The early 2010s at Harvard College saw an interrelated string of events unfold that included one of the College’s largest cheating scandals in recent history, two surreptitious email probes conducted by administrators, a dean’s resignation, and the creation of Harvard’s first-ever Honor Code.
At the root of the years-long series of twists and turns, though, was one Government course taught in spring 2012.
The scandal began in secret, as the Administrative Board conducted a months-long investigation into nearly half of the 279 students enrolled in the spring 2012 edition of GOV 1310: “Introduction to Congress” for allegedly plagiarizing answers or inappropriately collaborating on the class’s final take-home exam. The course’s professor, Matthew B. Platt, initially brought the case to the Ad Board in May 2012 after he noticed unusual similarities in 10 to 20 exams.
In an unusual move, the University later made the investigation public, hoping to use it as a “teaching opportunity.”
The Ad Board found roughly 125 of the final exams submitted for the course suspicious during a review over the summer. During the fall 2012 semester, the Ad Board investigated the individual students who submitted those exams, delivering verdicts by December.
Then-Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith reported in February 2013 that more than half of the implicated students were eventually forced to withdraw from the College temporarily. Of the remaining students investigated, half received probation, while the rest received no punishment.
Those verdicts only marked the first act of the story, though.
In March 2013, news broke that administrators had probed the administrative email accounts of 16 resident deans in September 2012 in response to several leaks of confidential information connected to the Ad Board’s then-active investigation.
FAS policy allows administrators to access faculty email accounts in “extraordinary circumstances” with the approval of the FAS Dean and the Office of the General Counsel and notification of the faculty member. Administrators can access electronic files of non-faculty “at any time” and “for any business purpose” without requesting permission, per staff policy.
However, Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds revealed at an April 2013 faculty meeting that she had also authorized a second round of secret email searches of a single resident dean identified as having leaked confidential information. The revelation contradicted her previous statements and prompted outrage from assembled faculty.
After weeks of speculation that the move would portend the end of Hammonds’s tenure in University Hall, she announced her decision to step down. Although the move came a month after her admission, Hammonds said the email controversy was “not a motivating factor.”
In July 2013, an independent report found that an OGC attorney had forwarded Smith an email in September 2012 detailing plans for the second round of email searches. Smith said he opened but did not closely read the email, maintaining his unawareness of the search until six months after its conclusion.
The report also concluded that administrators acted in “good faith” when they conducted the searches and confirmed none were aware of the FAS policy regarding notification and authorization procedures for accessing faculty records.
Amid the ongoing cheating scandal and email controversy, conversations about the potential inception of the College’s first honor code also came to a head.
The Academic Integrity Committee’s honor code proposal — approved in May 2014 — called for the creation of a student-faculty judicial body, distinct from the Ad Board, to hear cases of academic dishonesty and proposed requiring that students sign a “declaration of integrity” on major assignments and exams.
In fall 2015, two years after Harvard adjudicated the Gov 1310 case, the College implemented its newest academic integrity policy.
—Staff writer Amanda Y. Su can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amandaysu.
In May 2016, University administrators imposed punitive sanctions on members of final clubs, sororities, and fraternities — a move that shook the social foundations of Harvard College during the latter half of the decade.
The controversial sanctions — which took effect with the Class of 2021 — bar undergraduate members of single-gender social organizations from captaining athletic teams, holding leadership positions in certain student groups, and receiving College endorsements for prestigious fellowships like the Rhodes and Marshall.
Though some clubs’ actions had troubled the University for decades — with former University President Drew G. Faust decrying “privilege and exclusion at odds with our deepest values” in the sanctions announcement — the contentious policies first came soon after the release of a major report on campus sexual assault. In the March 2016 report, the University’s Task Force on Sexual Assault Prevention castigated all-male final clubs as “vestige[s] of gender inequity” on Harvard’s campus that represent “deeply misogynistic attitudes” and “sexual entitlement.” The task force ultimately recommended that the University implement restrictions on final clubs or force them to become gender-neutral.
In response, the Porcellian Club — the most historic and tight-lipped of the social groups under threat — commissioned a professional statistical analysis that fiercely rebutted administrators’ conclusions. In the debates that followed the sanctions announcement, the University backpedaled on its sexual assault prevention argument and shifted its justification to “non-discrimination.”
