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Well, well, well. Another year, another set of good old Harvard memories. It almost feels like New Year's Eve--a time to reflect on the important events of the year and their valuable meanings.
The exciting year can be summarized by three key events: the neverending O.J. Simpson saga, President Neil L. Rudenstine's overwhelming fatigue (and consequential absence from the college) and the complex yet so popular Gina Grant story. All these were unforgettable experiences in which much of the Harvard community has taken part and which have made this school year particularly interesting.
Firstly, we can begin with the O.J. Simpson mess. How should we understand what has happened to a great American hero? Undergoing a trial for the murder of his wife, Simpson somehow or other finds much of his diehard fans on the Harvard campus--evidence that on this campus, we live sheltered from the realities of life, of what is really going on. As the eternal optimist, the Harvard student has become enraptured in long hours of broadcast hearings, eagerly searching for an obscure clue that will reveal Simpson's "true innocence." But there is a lesson to be learned by the Harvard population here: Even great ones fall, my peers. Let's face the facts: O.J. Simpson killed his wife, and hopefully he will be punished for it. Release this useless cause.
Secondly, Harvard was plagued by President Rudenstine's need to rest because he was so tired. Was Rudenstine overworked, did he have mono or did he just want to get away from it all? Good questions. Much hard work was invested in attempting to answer these questions by the campus press, and understandably so--how do 10,000 students cope without their leader, their president? Obviously, not well. Once again, though, there is a lesson to be learned by this event: not everyone affiliated with Harvard either as an administrator or as a student is a machine. We all crumble at one point or another. Let's give Rudenstine a break. It will make us feel better when we decide to just drop out of school for a couple of months and pick up where we left off when we return.
Lastly, we reach the story of Gina Grant and Harvard's controversial decision to rescind her acceptance. This too caused a ruckus on campus. The press released the story and there was an immediate rush of reactions and emotions from the Harvard population. Some students defended Harvard's decision, while others were pretty darn angry and urged Harvard, through organized protest, to admit Grant. These students decided that she had served her time and was entitled to lead a normal life. Definitely--a girl who had killed her mother, but proceeds to attend Harvard and is known as "the girl who killed her mother but she goes to Harvard and tries to lead a normal life," could probably lead a "normal" life. Definitely.
What is the lesson here? This campus spends way too much time caring about things that can't be changed, realities that should be accepted. Gina Grant will never be able to reassimilate herself into society, especially the society at this institution. A crime is hardly ever justified, much less forgotten by this society. We should learn to deal with the fact that much more harm than good would be done if Grant attended Harvard. Can we move on?
This campus seems to have come across a dearth of things to care about, and so we attach ourselves, tightly, to causes without a valuable purpose, without a valuable end. We eager beavers--always on the search for a cause--seem to care more about having a cause than what that cause is.
Well, well, well. With the meaning of this year understood--we have attached meaning and value to worthless events--what do we have to look forward to next year? Will yet another American hero leave us with the unforgettable symbol of a white Ford Bronco? Will another one of our competent leaders fatigue and disappear? And will we have more regretful criminals provoke anger, dissent and a divisive student body? Stay tuned.
This is Nancy Raine Reveys' last column of the semester.
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