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JOHN P. REARDON JR. '60 and Archie C. Epps III have little to gain personally from authorizing the proposed Grateful Dead concert tentatively slated for April 24 at the Stadium. Neither the athletic director nor the dean of students has publicly proclaimed himself a Dead Head.
But both men should give serious consideration to plans for the first major campus concert in four years, an event that would draw publicity for the Undergraduate Council while providing entertainment to a substantial segment of the student body.
The need is substantial. Harvard holds embarrassingly few campus-wide social events, and many House-run activities, such as Quincy's fall cookout concert, exclude members of other Houses. Events too big for a single House just don't happen.
The Undergraduate Council is supposed to change all that, and the Grateful Dead condert would be a major first step. Not all students want to see the Dead, nor would any be forced to do so. But that is not the point, The Dead concert would open the door to more concerts and more events. Future concerts will surely range full circuit from AC-DC to Barry Manilow.
The council has already obtained financial backing for the Dead concert and is at no financial risk; on the contrary, it stands to reap a few thousand dollars.
Crowds at Dead concerts are generally peaceful. The Dead "is a very good show for a college, because it attracts crowds that are better than the crowds other groups attract," says the Worcester Centrum's director of security. The council's proposal to hire 65-75 policemen and 100 additional usheres and guards should be adequate.
Opponents of the concert point out that regardless of how the crowd behaves, most of the concertgoers would have no Harvard affiliation. The idea of entertaining those unordained by the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid sends a shiver down the upright spine of those who can't look past percentages to see the large number of their fellow-students who would attend the show.
One potential stumbling block remains--the effect the concert would have on the Stadium's $50,000 turf. If a way to protect the grass can be found, Epps and Reardon should let the people hear the music.
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