News

Harvard Law School Makes Online Zero-L Course Free for All U.S. Law Schools Due to Coronavirus

News

For Kennedy School Fellows, Epstein-Linked Donors Present a Moral Dilemma

News

Tenants Grapple with High Rents and Local Turnover at Asana-Owned Properties

News

In April, Theft Surged as Cambridge Residents Stayed at Home

News

The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

HYPE Draws Young Voters

Hundreds Register During Political Empowerment Festival

By C.r. Mcfadden

Since they began planning last spring, members of the Institute of Politics (IOP) and the Undergraduate Council promised that Saturday would be the largest political extravaganza at Harvard in years.

It lived up to the hype.

Lured by local bands, prominent politicians, student group booths, voter registration drives--and a large MTV bus--an estimated 3,000 students flocked to Harvard Youth Empowerment (HYPE) '96, where, in the words of an event organizer, they were "hit over the head with politics."

Andrew L. Abner '00 was one of about 400 students who was registered to vote in the Nov. 5 election by Rock the Vote, a group loosely affiliated with MTV.

"I wanted to register. Since this was right here, and I knew about it, it was a good opportunity," said Abner, who received a bag full of shampoo, root beer and pre-paid long-distance calling cards for his efforts.

Carlye A. Murphy '00 said "I wanted to register to vote, and this was an exciting way to do it. There's lots of fun things going on."

Jammin' 94.5-FM also registered students, but exact numbers were not available.

Students mingled with their friends in the MAC Quad, drawing near the stage to hear partisan rhetoric from two Republicans--Susan Roosevelt Weld and national convention spokesperson Mark Merritt--and five Democrats, including Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos and U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich.

Undergraduates periodically engaged in short, fun-spirited debates on education, taxes and the economy.

"Sounds like he's on the campaign trail already," one junior quipped, as he listened to Andrew J. Green '99-'98 discuss the President's balanced budget proposal.

Some came to hear performances by three bands, Expanding Man, Piraeus and The Dailey Planet. Others romped through a Velcro obstacle course or played hackensack in the grass.

"I'm kind of interested, but it's a nice day, so I'm out here with a bunch of people," said Canadian-born Paul D. Todgham '99.

Because four house dining halls were closed, many went to HYPE '96 simply for hamburgers and hot dogs.

Andras T. Forgacs '98, who was one of 2,200 students fed Saturday, said he was irritated.

"I came for the food, but there's no food left. I do think the rally is good, but the whole thing is very distracting," Forgacs said.

Event emcee and Student Advisory Committee chair Avery W. Gardiner '97 defended the IOP's request to close the Eliot, Leverett, Lowell, Kirkland and Winthrop House dinning halls.

"We were very honest about the fact we wanted to get people here, whether it was by making them eat here or with the MTV bus," Gardiner said. "Once they were here, we hit them over the head with politics."

Committee vice-chair John W. Turner '97 added "It was much better for people to dine outside anyway."

It was a Government major's dream come true, with petition drives and tabling from 35 student groups complementing the speeches.

Some debates spilled over into the crowd.

Dunja Popovic '99, a member of Amnesty International, collected hundreds of signatures for a petition opposing human rights violations in Indonesia and the Union of Myammar.

Some refused to sign the petition, and everyone learned something, she said.

"Some actually take me up on issues. We had a few long discussions on why we think [our petition] is valid, and why they don't. I learned a lot," she said. You can't just call [other people] jerks," she said.

Ian T. Simmons '98-'99 said the booths, which addressed specific issues, were more interesting than the speakers, who he said "represent a pretty narrow range on the spectrum."

Police roped off the area, allowing access only to members of the Harvard community.

Each student attending received a ticket stub with 18 blank spaces.

If students received stickers from 18 groups, their tickets were entered into a raffle for prizes including a subscription to Georage magazine, tickets to the John F. Kennedy Library and a weekend at the Kennedy Suite, a Winthrop House dorm where editor and President John F. Kennedy '40 lived.

Students also entered a raffle for five cars and several spring break vacations sponsored by Jammin' 94.5-FM.

Unofficial estimates by organizers pegged the IOP's expenses at about $2,300. Undergraduate Council President Robert M. Hyman '98 said the council, which co-sponsored the event, might contribute between $300 and $1,000 in payments.

