We Need You, Emily Post

IT'S THURSDAY, January 31, 1985, 2 15 p.m... You stand in the middle of a long line of student who are waiting outside of Memorial Hall to section for language classes. The sky threatens snow, and you cannot feel your toes because you have been standing in place for half an hour

You watch passively as the line grows thicker rather than longer. You glare at the stream of wanderers who scout the line for a friend to cut in front of. You consider going up to cut yourself, but fear the doors will open soon-and the crowd at the front of the "line" is 20 people across.

Your situation is not atypical: less pleasant aspects of the "Harvard Experience" is the discourtesy from day one. Such displays of in consideration happen daily, from the jostle at the Union serving line, to the scramble for the last syllabus at a Core course . Nobody is exempt, and seemingly everyone participates

Yet, we all accept with resignation the Knowledge that our fellow students are altogether too anxious to squeeze us off of the serving line, or giggle and chatter loudly throughout the course of an hour lecture. Perhaps it is the impersonal nature of classes and large dining hall-in which we seek out our friends and eye strangers skeptically--that condones or reinforces such shabby behavior. Perhaps the attitude of Harvard students, who tend to guard their own interest above others, accounts for such superfluous incidents of rudeness. Many it's peer pressure on a grand scale: since everyone else yucks it up in the Lamont stacks, why can't I?

Although nothing can eliminate campus discourtesy and no one can enforce the unwritten rule of common consideration, some progress can occur if we monitor ourselves. Keep track of how many times a day someone whizzes past you from behind on a bike in the Yard holds a lengthy conversation with a friend in front of the soda machine you are trying to reach. Take note of how often you do something similar.


Some people, however have grown so accustomed to the practice of in conveniencing others that they may have forgotten how to act courteously. It is for their benefit than list of guideline follows:

In The Classroom:

* If you have recently began to exhibit some of the symptoms of consumption. a few words of apology to your neighbors before an examination cannot substitute cough drop.

*If you must on the when others must climb awkwardly over your knees to acquire an empty seat

*If you are sitting in a crowded lecture hall, a second thought might suggest to you that it is far from pleasant for your neighbors if you shout "Hey Bill" at the top of your voice. Arm waving, in such a case. Only compounds displeasure Perhaps some agreement could be arranged whereby Bill's attention is obtained by other mean

In The Dormitory

*Should you be with the dormitory with the melodies of AC/DC, Sheena Easton, Kenny Rogers, or Adam and the Ants, at an hour at which your parents would be asleep, imagine what would happen if you were doing it at home.

*The bouncing of tennis and squash ball and the playing of woodwind instruments are fine activities, when they are not confined to a place of residence

In the Dining Hall:

*If you have spilled your milk-is Cheerios on your neighbor's new Bass Weejuns, an apology--accompanied by several napkins--is most certainly in order.

*The more your linger over the * The more you linger over the salad bar, the less likely it is that others can fill their salad bowls quickly. Bear in mind that any new fixing or condiment has been added to the daily repertoire.

Since it is impossible to police others, people must try to enforce good habits in themselves. Remember, though that reminding your classmates that they are breaking these rule will only incurfurther resentment and discourtesy this is the contradiction in attempting to bring civility to the tarnished Ivory Tower of Harvard--you might have to be cruel in the short run in order to create kindness in the long.