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The week began with everyone saying that Harvard would not have to alter its academic calendar in response to the current energy crisis. By midweek, Dean Rosovsky. Dean Whitlock, Stephen S. J. Hall, vice president for administration and Richard Leahy, associate dean of the Faculty were saying that the situation could indeed make calendar changes necessary. Such is the saga of the now infamous energy crisis: Nobody knows just how serious it will be and how Harvard will be affected.
One thing, however, is clear. Harvard must cut its energy consumption by about 30 per cent this winter and this conservation may cause inconvenience and discomfort for much of the community.
"I hope we'll be able to get through by closing buildings up tight over Christmas and following the plans of the energy committee, but if we can't we'll have to start bending our educational schedules," Rosovsky said Wednesday.
The responsibility for trying to pull fair Harvard through the winter by consolidation and the efficient use of what fuel is available rests with Hall. On Wednesday he met with the hastily formed energy committee to outline proposals to meet the crisis.
The committee, made up of representatives from each school at Harvard and coordinated by Hall, is charged with submitting Harvard's contingency plans for fuel reductions to the Government Task Force on Energy by December 7.
Hall has outlined a whole series of measures which he believes will enable Harvard to pull through the winter with minimum disruption. Among these are the cutting of dormitory and other building temperatures by as much as eight to ten degrees, the "mothballing" of as many buildings as possible to forty degrees over the Christmas holidays and the consolidation of classrooms for classes which meet during reading period.
Hall's idea to move students who remain in Cambridge for the Christmas vacation into one dorm and to close the others brought protests from many students and faculty members. The problems in getting around the room contracts which students signed and of theft and liability which may result will probably prevent such a move. Instead, students who stay in their rooms may find their thermostats dropping below the 60-degree mark.
But even Hall admits that other measures might be required if the situation becomes more acute. Rosovsky has appointed Leahy to organize a group to discuss the various options open to the Faculty if some sort of schedule change becomes imperative.
Many of the Ivy League schools and over 200 colleges in the country have already announced their plans to extend Christmas and semester breaks
Tufts announced on Thursday that its Christmas vacation will be extended by two weeks and students would also be given an extra break from February 8 to March 12.
The New England Power Exchange began on Monday to cut electrical power by five per cent from 4 to 8 p.m. daily to try to cut back on its oil consumption and oil and gas dealers have informed businesses and private homeowners that they face drastic and increasing reductions of their supplies.
Otto Eckstein, professor of Economics and president of Data Resources, Inc., had Data Resources stick it all into the computer recently and his tell-all computer boldly predicted that the United States could survive the energy crisis without severe disruptions to industrial production or employment.
Still, a lot depends upon the weather this winter--and Eckstein's computer can't forecast that. The wooly caterpillar--perhaps the most accurate weather forecaster in recent years--is said to have had especially thick rings this year, indicating a reversal in the warming trend of the past few winters. If the caterpillar is right, the nation could face very serious fuel problems in coming months.
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