Faculty Meetings Will See Lower-Quality Paper Stock

The half-hour allotted for tea and cookies before the meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences lost some of its luster yesterday.

Instead of the thick, glossy paper typically used for the minutes of the past month’s Faculty meeting, the most recent documents stacked on the tables were printed on conventional thin stock.

“Today is the last day you’ll see a wide variety of printed material available to us in the Faculty meeting,” FAS Dean Michael D. Smith said in his first piece of news regarding the ongoing financial crisis.

Future Faculty meetings will continue to provide some printed materials, such as the agenda, but others—such as documents related to docket items—will be available online before professors gather in University Hall.

These printed documents may soon become relics of a long-gone era.

The prepared packet of information was “apparently your last chance to get it on hard copy,” Molecular and Cellular Biology Professor Douglas A. Melton soberly told the Faculty when he presented a docket item. Papers rustled.

IN THE DOGHOUSE

In his presentation of the report of the Task Force on the Arts, English Professor and Task Force Chair Stephen J. Greenblatt volleyed numerous faculty concerns, ranging from the need for basic painting courses to the lack of consultation with departments in the writing of the report.

But Professor of Christian Morals Peter J. Gomes had music on his mind—namely the dulcet tones of the choir that sings in Memorial Church every Sunday. After Greenblatt’s presentation, Gomes raised the possibility of rewarding the work of student performers and artists with academic credit.

“Is it unthinkable? Have you given any thought to this?” Gomes asked as he waved a copy of the crimson report near his head.

Greenblatt observed that students already had opportunities to create works of art for academic credit in departments like visual and environmental studies. But the proposal to extend academic recognition to all artistic endeavors would require serious pedagogical considerations, Greenblatt said, though he added that the suggestion was not “unthinkable.”

“I am delighted to hear it,” Gomes said. “This is a room full of old dogs and these are some new tricks that you’re proposing to teach.”

PARLEZ-VOUS FRANCAIS?

Former Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis ’68 raised the possibility that “already overstressed demands on the infrastructure” would cause the University to divert resources from already existing artistic endeavors on campus.

But Tom Conley, professor of romance languages and literature and visual and environmental studies, stood with arms akimbo at the podium and sought to allay Lewis’ concerns.

“‘Art is born of constraint, and it dies of liberty,’” Conley recited in French. “I hope that this will soften...your remarks to some extent.”

—Staff writer Bonnie J. Kavoussi can be reached at kavoussi@fas.harvard.edu —Staff writer Esther I. Yi can be reached at estheryi@fas.harvard.edu.