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Plans for Allston ArtLab Move Forward

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:52:22 +0000

Harvard discusses plans for 9,000-square-foot arts space on Allston campus Sophia Nguyen plans for allston artlab move forwardHarvard plans to build a $12.5 million, temporary “ArtLab” in Allston, near its start-up workspaces and planned sciences and engineering complex. The University first announced the project on October 16, and then formally filed an amendment to its Institutional Master Plan with the Boston Planning Development Authority. On Thursday, officials presented design details to community residents at a Harvard Allston Task Force meeting. The 9,000-square-foot building will house performance spaces and art and recording studios. The floor-plan is designed in a pinwheel shape, with a common “hub” space at the center (for exhibitions or performances) and office, workshop, and video sound spaces surrounding it.Arts and humanities dean and Burden professor of photography Robin Kelsey traces the project back to the 2008 Report of the Task Force on the Arts, which recommended that Harvard “create a Hothouse to encourage arts-related collaborative projects” across media. Open to students and faculty members from all of Harvard’s schools, the ArtLab will support a growing desire to work across the disciplinary lines, he explains. It will also fill the basic need for more space, he adds: “We're bursting at the seams, generally, when it comes to our art-making activities.”The ArtLab will sit on a parcel of some 26,000 feet, at the corner of North Harvard Street and Western Avenue. “The dream for Allston is not to turn it into an engineering and science ghetto. The idea is to have a diverse range of intellectual, social, cultural activities taking place on that campus,” says Kelsey. For the arts community, he suggests, “there is something freeing about that new geography” on the other side of the river, which lacks allegiances with any existing campus arts fiefdom.He emphasizes that the ArtLab is not intended as a performing arts complex. “It’s designed for experimental use, or research; it is not designed for final, immaculate, performances. It's a work-in-progress space.” The projects, he envisions, “will be things done with an emphasis on process, and on the open-endedness of art-making, the risk-taking that art-making entails.”Of the venture’s branding as a “Lab,” consistent with its planned proximity to Harvard’s “innovation” cluster (consisting of the iLab, the Life Lab, and the Launch Lab), Kelsey comments, “I think this is a moment to affirm that the arts have always involved their own forms of radical innovation—to respect that the intellectual content and rigor of what artists do is at the same level as what our other scholars in various fields do.”As for why the building will be temporary, Kelsey says that with plans for the Allston campus still in flux, “the idea was to have a structure that was not a monument, was not going to be built with a sense of permanence, but was going to be up for some amount of time.” Perhaps, he suggests, “this is just a more dynamic understanding of architecture than what we may be accustomed to”—though in his experience, he adds, buildings tend to stay up longer than originally planned. At the Task Force meeting, a Harvard spokesman said that the ArtLab is expected to stand for 10 to 15 years. The building’s frame has been designed to be quickly and easily dismantled, so that it can be relocated wholesale, or have its parts reused in other projects or recycled; the longer-term destiny of the site has yet to be decided. (As the official planning document puts it, “When the site is no longer available, it is intended to move the building to another site on campus for it to have a second life and purpose.”)At the meeting, Harvard representatives also emphasized the project’s benefits for the Allston community. Each year, for five years, the University will give $10,000 to Boston’s arts grants fund, and schedule three to six public programs at the ArtLab. In response, Harvard Allston Task For[...]

Harvard Corporation’s Agenda

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 23:01:45 +0000

Harvard Corporation’s Bill Lee interviewed John S. Rosenberg Harvard Corporation Bill Lee perspectivesIn a conversation this afternoon, William F. Lee, senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation, reviewed the progress of the governing board’s most pressing current priority—conducting the search for the successor to President Drew Faust, who steps down next June 30—and touching on other University matters, from research in the life sciences to the operation of the Corporation itself. Lee has assumed the responsibility for this sort of occasional communication about the board’s work since he became senior fellow in 2014 (read accounts of similar, prior briefings here and here).The Presidential SearchThe information-gathering stage. Touching on the highlights of an extensive Gazette interview on the search published earlier this week, Lee said the 15 members of the search committee have been “moving ourselves through the first stage of the process,” conducting broad outreach to the extended Harvard community through a broadcast email to 375,000 recipients (which elicited 1,500 responses); one-on-one meetings with 200 individuals; and meetings with a couple hundred more people in group settings. He singled out “very, very good faculty, student, and staff advisory committees,” and expressed gratitude both for the information they have provided, and for their chairs’ further efforts to extend the search committee’s reach. Collectively, through those efforts, “We’ve learned a lot about Harvard’s strengths and challenges,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about the characteristics and traits” that a Harvard president should have. This process will continue through year-end, Lee indicated.Toward finding candidates. Now, the search is moving into what he characterized as its second phase: focusing on identifying the right candidate for the presidency. As of this morning, he said, 694 individuals had been suggested—some of them multiple times—and the search committee has begun to go through them in a disciplined way (looking, he joked, for a Marvel comics “superhero” who could fulfill every requirement associated with the position).To date, he said, the deliberate search process had accomplished what the committee members had hoped for; now, the harder work begins.The context for the next presidency. In the Gazette interview, Lee said that the outreach and conversations conducted during the search had taught him new things about the University. Asked to amplify, he sketched three themes:First, “how different the context and landscape are from 11 years ago,” during the search that identified Faust. Higher education, he said, “is in a different place.” It has come under attack in some parts of the society, as has the validity of intellectual curiosity. Accordingly, a new president will have to be able “to articulate the case for higher education, articulate the case for research, articulate the case for fact-based intellectual inquiry.” That responsibility has always come with the Harvard presidency, he noted, but now more than ever.Second, “the desire and appetite from people associated with Harvard to make Drew’s ‘One University’ not just a slogan but implemented” is more robust than he imagined. There is strong sentiment, he said, for removing structural, cultural, and financial barriers to interdisciplinary work across the institution.Third, “the student body is very different from what it was 11 years ago.” In fact, he added, the student, faculty, and staff cohorts are all more diverse and eclectic, meaning that the University must address new needs and faces new challenges.Other themes sounded through the search—that Allston represents a major opportunity for Harvard’s future, that the University has to have the financial foundation to support its research and teaching—were already recognized, he said, and continue to be basic priorities.The leader’s traits. In the Gazette interview, Lee identified “the fundamental [...]

Poet Frank Bidart Wins the National Book Award

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 14:03:47 +0000

Frank Bidart wins the 2017 National Book Award for poetry
harvardians at national book awards 2017

Last night, the National Book Award winners were announced at a ceremony in New York City, among them the poet Frank Bidart, A.M. ’67. Per tradition, the long lists were released in September with 10 titles in each genrepoetry, nonfiction, fiction, and young adult literature—then halved a month later. This year, the National Book Foundation recognized six books by Harvard affiliates.

Bidart, A.M. ’67, won for Half-Light, which assembles a half-century’s worth of verse from over his career. In his New York Times review, Harvard Review poetry editor Major Jackson, RI ’07, wrote, "Bidart avoids the pitfalls of therapeutic poetry by ennobling thought itself. There’s something heroic in the maverick poet who shirks conventional aesthetics to make a temple of the mind…Let’s pray his poems continue to aim at the most pressing issues. We need new examples of ways to be free, to slip the constraints of art and life."

Four of Bidart's previous collections have received nominations in the past: Desire, in 1997; Star Dust in 2005; Watching the Spring Festival, his book of lyrics from 2008; and Metaphysical Dog, in 2013. Also in poetry, Shane McCrae, J.D. ’07, was a finalist for In the Language of My Captor, his third book.

In nonfiction, journalist Frances Fitzgerald ’62 was a finalist for The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, a comprehensive survey of the country’s history with evangelical politics. Her first book, Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam, won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Bancroft Prize for History in 1972. Fitzgerald’s fourth book, Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars, and the End of the Cold War, was reviewed in this magazine’s May-June 2000 issue. It was also a finalist for the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

Long-list nominees included The Color of the Law, A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein ’63, and Kevin Young’s Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News. In her review, “Believe It Or Not!,” for the November-December 2017 issue, contributor Niela Orr calls the latter “as exhaustive as its subtitle,” adding, “The revelation of this information is mixed with the disappointment of not having access to such a compendium before now.” In this magazine, Young ’92 was previously featured a 2007 interview (“Rhythms of Race,” September-October 2007) and as a member of the Dark Room Collective (profiled in “Elbow Room,” March-April 2016). His 2015 verse collection, Blue Laws, also made the National Book  Award long list.

In fiction, Charmaine Craig ’93 was named to the long list for Miss Burma, her second novel, based on the lives of her mother and grandparents.

The Four Chaplains Are Honored in Memorial Church

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 22:00:51 +0000

The Four Chaplains are honored at Harvard Jean Martin four chaplains plaqueFrom 1942 to 1944, Harvard served as home for the U.S. Army’s Chaplain School, where a five-week program during the height of World War II graduated 20 consecutive classes of “sky pilots”—6,449 in all: priests, ministers, and rabbis representing the three faiths then recognized by the American military. Their training included long marches, defense against chemical warfare, military law, first aid, military sanitation, and graves registration. Men of different denominations were intentionally bunked together, to promote tolerance and understanding.The Reverend George L. Fox, Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, the Reverend Clark V. Poling, and Father John P. Washington were classmates during one of the school’s first-year sessions in Cambridge. They were reunited in January 1943 in New York City, assigned to sail for Europe on the SS Dorchester, a troop ship carrying almost a thousand men. On February 3, not long after midnight, a torpedo struck; the ship’s electrical system was destroyed, frigid water poured in, and the vessel sank within 27 minutes. During that scant half hour, the four chaplains worked in the darkness to organize an orderly evacuation of those trapped below deck, to get men into lifeboats, and to distribute life jackets. When the supply ran out, they gave away their own. Survivors reported seeing the four of them, arms linked, braced against the ship’s railing, singing hymns and reciting prayers as the Dorchester went down. This past Saturday, November 11, three-quarters of a century later, the University and the Harvard Veterans Alumni Organization honored the chaplains’ actions, and the service and sacrifice of all Harvard veterans, during the annual Veterans Day service in Memorial Church—itself dedicated 85 years ago to honor Harvard’s World War I dead. Army colonel Everett Spain, D.B.A. ’14, an HVAO director, took charge of telling the veterans, ROTC candidates, active-duty service members, and civilians assembled in the pews about the lives and death of the four men who “passed life’s ultimate test.”Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps, delivered the keynote address. “Military service,” for many people, may not evoke ministry, but Resnicoff spoke of how chaplains help strengthen the interfaith values that in turn strengthen the services and those within them. In many ways, he added, chaplains also bridge the gap between the civilian and military worlds—a role of special importance today, in a country where so few citizens have direct ties to those in the armed forces.Because the chaplains’ actions did not occur during “combat with the enemy,” they were ineligible for the Medal of Honor, which many felt they deserved. On July 14, 1960, an Act of Congress approved the Four Chaplains Medal, awarded for extraordinary heroism. Only four were struck; these were presented in 1961 to the chaplains’ next of kin.Photograph by Lydia Carmichael/Harvard MagazineAs one of three chaplains on duty when 241 men died in the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, the rabbi was himself later honored, with his Catholic and Protestant colleagues, by the Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation. His presence lent further solemnity to the dedication of a plaque, newly affixed to the north wall of the sanctuary, memorializing his four predecessors. The tablet joins others installed there within the past decade under the auspices of the HVAO, including a tribute to the University’s Medal of Honor recipients. President Drew Faust, a veteran’s daughter, attended the service, and HVAO’s founder, Tom Reardon ’68, thanked her warmly for welcoming the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps back to campus in 2011 and for her support of service members and veterans enrolled at the University. His remarks also announced a further step to continue links between Harvard and [...]

