H Bomb Granted $2,000

The Undergraduate Council voted to allocate $2,000 to fund the start-up costs and first issue of H Bomb, a student-run sex magazine, after a fiery debate during a meeting last night.

The controversial proposal to raise the student activities fee from $35 to $100 and to make that termbill fee mandatory was postponed until after spring break by the council’s executive board on Saturday in order to allow for more campus-wide debate.

Christina L. Adams ’06, who proposed an amendment that would have eliminated the H Bomb allocation, referred to the extensive national media attention—from outlets such as CNN, Fox News and The New York Times—as evidence that H Bomb should easily be able to obtain funding outside of Harvard.

Aaron S. Byrd ’05, a co-sponsor of the amendment, objected more to the content of the magazine.

“I don’t think it is right for us to fund a magazine that has rape fantasies,” said Byrd, referring to the magazine’s proposed table of contents for its first issue, which included a piece on “female rape fantasies.”

The majority of the council appeared to side with Joshua A. Barro ’05, who said that the amendment might be construed as censorship.

“It’s hardly our role to decide if we like the content of this but not that,” said Barro, who received a hearty applause from council members for his comment.

A handful of council members questioned the amount of funding that H Bomb would receive in comparison to other on campus literary publications.

Diversity and Distinction receives $240 per issue, Perspective—Harvard’s liberal monthly—receives $295 per issue and Harvard Investment Magazine receives $300 per issue, Finance Committee (FiCom) Chair Teo P. Nicolais ’06 said. These grants, however, do not include start-up costs as H Bomb’s $2,000 first-issue allocation does.

But Nicolais said that such a comparison would be irrelevant because magazines differ in the number of issues produced, copies produced and students who read the publication—and in the amount of money requested. H Bomb’s initial request was for $2,000.

Barro, who chaired FiCom last semester, suggested that H Bomb will reach a much larger audience than other on-campus magazines. He suggested a “conservative estimate” of readership at 4,000 people.

“If you take $2,000 and divide it by 4,000 students, that’s only 50 cents per student,” Barro said. He added that H Bomb is already expecting $8,000 from outside sources.

The amendment to eliminate funding for H Bomb failed 6 to 28 in a roll-call vote, with four abstentions.

Another grants package amendment that sought to raise funding from $200 to $1,000 for College Corps—a student organization that helps students find internships overseas during the summer—failed by a vote of 4 to 26, with one abstention.

Joseph R. Oliveri ’05, who co-sponsored the amendment, said that College Corps “addresses a real hole in Harvard’s program.”Opponents to the amendment argued that the Office of Career Services serves a similar function and that it is against the council’s policy to fund programs that take place over the summer.

An amendment that would provide funding to H-Club also failed.

An amendment which allocated $250 for a shower at the St. James Summer Shelter in Porter Square—where council member said Harvard students work each summer—passed.

The overall grants package passed by a vote of 31 to 7.

In other business, the council approved a bill that authorized the purchase of storage boxes and tape to be sold to students during move out at the end of the year. The bill allowed the council to purchase 3,000 boxes to be sold at $2 a piece and 700 rolls of tape to be sold at $1 a piece to students.

The council also authorized a pilot program to provide a keg return service that will take place on April 11, April 18 and May 2. Students will be able to drop off their kegs to be returned at Eliot House, Mather House and an undetermined Quad site for a $5 fee.

Council member E.E. Keenan ’07 questioned whether the added service could potentially increase the amount of drinking on campus.

Council President Matthew W. Mahan ’05 responded that he did not think it would affect alcohol consumption very much either way.

—Staff writer Jeffrey C. Aguero can be reached at aguero@fas.harvard.edu.