's athletics as on women's athletics. One year later, a report on spending in the athletic department during the 1996-1997 academic year revealed the same gender-based discrepancy.

2 - Former Eliot House resident Theodore J. Kaczynski '62 is indicted by a federal grand jury for the 1994 mail bomb attack that killed an advertising executive in New Jersey.

11 - University Health Services begins offering anonymous HIV antibody testing.

20 - A violent storm hits the East Coast, bringing heavy wind and rain and forcing a cancellation of the Head of the Charles Regatta for the first time in 32 years.

25 - For the third consecutive year, poor financial health prohibits the Coop from offering a rebate to its members. During the previous year, the store suffered an 11.2 percent drop in overall sales, a trend that was reversed in later years when the Coop offered its members rebates of up to 5 percent.

30 - William H. Gates III, Class of 1977, and Steven A. Ballmer '77, who is a Crimson editor, announce that they will give $25 million to Harvard's computer science and electrical engineering programs. The Maxwell Dworkin building funded by this donation opens two years later.

31 - Twelve members of the Queer Action Group are removed from the ARCO Forum during a speech by Ralph Reed, director of the Christian Coalition. The group protested the Coalition's anti-gay stances by engaging in lengthy homosexual kisses during Reed's speech.

November 1996
6 - Voters elect the Man from Hope, William Jefferson Clinton, to another term as president of the United States, making him the first Democrat since Franklin D. Roosevelt '04 to be re-elected. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) earns a third term by defeating his popular Republican opponent, Governor William F. Weld '66.

December 1996
11 - Lamelle D. Rawlins '99 is elected president of the Undergraduate Council by an overwhelming majority. Rawlins becomes the first woman to lead the council and the council's second popular elected president.

1997

January 1997
Nearly two years after a statewide referendum abolished rent control in Massachusetts cities, the government's temporary protective provisions come to an end. Roughly 1,500 of the city's low-income households are affected.

February 1997
7 - Course offerings in the Core reach a seven-year low with 86 classes total compared to the 105 offered in the 1995-1996 school year. Not since the 1989-1990 academic year, when the offerings in the Core curriculum dropped to 83 courses, had the total been lower.

21 - Four first-year students are brought before the Administrative Board and required to withdraw from the College because of their involvement in a Feb. 7 fire in Thayer Hall.

22 - The Board of Ministry appoints a task force to research the possibility of allowing same-sex ceremonies in Memorial Church.

23 - The Undergraduate Council passes a resolution to add transgender people to its constitution's non-discrimination clause. Alex S. Myers '00, a transgender student, is instrumental in encouraging the council make such an amendment. One week later, Stephen J. Mitby '99, a council member who opposed the resolution, received hate mail outside the door of his Lowell House suite.

March 1997
6 - Former University Provost Albert Carnesale is confirmed as chancellor of the University of California at Los Angeles. On April 3, Dean of the School of Public Health Harvey V. Fineberg '67 is chosen as the new provost.

12 - In an ongoing effort to revitalize Loker Commons, members of the Memorial Hall advisory committee announce that they will replace Loker's flower shop and book swap with a television lounge. This decision woul would ultimately have little effect on the underground center's popularity.

14 - A 65-page report released to Faculty by members of the Core review committee calls for the creation of a new Quantitative Reasoning requirement and reduction of the number of required Core courses from eight to seven. QRR courses are added to the Courses of Instruction in time for the Class of 2003 while the committee's second recommendation is still under consideration.

April 1997
1 - An untimely snow storm dumps two feet of snow on the Boston area, causing Governor William F. Weld '66 to declare a state of emergency. While the rest of the Bay State shuts down, Harvard's classes stay open, forcing some faculty members to ski their way to campus.

6 - Anti-gay graffiti appears in Dunster House's G-entryway during the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Students' Association's first Queer Harvard Month.

Chelsea V. Clinton tours the campus, but ultimately decides to go West to Stanford.

24 - Tom (Scott) and Tom (First) of Nantucket Nectars rent the former D.U. final club building with big plans to move their multi-million dollar headquarters and to open a juice bar at the 45 Dunster St. site. But after heavy lobbying from the Harvard Square Defense Fund, Cambridge's zoning board allows the juice guys to only set up their corporate shop in the Square, denying them a license for selling their fruity concoctions.