Priscilla Chan Grants $12 Million for Public Service

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 16:30:02 +0000

Chan Zuckerberg grant for Harvard public service John S. Rosenberg Chan Zuckerberg harvard grantWhen last seen on campus, during her tenth reunion, pediatrician Priscilla Chan ’07, poncho-clad, was applauding her husband, Mark Zuckerberg ’06, LL.D.’17, Facebook’s co-founder and CEO, as he finally got his Harvard degree and delivered the address at the Commencement afternoon exercises last May. Today, the University announced that their eponymous Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) has made a $12.1-million, 15-year grant in support of Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA), with which she was associated as an undergraduate involved in an after-school program in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, serving the Franklin Hill and Franklin Field public-housing projects. (She visited members of the Franklin Hill community yesterday, as shown in the photograph above.) [Corrected November 13, 2017, 2:15 p.m. The CZI grant was directed to the Phillips Brooks House Center for Public Service & Engaged Scholarship, the College’s office for supporting public-service activities, including the student-run PBHA. The Mindich gift, described below, also went to the center.]The grant, according to the University announcement, will be used in part to enable lower-income students to pursue summer public-service activities by fully covering the summer-earnings contribution required in financial-aid packages. Chan received support from PBHA’s Stride program when she was at the College.In the announcement, Chan said:The opportunity to work with the kids of Franklin Hill inspired me to pursue a career dedicated to serving children and families as a pediatrician and educator. As a student on financial aid, it was Harvard’s Stride program that made it financially feasible for me to choose service over traditional work-study. It’s my hope this gift will give many more students the ability to choose service that will inspire their passion and build their skills as the next generation of public service leaders.President Drew Faust said:This generous gift will provide opportunities for even more of Harvard’s remarkable and committed undergraduates to follow Priscilla’s example of community service while at the College. We are grateful to Priscilla, Mark, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for their help and partnership in creating pathways to pursue a lifetime of public service for our students regardless of their backgrounds or personal resources.The grant will also help fund the Stride program for year-round public-service support, and three postgraduate fellowships.Beyond this welcome personal philanthropy, the larger question for Harvard is whether the couple’s initiative, to which the bulk of their multibillion-dollar fortune is dedicated, will in the future provide significant research funding for Boston-area biomedical research, along the lines of the San Francisco Bay-area “Biohub” (involving Berkeley, Stanford, and the University of California, San Francisco, and backed to the initial tune of $600 million), or, as part of its education initiative, support research at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Princeton president emerita Shirley Tilghman, LL.D. ’04, who has led an assessment of Harvard’s life-sciences and biomedical capabilities and opportunities and is now a member of the Harvard Corporation, is a scientific adviser to CZI.The Harvard Campaign has been rewarding for PBHA. Among announced support, this latest benefaction joins an earlier, $15-million gift from former hedge-fund manager Eric M. Mindich ’88 and Stacey Mindich, which is underwriting public-service-oriented experiential learning within the curriculum and summer stipends for undergraduates pursuing service activities.Read the University announcement here.[...]

Football 2017: Harvard 6, Penn 23

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 00:58:54 +0000

Crimson Football 2017: Harvard 6, Penn 23 Dick Friedman football 2017 harvard pennOn Saturday at Harvard Stadium, it was a blustery 29 degrees at kickoff. The frigidity of the weather would be matched by that of the Harvard offense. Held to two field goals by an intelligent, hard-hitting Penn defense, the Crimson succumbed 23-6. The result gave both teams records of 5-4 overall and 3-3 in Ivy League play. When Yale, which has one Ivy loss, beat Princeton (see “Weekend Roundup,” below), Harvard and Penn were eliminated from the title race.The defeat made this the first year since 2000 that Harvard will have fewer than seven victories. Saturday also marked the first time the Crimson did not score a touchdown since September 19, 1998, when it was shut out at Columbia 24-0. Moreover, Harvard had not been held to single digits in a game since November 14, 2009, when it lost 17-7 to Penn.Harvard FootballSign up for Harvard Magazine’s football e-mail and follow the Crimson all season long! Dick Friedman will provide the latest news, game summaries, and insights.Crimson coach Tim Murphy lauded the Quakers, who bottled up Harvard’s running game, limiting the Crimson to 161 exceedingly hard-earned yards, and blanketed the Harvard receivers. Penn provided “a very narrow window [in which] to throw the ball,” said Murphy; time after time this canny strategy resulted in Harvard’s quarterback (senior Joe Viviano for three quarters, freshman Jake Smith in the last) either tossing the ball away or scrambling for a few yards. “We never really had any great momentum offensively,” Murphy said. For all that, the Crimson had its chances. “But we did not capitalize on our opportunities,” the Harvard coach summed up.The Quakers did—right from the get-go. On the game’s first play from scrimmage, running back Tre Solomon swept right, cut upfield and, sprinting past his team’s sideline, ran 77 yards for a touchdown. Jack Soslow added the extra point. With 17 seconds gone, it was Penn 7, Harvard 0. That was the bad news. The good? There were 59 minutes and 43 seconds in which to respond.Early in the second period the Crimson did just that. Junior defensive back Cole Thompson picked off a pass from Quakers quarterback Will Fischer-Colbrie at the Harvard 46. (It was Thompson’s second interception in as many weeks.) Viviano completed two passes to senior tight end Jack Stansell; then freshman Aaron Shampklin slashed 15 yards to the Penn 19. The Crimson got another first down when Viviano gained nine and junior halfback Charlie Booker III got the needed yard. But from there the Crimson could not push the ball over the goal. On fourth down sophomore Jake McIntyre came in and booted a 24-yard field goal. Penn 7, Harvard 3.Fischer-Colbrie coolly responded. He led the Quakers from their 16 on a 12-play, six-and-a-half-minute march—kind of a statement drive—that mixed power running and two clutch passes to tight end Nicholas Bokun. At the Crimson five, the defense stiffened. Soslow matched McIntyre’s field goal with a 22-yarder of his own. Penn 10, Harvard 3. After the Crimson went three-and-out, Penn almost got more points, reaching the Harvard 21 before senior defensive back Tanner Lee picked off a pass to end the half. At that point, the Crimson was fortunate to be in it. Harvard had been outgained 255 yards to 82. (Of course, 77 yards of Penn’s total came on one play.) When the second half began, Viviano came out firing, hitting senior tight end Ryan Antonellis for 20 yards and junior wideout Henry Taylor for 18. Rushes by Shampklin and Viviano brought the ball down to the Penn nine.Then came the sequence that perhaps defined the game. Senior offensive lineman Dan Laden was called for a false-start penalty. On the next play, Viviano dropped back and pump-faked; however, in this case, he who pump-faked was lost. Viviano threw to the right, and Penn defensive back Conor [...]

The Fractured Faculty

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 17:31:34 +0000

Harvard final clubs debate divided faculty John S. Rosenberg Harvard final clubs and faculty governance challengesFollowing the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) meeting on November 7—and a vote that rejected a motion opposing the College’s regulation of final clubs, fraternities, and sororities—the Harvard Crimson headlined “Sanctions Vote a Sigh of Relief for Administrators” and “In Victory for Administrators, Anti-Sanctions Faculty Motion Fails.”In a very real sense, those headlines ring true. A faculty endorsement of the motion would in effect have thrown out the effort, begun in May 2016 and led by Harvard College dean Rakesh Khurana, to impose sanctions on students who join unrecognized single gender social organizations (USGSOs)—as a means of pressuring those organizations to change their membership practices and cultures, or to prohibit membership outright—as a way of attempting to close them down.In other ways, however, many of the hardest substantive and procedural issues surrounding the USGSOs remain unresolved.And the sharp faculty debate over the sanctions or prohibition reveals other serious issues, pertaining to FAS governance and the culture of contemporary Harvard, that have barely been addressed. Figuring out how to make these challenges a priority, and pursuing the hard work of coming to terms with them, may be as consequential for the faculty’s future as the reform of the Harvard Corporation, unveiled in late 2010, was intended to be for the University as a whole.The Final Clubs and Related OrganizationsWhat, now, is to be done about the final clubs—the particular object of Khurana’s attention?The final report by the committee on USGSOs that he co-chaired recommended not one course of action, but three:sanctioning students who join, by denying them the possibility of holding a leadership position in a recognized student organization or club or sports team, and withholding the College’s required endorsement for fellowships such as the Rhodes and Marshall;prohibiting membership in such organizations outright; orsome other strategy, perhaps focused on moral suasion meant to cast the gender-exclusive clubs and organizations in broad disfavor.The committee report suggested that this decision rests in President Drew Faust’s hands. Faculty opponents of the sanctions or of prohibition, who emphasized students’ right of legal free association, also strongly insist that the decision belongs to the faculty.So the what and the who remain somewhat up in the air.Also unresolved is how to enforce any regulatory or sanctions measure. In their November 7 presentations, Khurana and dean of freshmen Thomas Dingman both suggested that attempting to make USGSOs into recognized organizations (which would have to be nondiscriminatory and open in their membership processes, and locally governed) would be costly in terms of personnel and resources.But subjecting student members, or would-be members, of unreformed USGSOs to sanction or removal from the College would seem subject to some of the same challenges. Membership is not a public matter, so students will presumably have to affirm that they are not members, and then be subject to some investigatory process to determine whether they are telling the truth. It is perhaps worth noting that since the academic misconduct that shook the College in the 2012-2013 academic year, an honor code and an enforcing board have been put in place—but the College experienced another large-scale academic-misconduct investigation (and round of punishments) last year, in another large-enrollment course.Speculation has already begun about how USGSOs could attempt to subvert the regulations. A group of undergraduate women and recent graduates who support sororities and therefore oppose the proposed College policies have pointed out that final clubs might, for instance, become “alumni” o[...]