The College’s policy change began to take shape in a flurry of closed-door discussions over the following months. Soon after the task force’s report was released, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana proposed the idea of sanctions in meetings between final club leaders and Harvard administrators. Tensions also began to rise as clubs resisted proposals for change.
The situation came to a head when Faust officially announced the sanctions in May 2016, formally accepting Khurana’s recommendations. The move marked a historic policy reversal for the University, which for decades had largely chosen to steer clear of involvement with final clubs and Greek groups. In 1984, Harvard issued a similar ultimatum for clubs to go co-ed, prompting mass disaffiliation from the University.
Many students responded critically to the new social group policy, and public outcry included campus protests. The sanctions also drew the ire of faculty, with some going so far as to submit opposition proposals — which were ultimately unsuccessful — to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Though additional committees convened to possibly “revise or replace” the sanctions, the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — put an end to the debate with a decisive December 2017 vote to keep the policy intact.
Coping with the sanctions in the years that followed, clubs responded with a variety of attitudes ranging from cooperation to outright opposition. After students showed waning interest in some social groups, other newly gender-neutral organizations saw a significant bounce in membership interest. Every single all-women’s social club eventually opted to go co-ed, though Harvard’s chapter of Alpha Phi later returned to campus as a single-gender group after a several-month hiatus.
Meanwhile, several male-only fraternities and final clubs — including the Porcellian, the A.D., the Fly, the Owl, and the Phoenix S.K. — continue to function in defiance of Harvard’s rules.
At least one such organization flirted with co-ed status at several points but ultimately has chosen to remain all-male. After allowing nine female undergraduates to join as “provisional” members, the Fox Club revoked their status. The club has since reconsidered its gender-exclusive policy several times, but — facing resistance from its graduate board — has yet to approve a lasting proposal.
The College’s Administrative Board is charged with enforcing the sanctions' penalties on individual students acting in violation of the guidelines. However, the Dean of Students Office announced in the fall that it will also discipline extracurricular groups whose leaders or officers are members of unrecognized single-gender social organizations.
Discontent with the new policy reached a boiling point in late 2018, when a group of fraternities, sororities, and anonymous students brought two lawsuits against the University — one in federal court and one in Massachusetts state court. The federal filing accused Harvard of breaching Title IX, a federal law designed to protect against gender-based discrimination in education.
After initial sparring over motions to dismiss the case, a judge ruled in Aug. 2019 that the federal lawsuit will proceed with a subset of the original plaintiffs. As the discovery phase of litigation begins, the case is set to continue toward a potential trial.
The ongoing battle over sanctions has even reached Capitol Hill. After a years-long lobbying effort on behalf of single-gender social groups, some lawmakers introduced legislation that may imperil Harvard’s ability to enforce the social group policy. One bipartisan proposal, supported by United States Representative Elise M. Stefanik ’06 (R-N.Y.) and Representative Ruben M. Gallego ’02 (D-Ariz.), gained approval from a House committee last fall. The bill’s future, however — much like the sanctions’ — remains uncertain.
—Staff writer Declan J. Knieriem can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DeclanKnieriem.
When Harvard’s graduate student union went on strike in December 2019, they capped off a historic and dramatic decade of unionization efforts. Over a five-year period, Harvard Graduate Students Union-United Automobile Workers transformed from a pipe dream shared by a small group of graduate students to a fully-recognized union meeting administrators at the bargaining table and challenging them on the picket line.
Attempts to form a union began in 2015, when a group of graduate students first recruited and mobilized supporters. Members of the effort entered into a partnership with the United Automobile Workers later that year.
The push to unionize gained momentum after a 2016 National Labor Relations Board ruling granted student assistants at private universities collective bargaining rights. Following the decision, Harvard held an election in November 2016, allowing approximately 3,500 eligible students to vote on HGSU-UAW’s petition to bargain with the University on their behalf.
Initial tallies showed more students voted against unionization than in support. But because the election yielded around 1,200 contested votes, the NLRB mandated the University hold a re-vote after months of legal squabbles with the union.
