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Reporter's Notebook


Presidential Affairs--The airtight secrecy of the ongoing presidential search has been attacked by many: students, watchdog groups, and even a few faculty. Most, however, like Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences John E. Dowling '57, say they understand the reasoning put forth by the powers-that-be. In the past, they say, the flow of information has been highly damaging to candidates, if revealing.

For instance, when President A. Lawrence Lowell announced his resignation in 1932, a search committee was named to find his successor, and speculation on the candidates began immediately. One of the natural targets was Dean of the Faculty Kenneth Murdock, who was then master of Leverett House.

As Dowling tells it, the committee worked through the summer, and toward the fall, and a rumor was leaked that Murdock was the committee's first choice. Naturally, both The Boston Herald and The Boston Globe went after the story, and sent their photographers to New York to meet the ocean liner on which the Murdocks were reportedly returning from Europe.

The next day, both papers ran photographs of the Murdocks, with articles reporting that the man in the picture was likely the next president of Harvard. But people at Harvard noticed that the woman in the picture was not Mrs. Murdock, but rather the wife of a senior tutor. Needless to say, Murdock was never again mentioned as a candidate for the presidency.

And where was Mrs. Murdock during the affair? With the senior tutor, of course...

"What we should not do is sponsor academic tourism and quasi-concentrations. We should not confuse our responsibility to study the world with a responsibility to manage it."

--History Department Chair Edward L. Keenan '57, telling the Faculty what he thought of a "discussion paper" about internationalization written by Joseph S. Nye, the associate dean for international affiars.

"My feeling is that this concept of internationalization has been ill thought-out."

--Professor of History Charles A. Maier '60, speaking at the same Faculty meeting.

"The problem is that these Faculty meetings are so short. We heard from four professors, three of whom were from one department."

--Nye, in an interview after the Faculty meeting, which lasted just under two hours.

Alcohol and Phones Don't Mix--Officials with the Harvard University Network (HUN) have decided to postpone the planned switchover of more than 300 phone lines from New England Telephone to HUN. They say they are concerned that both students and tutors might temporarily lose service over Head of the Charles weekend, just when access to the phones might be most important. So HUN will do the work in two weeks. Of course, lest students worry that they might lose their phones then, Nancy M. Kinchla, project manager for Student Telephone Services, says such concern is unfounded: "We don't anticipate anyone losing service in two weekends either."

"It's remarkable that someone could have perpetrated this heinous crime in full daylight."

Douglas J. Herbert, a first-year graduate student, commenting on what appeared to be mutilated sheep parts adorning the statue of John Harvard Saturday night.

"It's a nice collection of books and I think the students know the books are good. Students sometimes meet in the spring after the course and read more of the books."

--Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Humanities Robert Coles, explaining the popularity of his class, General Education 105: "Literature of Social Reflection."

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