A New Cast for the Semitic Museum

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 18:05:58 +0000

A New Cast for the Harvard Semitic Museum Sophia Nguyen harvard semitic museum new dream stela“Fun with goo!” chirped Peter Der Manuelian, director of the Harvard Semitic Museum, observing the activity in its third-floor gallery. Kneeling on the floor, three student volunteers in protective coats and blue latex gloves smeared a grainy, salmon-colored paste over a rubbery template shaped like a tombstone. Theirs was the first shift of a museum project undertaken over three days in late October: casting a replica of the Dream Stele, an ancient Egyptian artifact dating back to about 1400 B.C.E. They moved quickly to distribute the resin with just the right unevenness over the blue silicone mold. The project is part of Manuelian’s efforts to revitalize the Semitic Museum to appeal to a twenty-first-century audience. The building dates back to 1903, a time when museums bought plaster casts of ancient objects to teach students and visitors about Near Eastern archaeology and culture. Over time, better-resourced institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Louvre got rid of their replicas and acquired original reliefs and sculptures. Harvard bought up many of those copies, including one lot containing 150 Mesopotamian palace reliefs. Today, though, the casts are too heavy, and flake too easily, to go on display. They live in the fourth-floor attic and in off-site storage, swaddled in protective foam.Assistant curator Adam Aja came up a way to make copies of these copies: cleaning up the old casts, painting them with silicone, and then pouring a resin into the resulting molds. The replicas “capture all of the details,” enthuses Manuelian. “Everything is there, plus they're lightweight—and once you have a mold, you can make a ton of ’em.” And, he adds, “It's a pretty cool way of bringing back to life the kind of thing that ISIS is smashing and destroying. They break ’em, we make ’em.” In 2015, using Aja’s method and the efforts of students in the General Education course “Ancient Lives,” the museum made resin copies of some of those Mesopotamian reliefs. These will be hung around the perimeter of the third floor, itself in the midst of refurbishment. Recently, it’s gotten a new floor of polished concrete (protected by cardboard during the fun with goo); samples of possible paint colors—both gray—leaned against the walls. “One day,” says the museum director, “this will be a combination of Mesopotamian gallery and an event space. We’ll do weddings—we’ll do whatever!” Manuelian is also King professor of Egyptology and founding director of the Giza Archives, and when he learned that the University of Leuven, in Belgium, was planning to restore its plaster cast of the Dream Stele, he proposed that they try Aja’s new technique. Last August, Aja went to Belgium and, after helping the Egyptologists there fix the damage to the plaster, made a mold and shipped it back to Cambridge. Then the assistant curator got to tinkering with different color shades to get just the right hue for the replica.Supervising the students’ work, Aja instructed, “Don’t forget to paint it right up the sides. It’s going to drip and drain a bit.” He whipped up another batch of resin, adding pink powder a bit at a time, saying, “It can go bad fast.” Even with mica and aggregate mixed in, that main color alone would look unconvincingly flat, so the students left the base layer deliberately patchy to let other pigments—a white layer, then a black one—show through, lending depth and texture. “It’s okay if it clumps,” Aja told later shifts, paintbrush in hand. “We’re trying to create the illusion of an organic —well,” he corrected, “not organic, but volcanic—you’re creating this flow, this movement of color.”Once it hardened,[...]

Final Clubs: Toward a Vote

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 01:52:54 +0000

Harvard final clubs vote John S. Rosenberg Harvard final clubs voteThis afternoon, at its second meeting of the semester, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) continued the protracted debate over unrecognized single-gender social organizations (USGSOs)—namely, proposals by Harvard College to regulate final clubs (and by extension, fraternities and sororities) by imposing sanctions on student members, or by prohibiting membership outright (read the background here—including a summary of past plans to regulate student behavior and of the legislative proposals summarized below).In this latest iteration, the faculty voted down a motion that would have proscribed sanctions or a blanket prohibition on student membership in such organizations (see the description of the motion below). The vote was 130 against, 90 in favor (by FAS standards, a robust turnout among the more than 700 eligible voting members of the faculty Corrected November 8, 2017, at 10:25 a.m.: There are 882 voting members of the faculty)—by secret, paper ballot, a measure FAS resorts to only rarely.From here, the major substantive and procedural issues remain:what kinds of measures will actually be adopted to change or curtail the USGSOs; andby whom—the president, the dean of FAS, or a vote of the faculty itself.The State of PlayHeading into this afternoon’s discussion, this is how matters stood:•Sanctions. Current freshmen are, on paper, sanctioned if they join a USGSO: they may not serve in leadership positions in recognized student clubs or groups, nor receive the required Harvard College endorsements for fellowships like the Rhodes or Marshall Scholarship. In practice, enforcement of this new regulation is currently suspended, pending FAS legislative debates and a final decision on the new policy that would, prospectively, prohibit students entering the College in the future, outright, from belonging to such an organization.•Lewis motion. Gordon McKay professor of computer science Harry Lewis had a motion on the floor to the effect that, as the agenda summarizes it, the College “shall not discipline, penalize, or otherwise sanction students for joining, or affiliating with, any lawful organization, political party, or social, political, or other affinity group.” It aims at upholding the right of association, and also asserting that the authority for establishing the conditions of student life belong to the faculty—two themes he and supporters of this and a prior motion have emphasized since the final club discussions began in the spring of 2016. Having been introduced at the October 3 faculty meeting, this motion was eligible to be voted upon today.•Allen motion. Conant University Professor Danielle Allen proposed a separate regulatory regime: all student organizations would be brought under Massachusetts law; membership in those that fail to comply would result in expulsion of the student. Although the Faculty Council originally voted 17-0 in favor of the proposal, on subsequent discussion, some uncertainties apparently arose; FAS dean Michael D. Smith indicated to The Harvard Crimson that he was not sure legally how to proceed under the proposal; and Allen announced on October 25 that she had withdrawn her motion, noting that “During the course of Faculty Council deliberations on October 25, I concluded that the view of process that I was trying to lay out was too technical and its interaction with the paradigm change I describe here too subtle to serve well as the basis for debate in our faculty meeting on November 7. Consequently, I have withdrawn my motion, and will instead simply support David Howell’s motion affirming, as a matter of principle, that the Faculty and the University have the responsibility of balancing competing rights and freedoms in such ways as best fulfill our educational mis[...]


Tue, 07 Nov 2017 14:09:42 +0000

Harvard basketball teams preview David L. Tannenwald Harvard basketball previewLast March, Lavietes Pavilion, the home of Harvard basketball, took on an unusual feel. Coaches in sports jackets gave way to construction workers in neon vests, whose boots marked the hardwood where sneakers usually squeaked. The tabletop machine used to operate the electronic scoreboard sat idly on the floor. The baskets were wheeled away amid the work—begun the previous summer and mostly paused during the 2016-2017 season—to gut the 91-year-old building.During the next six months, the basketball teams held court where they could: the Business School’s gym, Malkin Athletic Center, even the undersized court at the Law School’s Hemenway Gymnasium. Meanwhile, the coaches moved their offices to trailers, where they squeezed into cramped quarters.By October, just a few days before Crimson Madness, the kickoff event for the men’s team’s season, the teams returned to Lavietes, now replete with a video board, revamped and expanded locker rooms, new coaches’ offices, and a new floor. The teams felt energized. Said sophomore Jeannie Boehm, “There’s definitely a sense of, we have all this stuff, and we need to live up to it and play up to it.”  The opportunity to do so begins Friday. The men start their season by hosting MIT, and the women tip off against Dayton at a tournament in Maine. The question is whether the team-rebuilding projects will prove as successful as the arena renovation. The men last won an Ivy title in 2015; the women have not won one since 2008.The Post-Chambers EraJust before he and his team vacated the arena last spring, Stemberg men’s basketball coach Tommy Amaker reflected on the season. He was upbeat, even though the Crimson—which had gone 18-10 overall and 10-4 in Ivy play—had its season cut short by a 73-71 loss to Yale in the Ivy League tournament semifinals. “We feel like we’re in a place,” he said, “where there’s an amazing amount of forward thinking and optimism and belief that good days are still ahead of us and in some ways, maybe even our best days.”Among the reasons to be bullish: the team would return seven sophomores, who had formed the nation’s tenth-rated recruiting class in 2016. Four of those players became regular starters for the Crimson as freshmen, and two—Bryce Aiken and Seth Towns—led the team in scoring, averaging 14.5 and 12.3 points per game, respectively.Amaker’s optimism also stemmed from how the Crimson had fallen short. Harvard suffered all of its Ivy losses by four or fewer points. He anticipated that this could teach his young players the “fine line” that separates good teams from champions. He also hoped that the postseason loss to Yale would be motivating, much like the Crimson’s buzzer-beater loss to Princeton in the 2011 Ivy League playoff helped to propel Harvard to a title the following season. Looking at any team’s growth over the years, “You can find those moments when their hearts were broken,” Amaker said.But this year’s team will have to adjust to the graduation of point guard Siyani Chambers ’16 (’17), a four-time All-Ivy selection and two-time captain who led the Crimson to three NCAA tournament appearances and to the only two March Madness wins in program history. “It seems like Siyani’s been here forever,” Amaker said last spring. “I wish he could be.”Point guard Bryce Aiken will have to fill that void. He was Ivy League Rookie of the Year last season—and the only male player in conference history other than Chambers to be named first-team all-conference as a freshman. In his debut season, Aiken excelled as a scorer, often crossing over defenders to get to the basket and using creative dribbling on the perimeter to free his jump shot. During the Ivy tour[...]

Endowments: The Specter of Taxation

Mon, 06 Nov 2017 12:05:58 +0000

Taxing university endowments John S. Rosenberg Taxing university endowmentsAfter a year in which President Drew Faust and fellow university leaders successfully persuaded members of Congress to sustain federal funding for scientific research—in opposition to the Trump administration’s budget outline—they now find the tax proposal advanced last week by the Republican leaders of the House of Representatives aiming for the first time at private institutions’ endowments. Though the sums involved may not be large initially, the proposal, if enacted, would set the precedent for taxing endowments more heavily.Combined with other measures in the draft legislation, the tax proposals seem likely to have the effect of paying for overall reductions in the corporate rate and certain individual taxes in part by raising the cost of pursuing higher education and conducting academic research generally. The most useful summary, compiled by Inside Higher Ed, notes that the tax proposals would:end deductions for interest on student loans—of immediate consequence for the overwhelming majority of students who do not attend institutions that can afford need-blind admissions and extend aid for students’ full financial need;restructure the American Opportunity Tax Credit, eliminating benefits for students who take more than five years to graduate, and for part-time and graduate students, and repeal the Lifetime Learning Credit, used by graduate students and workers pursuing education to retrain themselves;eliminate a provision of the tax code that many institutions use to waive the cost of tuition for graduate students who fill teaching positions; andend a provision that allows employees of nonprofits to exclude from taxable income undergraduate tuition reductions they or dependents receive from their own or reciprocal institutions—a popular benefit for faculty and staff members at many schools. (Similarly, a benefit that many employers confer, to cover educational costs for their workers, would also be eliminated.)It may also be the case that changes in corporate taxation would eliminate the tax-exempt status of several kinds of special-purpose bonds, raising the costs to borrow funds to build certain new university facilities.More generally, of course, the move to encourage standard, rather than itemized, deductions on individuals’ tax returns might make the benefits of charitable giving less visible, or attractive, to prospective donors. In fiscal year 2017, Harvard recorded $450 million in current-use gifts (9 percent of operating revenue), and $550 million in endowment gifts—largess from the current capital campaign, and obviously important sources of cash for immediate expenses and future commitments.But these pale in comparison to income distributed from the endowment to support the academic enterprise: $1.8 billion, or 36 percent of Harvard’s revenue for the fiscal year. It is no surprise that Republican authors of the tax bill would seek any possible sources to offset the multi-trillion-dollar losses of federal revenue accompanying their proposed tax cuts (they seek to contain the net 10-year cost to $1.5 trillion). Nor should it be a surprise that they would focus on university endowments: Senator Charles Grassley (Iowa) has long sought to mandate a minimum annual distribution, and Representative Tom Reed (New York) has more recently sought to mandate that 25 percent of endowment income be spent on financial aid. That the authors of the current tax proposal would target private institutions more or less follows:that is where the endowments are; andas recently reported, a majority of Republican and Republican-leaning voters now tell pollsters that they think colleges and universities damage the country.Over time, however, a policy of ta[...]

