Councilor Quinton Y. Zondervan points out that an end to the pandemic could come with a surge in homelessness, as the eviction moratorium expires. “There’s going to be a wave of evictions, of people who couldn’t afford to pay their rent. It’s a horrible disaster waiting to happen,” he says. “[It will] disproportionately impact Black and Brown community members ... We can’t go back to normal,” he adds. “We have to [do] better, because normal was unjust.”
In the wake of Harvard reducing idled workers' pay to 70 percent during the pandemic, we followed four Harvard employees over the course of three months, conducting interviews on a weekly basis. These four individuals shared their lives with us, and although financial challenges and the pandemic have touched each of them, the pay cut is far from the only reason why these stories need telling.
Dear reader, It’s hard to believe this is our last regular issue of the semester — hopefully, the last regular issue we publish in a virtual production cycle (knock on wood!). Through waxing and waning energy and Zoom fatigue, our staff’s content has not wavered. This week, we are excited to bring you: Three lovely conversations: AVM talks to Donna Leet about a non-Covid-19 vaccine that may be just as exciting — potentially, for cancer. GJP talks to Pfoho building manager Mario León about his decade-plus at Harvard and now famous Instagram. DCB profiles William Tsutsui ’85, a Harvard professor and among the world’s leading Godzilla scholars. SPM and a series of other writers compile 36 absurd questions asked of students in admissions interviews at elite colleges — guess which are real, and which are not! KNR explores how so many Americans (and Canadians) idealize Canada, and the historic and ongoing power dynamics and inequities that obfuscates. And CHG, in a caring, funny, and thought-provoking endpaper, tells about her own love of cuddling and talks about cuddling with some cuddling experts (we also did not know such a thing existed before, but now we can’t get enough). Two necessary investigative pieces, both of which the writers have been working on for months now, ground this issue: In our cover story, CJC, MX, and SSL profile four Harvard workers — a project that began as a way to profile and lend a human face to those affected by a 30% pandemic-time pay cut to idled workers at the University, but evolved into a recognition that such a starting premise was false. These four stories — involving not just Harvard but baking, painting, tattoos, entrepreneurship, family, faith — need telling regardless of the pay cut, regardless of the pandemic. This magazine profiles fifteen interesting seniors each December, but these stories matter just as much. Give them the love and care they deserve. And in another scrutiny, TMB and JDRL spend weeks diving into the pervasive homelessness in Cambridge and how the pandemic has affected the lives of the unhoused. They also speak with advocates, elected officials, and many more — painting a nuanced picture of a problem the pandemic has brought into sharp focus but which always existed, and the heated and complex debates that go into trying to work out solutions. Take care these last few weeks of the semester. With love, OGO + MNW
Final clubs were made for white men. Now, people of color — who were never supposed to step through their gates at all — are carving out communities inside them. They’re drinking their alcohol and smoking their cigars. They’re reveling in these spaces, instrumentalizing the white men’s mansions for pure fun.
Dear reader, We apologize for bringing you this issue a few days late. Although there were some snafus on our production end, as we near the end of a virtual semester and Zoom fatigue sets in, our staff’s content remains as strong as ever. This issue includes two thorough and fascinating retrospections: SJL and KNF tell the story of mini dioramas of Harvard that used to be in Widener and are currently under restoration, and SWF and VX tell us about huge controversies and protests over Students for a Just Peace, a group of conservative students in the 1970s that aimed to provide a platform for pro-Vietnam War perspectives. Both also have stunning archival images. We have two great features: ZL profiles HerCapital, an organization that seeks to empower female investors, and TCK talks to Alex Corey about being a non-tenure faculty member during a pandemic. A slate of inquiries and introspections to make you think, cry, and laugh: SSI tells the moving story of her relationship with her grandmother and love across language barriers. MSB writes about a friendship that fell apart. LJR takes a critical eye to Hawaii’s tourism industry. And KNR writes about the beauty assigned to ethnic and racial types, and how those perceptions affect the people scripted into those types. KNR also brings us a beautiful “Visions” piece reflecting on related experiences. As thought-provoking, but also witty and hilarious, is HRTW’s set of mock Harvard NFTs. Buy one today! Finally, grounding the issue is EDP’s incisive, personal, and intellectually powerful exploration of race and Harvard’s final clubs — not the usual take, of their racial exclusivity, but the ways in which students of color inhabit those spaces and how their existence within final clubs forces us to rethink how race, gender, status, and exclusivity function on our campus. If you’re near campus, we recommend taking a walk and keeping an eye out for the bluebells, which bloomed recently and won’t be around much longer. And regardless, take care! Until next time, MNW+OGO
While many view Harvard graduate students as members of the privileged elite, studying in Cambridge often requires students to endure precarious material conditions. A backdrop of high rent, low pay, and expensive groceries becomes acutely visible in their daily struggles to find their next meal.
In 2018, Massachusetts created a program to support cannabis entrepreneurs whose businesses will benefit communities disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs. Bitter disputes over the policy's implementation in Cambridge have since raised questions about what, exactly, equity and reparations should look like.
Dear reader, We wish you well and hope you and your loved ones are taking care in ways that don’t involve ancestors or orientalist tea ceremonies (unfortunately a very real reference, not an April Fool’s joke). This week we have a strong slate of content (as always): Three conversations this week: MX profiles Kelly Yang, HLS alum and author of “Parachutes,” about her experiences with sexual assault and Title IX at the Law School and how those have changed her conceptions of law and justice. AL and HNL talk to the brilliant and controversial George Church and his attempts to revive the woolly mammoth. And GJP and EHS profile Regina Schouten, a philosopher whose work focuses on the gendered division of labor. We also bring you not one, but two much-needed levities: A lambasting of Harvard’s (un?)wellness day scheme from CSB and a brilliant poem about one of our lesser-known presidents, Chester A. Arthur from SWF. And two hard-hitting scrutinies! First up, AVM and SSI (or should we say MVP, coming out with her second scrut in three weeks?!) profile the experiences of Harvard graduate students, often believed to belong to an academic privileged elite, with acute food insecurity both before and during the pandemic, asking how we can balance short term mutual aid with longer term transformations to housing and food systems. Meanwhile, JSA goes “into the weeds” of the budding recreational cannabis industry in Cambridge, mapping a complex web of dynamics between large and small businesses and various government actors to probe questions about how to locate equity in a competition and scarcity driven market in gorgeous structure and style that would make the New Yorker jealous. And, in the wake of the shootings in Atlanta and sharp rise in anti-Asian hatred of the past several months, SSL explores her own and other students’ relationships to the coronavirus pandemic, the ungraspable notion of “Asian America,” racial hatred, and how one can even begin to consider, let alone tell or unravel, these stories. It is required reading. Finally, check out the next episode of MNW and OGO’s podcast, about the 1980 Study of Race Relations at Harvard College — one of the first Harvard diversity reviews — which MNW has been pitching as a story for over two years. Until next week, and with love, MNW + OGO