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Dunster House was all set for its biennial dinner with President Pusey. The kitchen had purchased tender roast beef and vintage wine from the untroubled year of 1966. Pusey had prepared some "off-the-record family-party" remarks on the problems confronting Harvard-Radcliffe merger.
In the meantime, about six members of the University police gathered in readiness outside the dinning room, and the Ad Hoc committee to Receive President Pusey decided on the tactics of its announced protest for yesterday's dinner.
Baby rats had been taken from the biology labs during the afternoon. Individuals in the group planned to present the tiny pink squirming rodents to Pusey on a silver platter garnished with lettuce as a gift from "the tenants of Harvard-owned apartments and the oppressed people of the third world."
The group planned to then lead a walk-out before a presumably stunned Pusey could deliver his address.
However, the presence of burly police under orders not to let anyone leave and then re-renter the dining room, made the presentation impossible. Instead, Jeff Seder '70 rose from his seat and interrupted the beginning of Master Alvin M. Papenheimer, Jr's introduction to the President's speech.
"Some of us wanted a stronger gesture of protest, but we've decided to leave the dining hall at this time to demonstrate our opposition to the policies of the University toward the community, and against its complicity with the Federal government." Seder said.
About 25 of the 150 members of the House then rose and walked out of the dining hall.
The guests at the head table looked relieved, and one Faculty members softly sang an improvised goodbye song as they left.
Dunster House tradition had managed to escape relatively unscathed, and the President's speech and a question-and-answer period proceeded as planned.
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