Football 2017: Harvard 21, Columbia 14

Sun, 05 Nov 2017 20:04:04 +0000

Crimson Football 2017: Harvard 21, Columbia 14 Dick Friedman football 2017 harvard columbia“Stay ready!” Those are a coach’s instructions to all his reserves. Because two (at least) of Harvard’s subs heeded that admonition, last Saturday the Crimson escaped from New York City’s Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium with a nailbiting 21-14 victory over Columbia. The triumph gave Harvard a 5-3 overall record in 2017, and a 3-2 mark in Ivy League play, making them part of a four-team, second-place logjam that now also includes Columbia. (There is a chance that the season could end with a seven-way tie for the title; see “Practical Math,” below.) The Lions, who dropped their second straight, stand at 6-2 overall. (Meantime, Princeton, which looked like it was ready to move up to the NFL when it massacred the Crimson 52-17 two weeks ago, has since lost two straight. Go figure.) The victory was Crimson coach Tim Murphy’s two hundredth in a 31-year career that includes previous stints at Maine and Cincinnati.Harvard FootballSign up for Harvard Magazine’s football e-mail and follow the Crimson all season long! Dick Friedman will provide the latest news, game summaries, and insights.One Harvard reserve who stayed ready was quarterback Joe Viviano. Demoted earlier in the season in favor of freshman Jake Smith, the fifth-year senior came out of the bullpen in the second period with the Crimson trailing 7-0 after Smith had thrown four interceptions. In his relief role, Viviano guided Harvard to three touchdowns. Another ready reserve was Joey Goodman, a sophomore linebacker who, with the Lions driving for a tying touchdown, broke up two last-ditch passes to preserve the win.Smith had displayed amazing aplomb for a freshman since taking over for Viviano in the season’s second game, against Brown. But it was evident early that this was not his day. On Harvard’s opening drive he moved the ball smartly to the Columbia 32—then fired a pass into the left flat that was picked off by the Lions’ Michael Murphy, who took it back all the way to the Crimson 25. Four plays later Columbia was in the end zone on a one-yard flip from backup quarterback Josh Bean to Kyle Castner. Oren Milstein kicked the extra point. Columbia 7, Harvard 0.In the first quarter Smith threw two more interceptions, but amazingly, neither cost the Crimson. After pick number three, the Lions drove to the Harvard 15. But a sack by junior defensive lineman Richie Ryan on Columbia quarterback Anders Hill forced a Milstein field-goal attempt to begin the second period. The kick was good—but negated by a Lions holding penalty. Milstein tried again—but the snap was high and he never got the kick off. Bullet dodged.In the middle of the period Smith was picked off again, by Columbia’s Ryan Gilbert at the Lions 47. The Harvard defense, led by a pair of seniors, lineman Stone Hart and back Tim Haehl, made a crucial stop on Columbia back Chris Schroer on fourth-and-one to turn the ball over at the Crimson 34. But Jake Smith’s day was done. In trotted Viviano. By all accounts, he had taken his demotion with class and grace. On his second series, he threw deep to the left to junior wideout Henry Taylor. With the Lions defensive back underplaying the ball, Taylor snagged it and ran all the way to the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown. Alas, sophomore Jake McIntyre’s extra-point attempt was blocked. Columbia 7, Harvard 6.Now it was the Lions’ turn to suffer the interception heebie-jeebies. Rushed by Ryan, Hill tossed a pass that was picked off by junior defensive back Cole Thompson, who returned it to the Lions’ 27.  Only a minute and 14 seconds remained in the half. Power running by junior back Charlie Booker III helped move th[...]

A Transformative Gift of Dutch Drawings

Sat, 04 Nov 2017 19:04:47 +0000

A Transformative Gift of Dutch Drawings Marina N. Bolotnikova art museums abrams rembrandtThe Harvard Art Museums have received 330 seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish master drawings—according to the museum, the finest private collection of such images anywhere—from George Abrams ’54, J.D. ’57. His gift includes work by more than 100 artists, including Rembrandt and de Gheyn, as well as lesser known names, and will distinguish Harvard and the Boston area as a top site for the study of Dutch art outside Europe.Almost exactly 25 years ago, the Fogg Art Museum presented an exhibition of Dutch master drawings from the collection of Abrams and his late wife, Maida Abrams (featured in a 1992 cover story in this magazine); in 1999, it received a gift of 110 drawings from Abrams. The new gift includes most of the remaining pieces in the collection. Abrams, a corporate lawyer who spent his career in Boston, fell in love with Dutch art as a law student, during summer trips to Holland in 1955 and 1956, and he and his wife began collecting in the 1960s, when such small works were relatively cheap. The couple was drawn to them, in part, because they conveyed closeness to the artists. Abrams noted in 1992 that “Dutch art, in particular drawings and paintings, tells us an enormous amount about what life was like, in part because the Dutch loved to depict everyday things.”The Abrams collection is particularly strong in genre drawings (representations of scenes from everyday life among both the upper and lower classes); studies of nature; and work by Rembrandt and his followers. It augments the Harvard Art Museums’ existing collection of 24,000 European and American drawings, including notable holdings from France and the Italian Renaissance.“The Harvard Art Museums’ support of original scholarship and their dedication to training tomorrow’s leaders in the field have long been important to me and my late wife, Maida,” Abrams said in a press release. “As a result, I am delighted that our collection will now be housed at the museums and available to a range of audiences. With leadership from director Martha Tedeschi, who deeply understands the importance of works on paper, the museums now stand to have the leading Dutch drawings collection in the United States.”   “The latest gift from the Abrams family is truly transformative for our museums—indeed, for the entire Boston area, especially as the city strives to become a major destination for the study and presentation of Dutch, Flemish, and Netherlandish art,” said Tedeschi, Cabot director of the Harvard Art Museums. “Together with the newly founded Center for Netherlandish Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, we now can pursue institutional collaborations that will serve visitors and scholars from around the world,” she added, referring to the gift last month of more than 100 Dutch Golden Age paintings to the Museum of Fine Arts.A daylong symposium was held Saturday in Abrams’s honor; in an earlier ceremony, he was named by the Kingdom of the Netherlands a Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau for his contributions to the study of Dutch art. A related exhibition, The Art of Drawing in the Dutch Golden Age, includes pieces from the collection and is on display at the museums through January 14. [...]

“Debate and Doubt”

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 14:22:53 +0000

Harvard Law 200th in divisive era Lincoln Caplan Harvard Law 200th divided Supreme CourtAt the kick-off of Harvard Law School’s bicentennial celebration last week, Dean John F. Manning took the stage in Sanders Theatre and, in reverse order of their classes at the school, introduced a retired justice and four sitting justices of the Supreme Court: Neil M. Gorsuch, J.D. ’91; Elena Kagan, J.D. ’86; David H. Souter, retired, ’61, L.L.B. ’66, LL.D. 2010; Stephen G. Breyer, LL.B. ’64; and Anthony M. Kennedy, LL.B. ’61. He saved for last John G. Roberts Jr. ’76 and J.D. ’79, chief justice of the United States.Manning observed that “it’s very easy to take for granted just how exceptional” HLS is, so he shared some facts about the institution that were startling even after he said they would be: of the nation’s 84 attorneys general since 1789, roughly one out of every eight went to HLS; of the 48 solicitors general since 1870, one out of every seven have been alums; and of the 113 justices since 1789, about one in five, or 21, attended the school. Through the appointment of Robert H. Jackson in 1941, more than half of the nation’s justices didn’t go to law school or didn’t graduate from one. Of the 49 justices who graduated from law school, 19 earned HLS degrees: better than one in three. Leading the list are the great justices Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., A.B. 1861, LL.B. ’66, LL.D. ’95, and Louis D. Brandeis, LL.B. 1877, among the most influential in American history.The dean introduced each justice with the swelling enthusiasm of a sports announcer, to emphatic, cheerful applause. It was not clear which tradition of Sanders the gathering of the justices would follow: campy events, like the commencement address of Kermit the Frog in 1982 (“As you set sail on the great vacation of life, think of Harvard as your travel agent.”); or solemn ones, like the special 2008 ceremony for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, eight months before he died of brain cancer, where President Drew Faust conferred an honorary degree. It turned out to be both, about Harvard Law School and, perhaps more importantly, about the Court.The Court and the Partisan DivideIn the month before the celebration in Cambridge, accounts by respected longtime reporters at the Court drew wide attention among Court-watchers. In a CNN piece called “Gorsuch v. Roberts: The rookie takes on the chief,” the network’s legal analyst Joan Biskupic wrote, “Gorsuch, who was confirmed last spring and this week began his first full term, has shaken relations at the high court with actions that show—depending on one's view—a degree of arrogance or independence. Whether personal tensions will ease is an open question. But the larger, more consequential, query is whether the new justice, who has staked out the far right of the bench, will push other conservatives to the left.” In an appearance on the relatively new, already influential podcast “First Mondays,” NPR’s legal correspondent Nina Totenberg said that Gorsuch “ticks off some members of the Court—and I don’t think it’s just the liberals.” She went on, “My surmise, from what I’m hearing, is that Justice Kagan really has taken him on in conference. And that it’s a pretty tough battle and it’s going to get tougher.”In Slate, the legal writer Mark Joseph Stern commented: “Why is Totenberg’s reporting here so extraordinary? Because it’s astonishing that any reporter would hear details from conference, let alone score some genuinely juicy scuttlebutt. Conference is famously sacrosanct: It’s where the justices gather to cast their votes in the cases of the week, with each explaining his or her r[...]