25 - In a rare use of his bully pulpit, Rudenstine heads a nationwide coalition of 62 university presidents calling for diversity in higher education, following the Supreme Court's Hopwood decision restricting the use of race as a factor in admission.

30 - Fifteen female senior Faculty members send a letter to Rudenstine protesting the denial of tenure to Bonnie Honig, associate professor of government. Their letter sparks widespread criticism of Harvard's secretive tenure process and of the administration's stated commitment to faculty diversity. The decision is never reversed and Honig and her husband, Professor of Economics Michael Whinston, leave Harvard for Northwestern University.

May 1997
4 - Arts First weekend is highlighted by controversy surrounding a performance by Marc R. Talusan '97, the "Dancing Deviant." Due to the -show's sexually explicit content, the Office for the Arts denies Talusan funding.

Following a highly publicized custody case, Gina M. Ocon '98-'00 wins the right to move with her young daughter to Cambridge and resume her Harvard education.

Filming for Good Will Hunting begins in Harvard Square. Matt Damon, Class of 1992, and Ben Affleck, both native Cantabrigians, later win a "Best Screenplay" Oscar for the film.

Federal officials suspend a $14 million contract with the Harvard Institute of International Development after discovering possible improprieties in HIID projects in Russia. Accusations focus on Professor of Economics Andrei Shleifer '82, who allegedly "abused the trust of the United States government by using personal relationships...for private gain," officials say.

June 1997
The University announces that from 1988 to 1994 it secretly acquired 52.6 acres of land in the Allston section of Boston.

July 1997
Two Harvard students, Deshaun R. Hill '99 and Harvard C. Nabrit Stephens '99, die in a car crash in Monterey County, Calif.

September 1997
The Barker Center for the Humanities opens.

Harvard's endowment tops $11 billion.

MIT first-year Scott Krueger dies following a night of heavy drinking at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Krueger's death prompts housing policy changes at MIT as well as a crackdown on alcohol use at area colleges. Less than a month after Krueger's death, Epps releases a statement strengthening Harvard's alcohol policy.

October 1997
The University celebrates 25 years of co-residency in the Yard and dedicates the Anne Bradstreet Gate to its female students and alumni.

7 - The body of 10-year-old Cambridge boy Jeffrey Curley is found in a Maine river. Two men, Salvatore Sicari and Charles Jaynes, are charged with the murder. Curley's death was considered a motivating force in an 81-79 vote by the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Oct. 28 to reinstitute the death penalty.

15 - Robert C. Merton, an expert in finance and Baker professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School, wins the Nobel Prize for Economics.

November 1997
An estimated 5,000 demonstrators swarm the Harvard Square area as Chinese President Jiang Zemin speaks in Sanders Theatre.

After more than 70 years in the Square, the Tasty serves its last hamburger. Abercrombie & Fitch, Finagle a Bagel and Pacific Sunwear eventually set up shop in the renovated Read Block.


Grapes return to the dining hall following a pro-grape vote in the Great Grape Referendum. In the weeks before the vote, grape supporters faced off against vigil-holding activists trying to raise awareness about the poor labor conditions for grape farm workers.

December 1997
5 - After months of renovation and construction, the new and improved Harvard Coop bookstore opens, featuring four floors of books and a full-service cafe. Barnes and Noble took over from the Harvard Cooperative Society's management just prior to the renovation.

10 - Beth A. Stewart '00 is elected president of the Undergraduate Council president on a student-services platform. In one of the most hotly-contested races in council history, Stewart edged out her closest competition by 48 votes.

12 - In a survey conducted by The Crimson and the Institute of Politics, undergraduates gives Harvard a B- on its "efforts to promote a multicultural environment." Fifty-eight percent of students said they found a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of segregation at Harvard, but the majority also said they saw "only some" racial tension.

1998

The Harvard Crimson celebrates its 125th anniversary.

January 1998
5 - Alan K. Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming, is appointed as head of the Institute of Politics. Simpson's tenure ended this spring; he will be replaced by David Pryor, former Democratic senator from Arkansas.

31 - Former Kirkland House resident Joshua M. Elster, Class of 2000, is charged with rape and indecent assault and battery by an undergraduate woman. The arrest is initially omitted by the Harvard Police Department from its blotter, a violation of Bay State law. Elster later pleads guilty to all six felony counts and is dismissed by the Faculty in an April 1999 vote.