In the second election, held in April 2018, a majority of voters — about 56 percent — cast ballots in favor of unionization. Days later, the University announced it would bargain in good faith with the union, breaking with peer institutions.
HGSU-UAW began bargaining with the University over its first contract in October 2018. The union’s bargaining committee approached administrators with a list of 80 goals drawn from a member survey, including raises, paid medical and dental insurance, and lowered childcare costs.
After a year of negotiating failed to produce a contract, members of HGSU-UAW held a strike authorization vote in October 2019 on the one year anniversary of its first bargaining session. More than ninety percent of voters approved the strike, which was eventually called over three intractable issues: compensation, healthcare, and grievance procedures to handle harassment and discrimination claims. The latter item has been a vision of the union’s since graduate students’ first fledgling organizing efforts in 2015.
The union began its indefinite strike on Dec. 3. Picketing has lasted for over two weeks, disrupting final exam review sessions and causing delivery delays across campus. In their only bargaining session since the strike began, the union and University reached agreements on some items while remaining at odds over the three key contract disputes.
At the next bargaining session — scheduled for January 7, 2020 — a third party will join Harvard and HGSU-UAW at the table: federal mediators, whom the University proposed engaging in December. It remains unclear whether mediators will bring the strike to a close and give union members what they have spent half a decade fighting for — a contract that may change the nature of Ph.D. hopefuls’ and many other students’ experience at Harvard.
—Staff writer Callia A. Chuang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @calliaachuang.
Harvard has been locked in a legal battle for more than five years over allegations that its admissions policies discriminate against Asian Americans, capturing national attention and bringing to light details of the College’s notoriously secretive admissions process.
That fight officially began in Nov. 2014, when anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions sued the University, alleging that the College intentionally discriminates against Asian American applicants by artificially capping the number admitted to each class.
The lawsuit, which first went to trial in Boston on Oct. 15, 2018, was decided in Harvard’s favor roughly a year later, when federal judge Allison D. Burroughs upheld the legality of Harvard’s race-conscious admissions policies.
“Ensuring diversity at Harvard relies, in part, on race conscious admissions. Harvard’s admission program passes constitutional muster,” Burroughs wrote in her decision.
The trial and Burroughs’s decision came after a discovery period that saw the submission of thousands of pages of data and evidence, including internal admissions office communications, administrators’ depositions, expert statistical analyses, and even a few students’ marked-up applications.
The documents included 2013 reports from the University’s Office for Institutional Research which found that Asian American applicants consistently receive lower personal ratings — numerical scores based on abstract qualities like “humor” and “grit” — from admissions officers. Evidence in the case also suggested that Harvard gives special consideration to relatives of top donors and admits recruited athletes at particularly high rates.
The three-week-long trial in the case also saw courtroom appearances from Harvard students and top officials alike, including former University President Drew G. Faust, who took the stand as the nation watched the case unfold.
Three days after Burroughs released her decision on Oct. 1, SFFA filed a notice of appeal, marking what may be only the first step in a protracted appeals process. Still, University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote that he remains confident an appeals court will uphold Burroughs’s decision.
“Everyone admitted to Harvard College has something unique to offer our community, and today we reaffirm the importance of diversity — and everything it represents to the world,” he wrote in an email to Harvard affiliates on Oct. 1.
Experts say the high-profile case will likely continue for several more years, and could ultimately reach the Supreme Court. Those following the case closely also note that the final outcome could foreshadow the fate of affirmative action at colleges and universities across the nation.
—Staff writer Meera S. Nair can be reached at email@example.com.
Over the past decade, Harvard saw two University Presidents in Massachusetts Hall with the end of former University President Drew G. Faust’s tenure and the inauguration of University President Lawrence S. Bacow.
Faust made history when she was unanimously confirmed as Harvard’s first woman president in 2007. The accomplished academic and Civil War historian — who led the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study from 2001 to 2007 — began her term in July of that year.
In 2017, Faust announced the end of her decade-long presidency. During her tenure, she wiped away traces of Harvard’s past — including rebranding the College’s House Masters as Faculty Deans and removing the Law School’s seal because of its ties to a slave-owning family. Faust’s decision to step down in June 2018 coincided with the end of the largest capital campaign in the history of higher education.