Community Voices Rise in Harvard Square's Redesign

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 20:44:17 +0000

Community Voices Rise in Harvard Square’s Redesign Oset Babür harvard-square-redesign-update“There have been many watershed moments in the history of Harvard Square,” says Caroline James, M.Arch ’14. “Right now, with so many spaces in play, is absolutely one of those moments,” says James, one of the leading voices in the debate about what will happen to the Square.The Dow and Stearns Family Trust’s recent decision to sell its holdings on Brattle Street, along with a number of business closures, have contributed to an increasingly complex conversation about the Square’s future. One focal point of that conversation has been the controversy over the historic Out of Town News kiosk, the iconic newsstand outside the MBTA Red Line station. The city of Cambridge commissioned the Galante Architecture Studio to do a major redesign of the building, and the resulting proposal replaced the brick exterior with LED lighting and screens, turning the building into a tourist information booth. Those plans were rejected following community backlash in March, though the fate of the kiosk and the plaza surrounding it still hangs in the balance. Our Harvard Square (OHSQ), an organization that bills itself as a “group of stakeholders working towards design excellent for Harvard Square and ensuring an open, diverse and equitable design process,” has paid special attention to the fate of Out of Town News. Partially due to its efforts to rally public support for the kiosk’s preservation (and reject Galante's proposal), the Cambridge Historical Commission (CHC) voted unanimously to recommend that the city designate the building as a historical landmark, promoting the building from its current spot on the National Register of Historic Places. To increase community engagement with the plaza's redesign process, OHSQ has been sourcing design proposals from within the community by holding idea incubators. These sessions are open to architects, planners, Cambridge residents, and anyone else with an interest in contributing an afternoon to reimagining this public space. “We need to trust the intuition of the people who actually use the plaza space and involve them in the process,” says Michael Haggerty, MUP ’06, M.Arch ’17. “It is urban, it is full of users and activity. We need to ask, ‘What are the people who are using the Square doing, and what would they like to see?’” One likely controversial proposal includes closing Harvard Square to traffic to better accommodate pedestrians and bring more foot traffic to local businesses, while another suggests turning the plaza into a space with more seating. On November 4, the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association (HSNA, of which Our Harvard Square is a part) plans to share these design proposals with the city in preparation for a November 6 meeting to evaluate submissions. Suzanne Blier, Clowes chair of fine arts and of African and African American Studies, and a founder of the HSNA, was part of a meeting earlier in October with Regency Centers Corporation, the real estate investment trust that is leading the “Collection at Harvard Square” project, a pedestrian mall that would affect the flatiron-style wedge of buildings on the corner of J.F.K and Brattle Street, namely the Brattle, Abbott, and Corcoran Buildings. In a whitepaper Blier shared with Harvard Magazine after the meeting, the HSNA underscores that it remains “extremely concerned about the long-term survival of Harvard Square’s unique brand and diverse retail ecosystem, which is increasingly threatened by the concentration of property ownership, rising rents, and related displacement by national retailers t[...]

From the Archives: The Secrets of Haiti’s Living Dead

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 20:11:41 +0000

The Secrets of Haiti’s Living Dead A Harvard botanist investigates mystic potions, voodoo rites, and the making of zombies. Gino Del Guercio are-zombies-realMore than 30 years ago, anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wade Davis ’75, Ph.D. ’86, then a graduate student, went to Haiti at the recommendation of his mentor, Jeffrey professor of biology Richard Evans Schultes, to investigate a possible scientific explanation for the alleged existence of zombies. The January-February 1986 cover story about Davis’s findings, by Gino Del Guercio, prompted Yalie Garry Trudeau to create a zombie storyline for Doonesbury character “Uncle” Duke shortly thereafter, and remains one of the magazine’s most frequently requested articles.~The Editors Five years ago, a man walked into l’Estere, a village in central Haiti, approached a peasant woman named Angelina Narcisse, and identified himself as her brother Clairvius. If he had not introduced himself using a boyhood nickname and mentioned facts only intimate family members knew, she would not have believed him. Because, eighteen years earlier, Angelina had stood in a small cemetery north of her village and watched as her brother Clairvius was buried.The man told Angelina he remembered that night well. He knew when he was lowered into his grave, because he was fully conscious, although he could not speak or move. As the earth was thrown over his coffin, he felt as if he were floating over the grave. The scar on his right cheek. he said, was caused by a nail driven through his casket.The night he was buried, he told Angelina, a voodoo priest raised him from the grave. He was beaten with a sisal whip and carried off to a sugar plantation in northern Haiti where, with other zombies, he was forced to work as a slave. Only with the death of the zombie master were they able to escape, and Narcisse eventually returned home.Legend has it that zombies are the living dead, raised from their graves and animated by malevolent voodoo sorcerers, usually for some evil purpose. Most Haitians believe in zombies, and Narcisse’s claim is not unique.At about the time he reappeared, in 1980, two women turned up in other villages saying they were zombies. In the same year, in northern Haiti, the local peasants claimed to have found a group of zombies wandering aimlessly in the fields.But Narcisse’s case was different in one crucial respect; it was documented. His death had been recorded by doctors at the American-directed Schweitzer Hospital in Deschapelles. On April 30, 1962, hospital records show, Narcisse walked into the hospital’s emergency room spitting up blood. He was feverish and full of aches. His doctors could not diagnose his illness, and his symptoms grew steadily worse. Three days after he entered the hospital, according to the records, he died. The attending physicians, an American among them, signed his death certificate. His body was placed in cold storage for twenty hours, and then he was buried. He said he remembered hearing his doctors pronounce him dead while his sister wept at his bedside. At the Centre de Psychiatric et Neurologie in Port­ au-Prince, Dr. Lamarque Douyon, a Haitian­-born, Canadian-trained psychiatrist, has been systematically investigating all reports of zombies since 1961. Though convinced zombies were real, he had been unable to find a scientific explanation for the phenomenon. He did not believe zombies were people raised from the dead, but that did not make them any less interesting. He speculated that victims were only made to look dead, probably by means of a drug that dramatically slowed metabolism. The victim was buried, dug up w[...]

Dean Searches Debut

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 13:30:34 +0000

Harvard Education and Radcliffe dean searches John S. Rosenberg Harvard Education and Radcliffe dean searchesAlthough she will depart Massachusetts Hall next June 30, President Drew Faust remains very much the University’s leader, and so she has announced searches for new deans of the Graduate School of Education (filling the vacancy that will occur when James E. Ryan leaves to become president of the University of Virginia) and the Radcliffe Institute (where Lizabeth Cohen is stepping down at the end of the academic year).In a note to the education school community, Faust announced the membership of a multi-school advisory committee for the search, reporting to her and Provost Alan Garber:Christopher Avery, Larsen professor of public policy and managementTomiko Brown-Nagin, Paul professor of constitutional law and professor of historyDavid Deming, professor of education and economics  and professor of education and public policyRoberto Gonzales, professor of educationMonica Higgins, McCartney professor of education leadershipNancy Hill, Bigelow professor of educationAndrew Ho, professor of educationDeborah Jewell-Sherman, Anrig professor of practice in educational leadershipHerman “Dutch” Leonard, Baker professor of public management and Snider Family professor of business administrationNonie Lesaux, Thompson professor of education and societyCharles Nelson, professor of pediatrics, professor of psychology, professor of education, and professor in the department of social and behavioral sciencesMandy Savitz-Romer, senior lecturer on education Mario Small, Grafstein Family professor of sociologyMichael Tushman, Lawrence MBA Class of 1942 professor of business administration (HBS) Comments on the search may be e-mailed in confidence to the president at; by letter to Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138; or directed to Leah Rosovsky, vice president for strategy and programs, who is staffing the search.In a note to the Radcliffe community, Faust and Garber announced the following members of the advisory committee for that search:Joanna Aizenberg, Berylson professor of materials science and professor of chemistry & chemical biology Lisa Berkman, Cabot professor of public policy and of epidemiologyAnn Blair, Pforzheimer University Professor Allan Brandt, Kass professor of the history of medicine and professor of the history of scienceFrank Dobbin, professor of sociologyAmy Edmondson, Novartis professor of leadership and managementAnnette Gordon-Reed, Warren professor of American legal history and professor of history Meira Levinson, professor of educationYukio Lippit, professor of history of art and architectureClaire Messud, senior lecturer in the department of EnglishKhalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of history, race, and public policy and Murray professor at the Radcliffe InstituteCarol Oja, Mason professor of musicDimitar Sasselov, Phillips professor of astronomyComments can be sent in confidence to Faust and Garber by email to; by letter to Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138; or directed to Lars Madsen, the president’s chief of staff, who is supporting the search. [...]

Football 2017: Harvard 25, Dartmouth 22

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 16:19:28 +0000

Football 2017: Harvard 25, Dartmouth 22 football-2017-harvard-dartmouthIvy League football is like Hollywood: Nobody knows anything.Eight days after being steamrolled on its home turf by Princeton 52-17, and after spotting Dartmouth the first 14 points in this weekend’s game, Harvard’s football team rallied behind the resourceful play of quarterback Jake Smith ’21 for a 25-22 win over the Big Green. The victory moves the Crimson to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Ivy League. Dartmouth drops to 5-2 and 2-2 in league play. This was Harvard’s fourteenth straight triumph in the series and its twentieth win in the last 21 games between the two ancient rivals.“I’ve seldom been prouder of a football team,” said Harvard coach Tim Murphy, speaking not only of the in-game comeback but also of the ability to bounce back after the worst loss in his 24-year Crimson coaching career. Dartmouth’s previous five games had been decided by five points or fewer, so in his pregame talks Murphy put his squad on alert, telling them: “This one is going to go down right to the end.”Harvard FootballSign up for Harvard Magazine’s football e-mail and follow the Crimson all season long! Dick Friedman will provide the latest news, game summaries, and insights.Saturday’s contest had an in-the-balance ending, all right, but it was a crowd-pleaser from the opening kickoff, with exciting runbacks, goofy breaks, questionable decisions, and flubbed kicks. There was even a broken window in the press box, courtesy of a Dartmouth coach displeased by a call. The afternoon was reminiscent of some of the ding-dongers the two schools played back in the early Ivy days of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s—minus about 30,000 spectators. From Harvard’s standpoint, it also bore at least a faint resemblance to the 2001 edition, when a freshman quarterback named Ryan Fitzpatrick ’05 stepped in to engineer a 31-21 comeback win. In the beginning, though, some fans might have thought Dartmouth had transported Princeton’s Chad Kanoff to Cambridge and dressed him in the uniform of Big Green senior quarterback Jack Heneghan. Receiving the opening kickoff, Dartmouth picked right up where Princeton and Kanoff had left off, driving 80 yards in 10 plays to a touchdown, scored by running back Ryder Stone on a 10-yard burst. David Smith kicked the extra point. Dartmouth 7, Harvard 0. For the remainder of the first period and the beginning of the second, the teams fitfully moved the ball and exchanged punts. The Big Green was wise to the running of Harvard’s normally bulldozing Charlie Booker ’19, limiting him in the half to 20 yards on seven carries. Dartmouth punched through again on a 16-play, 66-yard drive that consumed nearly eight minutes. On third-and-goal from the Harvard eight, Heneghan employed a nifty play-action pass on which he connected with Hunter Hagdorn. Smith again kicked. Dartmouth 14, Harvard 0. There were two minutes and 40 seconds left in the half and there was no reason to think that Harvard would win this game.That was perhaps even more true when the Crimson couldn’t move the ball on its next series. Then came a freaky occurrence that turned the game around. Harvard’s Zach Schmid ’18 punted to Dartmouth’s Danny McManus, who fumbled the ball when hit by the Crimson’s Jack Stansell ’18. Harvard’s Max Jones ’21 recovered at the Big Green 38. But Dartmouth protested, objecting that Stansell interfered with McManus. The ruling was that Stansell was blocked into McManus by a Dartmouth player. So the Crimson kept the ball, and an irate Dartmouth coach allegedly pun[...]

