Over the past decade, major changes have taken place at Harvard, and The Crimson's photographers have been on the scene to document them, from the return of ROTC to campus to strikes led by dining hall and graduate student workers calling for higher wages. The Crimson's Multimedia staff reflects on some of the most important stories of the past decade told through photos.
Navy Secretary Ray E. Mabus (seated, left) and former University President Drew G. Faust (seated, right) signed an agreement in March 2011 to re-establish Naval ROTC at Harvard after nearly 40 years of absence due to Harvard's non-discrimination policy.
In May 2012, Quincy House Deans – then called House Masters – Lee and Deborah J. Gehrke, Deans Evelyn M. Hammonds and Michael D. Smith, students, and alumni gathered in Quincy courtyard to celebrate the groundbreaking at Old Quincy, initiating the 2012-2013 renovations. Administrators described Old Quincy as the “test project” for renovations to come in Leverett House’s McKinlock Hall, Dunster House, Winthrop House, Lowell House, and Adams House.
On April 15, 2013 over 100 Harvard administrators, staff, and students made their way across the river to participate in and watch the Boston Marathon. Two bombs went off near the finish line, around 2:50 p.m., killing three people, including Krystle Campbell, a former Harvard Business School employee. Over the next several days, a manhunt ensured, leading to the closure of the University on April 19. After a day under lockdown and heightened alert, members of the Harvard community were relieved when, at 8:45 p.m., officials captured suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev just outside the designated search area in a Watertown backyard. Administrators cancelled Visitas, the annual admitted students weekend, which they had originally scheduled for that weekend. During and after the week of the marathon, members of the Harvard community attended and held vigils on campus and in Boston to commemorate the over 250 injuries and three fatalities.
In July 2014, Harvard College’s leadership changed over as Rakesh Khurana moved into University Hall after he was named Interim Dean Donald H. Pfister’s replacement in January. In his first term as dean, Khurana prioritized student engagement and spoke at length about the College’s mission.
The decisions of two separate grand juries not to indict two white police officers who killed unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., in 2014 prompted outcry and protests across the nation. Harvard students took to Boston and Cambridge streets in late November to protest of the Ferguson decision, holding rallies and die-ins.
A bomb threat shook Harvard’s campus in November 2015, prompting the evacuation of four buildings in and around Harvard Yard before a five-hour police search proved the threat unfounded.
Students joined “Hear Her Harvard,” a movement opposing sanctions against members of unrecognized single-gender organizations including final clubs and sororities in spring 2016. In May of that year, administrators announced a policy — which began with the Class of 2021 — barring members of single-gender final clubs, sororities, and fraternities from holding leadership positions in recognized student organizations, becoming varsity captains, or receiving College endorsement for prestigious fellowships.
A historic strike by Harvard’s dining hall workers roiled campus for more than three weeks in Oct. 2016 as the employees sought to establish a “minimum guaranteed salary” of $35,000 per year and prevent increases in health care costs. Harvard’s dining hall workers first took to picket lines Oct. 6, and — supported by their union UNITE HERE Local 26 — maintained the lines for 22 days. The strike marked the first time since 1983 that Harvard’s campus had seen a HUDS walkout, and the first time in history that dining hall workers left their posts during the academic year.
Cambridge police officers arrest Rev. Jonathan L. Walton, professor and minister in the Memorial Church, for standing in the middle of Mass. Ave. as part of a protest in Sept. 2017. Walton, along with roughly 20 other Boston-area professors, stood in the street to protest the repeal of DACA.
On Oct. 5, 2018, Lawrence S. Bacow was inaugurated as Harvard's 29th president. In 2017, former University President Drew Glipin Faust announced the end of her decade-long presidency. The search for Faust’s successor — characterized by clandestine meetings and secret negotiations — lasted seven months and culminated with Bacow’s selection. Bacow, a Corporation member at the time, was a member of the search committee until he stepped down to be considered as a candidate.
On Oct. 15, 2018, a high-stakes and high-profile lawsuit alleging Harvard's admissions process unlawfully discriminates against Asian American applicants went to trial. Harvard had been locked in a legal battle with plaintiff Students for Fair Admissions for over five years, capturing national attention and bringing to light details of the College’s admissions process. The three week-long trial saw top administrators and students making the trek to Boston to testify. On Oct. 1, 2019, federal judge Allison D. Burroughs ruled in favor of the University. SFFA has since appealed the ruling.
Harvard affiliates advocating for divestment from fossil fuel companies and the prison system spent 2019 organizing demonstrations to urge the University to abandon its decades-long stance against their cause. University President Lawrence S. Bacow has maintained previous Harvard presidents’ policy against divestment. The precedent — first publicly stated by former University President Derek C. Bok — argues that Harvard’s nearly $40 billion endowment should not be an instrument for social change.
Tensions between Harvard and its graduate student union escalated in 2019 as the two sides attempted to negotiate the union’s first contract, culminating when the union went on strike in December. Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers began bargaining with the University after voting to unionized in April 2018. After spending months holding rallies, broadcasting a slew of advertisements on national television, and occupying University Hall in May, union organizers concluded that, despite their efforts to put pressure on the University, negotiations had reached an impasse. The strike went on for four weeks until bargaining committee members announced it would end on Dec. 31.