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200 Join University Hall Rally for Housing Choice

Students Criticize Jewett, Randomization

By Sarah J. Schaffer

In the largest student-led protest in recent Harvard memory, about 200 students rallied outside University Hall yesterday afternoon to oppose the randomization of the housing lottery.

About 25 students carried signs with slogans reading "No dice throw," "If you choose, we lose," "Don't test chaos theory on us" and "82% can't be ignored."

In a recent poll by the Undergraduate Council, 82 percent of students said they were against randomization.

The students gathered to protest a decision by Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 last week to randomize the housing lottery. Under the new system, students will from blocking groups of up to 16, enter the lottery and be assigned randomly to one of the 12 undergraduate houses.

"This is a rally far beyond my expectations of success," said co-organizer Philip R. Munger '95. "This is the realest thing I've seen at Harvard in a long time."

Although Jewett has emphasized that this decision could be changed after students try it for a few years, his appointed successor, Harry R. Lewis '68, has repeatedly said he supports randomization of the houses.

Lewis had no comment yesterday on the protest.

After the outside protest, about 100 students filed up the south steps of University Hall into Room 4 in order to present to Jewett a petition with 1,000 signatures against randomization. The dean was not in University Hall to receive the document, however. He was attending a meeting of the Administrative Board, as he does every Tuesday afternoon.

Reached at his home last night, Jewett said he could say little about the substance of the rally because he was not there. He said he looked forward to meeting with some randomization opponents later this week.

At the end of his speech, Munger demanded that the administration listen to him and the other protesters.

"You are not going to get away with destroying this University!" Munger said. "We will not let you."

All six speakers--Master of Adams House Robert J. Kiely, Pforzheimer House resident J. Lewis Ford '97, Mather House resident E. Michelle Drake '97, Adams House resident tutor Carsey Yee, Dunster House resident Adam D. Feldman '95 and co-organizer Philip R. Munger '95, who lives off-campus--roused the crowd with their repeated condemnations of Jewett'sdecision.

"The least diverse of our houses are more than100 times as diverse as University Hall--diversityis a relative matter. So you wonder, who are theyto tell you to be diverse?" Kiely said.

Kiely argued against three reasons commonlygiven for randomization: that it is too stressfulfor first-years to decide where they want to live,that randomization will make the houses uniformand that randomization will produce realdiversity.

Between speakers, the crowd chantedcatch-phrases such as "We won't lose our right tochoose" and "Hey, Dean Jewett, you'd better not doit."

Ford, a resident of Pforzheimer House, saidthat non-ordered choice has allowed him to groupwith other Blacks and make his voice stronger.

"As a member of a minority community on campuswhose numbers are less than eight percent of theCollege, it's often difficult to have my voiceheard," Ford said.

Ford said he recently met with one of the firstBlack alumni of the college. When that man washere, there were three Black students on campus,himself included. The other two were the man'sroommates.

"Is it really fair to rob me of my experienceas an African-American so that Blacks can besprinkled around this campus?" Ford asked. "No!"the crowd responded.

"They say Mather and Kirkland have too manyathletes, but listen--athletes are people too,"Ford said.

Drake pointed out that even if athletes,artists and members of minority groups are spreadout across the campus as a result ofrandomization, there is no guarantee thatdifferent groups will interact with each other.Drake is director of the Civil Liberties Union ofHarvard, but was not speaking on behalf of theorganization.

"Friendship is not random," Drake said. "Commonbathrooms and shared hallways do not make closefriends."

She also said students should have a right tochoose where they live, a feeling all of thespeakers echoed.

"We're in college. We go to Harvard," Drakesaid. "We're supposed to be the leaders oftomorrow, but apparently we're too stupid tochoose where we want to live."

Yee said he spoke on behalf of the gay, lesbianand bisexual community at Harvard. Currently,Adams and Dunster house the largest number ofthose individuals, he said.

"[Randomization] would be like taking all thegays and lesbians in San Francisco and New Yorkand relocating them in even numbers throughout theUnited States," Yee said. "This would be at theexpense of the vibrant gay adult community in NewYork and San Francisco today. That's how I thinkof Adams and Dunster," Yee said.

Munger estimated that roughly half of thestudents at the protest live in Adams House orDunster House.

Jewett delayed his decision for weeks in orderto squelch protest, Feldman said. "It's not anaccident that he has made this decision the lastfew weeks of school."

Jewett has said he waited to make the decisionin order to give everyone who wanted to discussthe issue a fair hearing.

Munger focused on the loss of community he saidrandomization will bring.

"There will be no 'sharing of experience' in arandomized system," Munger said. "We don't havethe resources or the luxury to throw away the lastvestige of community that exists on this campus."

At the end of the rally, Munger announced thatthe petition he had started in the dining hallslast Thursday now had more than 1,000 signatures,taken from every house and the Freshman Union.

"I'm going to present a little gift to DeanJewett," Munger said. "It's our going-away gift--apetition against randomization."

Someone in the crowd cried out, "Tie it to abrick and throw it through the window!"

Munger did not follow that suggestion, butabout 100 students did crowd into University Hall4 in order to give Jewett the petition in person.Because Jewett was not there to receive it, Deanof Students Archie C. Epps III took the petitionand said he would deliver it to him.

What Now?