Harvard Finances: Strengths and Warning Signs

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 15:00:01 +0000

Harvard reports budget surplus amid worries John S. Rosenberg Harvard budget surplus and worriesThe University’s financial report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, released this morning, was full of the sorts of results that make budget officers happy:Revenue increased $222 million to nearly $5 billion (growth of 4.6 percent)—largely consistent with the quarter-billion-dollar growth (5.5 percent) in fiscal 2016.Expenses rose, too, by $185 million to $4.9 billion (3.9 percent), a more moderate pace than in the prior year (when expenses rose 5.3 percent).In combination, that yielded a surplus of $114 million, up from $77 million in fiscal 2016—the fourth consecutive annual surplus, and by far the largest.In her letter introducing the report, President Drew Faust celebratedgreat progress toward our educational and research goals. Advances in scholarship and discovery helped to confront some of society’s greatest challenges; increases in financial aid ensured that talented students could pursue their highest aspirations regardless of their means; and the renovation and expansion of Harvard’s physical spaces enhanced our teaching, learning, and research environments.Thomas J. Hollister, vice president for financePhotograph by Paige Brown/Courtesy Tufts Medical Center Even amid the bounty, though, Harvard’s senior financial officers—Thomas J. Hollister, vice president for finance (the University’s chief financial officer), and Paul J. Finnegan, treasurer—focused on the cautions and concerns that come naturally to their species. Their overview stressed that the operating surplus “may represent a high-water mark for the foreseeable future…due to the broad and ongoing revenue pressures in higher education” (discussed further below). Repeating a recent theme, they maintained that “the business model of higher education is under enormous pressure,” and amplify thus:Since the 1950s, higher education in the United States has been a growth industry, and has enjoyed demographic increases in student populations, generally steady economic expansion, increases in federal research funding, and robust investment markets. This picture has changed. Higher education has matured as an industry and revenues are under pressure as student numbers have plateaued, tuition costs reach limits of affordability, federal research support is threatened, and expectations for returns in the investment markets are muted. The industry is showing financial strain, even in these comparatively healthy economic times….Those benign external conditions, they noted, have been complemented by (and have contributed to) “the extraordinary success of The Capital Campaign”—and notably in the fiscal 2017 results. So it is striking that despite the campaign’s largess (Harvard has reported receiving more than $8 billion in pledges and receipts), Hollister and Finnegan emphasized thatOur deans and administrative staff are first focused on mission excellence, but they are also increasingly focused 
on cost containment and newer sources of mission-related revenues.…We raise this not as a matter of discouragement, but simply to signal to 
the University’s many friends, supporters, alumni, faculty, students, and staff that the University, and 
its schools and units, will need to further adjust to 
the environment, change, and embrace new ways of extending Harvard’s excellence in the future.The Year in ReviewRevenue. Operating revenue increased nearly 5 percent to almost $5.0 billion. The report cites gains inthe annual dist[...]

Football 2017: Princeton 52, Harvard 17

Sat, 21 Oct 2017 20:51:59 +0000

Crimson Football 2017: Princeton 52, Harvard 17 Dick Friedman football 2017 harvard princetonIt could have been even worse.The Princeton Tigers, riding the scorching hand of quarterback Chad Kanoff, entered Harvard Stadium on Friday night and administered to the Crimson a 52-17 stomping. (Or whupping…or smackdown…or thumping…or thrashing…or shellacking…insert favorite noun here.) The loss drops Harvard to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Ivy League play, thus almost certainly dooming any title hopes. Moreover, the Crimson must win its final four games to maintain its streak of winning seven or more games, now standing at 16 seasons. Princeton rose to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in league action.The result brought forth superlatives, most of them negative from the Crimson point of view. The 52 points allowed were the most by an opponent in the 24 seasons that Tim Murphy has been coaching the Crimson. The margin of defeat was the largest since a 52-13 demolition at Penn in 1988, and the largest loss in the Murphy era since 2002, when the Crimson was drubbed 44-9 at Penn. This was Harvard’s first loss in a Stadium night game after 14 wins.Harvard FootballSign up for Harvard Magazine’s football e-mail and follow the Crimson all season long! Dick Friedman will provide the latest news, game summaries, and insights.Old-timers might recall a couple of similar poundings by Princeton at the Stadium in the ’60s. Back then, the likes of Ellis Moore and Scott MacBean plastered the Crimson, 45-6 in 1967 and 51-20 in ’69. Four years ago, Quinn Epperly passed the Crimson silly in a 51-45, three-overtime Tigers win. Friday night woke the echoes of those performances.Now add Kanoff to the roll of visiting villains. In building a 31-10 halftime lead, the Tigers senior completed his first 20 passing attempts. (He added another completion in the second half before his string was snapped; at game’s end he was 31-for 35, for 421 yards and two touchdowns.) The onslaught began on Princeton’s first offensive series, when Kanoff directed a 10-play, 89-yard drive capped by a 20-yard scoring pass to a criminally open Jesper Horsted, at 6-foot-4 one of the Tigers’ two Brobdignagian main receivers. (Stephen Carlson, the same height, is the other.) On the next series, the Crimson held Kanoff and the Tigers to a Tavish Rice field goal, partly thanks to a sack by defensive lineman Stone Hart ’18. But after a Harvard three-and-out, the Tigers went 66 yards for another touchdown, the big play being a 27-yard Kanoff- to-Horsted hookup.It was 17-0 and there were still more than nine minutes to go in the first half. To his credit, Harvard quarterback Jake Smith ’21 hung in there. Princeton was mostly jamming up the running of Charlie Booker ’19 (held to 72 yards on 19 carries), so Smith took to the air, hitting tight end Ryan Antonellis ’18 for gains of 13 and 11 yards. Then Smith used his legs, making a nifty dash for 26 yards. When the drive bogged down, Jake McIntyre ’20 booted a 28-yard field goal. Princeton 17, Harvard 3, with 4:11 left in the half.But as soon as Harvard began to get its head above water, Princeton pushed it back down. From the Tigers’ 34, Kanoff and Horsted worked the old buttonhook play. Horsted took a quick slant, reversed his field, and ran all the way to the end zone. With the point after by Rice, it was Princeton 24, Harvard 3.There was no quit in Smith. He quickly brought the Crimson back, engineering a five-play, 80-yard drive. The biggest play was a 44-yard strike to tight end Dan Werner [...]

Gut Health May Begin in the Mouth

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 17:15:26 +0000

Gut Health May Begin in the Mouth Lydialyle Gibson microbiome oral healthChronic gastrointestinal problems may begin with what is in a patient’s mouth. In a study published Thursday in Science, an international team of researchers—including one from Harvard—reported on strains of oral bacteria that, when swallowed in the 1.5 liters of saliva that people ingest every day, can lodge in the gut and trigger inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.“For some time now, we’ve noticed that when we look at the microbiome of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, we’ve found microbes there that normally reside in the oral cavity,” says study co-author Ramnik Xavier, chief of gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and co-director of MIT’s Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics.“Over the years,” Xavier explains, “we’ve spent a lot of time identifying genes associated with inflammatory bowel disease—basically, identifying genetic variants that increase patients’ risk of disease.” Simultaneously, “There’s always been this other search, asking, ‘Are there pathobionts?’”—in other words, microbes that live innocuously in one part of the body but can turn pathogenic when moved to another. “For some time we have been looking for pathobiont organisms for Crohn’s and colitis.”The researchers believe they have found them: two strains of Klebsiella bacteria, microbes commonly found in the mouth. In the study, led by Koji Atarashi from Japan’s Keio University, scientists administered saliva from two patients with Crohn’s disease to two groups of germ-free mice. Although one group did not get sick, the other developed a strong immune response associated with Crohn’s. Sorting through the bacteria in that group’s saliva sample, the researchers pinpointed a strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae as the trigger for the immune response. A subsequent experiment using samples from two ulcerative colitis patients turned up another inflammation-causing strain, of Klebsiella aeromobilis.“So then we asked the question,” Xavier says, “is this unique to two-plus-two patients in Japan, or do we see these same pathobionts in other clinical centers?” Checking databases of thousands of IBD patients at MGH and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Xavier and others found that people with inflammatory bowel conditions had significantly more Klebsiella bacteria in their gut microbiome than healthy patients did. Most likely, he explains, oral bacteria, including Klebsiella, traffics through everyone’s gut in the saliva we swallow. Usually it passes through harmlessly; but in people with a genetic susceptibility to IBD that alters the gut microbiome, the Klebsiella has a chance to take hold in the intestine and proliferate, inducing an immune response that causes the disease. “This is a clear, elegant example of gene-microbe interaction,” Xavier says.And there is another twist: Klebsiella bacteria are often extremely resistant to multiple antibiotics. That explains, Xavier says, “why antibiotics have limited value in treating patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. And with this bug, the more antibiotic resistance it acquired, the more likely it was to persist in the gut and cause this immune response.” In their experiments, when the researchers introduced saliva from IBD patients to healthy, normal m[...]

