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Lampoon Noise Irks Adams Residents

By Victoria C. Hallett, Crimson Staff Writer

After awakening early Tuesday morning to the familiar sounds of obscenities screamed at them from across the street, some Adams House residents living adjacent to the Lampoon castle decided to fight back.

Alexis M. Grove '01 said that despite numerous calls to the police, the disturbances have continued almost daily for weeks. So Grove wrote to the "Adams Schmooze" e-mail list, hoping to share with others his frustration with the semi-secret Sorrento Square social organization that used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine.

"Tuesday morning I was woken up at 7--that pissed me off because I had a review session that day," Grove said. "They thought that they could do that and get away with it."

Grove told the list he planned to notify Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 and Chief of the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) Francis D. "Bud" Riley of the Lampoon's behavior and encouraged others to join him.

"It is shameful of them to act this way, but it will be equally shameful of us if we are too timid to put an end to their attacks," Grove wrote in his e-mail message. "We must put our foot down. Because relying on isolated HUPD patrols has not succeeded we must try another tactic."

His complaints resonated with many Adams residents, who have put up with the Lampoon's noise for years.

The residents of F, G, H and E entryways, which face the Lampoon castle, have been particularly bothered in recent months.

Miranda E. Worthen '01 said she is regularly awakened five nights a week by Lampoon noise pollution.

"I called the police five or six times. They'd be quiet for five minutes and hopefully I'd be able to fall asleep during those five minutes," Worthen said. "But that didn't happen that often."

Her boyfriend, who is also an Adams resident, got so fed up he resorted to sleeping in the offices of the Harvard Outing Club.

"I had fantasies about killing animals and dripping the blood on their steps--and this is coming from a vegetarian," Worthen said.

Lampoon member Daniel Chun '02 said the complaints have been exaggerated, however.

"The Lampoon has been known to rock out, it's true--but five nights a week is pushing it," Chun said. "It's more like 3.4."

Adams House members complained not just of the noise but of the Poonsters' choice of music.

Worthen was particularly offended by their repetition of the Backstreet Boys' song "I Want It That Way," which she heard one night for four hours.

The situation has annoyed even those who enjoy the Lampoon's taste in pop tunes.

"Imagine Britney Spears keeping you up--well, I wouldn't mind that--but imagine just her voice keeping you up all night," said Shai R. Sahay '02.

After receiving word of more than 20 students' anger, Lewis passed the problem on to Associate Dean of the College David P. Illingworth '67, who met with Lampoon President Stephen C. Hely '02 this week.

"I...told him that these kinds of disturbances were unacceptable and was given the assurance that there would be no further problems," Illingworth wrote in an e-mail message.

"I am confident that the last days of the term will be more peaceful," Illingworth added.

After the meeting, Hely wrote a message to Grove and the House "Schmooze" list apologizing for the Lampoon's rowdiness.

Grove said the Lampoon has been silent the past two nights since Hely's apology.

"They've been the perfect neighbors," he said.

But other Adams residents said they were irked by Hely's message, which they said seemed flippant, as when Hely wrote, "I'll do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again. Now you can get back to using the list to sell futons or whatnot."

Hely swore he was sincere about stopping the noise, which he blamed on the recent visits of a number of graduates, including George A. Plimpton '48.

"He's very boisterous," Hely said, adding that Adams resident and Lampoon member Kevin Etten '00 is the official enforcer on the Lampoon staff.

Adams residents said they are not sure whether or not the noise will stop for good.

But regardless, Grove plans on having a more silent senior year.

"I intentionally got a room really far from the Lampoon," he said.

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