February 1998
5 - Princeton boosts its financial aid program starting a trend among Ivy League schools. Harvard's own sweeping financial aid changes, introduced more than six months later, come only after similar efforts by Yale, MIT, and Stanford

March 1998
15 - David L. Okrent '99 is found dead on Revere Beach. Okrent's death is later determined to be a suicide.

Diana L. Eck, professor of comparative religion and Indian studies, and her partner Dorothy A. Austin are selected as the new masters of Lowell House, filling the posts vacated by long-time masters William H. Bossert '55 and his wife Mary. Eck and Austin are the first same-sex couple to serve as masters of a Harvard house.

The woman's basketball team upsets Stanford, top seed in the West regional, to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament. It is the first time a number 16 seed has defeated a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

April 1998
Radcliffe College may relinquish its role as an undergraduate college and become an "allied institution," the Boston Globe reports. The following week, students rally in Radcliffe Yard in support of the 120-year-old institution.

May 1998
6 - Twenty-six current and former House tutors, all minorites, issue an open letter to the University officials saying that the decision to randomize Harvard's Houses has adversely affected undergraduates and severely weakened the House system as a whole.

10 - The Parade of Stars, Harvard's own Oscar-like ceremony, presents awards to student groups and individuals for performance, athletics and publication. Voting for winners is open to the campus but comes under fire for its elitism, and many nominees remove their names from the ballots.

15 - Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 announces a plan to give an additional $25,000 of the College's money to the 240-plus student groups on campus.

September 1998
"Fly-By" lunches come to Loker.

16 - Harvard officials announce a $9 million, 20 percent increase in undergraduate financial aid that will result in at least $2,000 more in direct aid to nearly half of all undergraduates. Students are given a choice in applying the additional grant money to either reducing their loans or their work-study commitment.

18 - South African president and co-recipient of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize Nelson Mandela speaks before 25,000 in Tercentenary Theatre, becoming the third person in Harvard's history to receive an honorary degree in a ceremony not linked to Commencement or the celebration of a University anniversary.

October 1998
Quincy House announces a trial period for universal keycard access. In the coming months, Cabot, Winthrop, Dunster and Lowell House follow suit.

November 1998
The Undergraduate Council announces the "discovery" of $40,000 in a forgotten bank account. The oversight is blamed on poor account procedures in past. The council pledges to use $25,000 of the funds to construct a new student center, but the initiative lacks support among University Hall administrators.

23 - Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III announces he will step down in the spring following a 28-year tenure. Lewis decides to leave the post unfilled, redistributing Epps' duties among three associate deans. Epps stays on, continuing to work for the College as a senior associate dean.

December 1998
2 - Buffeted by a bull market and a strong economy, Harvard announces that it will add $95 million of endowment money to its operating budget for 1999. With the increase, the endowment payout moves closer to its traditional $.5 percent, up from a historic low of 3.3 percent in 1998.

14 - Former Harvard Republican Club President Noah Z. Seton '00 and campus progressive Kamil E. Redmond '00 forge a political partnership to win the Undergraduate Council's leadership. Seton and Redmond vow to focus on student services during their year-long term.

The Seton-Redmond ticket narrowly defeats the "healthy Harvard" platform of T. Christopher King '01, a candidate who grabbed national headlines by arguing that religious discrimination played a role in his defeat.

1999

January 1999
20 - The A.D. club announces a closed-door policy for all non-members. The club's graduate board cites a return to tradition as the motive behind the change but also acknowledges concern over legal liability. In the next few months, the Delphic, Owl, Phoenix and Spee clubs institute similar policies.

February 1999
17 - The University announces that it will spend $4 million to restore Memorial Hall's signature tower, destroyed by fire in 1956. The decision draws criticism from student group leaders calling for the construction of a full-fledged student center.

March 1999
9 - In a "Rally for Justice," about 350 students protest outside University Hall as Faculty Faculty vote to dismiss D. Drew Doulas, Class of 2000, who pled guilty in the fall to charges of indecent assault and battery. Organized by the Coalition Against Sexual Violence, the Living Wage Campaign and Students Against Sweatshops, the rally also called for a stronger University stance against sweatshop labor, alleging that some apparel manufactured with the Harvard name was produced by companies using sweatshops and for a minimum living wage for Harvard employees.

