What's in a class? Few Harvard undergraduates, even those on the threshhold of the Outside World, would claim they felt much sense of class. The one discernible--and perhaps only--unifying force for any class remains the common four years spent in Cambridge.
In many ways, the four years from 1961 to 1965 only place the Class of 1965 in the cycle of events of which Harvard history is made. The Class entered the College in the fall of 1961, and the Student Council had just been dissolved, soon to be resurrected as the HCUA. As the Class departs, it has only moments ago observed the death of that same HCUA and the rise of two new student government bodies.
Four years ago, the Education School decided to build a new campus near the Radcliffe Yard. Today, the main building of that campus will be dedicated. During the fall of 1961, and the following winter, student peace demonstrations were rife. Tocsin's protests were eventually to culminate in a huge March on Washington for Peace in February of 1962. Four years later, the issues and faces have changed, but last April's March on Washington for Vietnam has been consistently compared with its predecessor.
In 1961, the graduate program of Radcliffe was merged into the Harvard graduate schools. Two years later, the Corporation agreed to give Cliffies Harvard diplomas. This Spring, the trial interhouse brought the girls into House dining halls on a near equal basis. Surely, in the next ten years, this cycle will finally run its due course, and the name Radcliffe will be consigned to history--a 90-year prelude to Harvard's final and complete surrender to co-education.
The sale of the MTA yards, the Memorial Drive underpasses, HSA scandals, general education discontent, parietal skirmishes, the football season,--here certainly is the basic foundation of Harvard history. Replete even with the class struggle between students and administration, each Class can possess only a frail superstructure of events which it can recall as truly its own.
Eternal significance has never been the forte of collegiate nostalgia, and 1965 will find little in its freshman year that altered the world--or even the College. The HSA Linen Depot System was the Class' first controversy, but '65 remained oblivious to sophisticated CRIMSON and upperclass attempts to stir discontent. They trekked to their depots, found their packages properly "full of sheets," and went off happily to bed.
But mostly during their first semester the high school heroes spent their time adjusting back down to a freshman role, chuckling at Audio Lab ads in a Yale Daily News parody, and watching a new U.S. President who, like themselves, had a Harvard class after his name.
In the spring, '65 achieved a notoriety all its own by putting on the most disastrous Jubilee Weekend in history. The Jubilee, which was completely reorganized under strict administration supervision the next year, set the Freshman Dean's office back more than $1500.
The March on Washington, which fascinated the entire College in 1962, led to the Senatorial campaign, six months later, of H. Stuart Hughes, professor of History. Hughes, running as an independent, took on Edward M. (Teddy) Kennedy '54 and George Cabot Lodge '50. The good Harvard professor had entered this heavyweight fight of names and heredity as a distinct underdog, but the haymaker that knocked Hughes out of the race completely came from neither of his opponents, but from the other side of the globe.
The Cuba missile crisis of 1962 stopped the College at its desks, administered the death blow to the growing student peace movement, and paled into insignificance the Harvard football team's unexpected Big Three crown that year. All the College--and 1965 along with it--suspended their studies for an agonized week while their country and the Soviet Union advanced to the brink. Nearly 1000 undergraduates filled Lowell Lecture Hall in a hastily called protest meeting the day after President Kennedy announced the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.
But with the crisis over, life drifted back to normal. Teddy Kennedy destroyed Lodge. Hughes polled less than five per cent of the total vote. The CRIMSON fastened on the possible sale of the MTA's Bennett Street Yards to the University to fill its news pages, and even "discovered" who the Mysterious Backer bidding against the University was. Unfortunately, the editors' guess was wrong, but the incident was amusing.
Consciousness-expanding drugs though they by now are old-hat and clearly must be consigned to the basic foundation of College scandals, in 1963 were only beginning to intrude upon the consciousness of college officials. But intrude they did, and in May President Pusey fired Timothy Leary and his colleague Richard Alpert for giving drugs to an undergraduate after the two experimenters had explicitly guaranteed the University they would not use College students in their experiments.
Sex followed hard on the heels of the drug scandal, and after a lengthy debate over parietal hours within the University community, the Harvard sex scandal (as told by the Record American) found its way onto front pages across the country. Dean Monro's latter about "wild parties and sexual intercourse" soon ranked for readership with Peyton Place. Harvard undergraduates bought out the Square newsstands to read about the parties they were supposed to be attending.
Following a brief furor over the discriminatory constitution of the Association of African and Afro-American, Students, the University was shocked by the assassination of its alumnus and the nation's President. The Harvard-Yale football game, scheduled for the next day, was postponed, and the University cancelled classes in mourning for the first time in its history.
As the numbness wore off, the University and the Kennedy family announced the fund-raising drive for the Kennedy Library, and members of the Class of 1965 ran the national student drive to raise money for the library. The Memorial Drive underpasses became the issue of the day. If nothing else, the sycamores provided a focus for the spring riot; and the MDC police cooperated by bringing out their police dogs, and the riot lasted until 1:30 a.m.
The spring of 1964 also saw the stirring of a large College response to the civil rights drive. Nearly 50 undergraduates joined the invasion of Mississippi, and many more gave money or worked in the North. The civil rights activism heralded Berkeley and was the introduction to the election campaign of 1964.
In the CRIMSON straw poll, 86 per cent of the Class of '65--and the College as a whole--went for Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater. With the outcome apparent, the College watched the campaign with the doggedness that a TV addict brings to a repeat of his favorite show. Teddy Kennedy left his unknown opponent Howard Whitmore for dead, and he might as well have been for all the difference it made, as Teddy won by a million votes.
Within the College, the central issue of the semester was the report of the Special Committee to Study General Education--the famous--or infamous--Doty Committee. The Doty report kicked around in Faculty meetings and on the pages of the CRIMSON for seven months before the Faculty finally finished expressing its opinion on the matter of undergraduate education. The debate was often disappointing, but the departments were at least forced to examine their treatment of undergraduates.
'65 cast its personal shadow more conspicuously on the College scene in the annual class marshal elections. Faye Levine tried to become the first girl class marshal of a Harvard graduating class. The 329 years of ivied traditions trembled, but they did not fall. The HCUA, in its own death throes, rushed to preserve Propriety. Amidst a pleasant furor, Miss Levine's candidacy was ruled invalid. But the candidate on the basis of some little-publicized election rules further sullied the election. The proceedings amply reflected the disdain, in which most of the class held the proceedings.
If there are the unifying events whose experience the Class holds in common, the sense of Class is indeed a weak and frail thing. For the universe of Harvard is most intensely a club world, a drama world, an or-one of small worlds: a House world organization(the CRIMSON, WHRB) world, a library world, a political (the Young Republicans, the Young
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