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The word from above

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Drifting off

An Overseers visiting committee to the Graduate School of Design (GSD) reported that the school suffers from a "drift away from professional competence" and is "out of touch with the best people, and the best work" currently done in the four major design disciplines.

The sharply worded, confidential report was the second critical evaluation of the GSD to receive wide publicity in less than one year.

One week later, the Overseers cancelled the next meeting of the GSD visiting committee, scheduled for April 1977. In essence, the Board abolished the current committee, composed of Overseers' appointees, as memberships expire before the next scheduled meeting with the GSD.

A shot in the arm

Harvard did not escape last fall's swine-fluvaccine fervor, and the University Health Services (UHS) set up a vaccination program. Seventeen per cent of the eligible Harvard community members took the shots before the program was discontinued. The vaccine appeared to provoke a rare syndrome--producing temporary paralysis--in isolated cases, and federal officials decided to end the mass-immunization effort. UHS did, too.

Health care

The University Health Services announced last fall it would pay up to $150 for abortions, although it will not perform them. Students who hold moral objections to abortions can ask for a refund of the 59 cents in their health care policy that covers the plan. Harvard is the last of the Ivy League schools to cover abortions.

Calendar shenanigans

For years, Harvard students have asked the College to consider changing the calendar to place exams before Christmas break. This year, the Faculty magnanimously decided to start and end a week earlier next year to coincide with the Med School calendar. But it left everything else in its traditional place by slicing days off vacations. Thanks a lot, premeds.

The CIA connection

Eight years after the undergraduates took over University Hall and found records linking Harvard faculty members to the CIA, the University issued guidelines this spring on Harvard-CIA relations, forbidding any active intelligence work by University employees. Most intelligence work is covert, so it's hard to see how the University plans to enforce its rules.

Leavetakers

In an effort to ease the confusion surrounding leaves of absence, the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life voted this fall to fine students who tell the College they're taking time off after August 20. Maybe it'll help balance the budget.

Strength in solidarity

Students at the Medical School this spring demonstrated the power of organized student resistance. Three-fourths of the third-year class signed statements in April declaring in effect they would not return to the school in the fall if the faculty stood by a requirement, new with the class, that students take a minimum number of courses in one of twelve fields of medicine.

The faculty did not rescind the requirement, as the students had wanted, but it did back off. The School's faculty council agreed to a compromise, proposing that students' faculty advisers be allowed to reduce the number of courses required of individual students in a field of concentration.

Expunged

Expungement, that dread punishment that entails erasing every trace of a student's presence at the College, is no longer a threat for Harvard undergraduates. The Faculty voted to rescind the regulation last fall after the general counsel's office advised them it was inconsistent with state laws regarding school records. Expungement as they say, was expunged.

Grad school problems

After months of discussion between the Faculty Council and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, administrators and students, Dean Rosovsky unveiled a plan this spring to reorganize minority recruiting and admission at the GSAS, a school which has traditionally had very low levels of minority enrollment.

The plan, similar to the program the minority students committee proposed back in December, broadened the minority financial aid program and set up a Faculty committee to continually review GSAS minority recruitment and admissions policy. The new committee will also execute the most controversial aspect of the reorganization plan: writing the job description and conducting the search for a new GSAS minority admissions administrator.

At term's end, Rosovsky had not yet selected members for the new committee, and a spokesman for the GSAS minority student group expressed doubt that a suitable person for the post could be hired by this September.

Accent grave

Ramamurthi Swaminathan, a native of India finishing a one-year economics program at the Kennedy School, was chosen to give the graduate student oration at Commencement, but then the committee changed its mind because it decided Swaminathan's accent was too thick for an American audience to understand. They don't understand Jimmy Carter's speeches, either.

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