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In That Memorable Year, 1968-69...

The Year, Day-by-Day


It's been an eventful year. To help preserve the life histories of the events we've seen this year--Soc Rel 148, the Harvard crew, merger with Radcliffe, Marines in sanctuary, the University in the Community, ROTC at the University, Presidential campaigns, student protests -- the CRIMSON has prepared a day-by-day summary of this year at Harvard. The information came from the CRIMSON files and was compiled by James M. Fallows.


September 22: The year opened with talk of money, Harvard spending it and Radcliffe getting it. Dean Ford announced that Harvard's teaching fellows would get an immediate pay raise of 17 to 25 per cent. At the same time, the Corporation said that undergraduate tuition would have to go up by $400 -- from $2000 to $2400 -- in the 1969-70 school year. At Radcliffe, Mrs. Mary I. Bunting announced that the college had received the largest grant in its history -- a $5.4 million donation from Mrs. Alisa Mellon Bruce--to help finance Currier House, the new dormitory complex.

Political action also began early. On the 22nd, an AWOL Marine, Paul Olimpieri, took sanctuary in the Divinity School Chapel. On September 23, the Divinity School faculty met but postponed taking any action on Olimpieri or the other Divinity students who sat chained with him in the chapel. "We'd rather be wise and sensitive than clear," that school's dean, Krister Standahl, said after the meeting.

Early on the morning of September 24, military police entered the chapel and arrested Olimpieri. They took him to a Marine base and shaved off his moustache and goatee. That evening, Olimpieri accused the Divinity students of using him as a publicity gimmick.

September 26: The long struggle over Soc Rel 148--an experimental course on "Social Change in America"--began as course directors dropped early plans to let undergraduates and non-Harvard students act as course section men. Although the Committee on Educational Policy had already approved the course, Dean Ford said that the CEP didn't know about the undergraduate-sectionmen plans.

News came from Hungary on the 26th that Henrietta Blueye, a Radcliffe junior, was being held in Budapest on charge of trying to smuggle people out of Hungary.

September 27: The staff of Soc Rel 148 met for three hours to discuss the "compromise" decision to drop undergraduate sectionmen. Disaffected members of the staff complained that Thomas P. Cottle '59, the course director, had not consulted widely enough before making the decision. They also pointed out potential manpower problems, saying that nine of the course's 16 sections were being led by undergraduates and others not eligible for official appointments.

After a series a pickets and leaflets from undergraduate groups, Harvard announced on the 27th that it would stop buying California grapes. L. Gard Wiggins, the administrative vice president, said that the University was not taking a stand in the grape boycott. "We just don't plan to have grapes on the menu," he said.

Another California product cancelled plans to appear at Harvard. Eldridge Cleaver, Presidential candidate of the Peace and Freedom Party and author of Soul on Ice, had been scheduled to speak under the auspices of the Kennedy Institute. But on the 27th, Cleaver's lawyers called to say that California entanglements -- including an upcoming trial on murder charges--would keep Cleaver in the West.

September 29: The Soc Rel 148 staff voted not to give up its original course plans, including having several undergraduates serve as section leaders. To avoid overt conflict with Harvard rules that bar people without Corporation appointments from having "formal responsibility" for a course, the Soc Rel 148 staff said that Cottle would give final approval on all section grades.

September 30: Eldridge Cleaver couldn't come to Harvard, so part of Harvard's rule went West to meet Cleaver. At UC Berkeley, where sponsors of a course on racism wanted Cleaver for their lecturer, the college administrators said they were relying on "an old Harvard tradition" in refusing to let Cleaver give more than two guest lectures.

At a meeting of the Harvard College Fund on the 30th, Dean Watson said that student disruption at Harvard was the work of "a very very tiny group of people, including two or three sons of active Communists."

Seeds of larger things were also sown on the 30th when the Harvard Undergraduate Council voted to start some kind of action to limit ROTC's status at Harvard.


October 1: At its second meeting of the year, the Student-Faculty Advisory Council jumped onto Dean Watson's statements about "sons of active Communists." By a 22-3 vote, the SFAC decided to ask Watson to "prepare for this body an Explanation" of his remarks.

SFAC members also called on James Q. Wilson, head of the special committee investigating Harvard's relations with Cambridge, to come tell them about his committee's tentative findings. Near the end of the meeting, SFAC appointed a special committee to look into ROTC issues and report back in three weeks.

With less than a year to go before the schedule opening of Mather House, L. Gard Wiggins started off the long season of speculation about whether the new House really would open on time. Wiggins said on the 1st that despite some summer strikes, the House would be ready to take in its nearly 400 residents by September, 1970.

