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FAS Pitches Fundraising for Social Life

Michael D. Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, delivers the Faculty Address at the Class of 2016's Convocation Ceremony held in Sanders Theater.
Michael D. Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, delivers the Faculty Address at the Class of 2016's Convocation Ceremony held in Sanders Theater. By Shunella Grace Lumas
By Jonathan G. Adler and Melissa C. Rodman, Crimson Staff Writers

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has made undergraduate social life a priority in its capital campaign fundraising, FAS Dean Michael D. Smith said during a wide-ranging interview Wednesday, discussing his goals for the year.

FAS administrators are actively courting alumni donors to contribute to the College’s ongoing efforts to revamp social events on campus, Smith said, though he did not specify what those donations would fund. While Smith said FAS has helped fund undergraduate social life in the past, he hopes the school will allocate more money for new projects.

“We’ve got to find the cash” for undergraduate social life, Smith said, noting that FAS’s recently depleted cash reserves necessitate fundraising to contribute to the College’s efforts.

FAS Dean Michael D. Smith
FAS Dean Michael D. Smith By Shunella Grace Lumas

“We’re trying to craft the right kinds of fundraising priorities in that space that will encourage our alumni to consider giving,” Smith said, though he did not elaborate on the nature of such priorities.

The College has in recent years sought to increase its influence in undergraduate social life, from crafting new policies to funding parties on campus. And FAS is not the only funder outside of the College: University President Drew G. Faust has helped pay for the [BLANK] Party, organized by College women’s groups for the past two years.

Intensified scrutiny on the prevalence of sexual assault on campus has spurred much of the College’s efforts to shape social life. Partly in response to concerns over sexual assault, Harvard last spring unveiled a new College policy that will penalize future members of unrecognized single-gender social organizations, such as final clubs and Greek organizations. Starting with the Class of 2021, the policy will bar members of those groups from holding leadership positions in recognized clubs and receiving prestigious fellowships like the Rhodes and the Marshall.

That policy has prompted widespread criticism. Last May, 12 professors submitted a motion in opposition to the policy, which the Faculty will discuss at their next full meeting in November. It is unclear, however, whether a vote approving the motion could override the policy.

Smith declined to offer his views on the policy, saying that he wanted the Faculty to share their opinions first.

“The Faculty can decide to discuss and point in a direction for policies, what they would like to do,” Smith said, referring to the motion. “Where we’re going to end up, I don’t know.”

—Staff writer Jonathan G. Adler can be reached at jonathan.adler@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanGAdler.

—Staff writer Melissa C. Rodman can be reached at melissa.rodman@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @melissa_rodman.

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