Lewis' Trying Term

Alcohol Crackdown

In the basement of Dunster House near F-entry last fall, a bright pink sign loudly proclaimed a call to arms: "Down with the dean!"

Although no significant campus figure has publicly called for the ousting of Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68, the consensus among student leaders is that he is doing a poor job of running Harvard College.

In six months on the job, Lewis has endorsed and implemented three significant--and unpopular--changes to student life: randomization of the housing lottery, reorganization of public service and tightening of the alcohol policy.

Some of Lewis' colleagues defend him as an energetic and frank professor who has bravely taken a number of unpopular stands for the good of the College.

But while they are careful not to criticize the embattled new dean, many of those same administrators decline to agree that Lewis has done a good job overall.


The Controversies

Lewis never had much of a honeymoon with the student body.

Even before he took office this past summer, a controversial change Lewis had strongly endorsed--randomization of the housing lottery--was announced by his predecessor, L. Fred Jewett '57.

In the fall, Lewis reemphasized the College's campaign against alcohol-use on campus in a letter sent to all undergraduates' homes and a memo to student heads of athletic teams.

In addition to the letters, sources said the administration began disciplining students who brought drunk friends to University Health Services (UHS). That policy drew heavy fire from students and UHS officials alike.

And last month, more than 700 students filled the Yard to protest another of Lewis' decisions. This time, Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) organized a rally to protest Lewis' selection of Judith H. Kidd as the new assistant dean of public service.

Lewis' decision was unpopular among students but his reaction to the rally seemed to only further exacerbate his public problems.

In an e-mail response to a question seeking comment on the 700-plus turnout for the rally, Lewis asked: "Isn't that at most a fifth of the number expected, and about half the number of students (1700) that are claimed as members of PBHA?"

Even in light of all the controversies, Lewis did not mention anything he would change when asked in an e-mail message what he would have done differently.

Candid or Artless?