Hoping to Avoid The Quad, First-Years Turn To Rituals

Tactics include burning voodoo dolls, sacrificing chickens

The Quad: For a first-year, no words could be more dreadful.

After two weeks of waiting and worrying many first-years awoke this morning to discover their housing assignments. Though most were content to spend last night studying or sleeping a few industrious first-years took matters into their own hands.

"A bunch of us really don't want to be quadded," said John K. Lee '01, in an interview yesterday. Lee and a few member of his blocking group said they planned to walk up to the Quad last night to sacrifice a frozen chicken.

"After, we wanted to douse it in charcoal fluid and light it, but we though it would attract too much attention," he said Instead, the group said it planned to "mutilate the chicken and just throw the pieces around.

Sarah C. Haskins '01 and her blocking group of 16 had a different kind of ritual in mind. The ceremony, which Haskins said was passed down through the two previous randomized classed, involves reciting poetry and burning voodoo dolls on Weeks Bridge at the stroke of midnight.


"The dolls are supposed to represent people who will get quadded instead of us," she explained.

The poem to be read contains verses such as "Head our call this lonely night. Hurl us not into Quad-borne flight."

"In a way this ceremony is saying that the gods of the Quad are more powerful and so we must appease them," she said.

Haskins said the two blocking groups who have performed the ritual thus far have landed in Leverett House.

Students dislike the Quad because it is so far from the Yard, Haskins said.

"Now that the houses don't have as much character as they used to, you want the River houses because of their proximity," she said.

"It would suck so bad if we got struck in the Quad," said Kevin M. El-Hayek '01, who lives in Stoughton Hall. "A lot of us are athletes and we would have practices across the river."

Fro the most part, however, first-years who get the Quad say they will eventually grow to accept it.

"I wouldn't mind it that much," said Blythe Yee '01, who planned on staying up all night. "It would be nice to leave Harvard Square."

One blocking group has even found a unique way to minimize its losses; the members started a pool to bet on which houses the group would get.

The pool's organizer, who asked to remain anonymous said, "That way, if we get quadded, at least for one person, it won't be that bad."

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