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. Senior Fellow of the Corporation William F. Lee ’72 said many within and outside of Harvard recommended Bacow — who formerly served as the president of Tufts University and the chancellor of MIT — for the job.
When taking the reins of Harvard, Bacow inherited a bigger platform and broader lobbying agenda. A number of Faust’s long-term lobbying priorities — immigration, research, financial aid — carried over to the Bacow era.
Like Faust, Bacow continued to travel to cities across the United States to speak about the importance of higher education and put a face to Harvard’s name. While Faust traveled to Cincinnati, Dallas, Miami, and Philadelphia, Bacow returned to his home state of Michigan.
In July, Bacow penned a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan to share “deep concern” about current immigration policies.
Shortly before the fall 2019 semester began, United States Customs and Border Protection denied incoming freshman Ismail B. Ajjawi ’23 entrance into the country. Ajjawi, a Palestinian resident of Lebanon, was deported after officers questioned him, searching through his phone and computer, and found allegedly anti-American social media posts made by friends on his feed. Bacow became personally involved in the case and played an important role in overcoming the freshman’s visa denial, according to those involved with Ajjawi’s case.
—Staff Writer Michelle G. Kurilla can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla.
—Staff writer Ruoqi Zhang can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @RuoqiZhang3.
From the movement to divest from apartheid South Africa in the 1980s to the University’s decision in 2005 to divest from PetroChina, a company tied to the genocide in the Darfur region in Sudan, divestment activists boast a decades-long history on Harvard’s campus. The movement entered a new chapter in fall 2012 with the founding of Divest Harvard, a student group demanding the University divest its endowment from the fossil fuel industry.
Since its inception, Divest Harvard has become a dominant activist group on campus, demonstrating, meeting with University leaders, and urging administrators to reconsider long-standing policies against divestment.
In 2015, fossil fuel divestment advocates occupied Massachusetts Hall, which houses the offices of the University President and Provost. Their protest was part of Heat Week, a series of demonstrations calling attention to the climate crisis.
The fossil fuel divestment movement made national headlines again in Nov. 2019, when hundreds of activists stormed the field during The Game to demand that Harvard and Yale divest from fossil fuels and Puerto Rican debt. Police arrested 50 people — including 11 Harvard students and alumni and at least 19 Yale students and alumni. A Connecticut judge gave them community service and another court date soon after.
This fall did not mark the first time divestment advocates interacted with police. In 2015, a student was arrested during the blockade of Mass. Hall after refusing to move from an entrance at the request of Harvard University Police. The charges were later dropped, but the arrest quickly drew campus and media attention.
Divestment movements at Harvard over the past decade have not exclusively focused on climate change, however. In late 2018, students founded the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign, urging Harvard to divest from the prison industry.
Divest Harvard and HPDC joined forces in spring 2019 to disrupt a JFK Jr. Forum event at the Institute of Politics that featured University President Lawrence S. Bacow. Protesters held signs to obscure the stage, ultimately forcing the event to relocate to another room.
In spite of nearly a decade of demands for reform, divestment activists and Harvard’s administration remain largely at odds over the best practices for Harvard’s endowment.
In recent years, several universities, notably the University of California system, have elected to divest their holdings in the fossil fuel industry in response to student activism. Still, Bacow has maintained that the University should not divest its holdings in the fossil fuel industry, instead arguing that the school should work with fossil fuel companies to urge them to pursue more sustainable practices.
—Staff writer Ellen M. Burstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ellenburstein.
In late 2017, women launched a movement using the hashtag #MeToo, prompting a national reckoning over sexual harassment and assault. Harvard saw a 20 percent increase in sexual harassment complaints after the movement began — including some against prominent faculty members.
Beginning in February 2018, nearly 20 women accused Government professor Jorge I. Dominguez of sexual harassment. Dominguez retired that May, becoming a professor emeritus.
In May 2019 — after a year-long investigation into Title IX complaints against Dominguez — Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean Claudine Gay stripped him of his emeritus status and barred him from campus.
Earlier that month, a Government department committee found that “prolonged institutional failure” facilitated Dominguez’s abuse, echoing calls from students and faculty for an external audit of those failings. In May 2019, University President Lawrence S. Bacow agreed to the review, which began this fall.