"I think this is the beginning, not the end,"said co-organizer of the protest John D. Shepherd'95. "I think the administration can't help butreconsider its decision."

Munger said he hoped the administration willpay close attention to the protesters' efforts.

"We have a right to be taken seriously," Mungersaid.

Yesterday was not the end of the protests. Lastweek, Benjamin H. Torrance '95, head of theCoalition Against Randomization, started anongoing campaign to send letters to Harvard Clubsacross the country informing them of Jewett'smove.

Torrance and at least six other students havearranged to meet with Jewett Thursday afternoon,and more students are trying to meet with himFriday, Torrance said yesterday. The senior alsowrote a letter to Harvard Magazine protesting thedecision. He said he is not sure whether themagazine will print it.

Torrance, who attended the rally, said he waspleased with the turnout but added that hisefforts are quieter than those of the protesters'organizers.

"I tried not to be quite as inflammatory,"Torrance said.CrimsonAndrew K. SachsThe John Harvard statue joins in yesterday'sprotest.

"The least diverse of our houses are more than100 times as diverse as University Hall--diversityis a relative matter. So you wonder, who are theyto tell you to be diverse?" Kiely said.

Kiely argued against three reasons commonlygiven for randomization: that it is too stressfulfor first-years to decide where they want to live,that randomization will make the houses uniformand that randomization will produce realdiversity.

Between speakers, the crowd chantedcatch-phrases such as "We won't lose our right tochoose" and "Hey, Dean Jewett, you'd better not doit."

Ford, a resident of Pforzheimer House, saidthat non-ordered choice has allowed him to groupwith other Blacks and make his voice stronger.

"As a member of a minority community on campuswhose numbers are less than eight percent of theCollege, it's often difficult to have my voiceheard," Ford said.

Ford said he recently met with one of the firstBlack alumni of the college. When that man washere, there were three Black students on campus,himself included. The other two were the man'sroommates.

"Is it really fair to rob me of my experienceas an African-American so that Blacks can besprinkled around this campus?" Ford asked. "No!"the crowd responded.

"They say Mather and Kirkland have too manyathletes, but listen--athletes are people too,"Ford said.

Drake pointed out that even if athletes,artists and members of minority groups are spreadout across the campus as a result ofrandomization, there is no guarantee thatdifferent groups will interact with each other.Drake is director of the Civil Liberties Union ofHarvard, but was not speaking on behalf of theorganization.

"Friendship is not random," Drake said. "Commonbathrooms and shared hallways do not make closefriends."

She also said students should have a right tochoose where they live, a feeling all of thespeakers echoed.

"We're in college. We go to Harvard," Drakesaid. "We're supposed to be the leaders oftomorrow, but apparently we're too stupid tochoose where we want to live."

Yee said he spoke on behalf of the gay, lesbianand bisexual community at Harvard. Currently,Adams and Dunster house the largest number ofthose individuals, he said.

"[Randomization] would be like taking all thegays and lesbians in San Francisco and New Yorkand relocating them in even numbers throughout theUnited States," Yee said. "This would be at theexpense of the vibrant gay adult community in NewYork and San Francisco today. That's how I thinkof Adams and Dunster," Yee said.

Munger estimated that roughly half of thestudents at the protest live in Adams House orDunster House.

Jewett delayed his decision for weeks in orderto squelch protest, Feldman said. "It's not anaccident that he has made this decision the lastfew weeks of school."

Jewett has said he waited to make the decisionin order to give everyone who wanted to discussthe issue a fair hearing.

Munger focused on the loss of community he saidrandomization will bring.

"There will be no 'sharing of experience' in arandomized system," Munger said. "We don't havethe resources or the luxury to throw away the lastvestige of community that exists on this campus."

At the end of the rally, Munger announced thatthe petition he had started in the dining hallslast Thursday now had more than 1,000 signatures,taken from every house and the Freshman Union.

"I'm going to present a little gift to DeanJewett," Munger said. "It's our going-away gift--apetition against randomization."

Someone in the crowd cried out, "Tie it to abrick and throw it through the window!"

Munger did not follow that suggestion, butabout 100 students did crowd into University Hall4 in order to give Jewett the petition in person.Because Jewett was not there to receive it, Deanof Students Archie C. Epps III took the petitionand said he would deliver it to him.

What Now?

"I think this is the beginning, not the end,"said co-organizer of the protest John D. Shepherd'95. "I think the administration can't help butreconsider its decision."

Munger said he hoped the administration willpay close attention to the protesters' efforts.

"We have a right to be taken seriously," Mungersaid.

Yesterday was not the end of the protests. Lastweek, Benjamin H. Torrance '95, head of theCoalition Against Randomization, started anongoing campaign to send letters to Harvard Clubsacross the country informing them of Jewett'smove.

Torrance and at least six other students havearranged to meet with Jewett Thursday afternoon,and more students are trying to meet with himFriday, Torrance said yesterday. The senior alsowrote a letter to Harvard Magazine protesting thedecision. He said he is not sure whether themagazine will print it.

Torrance, who attended the rally, said he waspleased with the turnout but added that hisefforts are quieter than those of the protesters'organizers.

"I tried not to be quite as inflammatory,"Torrance said.CrimsonAndrew K. SachsThe John Harvard statue joins in yesterday'sprotest.

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