October 3: Student and Faculty members revived the yearly struggle over dress standards in the Houses. The Faculty Committee on Houses--made up of deans and House Masters--offered to scrap the "rule" requiring coats and ties at all meals and replace it with a "well-defined expectation" that students would wear coats and ties at dinner. The Harvard Undergraduate Council objected, saying that individual House Committees should be able to decide for themselves.

James D. Watson, best-selling author and one of the Faculty's Nobel laureates, admitted that he had served on a secret Presidential panel investigating chemical and biological warfare. Watson, who said he served from 1961 to 1964, left the panel because "the decisions we were being asked to make were primarily political, not scientific."

October 4: The full Soc Rel Department faculty finally approved Soc Rel 148, with the stipulation that course grades be handed out by "Corporation appointees" -- specifically, Cottle. The department turned down plans for random assignments of grades.

Recruiters from the Georgetown University Medical School said they would cancel their regular visit here because of a new recruiting ruling. The new rule, passed by the SFAC after the 1967 Dow demonstration, said that any recruiting organization would have to publicly discuss its policies if 500 students petitioned it to do so.

October 6: A panel headed by a Law School professor reported on the 1968 Columbia protests and blamed nearly every side involved. The committee chairman--Archibald Cox, professor of Law--and the other members said that the administration's "authoritarianism" antagonized students, that the police used "excessive force" in ousting protestor from buildings, and that the students who seized Columbia halls used indefensible disruptive tactics."

October 7: For the first time in the Harvard Coop's history, a group of students and Faculty members said they would challenge the Coop's slate of nominees for the Coop Board of Directors. The challenge slate, running on a pledge of injecting "social conscience" into Coop policies, said it was not seeking a head-on confrontation with the Coop management, but mainly wanted to "find ways of making the Coop more sensitive."

Under the threat of a strike by Radcliffe employees, the Radcliffe College Council pondered possible action. Claiming that it was not the proper body to weigh specific labor grievances, the Council delegated its negotiating power to administrative vice president J. Boyd Britten. Most of the workers' complaints centered on low wages.

The HUC moved toward a concrete resolution on ROTC when it heard a report recommending the end of ROTC's academic credit.

October 8: Dean Watson came to the SFAC to explain his sons of Communists" remarks. Watson said he was "profoundly sorry for this lapse of judgement, and I offer my deepest apologies to all concerned.

At the same meeting, James Q. Wilson outlined some of the general topics his committee was stressing, but decided not to discuss any specific-proposals. The main community relations problem that Harvard should worry about, Wilson said, was the University's impact in the Cambridge housing market.

October 9: Peace came to two lingering problem areas. The CEP gave final approval to Sec Rel 148, while still noting that it had reservations about the course's overt political content."

On Garden Street, Local 254 of the Building Services Union voted unanimously to call off strike threats against Radcliffe. The janitors, dormitory workers, and buildings and grounds employees said they "jubilantly accepted" a pay increase that boosted their wages above Harvard's and cost the Cliffe treasury about $46,000.

Hubert Humphrey, in the last month of his Presidential campaign, came to Boston and attracted a crowd of about 400 students, including 50 from Harvard.

October 10: The HUC sent out the results of its ROTC research in a fact-sheet circulated in the Houses. The HUC fact-sheet included statements by Army ROTC commander Colonel Pell, who said that the "hard core national interest" would suffer if discrediting ROTC became "a frivolous campus game."

The new Radcliffe Union Students passed one legislative project--an increase in Cliffe parietal hours--and began work on others. RUS set up study groups to report back on the way Radcliffe administrators allotted the college's money and on prospects for ending mandatory board contracts for all students.

In Congress, the Senate passed an "anti-riot" bill to cut off federal aid to students convicted of campus protests that "prevent officials or students

October 12: Harvard's football teak did well, beating Columbia 24-14 in the Ivy League opener, but the varsity crew boat came in fifth in a preliminary heat at the Olympics. New Zealand and Russia finished first and second in the heat and qualified for the finals.

The rival Coop slate got ready for the upcoming Directors' election by naming candidates for several director's post. But the rivals let a few of the regular-slate nominees go unchallenged, saying that "management requires both continuity and experience." Leaders of the new group also started a campaign to get students and Faculty to attend the election meeting, since the regular slate would be automatically elected unless 5 per cent (about 1500 people) of the Coop's membership came to the meeting.

