Various and Sundry

Since this is my last column of the semester, and since I have exhausted my supply of pomposity and nonsense, I propose to round out the year with a smattering of suggestions for smoothing certain Harvard hangnails.

First: One of Board Plus and Crimson Cash needs to be abolished. The fact that they both exist indicates some kind of scam. Crimson Cash is obviously the nearer of the two to legal tender, whereas Board Plus appears magically like a non-fungible rebate on one’s tuition. But why can’t it be used to do laundry, rather than just to buy 24 packages of Milano cookies in Lamont during spring reading period when you have a week to spend $110, as I did two years ago? Perhaps this will be shocking, but I should rather use my Board Plus on laundry than on the baked goods of Barker Café.

If the counterargument is that the Harvard Square businesses won’t accept it, that means that “it” does not actually exist, and the LamCaf coffee could be distributed for free. If, on the other hand, it is really backed by the U.S. dollar, then combine it with Crimson Cash and let me get back to peeling wet socks out of the gaskets in the washing machines.

Second: The various op-eds appearing in this newspaper concerning Harvard University Dining Services meal schedules, though usually nothing more than opportunities for the authors to display their Mediterranean dining habits, nonetheless do us the service of drawing our attention to a more pressing issue: the fascistic creep of weekday interhouse restrictions at dinner. Whichever House did it first began a tariff war, and they’ve sprung up everywhere over the past few months. (Although I must say I don’t mind being kept out of Winthrop House, which lately has come to resemble Sarajevo circa July 1914). If the College is going to randomize the rising sophomores, they must at least be allowed to visit their friends for dinner ’twixt 6 and 7 p.m., even if they are so socially precocious as to have more than one friend at a time.

I would not, of course, object to shifting the dinner window one hour later — 5 to 7:15 p.m. rather precludes my white-tie cocktail hour — but I do not think the Houses need another blow to their social cohesion in the form of an all-day-long stream of food such that one forgets what meal one is eating.


Third: Classroom to Table, the best program Harvard has devised in the past hundred years, is routinely underfunded. I have no doubt that it is rather expensive, and perhaps the price limits need to be played with. But surely we could afford, in some sense, to reallocate some of the money currently being thrown away on condoms, lobster dinners, and concerts by Ponzi and Tiara. Harvard funds much nonsense, so by the time it strikes on a great idea, it has hamstrung itself. Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana, as I frequently say, is quite correct that much of the learning at the College goes on outside the classroom, so the chance for intimate conversations with professors ought to be a higher priority than, say, First Chance Dance (or Last, from what I hear).

Fourth: There are a few issues that will require fuller treatment in these pages in the future, not the least of which are the canting and ranting about shopping week that issue ceaselessly from the graduate student cartel, and the total fiasco that the Transcaroline Engineering Complex is going to be. The latter is, naturally, a more permanent problem than the former. For the time being, let us say that the conceits of bureaucrats high and petty should be at first politely and then rudely ignored, especially when the problem that so vexes them is which and how many interchangeably incompetent TFs can be assigned to an unfamiliar course on such short notice. (The distinctive and competent TFs, you will note, have always been able to manage, so the two camps sort themselves perfectly.)

As I say, I would not complain this way if I didn’t like the place so much, and it is painful to see it mismanaged in any respect. I hope to have provided some sort of service to prevent that; if not, at least the commenter people will have something to write about.

Liam M. Warner ’20, a Crimson Editorial editor, is a Classics concentrator in Adams House. His column appears on alternate Tuesdays.