Law School Silent After Activist Past

When third-year law student Anne L. Oakes arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1991, she found the school "very exciting, very alive and very frightening."

In Oakes' first year, protests over faculty diversity were tearing the Law School apart. Students occupied administrative offices and marched and administrative offices and marched and demonstrated to add minority and female professors to the Law School's faculty.

Today the situation is somewhat different, she says, and the Law School is both tense and less exciting.

"It's dead," she says. "There just isn't the same kind of fire in the belly as there was earlier."

Members of minority student groups say their present peace is not surrender. Instead, it is simply a shift in strategy to a more cooperative effort to implement change, they say.


And while Law School students offer varied explanations for the quiet, many say it is not necessarily a permanent one. The present calm could be nothing more than the lull before a renewed storm of activism, they say.

Oakes is not the only one who has noted a change in the school once called the "Beirut on the Charles" by GQ. There have been on rallies for civilrights, no sit-ins, no fliers and nodemonstrations this year.

In fact, perhaps the most heated activism theLaw School has seen recently came from the studentMonster Truck Coalition, which lobbied for beer atLaw School Council meetings and a truck really inthe Square.

"When I was a first-year, tensions were veryhigh, and the campus was divided," Law SchoolCouncil President Enu Mainigi says. "There is aplateau. Activists are quiet right now."

But students say their quiet does not mean theyare satisfied with the present makeup of the LawSchool faculty.

"Diversity is still a very major issue," saysthird year X. Carlos Vasquez, co-chair of Lamda,the Law School's gay, lesbian and bisexualstudents association.

And it is an issue that will not go away,students say.

"Diversity is always an issue in the minds ofLaw School students--a desire for more diversecourse offerings and more diverse faculty, "saysDoug H. Driemeier. supervising editor of theHarvard Law Review.

But if the need for diversity is no less, andstudent commitment has not wavered, why is theformer "Beirut" looking more like Des Moines?

Students offer a number of explanations for theceasefire. The first is simply exhaustion: awar-weary campus now wants a little peace andquiet after years of strife.