Faculty Reinstates Death Notices

'Black bordered cards' scrapped three years ago

After much heated debate, an overwhelming majority of the Faculty voted yesterday to reinstate the sending of "black bordered cards" to notify faculty members that one of their colleagues passed away.

The cards will be sent when any emeritus member of the Faculty, research professor or current tenure-track professors dies. This was a University tradition until the central administration delegated the duty to individual faculties three years ago. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) let this custom slide away, as did all the other schools.

Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in Memorial Church Peter J. Gomes first brought up the issue at the April 11 Faculty meeting.


"There are few symbols and ties of the communal life of this Faculty. There are very few things that tie together the special and unique community which we serve with pleasure and delight--the memorial minute is one and this is another," Gomes said.

Then Diana L. Eck, professor of Comparative Religion and Sanskrit and Indian Studies, proposed the motion yesterday, lauding its importance for the community.

"It's appropriate in a community where we spend a long time searching for each other, serve on committees together and toil hard together," Eck said. "I think that we should observe these rites together as community more formally than in the Gazette."

Currently, the Gazette publishes notices when anyone affiliated with the University dies.

Professor of Psychology Stephen M. Kosslyn, who was against the motion, said the issue is divisive because it is difficult to decide when the Faculty would send out cards.

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