Father and Son, and E.E. Cummings

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 21:26:31 +0000

E.E. Cummings and Samuel Beck—a Harvard undergraduate recollectionWhat one undergraduate learned James C. Beck father son e e cummingsIn the early twentieth century, life was hard for Jews in Romania. They were denied citizenship; they could not be lawyers, teachers, chemists, or stockbrokers, nor could they trade important commodities.In 1902, when my father, Sam, was eight years old, his father, Avrom, took him to register for school in Tecuci, their small Romanian town.Avrom was challenged by an official: “Are you a foreigner?”“I have lived here all my life.”“Are you a Jew?”“Yes, I’m a Jew.”“A Jew is the same as a foreigner. Your son cannot go to school here.”So Avrom and his family left Tecuci and came to America.They were among the millions of Jews from central Europe who arrived at that time. Many settled in crowded cities where living conditions were considered unhealthy.  A European Jewish philanthropist became concerned, and created a charitable fund to settle such immigrant families as farmers in presumably healthier, rural environments.Half a dozen Jewish families, including my father’s, were settled in Arpin, a village in Wisconsin. Educational opportunities were limited, so my father left home in 1909 at the age of 15 for Cleveland, where he moved in with cousins. He hawked newspapers on the street to pay for his room and board, and he attended public high school.Cleveland was about as different from Arpin as could be imagined: more than half a million people, streetcars and automobiles, buildings 15 stories high, a professional baseball team with its own stadium, and a progressive school system that included a program in which homeroom teachers counseled students individually. In 1912, one of his teachers, perhaps his home-room counselor, recognized some intellectual capacity in this scrawny immigrant Jewish kid and recommended that he apply to Harvard. He applied, Harvard accepted him for the class of 1916, and he went.He concentrated in classics, which is important to my story 50 years later. After two years his father died, and Sam withdrew to go home to help support his family. He worked for the next 10 years, saving, literally, nickels and dimes, and he returned to Cambridge, graduating from Harvard in 1926.  Although my father went on to become a psychologist recognized internationally for his work on the Rorschach test, his graduation from Harvard was his proudest achievement, and in 1941, when I was seven years old, he wrote in his twenty-fifth anniversary report, “[T]he fact is that with the intellect under attack as it is today, Harvard has so far kept her intellectual faith. Whether our university can continue to be the star of the night is for the future historian to write. In any event, so far as it will be within my control, there is only one college for my one son!” In 1952, I was a Harvard freshman, knowing exactly one of my 1,200 classmates. I lived in Weld Hall in the Yard, which is also important to this story. My fifth-floor accommodations were spartan. The floor showed the wear of 80 years of freshman feet. The walls were old, tired, whitewashed plaster, and there was one relatively small window. I had a narrow bed with an iron frame, and one somewhat splintered wooden desk and chair. Lastly, there was a nineteenth-century fireplace.I had a rather nondescript freshman year but I did have one minor triumph. E.E. Cummings gave the Norton Lectures during that academic year, and I at[...]

FAS’s Inequality in America Initiative

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 15:57:49 +0000

FAS’s Inequality Initiative Marina N. Bolotnikova inequality initiative claudine gayLast Friday, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ (FAS) social science division marked the launch of its Inequality in America Initiative at a day-long symposium in Loeb House. The initiative is designed to strengthen the University’s work on economic, political, and social inequality across disciplines. “Harvard, certainly in FAS but also as you look across the schools, has this incredible collection of scholars engaged on these questions,” social science dean Claudine Gay said in an interview last week. “We have people who are looking at inequality across race, gender, and class, but also thinking about the different domains of inequality—education, health, the labor market. We have all this on campus, but they’re not always in conversation...The idea here is to pursue a strategy that’s focused on greater collaboration, some new investment, and more dialogue.”To those ends, the initiative consists of conversations among researchers from five thematic research clusters: American inequality, globally (covering the paradox of America’s ideology of equality and its history of exploitation); governance, citizenship, and social justice; mobility and migration; science, technology, education, and health; and work, family, and opportunity. The initiative also includes funding for a two-year postdoctoral program for scholars working on inequality, to launch next fall, and annual symposia. The first of those took place on Friday, bringing together economists, political scientists, legal theorists, and others from across several institutions. Princeton economist Alan Krueger, Ph.D. ’87, spoke about the manipulation of labor markets by employers through structures like non-compete clauses, or outright collusion; University of Michigan economist Betsey Stevenson, Ph.D. ’01, spoke about the inflexibility of the American workplace relative to changes in family structure. “We’re still in a time period where the workplace is imagining that we have some person who’s at home managing our lives,” she said. “Men and women both increasingly say that they have work-family conflict. It’s not that they’re saying their family is interfering with work; it’s that their work is interfering with their family.”FAS dean Michael D. Smith “had resources to invest in a small handful of academic initiatives in each division, and this is what he wanted to invest in in the social sciences,” Gay explained during the interview. “My ambitions for the initiative greatly exceed the resources that we have in place now...We have a slate of academic ideas that we eventually want to see in steady state, and we’re going to scale them up over time while raising money to support them.”The terms of the national discussion of inequality are not always clear; most economists believe society needs some level of inequality, or there would be no incentive to do anything. What does it mean, then, to talk about a national crisis of inequality? Gay pointed to a few things:Most inequality is actually inherited...what we’re talking about here is persistent inequalities that go across generations and completely eliminate opportunity for new generations. Another thing is that inequality is a problem that doesn’t have clear edges. If you listen to the public discourse, inequality is just about the gap between the rich and the poor, and that CEO[...]

Football 2017: Harvard 38, Lafayette 10

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 23:19:59 +0000

Crimson Football 2017: Harvard 38, Lafayette 10 Dick Friedman football 2017 harvard lafayetteNothing like having your superstar return a punt 85 yards to get you back on track.Ignited by Justice Shelton-Mosley ’19, the Harvard football team cruised to a relatively stress-free 38-10 victory over Patriot League foe Lafayette in the seven-hundredth game played at Harvard Stadium. The win in the final nonconference game of 2017 gave the Crimson an overall 3-2 record (the Leopards dropped to 2-5). Harvard stands at 1-1 in the Ivy League. The convincing result was wholly necessary after the previous week’s disheartening 17-14 defeat at Cornell. “We challenged our kids and they responded,” said relieved Harvard coach Tim Murphy after the game. Harvard FootballSign up for Harvard Magazine’s football e-mail and follow the Crimson all season long! Dick Friedman will provide the latest news, game summaries, and insights.Shelton-Mosley was not the only standout. Wideout Adam Scott ’19 took the second-half kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Running back Charlie Booker III ’19 had another stellar game, barreling, blasting, and bowling for a career-high 159 yards on 23 carries and scoring a touchdown. The defense, headed by linebackers Charlie Walker ’19 (eight tackles) and captain Luke Hutton ’18 (six, including a sack), limited the Leopards to 12 yards on the ground (0.9 yards per carry).But as a tone-setter, it is hard to top Shelton-Mosley, who has been accorded numerous honors as a receiver and return man. In the first period, after the Crimson defense forced the Leopards into a three-and-out, Lafayette’s Michael Turk boomed a high, 50-yard punt to the Harvard 15. Shelton-Mosley fielded it and, sprung by a dandy block by Noah Reimers ’19, wove his way upfield along the Crimson sideline, then outran the final pursuers to score. This was Shelton-Mosley’s third career punt return for a touchdown. Jake McIntyre ’20 punched through the extra point.  With 2:14 gone, it was Harvard 7, Lafayette 0.However, Lafayette’s C.J. Amill almost matched Shelton-Mosley return for return. Amill took the kickoff from Kenny Smart ’18 at the Leopards’ two and ran it back 65 yards before Smart could make a saving tackle. But the reprieve was temporary. Four plays later, Lafayette quarterback Sean O’Malley tossed a two-yard scoring pass to Rocco Palumbo. Jeff Kordenbrock added the conversion. Harvard 7, Lafayette 7.Then it was Booker time. On Harvard’s next series, he carried the ball seven times for 56 yards. The final play of the drive was a four-yard end-around by Shelton-Mosley for a touchdown, followed by McIntyre’s extra point. Harvard 14, Lafayette 7.After this fast-and-furious start, things settled down. The next score didn’t come until only 38 seconds remained in the half, when Booker barged in from the one to cap a 13-play, 52-yard drive that consumed more than seven minutes. This is when the Crimson offensive line took hold of the game. McIntyre again kicked the point. Harvard 21, Lafayette 7. (This half was played, by the way, with neither team taking a timeout—most unusual.)Now came another Harvard happy return—or, as Murphy refers to a kick return for a touchdown, “a house call.” This time it was Scott grabbing the second-half kickoff on the Crimson 10. Keyed by a downfield block from Shelton-Mosley, he was off to the races. McIntyre again did his job. Harvard 28,[...]

The Harvard Sophomore Aiming for City Council

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 13:50:50 +0000

The Harvard sophomore running for city council Chloe Reichel nadya okamoto city council Unfortunately for Nadya Okamoto ’20, a candidate in next month’s Cambridge City Council election, the height of campaign season happens to coincide with back-to-school season.These overlapping obligations pose a challenge to her campaign run for, by, and about students—a bid that arose out of work she began in her first year at Harvard. Together with city councilor Jan Devereux, Okamoto lobbied for legislation to provide feminine hygiene products in public restrooms around the city, an extension of the work she began at 16, when she co-founded her nonprofit, PERIOD, an advocacy organization for menstrual hygiene.Though Okamoto, by her own recollection, was well-off growing up, as a high-school student in Portland, Oregon, she experienced a period of housing instability after her mother lost her job. Her family stayed with friends while renting out their own apartment until they could afford to move back into it. The experience of encountering homeless women who did not have the resources to address their periods on her new, extended commute to and from school, she explained, spawned her nonprofit and related public-policy efforts. As she got involved in policy, her belief in the ability to effect change through local government grew. Spending time around City Hall, Okamoto’s interest in the council deepened. She thought about running for office, but her age gave her pause. She ultimately embraced this as a strength, deciding to make it the focus of her campaign.Referencing the city’s significant student population, she said she’s running to give voice to young people on the council, who don’t have direct representation. She added that the most pressing issues in Cambridge today require young thought: “creative, progressive—like, real progressive—thinkers.”A conduit?After announcing her candidacy in March, Okamoto picked seven classmates to occupy various staff positions; the goal, she said, was to emulate the structure of a presidential campaign. Over the summer, they worked full-time out of campaign headquarters, a rental apartment on Banks Street. Only her campaign director had prior campaign experience. The team figured things out as they went—developing policy, fundraising (to date they have netted about $8,500), meeting with branding and political consultants, and, of course, knocking on a lot of doors.She’s campaigning primarily on issues like housing (she’s a strong proponent of inclusionary zoning), education (she wants to expand access to pre-kindergarten programs), and sustainability (she’s suggested bike- and pedestrian-only streets). She presents herself as uniquely situated to make progress on these issues as a conduit between the University and the city.In campaign parlance, she hopes to “push forward more community-minded University relations.” As an example, she often points to the strain the Harvard graduate-student population places on the housing market in Cambridge. Okamoto believes that if the University provided more housing for graduate students, rentals that currently serve the short-term needs of that population could be made available for Cambridge families in need of long-term housing.Tom Lucey, director of government and community relations for Harvard Public Affairs and Communications (HPAC), said in response that pr[...]

