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Piledrivers Double As Alarmclocks

Some Harvard Yard dwellers are less than happy with their new alarm clock--a fifty-foot tall piledriver now in use at the One Brattle Square construction site.

South Yard residents said yesterday that noise from the site, where the University is building a hotel, has become increasingly bothersome in recent days. Some students said the piledriving often begins as early as 7 a.m.

Workers said yesterday they are using the massive machine to drive support beams some 30 feet into the ground.

"The piledriver woke me up last Saturday morning, and it didn't stop," said Essence R. McGill '94, who lives in Straus Hall.

But Gene Switzer, who is overseeing this portion of the Brattle Square project, disputed the students' claim that the noise begins as early as 7 a.m.

"Our policy is that we don't drive piles until around 8 a.m.," Switzer said. "We haven't had any unusual complaints here yet," he added.

Switzer said he did not know when the noise would stop.

Despite some students' complaints, Michael N. Lichten, director for physical operations for Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said Harvard usually tries to avoid any undue inconvenience that construction might cause to the community.

"We try to accomodate the students, after all, they're our customers," Lichten said, adding he is not directly involved with the hotel site himself.

UC Candidate's Posters Defy Council Pressures

An Undergraduate Council candidate who reworded his position paper under pressure from the council's executive committee has been postering Winthrop House with copies of the original paper.

Adam E. Webb '93, a one-year council member from Winthrop, wrote in his position paper that he had "worked in successful council activities like the Steven Wright and Ziggy Marley Concerts."

Although Webb voted for both events, council members said he had not been substantially involved in the organization of either. When the executive committee questioned the accuracy of his claims, Webb agreed to substitute "supported" for "worked in."

The posters, however, use the original wording.

Webb yesterday defended the posters' accuracy, calling the dispute a "semantic argument." He said he defined "working" as "voting for, arguing for and supporting."

"It just so happens that my position paper was the same as my poster and I'm not going to change anything because I consider [the change] petty and ridiculous," he said.

Council Secretary Evan B. Rauch '92 said that although he considered Webb's tactics "a breach of ethics," the committee had ruled on the position paper, not posters. "If he didn't specifically say he wasn't going to post it, then we aren't going to hold him to it," Rauch said.

Rauch said he did not believe that many of the 130 position papers submitted for the council could be construed as misrepresentative. He said that the council encourages any candidate objecting to a position paper to raise the problem with the executive committee.

Physics Dept. Hosts First-Years Open House

The Physics Department says it is working harder to meet the needs of its undergraduate concentrators, and sought to prove it yesterday at an informal open house for potential concentrators in the Class of 1994.

In an event sponsored jointly by the department and the Society of Physics Students (SPS), approximately 30 students--ranging from first-years to doctoral candidates--mingled in Jefferson Hall, munching on food and chatting with faculty. The faculty present included Department Chair Bertrand I. Halperin '62, Head Tutor Margaret E. Law and several other members of the senior faculty.

In previous years, students have often criticized the Physics Department, saying that it ignored the needs of its concentrators.

"There was a problem of lack of communication between the department and concentrators," said Michael A. Burstein '91, president of the (SPS). "We're trying to eliminate the problem and facilitate contact between the department and concentrators."

Law agreed, saying such complaints were "partially true but we are trying to improve the situation."

That dedication to improving student-faculty relations began last year, Halperin said, at a meeting with undergraduates, professors and the Visiting Committee on the Physics Department. Today, Halperin and Law say, professors are enthusiastic about increasing the interaction between themselves and students.

But Halperin said that the key to improving relations is not department-sponsored activities, as many have suggested. Instead, he said, the Department should concentrate on encouraging student-initiatied activities.

"There are a lot of advantages to students doing what they want-one, there is usually a better turnout," said Halperin, adding that "even a small group of enthusiastic students can generate enthusiasm among their peers."

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