A Laundry List of Change

It may not be fair to compare the events of last spring with their far-more famous counterparts of 20 years before.

But still, the laundry list of change last semester was so comprehensive as to invite hyperbole.

The 1980s, it was said, were coming to a close with a bang. A host of high-level staffing changes, ambitious blueprints for the next decade, resurgent student activism--all the components of a dramatic shift were there.

And this fall it is more than likely that the administrative wheels will be spinning double-time to accommodate the changes, to process and adjust to a new set of Harvard realities.

To start with, there were the new deans--corporate law expert Robert C. Clark for the Law School, comparative political scientist Robert D. Putnam for the Kennedy School, psychologist Brendan A. Maher at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


And then there was the new president of Radcliffe, a University of Michigan administrator named Linda S. Wilson who takes charge of the women's college this fall as it is perched on the threshold of major decisions about its focus.

Also, a new Corporation member--Judith Richards Hope, a well-placed Washington lawyer who just happens to be the first woman named to Harvard's chief governing body in its 337-year history.

Beyond the names and faces that will make decisions for Harvard well into the next century, though, there were the less obvious developments that may end up affecting the University's course just as much.

Ranging from a long-awaited report on affirmative action to plans for Harvard's --and higher education's--largest ever fundraising campaign, the blueprints for the next decade rapidly accumulated.

The faculty began to gear up for an impending crunch in professors, predicted to reach a peak by the year 2000. Graduate school officials launched an effort to reevaluate the scope and timetable of graduate education; a broad-ranging survey of College life was used to start planning for the next generation of undergraduates.

And meanwhile the news kept coming.

Administrators and alumni wrestled with the thorny--and almost intractable--issues of governance, as a pro-divestment alumni group broadened its agenda to attack the basic assumptions about who should hold power on the governing boards.

Clerical and technical workers, too, continued to challenge Harvard's hierarchy with successes almost unheralded in the University.

First, they won a hotly-contested union election a year ago last May. Then they survived a protracted court battle with Harvard's biggest legal guns to win an endorsement by a National Labor Relations Board judge. Finally, Harvard capitulated and the union, after 17-plus years of organizing, was official.

The contract negotiations which occupied much of the spring and early summer seemed to herald a new era of labor relations at the University. And the final results included agreements on across-the-board salary and pension hikes, a proposed "model child care center" and new, more participatory administrative

A new face at Harvard this year is Civil Rightsleader and Student Nonviolent CoordinatingCommittee founderJulian Bond. Bond will teach twoAfro-American Studies courses about Southern Blackpolitics and the rise of the Civil Rightsmovement.