Members of the Harvard-Radcliffe College Democrats and the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Alliance, whose booths were nearly adjacent to each other, each claimed to be winning the support of undergraduates.

"I've found lots of people ready to change their addresses and register to vote here," said Sarah L. Lee '99, adding that volunteers would be holding signs in Harvard Square supporting Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

College Democrats President Seth D. Hanlon '98 said Kerry has verbally committed to speak at Harvard this fall.

Republican Catherine D. Rucker '99 said "Lots of people say they're going to vote for Clinton and [Gov. William F. Weld' 66]. He's the moderate they'd like in Washington."

Rucker said Bay State women would swing behind Weld because he has appointed "more women in his cabinet than any other governor."

In an interview with The Crimson, Stephanopoulos said Clinton will make several stops in Massachusetts to drum up support for Kerry in this pivotal Senate race.

When the President speaks at a Kerry fundraiser at the Fleet Center this Saturday, he will link the moderate Weld with more conservative Congressional Republicans, Stephanopolous said.

U.S. Rep. Barney M. Frank '61-'62 (D-Mass.) said "Bill Weld does well when we forget that we're talking about the United States Senate."

Most local news outlets covered the event, as did reporters from the New Republic and MTV.

While pseudo-anchor Tabitha Soren was not on hand, the MTV "Choose or Lose" bus sat prominently in the MAC parking lot, drawing inquistive stares from passersby.

Its 45-foot-long exterior, brightly pained with quotations from musicians and politicians, implored students to vote. Its interior, with yellow-and black-striped floor carpeting, red shaggy walls and a golden brass trim, housed a production studio.

Dave Anderson, tour manager, credited MTV for raising voting rates among voters ages 18-25, noting the station runs frequent get-out-the-vote commercials featuring celebrities such as Madonna, REM and Pearl Jam.

"People are listening to the issues, and if popular culture is bringing them in, so be it," he said, disagreeing with criticism that MTV trivializes polities with its preference for pop culture over in-depth analysis.

"Look at the voter turnout rate in this country. Beggars can't be choosers," he said.

HYPE '96 organizers stressed the event was non-partisan. But some students, particularly those carrying "Dole/Kemp" signs, complained of a liberal bias.

They pointed out that the event's final four speakers were all Democrats, and Stephanopoulos' entire speech was promoting Clinton.

"Susan Weld was about the only Republican here, and all the Democrats were partisan, except Bob Reich," said Thomas B. Cotton '99.

Noah Z. Seton '00, a member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Alliance, said he couldn't blame the event's organizers, noting Massachusetts' liberal bent.

"If I were a Democrat, I would want to come and campaign in friendly territory, too," Seton said. "But you don't see George Stephanopoulos in Florida or Texas or other key Republican states."

Dean of the College Archie C. Epps III, who strolled around the quad, called HYPE '96 "a good thing."

"We've always had increased student interest in presidential years, but this also represents students working on local issues," he said.

Gardiner said "Student groups are what made HYPE happen. If they hadn't been here with tents and issues, it would have been just hype."

--Richard M. Burnes, Andrew A. Green and Amita M. Shukla contributed to the reporting of this story.CrimsonMatthew P. MillerRock the Vote volunteer JOHN BARR registers a Harvard student.

"I'm kind of interested, but it's a nice day, so I'm out here with a bunch of people," said Canadian-born Paul D. Todgham '99.

Because four house dining halls were closed, many went to HYPE '96 simply for hamburgers and hot dogs.

Andras T. Forgacs '98, who was one of 2,200 students fed Saturday, said he was irritated.

"I came for the food, but there's no food left. I do think the rally is good, but the whole thing is very distracting," Forgacs said.

Event emcee and Student Advisory Committee chair Avery W. Gardiner '97 defended the IOP's request to close the Eliot, Leverett, Lowell, Kirkland and Winthrop House dinning halls.

"We were very honest about the fact we wanted to get people here, whether it was by making them eat here or with the MTV bus," Gardiner said. "Once they were here, we hit them over the head with politics."

Committee vice-chair John W. Turner '97 added "It was much better for people to dine outside anyway."

It was a Government major's dream come true, with petition drives and tabling from 35 student groups complementing the speeches.

Some debates spilled over into the crowd.

Dunja Popovic '99, a member of Amnesty International, collected hundreds of signatures for a petition opposing human rights violations in Indonesia and the Union of Myammar.

