Y2K Fails to Frustrate Faculty

As the year 1999 draws rapidly to a close, much of the Harvard community seems more preoccupied with holiday parties and the prospect of a two-week vacation than with a potential Y2K-related catastrophe.

To many faculty members, at least, the year 2000 is just another year, and this winter break is just like so many other winter breaks: a time to relax, get cozy with the family, perhaps even take a trip.

"We don't notice what year it is," says Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstine, when asked whether he and his family have special plans for the eve of the millennium.


Eschewing an atypical holiday celebration, Rudenstine says his family will instead stick with traditional festivities, inviting extended family for a big party. "Everybody comes to us for this time of the year to celebrate," he says.

And those faculty members who do notice what year it is say they are no less inclined to shake up their vacation schedules simply because of the date.

Cogan University Professor of Philosophy Hilary W. Putnam takes a rational view of the new millennium. He says his plans for winter break are as yet unaffected by Y2K, and he plans to take a Jan. 1 flight to Tel-Aviv, Israel, a booking he made assuming New Year's Day will bring minimal problems.

"I think there may be some glitches, but localized ones," Putnam says. "[Y2K] will not be the major disaster some people think it will be."

Many faculty members share Putnam's mindset, saying they believe--and hope--that the hype over the advent of the year 2000 has been exaggerated.

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