Earlier in the week, the University publicly endorses "full disclosure" of the locations of factories where Harvard apparel is made, partially assuaging the demands of the Progressive Student Labor Movement.

Only hours after the Faculty vote, a Harvard-affiliated woman is raped in Byerly Hall. The building's security system is discovered to have been broken for over a year.

27 - The Harvard women's hockey team defeats the University of New Hampshire 6-5 in overtime in the AWCHA national championship game. The win gives the team its fist national title.

April 1999
5 - Two professors of pediatric medicine, Judith S. Palfrey '67 and John G. "Sean" Palfrey '67, are named the new masters of Adams House, replacing long-time supporters of randomization, Robert J. Kiley '60 and his wife Jana.

8 - Longtime Cambridge political fixture and Mayor Francis H. Duehay '55 announces that he will retire in January 2000 following a 36-year career on the School Committee and the City Council. During his career, Duehay dealt with a variety of problems including racial unrest and student protest in the 1960s and the housing tumult following the 1994 end to rent control.

The Undergraduate Council endorses the return of ROTC to campus in a close vote. BGLTSA protests. Lewis later says the College is not considering bringing ROTC back to campus.

The murky Charles River gets a B- grade from the EPA, up from a D in 1996 and a C in 1997.

20 - Harvard and Radcliffe officials announce that Radcliffe will be absorbed under the University's umbrella as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, 120 years after it gave women access to a Harvard education. Under the proposed agreement, Radcliffe would be placed on an equal administrative footing with the University's nine faculties. Linda S. Wilson, Radcliffe's seventh and final president, announced that she would step down from her post in June. Radcliffe-affiliated student groups express concern over their future and Harvard's commitment to female undergraduates.

Springfest finally lives up to its name after disappointments in past years. Students laud the Council-sponsored celebration with good weather, music by the Violent Femmes and inflatable playgrounds.

May 1999
5 - The University announces a complete restructuring of the Harvard University Police Department as part of a plan to implement a model of community policing. The department fires seven lieutenants, hires several new administrators and adds more than a dozen new officers--several on bicycles--to the force.

14 - Following a year that included a record number of early action applicants and admissions, as well as a near-record number of applicants overall, Harvard announces that 79.7 percent of those accepted in to the Class of 2003 have agreed to enroll. The yield, up 0.6 percent from 1997-1998, is the highest among all American colleges and Harvard's highest in 25 years.

The Boston Globe reports that former Dean of the Divinity School Ronald F. Thiemann's abrupt resignation last fall was prompted by discovery of pornographic material on his University-owned computer. Thiemann remains a tenured professor but is on sabbatical until 2000.

21 - Associate Director of Financial Aid David P. Illingworth '71 is named a new associate dean of Harvard College. Illingworth assumes the overall responsibility for student extracurricular affairs and other aspects of student life while Associate Deans Thomas A. Dingman '67 and Georgene B. Herschbach wll focus on athletics, advising and health services and finance, technology and classroom space, respectively.

29 - Associate Professor of Government Peter Berkowitz's teaching career at Harvard ends, following President Neil L. Rudenstine's spring 1997 decision to deny him tenure. Berkowitz had filed a very public formal tenure complaint, accusing the University of failing to follow its own procedures when considering him for tenure. A grievance committee charged with reviewing Berkowitz's complaint found it to be "clearly without merit."

September 1999
13 - Harvard agrees to pay the City of Boston $40 million over 20 years in lieu of taxes, ending a two-year battle of town and gown.

15 - Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 announces that the maximum size of blocking groups will be halved from the current cap of 16 to eight, starting with the Class of 2003. Lewis stands by his decision even after first-years present him with a petition, signed by nearly half the class, in the spring.

22 - Survey says that students are dissatisfied with University Health Services, prompting the College to hold meetings and focus groups to examine the issue.

26 - The Rev. Billy Graham, 80 years old and suffering from Parkinson's disease, speaks to a standing room-only crowd at a Sunday morning service at Memorial Church.

October 1999
1 - The historic merger between Harvard and Racliffe colleges is final, with the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study born after midnight.

