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Infused with a bacchanal spirit otherwise all too rare at Harvard, the waning days of senior year are meant to be a celebration of the culmination of four years of hard work, long hours, response papers and problem sets. But this spring, some seniors charge, a disappointing Senior Soiree and a controversial ticket allocation scheme for a Red Sox-Yankees baseball game have brought more gloom than gaiety to the conclusion of the Class of 2003’s college careers.
Unlike Senior Soirees of years past, which boasted a heated tent and an open bar, this year’s soiree was an austere affair where, seniors complained, the alcohol quickly ran dry. Class marshals are quick to point out that this decrease in luxury was in part attributable to the Radcliffe Alumnae Association’s decision not to subsidize the event this year. But under such circumstances, the Senior Class Committee ought to have foreseen the unfavorable comparisons that would be drawn between this year’s events and last year’s events and considered a less-expensive alternative venue. Given the success of last year’s soiree, the class committee should have forecast this year’s large turnout and held the event at a location that would better accommodate all guests—and one that would have left funding available for extra alcohol to accommodate the high turnout.
Controversy also marred the distribution of 200 tickets for a Red Sox-Yankees game. Last week, the class committee awarded tickets to the first 200 students to dispatch e-mails requesting them. Whether or not allegations of favoritism and time-stamp tampering are true, they reveal seniors’ unhappiness with this method of distributing tickets. A more conventional lottery of interested seniors for the limited number of tickets would have been much fairer for all students and could have alleviated any concerns of impropriety.
As reading and exam period slip into Senior Week, the class committee will again try to enliven the end of seniors’ time at Harvard. While early signs, including the selection of Will Ferrell to be Class Day speaker, indicate a promising Senior Week, the class committee will do well to remember the dissatisfaction the soiree and the distribution of tickets have engendered and to tread more cautiously in the future. And to help insure an excellent few final weeks for the Class of 2003—and all subsequent seniors—Harvard should provide additional funds and whatever institutional support is necessary for successful events. Senior spring should be splendid. We only graduate from college once.
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