In May 2018, The Crimson reported that star economics professor Roland G. Fryer, Jr. — the youngest African-American to receive tenure at Harvard — was under investigation for verbal sexual harassment towards employees at his lab. In July 2019, Gay placed Fryer on a two-year administrative leave for violating University sexual harassment policies and permanently closed the lab.
Harvard Medical School professor Harvey J. Makadon resigned in January 2018 after being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple men, including one who claims Makadon made unwanted advances toward him in 1990 while he was a student at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh did not return to teach at the Law School after student outcry surrounding allegations of harassment that surfaced during his confirmation hearings in late 2018.
In early 2019, former Winthrop House Faculty Dean and Law School professor Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. faced criticism from undergraduates after deciding to defend Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein against sexual abuse charges.
Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan M. Dershowitz was accused in 2014 and 2018 court filings of having sexual encounters with women allegedly trafficked by sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, whom Dershowitz represented. Dershowitz has denied the allegations repeatedly. Epstein — who died by suicide in August 2019 — held strong ties to the University himself, in the form of multi-million dollar donations and relationships with faculty and administrators.
Throughout the decade, the University implemented sweeping changes to sexual misconduct policies as two undergraduates alleged that Harvard’s procedures violated Title IX, prompting a federal investigation. Nearly all cases are now handled by a central investigative office, though Harvard’s individual schools are responsible for punishing violators. Harvard also lowered the necessary burden of proof, prompting Law School professors to argue the new policy unfairly disfavors accused parties.
In 2017, the Title IX office split administrators who investigate sexual assault complaints from those who provide Title IX training and resources. Additionally, the University implemented mandatory training for students, faculty, and staff.
Despite the changes, a 2019 survey showed rates of sexual misconduct have remained stagnant since 2015. In negotiations for its first contract, Harvard’s graduate student union has made instituting independent procedures for addressing sexual harassment a key priority — one of the factors that prompted its ongoing, indefinite strike.
—Staff writer James S. Bikales can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamepdx.
When the financial crisis struck in 2008, Harvard’s endowment took a substantial hit, falling from $37 billion to $26 billion — a negative 27.3 percent return that brought it down to its 2005 levels. Over the next tumultuous ten years, top administrators and officials at Harvard Management Company struggled to recover from the last recession, prepared for the next potential economic downturn, and tried to fend off new taxes from Washington, D.C.
After the recession, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ slimmed its budget to the tune of $77 million, the University cut staff and delayed its capital campaign, and the College nixed hot breakfast in upperclassmen houses, among other measures.
The endowment did not fully recover from its losses until 2017; it is currently valued at $40.9 billion.
The decade also saw significant turnover at HMC. Jane L. Mendillo served as the CEO and President from 2008 until 2014, when she retired. Statistics professor Stephen Blyth took over from within HMC, but he resigned less than two years later for personal reasons.
In late 2016, N.P. “Narv” Narvekar was named the firm’s fourth CEO and President in ten years. He had previously helmed the endowment at Columbia University.
Narvekar brought drastic changes to HMC. Shortly after his arrival, he announced that the firm would lay off approximately half of its 230-person staff and eliminate its internally-managed hedge fund teams by the end of 2017. This was the first step in his five-year plan to overhaul the endowment, which included moving from a specialized investment approach to a more “generalist” model focused on overall endowment performance.
In his first year, the endowment saw “disappointing” 8.1 percent returns on its investments, which Narvekar called “a symptom of deep structural problems at HMC.” One issue was the abundance of natural resource assets, which saw poor returns and were sold at a marked-down price to rid the portfolio of the struggling investments.
Since then, the endowment has continued to lag behind peer institutions. In 2018, it saw 10 percent returns and placed second to last against its Ivy League rivals. In 2019, the endowment returned 6.5 percent on its investments, exceeding $40 billion for the first time in its history.
In addition to low returns, the University is still contending with a tax on its endowment for the first time — the result of a Republican-led tax overhaul passed in late 2017. The bill levies a 1.4 percent excise tax on the returns of university endowments that boast over $500,000 per student. Administrators estimated such a tax would have cost the University $43 million if it had taken effect during fiscal year 2017.