6 - In a dark wood-paneled, plushly-carpeted room at the Harvard Club of New York , President Neil L. Rudenstine announces that the University's Capital Campaign has raised $2.325 billion. The campaign is three months ahead of schedule and $225 million ahead of its goal, although the Campaign is stil short of its stated goals for the University's library system and its endowed professorships.

6 - Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura comes to campus, appearing live with Chris Mathews on the CNBC program "Hardball" which broadcasts live from the ARCO Forum.

12 - The University signs an agreement with the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers to provide greater compensation for nominally part-time or "casual" employees who worked full-time hours. Over 400 employees will be affected.

17 - The War of the Houses comes to an end after Pforzheimer House residents defeat Adamsians in a battle of intramural contests. PfoHo wins the right to eat in the Adams dining hall for the rest of the year.

30 - Harvard hosts an international education summit featuring meetings between seven presidents from China's leading universities and five from American universities.

November 1999
10 - The Crimson reported that for the past two months, Edward Francis Meinert, Jr., an Extension School student, posed as a transfer student in the College class of 2002. Meinert joined a variety of extracurriculars, never disclosing the fact that he was a former student at George Washington University and was facing a federal prison sentence for fraud.

24 - B.J. Averell '02 sneaks onto a Delta Express jet in a futile attempt to get home in time for Thanksgiving, after he learns that the airline had given his seat away.

Averell is arrested by Logan Airport security officials, and his story makes national headlines. All charges are eventually dropped but Averell remains a campus celebrity.

December 1999
13 - After his Mather House room had been targeted repeatedly in acts of homophobic vandalism this fall, K. Kyriell Muhammad announced he would resign as resident tutor at the end of the term.

15 - Fentrice D. Driskell '01 wins the Undergraduate Council's top spot, along with her running mate John A. Burton '01. The election also decreases the Council to nearly half its current size and defeats efforts to increase the $20 student termbill fee, proceeds of which go directly to the council.

University Provost Harvey V. Fineberg '67 takes a temporary leave to undergo surgery for what appears to be an early stage of prostate cancer. Fineberg returned to his normal duties gradually over the winter.

2000

January 2000

4 - The troubled history of the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) comes to an end after a University task force recommends its dissolution.

12 - The days of the Bow and Arrow Pub and the Mass. Ave. Dunkin' Donuts are numbered, as they are forced out of their building which is owned by the Harvard Cooperative Society. How about them apples?

19 - The Crimson reports that Undergraduate Council Vice President John A. Burton '01 stole campaign materials from the office of the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters' Alliance. The council later rejects two articles of impeachment and vote not to remove Burton from office.

February 2000
15 - After a month of political wrangling, the Cambridge City Council elects Anthony D. Galluccio mayor of Cambridge.

28 - In a distinctly non-liberal-arts move, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences announces that they will begin assembling a program to teach undergraduates the lessons they need to become high-profile Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

April 2000
2 - Drew Gilpin Faust of the University of Pennsylvania is named as the first permanent dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, starting January 1, 2001. Faust was the Annenberg Professor of History at Penn and had served as director of the Women's Studies program since 1996.

3 - The Cambridge City Council passes an order supporting a "living wage" of $10 per hour for all Harvard employees at its meeting and threatened that town-gown relations may become strained unless the University acts soon. In May 1999, the council mandated that all city employees and employees of firms contracted by city must be paid at least $10 an hour.

5 - FAS completes negotiations with the Institute of 1770 to take ownership of the Hasty Pudding building. FAS will foot the bill for massive renovations to the dilapidated building--by some accounts, likely a $5 million undertaking.

28 - About 30 members of the Progressive Student Labor Movement occupy Byerly Hall for six hours to attract the attention of visiting prospective first-years and promote their campaign for a living wage at Harvard. Members refused to heed requests by the Harvard University Police Department that they leave the building.

May 2000
3 - After 15 months of forceful student pressure, Rudenstine announced that the University plans to extend health care and job training benefits to virtually all Harvard employees, but will stop short of enacting a living wage.

6 - Academy Award winners and native Cantabrigians Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Class of 1992, speak out at a living wage rally.

15 - After a Cambridge city board found fault with much of the University's plan, Harvard decides to rethink its most recent proposal for the Knafel Center for Government and International Study.

22 - President Neil L. Rudenstine announces that he will leave Harvard at the end of June 2001. His resignation comes at the conclusion of a six-year capital campaign that has marked his tenure.