McGeorge Bundy, formed dean of the Faculty and more recent supporter of American Vietnam policies, reversed his earlier tough stand. In a speech at DePauw University, Bundy said that the United States should immediately stop the bombing and begin a unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam.

October 14: Fernardo Belaunde Terry, who two weeks earlier had been president of Peru, appeared at the Design School and talked about the Oct. 3 coup that had deposed him. Belaunde said that the coup was a "revolt against democracy" and that he was ready to return to his country if the military government was overthrown. Speculation arose that Belaunde, a former architect, would get a teaching appointment at the Design School.

The scheduled HUC meeting on ROTC beat down several proposals ROTC beat down several proposals to remove ROTC's special privileges and adjourned without taking any concrete action.

October 15: In a "repechage" heat at the Olympics, Harvard came up from dead last to finish second behind Czechoslovakia. Harvard's second place finish in the repechage earned the Crimson a spot in the Olympic finals.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences met on the 15th and heard Dean Ford give a bleak picture of the Faculty budget. Because of higher expenses--mainly salaries--and lower income, Ford said that the Faculty might run a $2.4 million deficit this year.

October 16: The Radcliffe region faced a growing traffic problem and Mrs. Bunting announced plans for a huge underground garage to be built beneath the Radcliffe Quad. The garage would cost $750,000 and would hold 200 cars. It would also mean that Cliffies would have to watch construction crews tear up the Quad during the summer and next fall. Mrs. Bunting said she would ask the students what they thought of the idea.

The two opposing slates in the Coop Directors' election agreed to have a public debate at the election meeting on October 23.

October 17: The HUC, after several earlier attempts to decide a ROTC policy had aborted, finally passed a resolution asking Harvard to remove academic credit from ROTC courses. The victorious resolution, which had been tabled at a meeting three days earlier, also recommended that ROTC instructors lose their Corporation appointments and that ROTC's privileges be trimmed back to the level of "other extra-curricular activities."

The HUC's Garden Street counterpart--RUS--carried on the continuing parietals struggle. RUC members voted unanimously to double Radcliffe parietals, from 36 hours a week to 72. The RUS resolution didn't say which 72 hours those should be, and left the problem of distribution up to each dorm.

In Washington, "anti-riot" bills aimed at clamping down on college protest made further progress. President Johnson signed one bill that would cut off Federal aid to students who "contribute to substantial disruption of an institution's administration," while a more stringent measure received final approval in a House-Senate conference committee.

October 18: Richard Nixon visited Boston and faced student crowds more hostile than those who had greeted Hubert Humphrey. While Nixon told campaign workers inside the Somerset Hotel that he was "The One for Massachusetts," student picketers from Harvard and B.U. marched outside to protest Nixon's opposition to the California grape boycott.

October 19: There was a light spot in the Harvard sports day as Vic Gatto set a new career rushing record and led the Crimson football team to a 10-0 win over Cornell. But in Mexico City, a tired Harvard crew came in last in the Olympic rowing finals. After watching West Germany win the race and Australia come in second, Harvard coach Harry Parker said "the other crews were just faster and better."

October 20: Members of the Soc Rel 148 teaching staff said they were asking the Federal government for an $11,000 grant to help pay course expenses not covered by the tight Faculty budget. If the government decided to give the money, it would come from the Labor Department's "Coalition for Youth" fund and would pay teaching fellow salaries and guest lecture fees.

October 21: Despite Martin Peretz's printed comment that the Democratic National ticket was a sign of "the worst of times" in American politics, vice-presidential candidate Edmund Muskie brought his campaign to Boston. In introducing Muskie to a crowd of 3000 at B.C., John Kenneth Galbraith said that the real election issue was "Richard Nixon--not the new Nixon, not he old Nixon, but the same unreliable Nixon that we have come to know."

October 22: Spiro Agnew followed Muskie into town. After passing through a crowd of student picketers outside the Sheraton Plaza Hotel, Agnew told his campaign workers that student dissent was the result of "a lack of contact between teachers and the industrial-business establishment."

The SFAC continued its ROTC deliberations, hearing representative from Harvard's Air Force and Navy ROTC units. Captain Thomas Moriarty of the Navy said that if Harvard took away ROTC's academic credit, the Pentagon would cost the college $50,000 a year to make up for lost ROTC units. Captain Thomas Mori-campus.

October 23: The move to elect an opposition slate to the Coop Board of Directors failed when too few people showed up at the general election meeting. Because only 950 Coop members--500 short of the required quorum--came to the meeting, the stock holder-nominated slate of Direc...from engaging in their duties or pursuing their studies." The House had already approved the bill.

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