Some refused to sign the petition, and everyone learned something, she said.

"Some actually take me up on issues. We had a few long discussions on why we think [our petition] is valid, and why they don't. I learned a lot," she said. You can't just call [other people] jerks," she said.

Ian T. Simmons '98-'99 said the booths, which addressed specific issues, were more interesting than the speakers, who he said "represent a pretty narrow range on the spectrum."

Police roped off the area, allowing access only to members of the Harvard community.

Each student attending received a ticket stub with 18 blank spaces.

If students received stickers from 18 groups, their tickets were entered into a raffle for prizes including a subscription to Georage magazine, tickets to the John F. Kennedy Library and a weekend at the Kennedy Suite, a Winthrop House dorm where editor and President John F. Kennedy '40 lived.

Students also entered a raffle for five cars and several spring break vacations sponsored by Jammin' 94.5-FM.

Unofficial estimates by organizers pegged the IOP's expenses at about $2,300. Undergraduate Council President Robert M. Hyman '98 said the council, which co-sponsored the event, might contribute between $300 and $1,000 in payments.

Members of the Harvard-Radcliffe College Democrats and the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Alliance, whose booths were nearly adjacent to each other, each claimed to be winning the support of undergraduates.

"I've found lots of people ready to change their addresses and register to vote here," said Sarah L. Lee '99, adding that volunteers would be holding signs in Harvard Square supporting Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).

College Democrats President Seth D. Hanlon '98 said Kerry has verbally committed to speak at Harvard this fall.

Republican Catherine D. Rucker '99 said "Lots of people say they're going to vote for Clinton and [Gov. William F. Weld' 66]. He's the moderate they'd like in Washington."

Rucker said Bay State women would swing behind Weld because he has appointed "more women in his cabinet than any other governor."

In an interview with The Crimson, Stephanopoulos said Clinton will make several stops in Massachusetts to drum up support for Kerry in this pivotal Senate race.

When the President speaks at a Kerry fundraiser at the Fleet Center this Saturday, he will link the moderate Weld with more conservative Congressional Republicans, Stephanopolous said.

U.S. Rep. Barney M. Frank '61-'62 (D-Mass.) said "Bill Weld does well when we forget that we're talking about the United States Senate."

Most local news outlets covered the event, as did reporters from the New Republic and MTV.

While pseudo-anchor Tabitha Soren was not on hand, the MTV "Choose or Lose" bus sat prominently in the MAC parking lot, drawing inquistive stares from passersby.

Its 45-foot-long exterior, brightly pained with quotations from musicians and politicians, implored students to vote. Its interior, with yellow-and black-striped floor carpeting, red shaggy walls and a golden brass trim, housed a production studio.

Dave Anderson, tour manager, credited MTV for raising voting rates among voters ages 18-25, noting the station runs frequent get-out-the-vote commercials featuring celebrities such as Madonna, REM and Pearl Jam.

"People are listening to the issues, and if popular culture is bringing them in, so be it," he said, disagreeing with criticism that MTV trivializes polities with its preference for pop culture over in-depth analysis.

"Look at the voter turnout rate in this country. Beggars can't be choosers," he said.

HYPE '96 organizers stressed the event was non-partisan. But some students, particularly those carrying "Dole/Kemp" signs, complained of a liberal bias.

They pointed out that the event's final four speakers were all Democrats, and Stephanopoulos' entire speech was promoting Clinton.

"Susan Weld was about the only Republican here, and all the Democrats were partisan, except Bob Reich," said Thomas B. Cotton '99.

Noah Z. Seton '00, a member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Alliance, said he couldn't blame the event's organizers, noting Massachusetts' liberal bent.

"If I were a Democrat, I would want to come and campaign in friendly territory, too," Seton said. "But you don't see George Stephanopoulos in Florida or Texas or other key Republican states."

Dean of the College Archie C. Epps III, who strolled around the quad, called HYPE '96 "a good thing."

"We've always had increased student interest in presidential years, but this also represents students working on local issues," he said.

Gardiner said "Student groups are what made HYPE happen. If they hadn't been here with tents and issues, it would have been just hype."

--Richard M. Burnes, Andrew A. Green and Amita M. Shukla contributed to the reporting of this story.CrimsonMatthew P. MillerRock the Vote volunteer JOHN BARR registers a Harvard student.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags