Summers Announces Allston Plan
Campus will include 'critical mass' of science, professional schools and undergraduate space
In a letter to the Harvard community, Summers outlined five “planning assumptions” that mark the most concrete public statement the University has made on its vision for building a 200-acre campus across the Charles River.
The letter makes clear that the Law School, long considered an unwilling candidate for a move, will remain in Cambridge.
Laboratories from across the University—including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS)—will find a home in Allston, according to the letter. Though plans are in the works for expanded science space in Cambridge, Summers wrote that “even assuming we fulfill those plans over the next several years, we will before long confront an insufficiency of space for science.”
He wrote that scientists must now begin to determine which activities could feasibly be separated from the current FAS science base in Cambridge.
FAS professors, including chemist and former Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles, have vigorously opposed splitting the Faculty’s science departments across the River.
Although Summers wrote that moving undergraduate housing to Allston is “more speculative” than the other four “planning assumptions,” he confirmed that he is considering both building new Houses across the River and eliminating the Houses currently in the Radcliffe Quad.
This aspect of the plan, reported by The Crimson Sept. 5, has caught undergraduates by surprise.
Summers suggested that moving undergraduates across the River could relieve crowding in the existing Houses and would eventually enable the University to admit a larger student body, including more students from foreign countries.
“It would introduce a community of students into Allston who would doubtless invigorate the expanded campus,” he added.
He said moving undergraduates would “open up the possibility, in the long term” of eliminating the Houses currently in the Radcliffe Quad.
The other three points of Summers’ plan—moving the schools of education and public health, building more graduate student housing in Allston and creating a cultural presence in the new campus—have long been anticipated and are likely to be uncontroversial.
Faculty at the schools of public health and education—both of which face space crunches in their current homes—have favored a move.
Summers wrote that both schools would see major physical and academic benefits by moving and that the space they vacate would “open up new long-term opportunities for schools nearby.”
The recommendations closely mirror those of a plan presented to Summers and his top deans at a July meeting that was reported by The Crimson Sept. 5.
The proposal will be discussed at a meeting of the FAS faculty this afternoon, and Summers has appointed several task forces to plan what elements of science, housing and cultural activities should be built in Allston.
Please see tomorrow’s Crimson for full coverage of the announcement.
—Staff writer Elisabeth S. Theodore can be reached at email@example.com.