University President Lawrence S. Bacow has lobbied extensively against the tax over the past several years. He has said that the tax will prompt “belt-tightening” across the University, though he did not say where the cuts might be. Still, some experts say the tax rate is low enough that the difference it makes may be negligible.
At the same time, Bacow — an economist by training — has been looking ahead to when the next recession hits. He said he has “challenged” all of Harvard’s schools to engage in “scenario planning” for when markets inevitably dip again.
—Staff writer Camille G. Caldera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @camille_caldera.
In October 2016, Harvard University Dining Service workers began a historic 22-day strike after a months-long stalemate in contract negotiations with the University.
After three weeks of picketing, union leaders and Harvard representatives reached an agreement in which Harvard would increase minimum salaries and provide more affordable health care benefits for dining workers.
Negotiations between the University and UNITE HERE Local 26 — the Boston-area union which represents HUDS employees — began in June 2016. Among the union’s proposals were a “minimum guaranteed salary” of $35,000 for year-round employees and an improved healthcare plan that would cover increased copayments.
After three months of bargaining without an agreement, in mid-September, HUDS workers voted 591-18 to authorize a potential strike if Harvard did not meet their demands.
On Oct. 5, hundreds of dining workers walked off the job and began picketing in the early morning. The strike was the first walkout to take place at Harvard since 1983, Local 26 president Brian Lang said at the time.
In the weeks that followed, HUDS workers and supporters chanted “No justice, no food” and sang “Lean On Me” as they circled Harvard Yard and the Science Center Plaza. Students left class to join workers on the picket line, and Cambridge City Council and the Undergraduate Council endorsed the strike.
In order to continue dining operations, the University stockpiled large quantities of frozen food and relied on HUDS managers and temporary hires to serve meals to students.
Harvard and Local 26 finally reached a settlement in late October, three weeks after the strike began. The University met workers’ demands for increased wages and improved health care by agreeing to cover the increased cost of copays and pay full time dining workers a minimum annual salary of $35,000 until 2021. Union members approved the contract in a 583-1 vote.
Since the 2016 strike, food service workers at Northeastern and Tufts have cited the HUDS walkout as an inspiration for their own efforts to unionize and strike. Ahead of a nationwide strike in 2018, Marriott employees also consulted Local 26 in an effort to emulate the Harvard workers’ success.
—Staff writer Maria G. Gonzalez can be reached at email@example.com.
Harvard’s development in Boston's Allston neighborhood has brought administrators, professors, and students face-to-face with a myriad of challenges this decade, from the logistics of moving classes across the river to pushback from Allston residents.
In February 2013, University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 announced the relocation of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to North Allston in as few as five years.
The construction of the new SEAS complex has been met with challenges, including growing concerns about student schedules, transportation, and accommodating the growing number of students and faculty. Some SEAS professors have raised concerns that moving SEAS would jeopardize the interdisciplinary goals of the school. About a year in advance of the opening of the new SEAS complex, students still reported mixed feelings about the move.
Harvard has also moved forward with the construction of the Enterprise Research Campus, a facility intended to bridge the gap between Harvard-affiliated research and outside research companies. The Boston Planning and Development Agency approved a master plan for the initial 14 acres of the Enterprise Research Campus in March 2018. In November 2018, Harvard established the Harvard Allston Land Company to oversee the project.
In Nov. 2017, Harvard officials revealed plans to create a collaborative, mixed-use space for artists called the ArtLab, which opened in September 2019. Changes are also on the horizon for the American Repertory Theater, with plans to move from the Loeb Drama Center to a new home in Allston following a $100 million donation.
The Harvard-Allston Task Force, a neighborhood advisory body for Allston-related issues, has remained involved with the new construction. Residents have not shied away from raising concerns about new housing and retail developments, such as Barry’s Corner, and public access to Harvard buildings.
Besides expanding the sciences and humanities into Allston, Harvard has also invested in transportation, including straightening a portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike in conjunction with the construction of West Station, a new commuter rail stop.
Initial meetings about the turnpike project began around 2014. Since then, Harvard’s financial commitment to the project has increased significantly to around $50 million. Officials at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation released final plans for the reconstruction in early 2019, and the project is likely to begin in 2020.
—Staff writer Brie K. Buchanan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.