Health Benefits to Cost 3.8 Percent More

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 20:40:31 +0000

Health Benefits to Cost 3.8 Percent More Marina N. Bolotnikova health benefits enrollment 2018After several years of significant increases in employee healthcare spending, Harvard’s overall healthcare costs will increase 3.8 percent in 2018 (down from last year’s 7 percent increase, and 7.3 percent the previous year). Employees’ monthly premiums will increase between 3 and 5 percent, depending on their chosen plan and salary tier. An employee in the lowest, sub-$55,000 salary tier selecting a popular individual plan would see an increase of 3.8 percent, from $79 to $82 per month; in the highest salary tier, an employee selecting a family plan would see an increase of 4.2 percent, from $477 to $497.For faculty members and non-union staff, the benefits covered will remain largely the same as last year’s—no 2018 changes in medical coinsurance or deductibles, or in the plans offered, are scheduled—with the exception of a change in the University’s (separately offered) dental plan that will cover dental implants for more patients. Several unions—representing University police officers, security guards, and custodial workers—will see changes reflecting recent contract negotiations, among them the introduction of a sub-$55,000 salary tier. Workers in that tier receive a larger premium subsidy from the University and thus pay lower monthly premiums. The tier was first introduced in 2017 for members of the Harvard Union of Clerical Technical Workers and faculty and non-union staff members, as a trade-off for the introduction of new cost-sharing provisions. Because workers in the unions eligible for the new tier next year typically earn less than other University personnel, many are likely to benefit from the increased subsidy. The same unions’ members will also be exposed to a new requirement: copayments of $100 for certain hospital and emergency-room visits. Employee compensation, including salaries and benefits, accounts for about half of University spending. The University’s healthcare-cost growth is driven largely by spending on prescription drugs and high-cost claimants: a small number of patients who account for a large proportion of spending. This year’s increases in employee premium costs still outstrip pay increases: this fiscal year, non-union staff members received raises of 1.5 percent.Total office visits among covered employees decreased slightly after the introduction of annual deductibles and coinsurance for faculty and non-union staff members in 2015, but increased again in 2016 after coinsurance for some services was eliminated, according to the University Benefits Committee (UBC). Those changes may have been in response to the price incentives, reflecting a national debate on the value of copayments as a mechanism for encouraging patients to make more considered healthcare choices. A vocal contingent of faculty condemned the cost-sharing measures originally announced in 2014, after a period of rapid growth in the University’s healthcare outlays. In general, healthcare research has suggested that cost-sharing may decrease not only unnecessary usage, but necessary care as well. Total University medical spending increased a relatively low 1.9 percent from 2015 to 2016 (the most recent year for which data are available)—from $221.8 million to $226 million: a lesser rate than in the preceding years. Inter[...]

Sunil Amrith, Kate Orff, and Damon Rich Awarded MacArthur Grants

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:14:17 +0000

Sunil Amrith, Kate Orff, and Damon Rich Awarded MacArthur “Genius” Grants Marina N. Bolotnikova Sunil Amrith, Kate Orff, and Damon Rich Awarded MacArthur “Genius” GrantsSunil Amrith, Mehra Family professor of South Asian studies and professor of history, has been awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship (better known as the “genius grant”), a no-strings-attached award of $625,000 paid out over five years. The fellowship is awarded annually to 24 “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction”; the recipients include academics, artists, activists, and others.Amrith, who joined Harvard’s South Asian studies department in 2015, has written on the history of migration, colonialism, and the movement of ideas and institutions in South Asia. He is one of several recipients this year who work on global migration. He tweeted this morning: Honored and delighted to be a #MacFellow —and still in shock!— Sunil Amrith (@sunilamrith) October 11, 2017Two affiliates of the Graduate School of Design are members of the MacArthur class of 2017 as well. Landscape architect Kate Orff, M.L.A.’97, is honored for “Designing adaptive and resilient urban habitats and encouraging residents to be active stewards of the ecological systems underlying our built environment.” An associate professor at Columbia, she is the founder of and a partner at Scape, where she “focuses on retooling the practice of landscape architecture relative to uncertainty of climate change and fostering social life which she has explored through publications, activism, research, and projects.”Designer and urban planner Damon Rich, a Loeb Fellow at the GSD in 2007, is recognized for “Creating vivid and witty strategies to design and build places that are more democratic and accountable to their residents.” He is co-founder of and a partner at Hector, an “urban design planning, & civic arts studio” that makes “make architecture, public spaces, plans, exhibitions & publications that use design to help things happen.”[...]

Football 2017: Harvard 14, Cornell 17

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 20:39:23 +0000

Crimson Football 2017: Harvard 14, Cornell 17 Dick Friedman Football 2017 Harvard cornellThat’s why they play the games.Last Saturday at unseasonably warm Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, New York, in one of the most shocking Ivy League upsets of recent times, Cornell—picked to finish last in the preseason Ivy media poll—defeated Harvard (selected, with Princeton, to finish first) 17-14. The Big Red spotted the Crimson two touchdowns. Then, behind the running of All-Ivy back Chris Walker (93 yards on 19 carries), Cornell inexorably outmuscled Harvard. With the loss, the Crimson’s 2017 record dropped to 2-2 and 1-1 in conference play. The Big Red, 1-3 overall, also is 1-1 in the conference. The defeat snapped Harvard’s 11-game winning streak over Cornell. Harvard now has lost three of its last four Ivy games spanning two seasons.Harvard FootballSign up for Harvard Magazine’s football e-mail and follow the Crimson all season long! Dick Friedman will provide the latest news, game summaries, and insights.The statistics tell a stark story. Cornell won the time-of-possession battle by a staggering 36:50 to 23:10. The Big Red ran 77 offensive plays to the Crimson’s 44. The Harvard offense’s inability to stay on the field in the second half had a fatal corollary: its hard-pressed defense wore down. The Crimson was missing three injured stalwart starters—defensive linemen DJ Bailey ’19 and Stone Hart ’18, and linebacker Anthony Camargo ’19. But that takes nothing away from the effort of Cornell, whose offensive coordinator, Joe Villapiano, is in his first season at Ithaca after 12 years on the staff of Harvard coach Tim Murphy.The early action ran according to form. On Harvard’s first series, quarterback Jake Smith ’21, making his third straight start, took the Crimson 72 yards in six plays. The two biggest were a pass interference call on which Cornell got to Crimson receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley ’19 too early, and a 34-yard pitch from Smith to H-back Ryan Reagan ’21 down the seam to the Cornell three. Two plays later, running back Lavance Northington ’20, operating out of the wildcat formation, punched the ball over from the one. Jake McIntyre ’20 converted. Harvard 7, Cornell 0. (And with fewer than 10 minutes gone, the Crimson had extended its Ivy record streak of not having been shut out to 193 games.)With Cornell hampered by six early penalties, Harvard built its lead in the second period. Taking over at the Crimson 45, Smith used his legs, gaining 19 yards on two runs. The ball reached the Big Red 36, and with Harvard facing a third-and-13, Murphy took a timeout. What he drew up worked brilliantly. On the next play, Smith found tight end Jake Barann ’18 wide open in the middle of the field. Barann made a finger-tip catch and ran into the end zone. McIntyre kicked the point. Harvard 14, Cornell 0. With 40 minutes left to play, the Crimson had scored its final point. The Big Red resurgence came on the next series. Using two quarterbacks—Dalton Banks and Jake Jatis—Cornell went 87 yards in 15 plays, 14 of which were runs. (Not helping was an ill-advised personal-foul penalty on Harvard defensive back Devin Judd ’20.) On the fifteenth, Jatis ran it in from the two. Zach Mays booted the extra point. Harvard 14, Cornell 7 at halftime.The second half [...]

Peer Schools Outperform Harvard’s Endowment

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 15:14:12 +0000

Peers outperform Harvard endowment returns John S. Rosenberg Peers outperform Harvard endowment returnsAs reported, Harvard Management Company (HMC) realized an 8.1 percent investment return on endowment assets for fiscal year 2017, ended last June 30—a result its CEO N.P. Narvekar characterized as “disappointing and not where it needs to be.” Those results were penalized, to an undisclosed degree, by write-downs on natural-resources investments; but now that several peer institutions have reported, HMC’s performance gap still looms large—and the reasons for his disappointment become clear.On October 5, Stanford Management Company reported a 13.1 percent return for fiscal 2017. It cited very strong results from public equities, consistent with what other endowments are reporting. As of August 31, the end of Stanford’s fiscal year, the endowment was valued at $24.8 billion—up $2.4 billion (10.7 percent, nearly triple the rate of growth in value of Harvard’s endowment) from the prior year. That gain reflects $3.2 billion of investment gains, the distribution of $1.2 billion to support the university’s budget, and undisclosed gifts received and transfers into the endowment during the fiscal year.Princeton and Yale—the two other institutions with endowments of comparable size and diversified investment strategies similar to HMC’s—have not yet reported results. Updated October 10, 2017, 8:30 a.m. On October 9, Princeton reported a 12.5 percent return on endowment investments for fiscal 2017. Updated October 22, 2017, 9:00 a.m. Yale has reported an 11.3 percent investment return—below its usual standards, and probably reflecting its longstanding aversion to holding public equities, the asset class that fueled the strongest returns for many schools’ endowments this year.Other institutions reporting since HMC released its results include:Brown, 13.4 percentCornell, 12.5 percent  University of Pennsylvania, 14.3 percent (according to Bloomberg)Dartmouth, MIT, and the University of Virginia reported earlier; their returns ranged from 12.4 percent (Virginia) to 14.6 percent (Dartmouth).[...]

The State of the Final-Club Debate

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 22:59:19 +0000

Harvard moves to end final clubs John S. Rosenberg harvard final clubs banLast Friday, when members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) received their materials for the first faculty meeting of the year, held on the afternoon of October 3, they may have thought they’d been sent an old agenda. A report from the USGSO (unrecognized single-gender social organizations: final clubs, fraternities, and sororities) committee was docketed. So was a motion by Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay professor of computer science (and former dean of the College) and colleagues, opposing regulatory sanctions against undergraduate membership in such organizations. And there was a new motion, from Conant University Professor Danielle Allen (also co-chair of a Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging), putting forth yet another way of addressing the social organizations.At a time when bringing an increasingly fractured community together in some common decision seems urgent and overdue, the omens were not especially good. [See this separate report for information on an FAS academic initiative on inequality in America, the composition of the faculty, and the faculty’s finances—all derived from FAS dean Michael D. Smith’s annual report, also presented on October 3.]So it was seemingly déjà vu all over again—as the faculty prepared to continue its protracted deliberations on the final clubs and other USGSOs. It will thus revisit issues first raised in May 2016, when College dean Rakesh Khurana proposed to sanction students who joined USGSOs. Those issues were aired in detail at November and December faculty meetings (the latter, to accommodate an overflow crowd, in a Science Center auditorium), as professors who objected to curtailing students’ freedom of legal association, questioned the efficacy of the sanctions, and opposed the administrative imposition of disciplinary measures that could interfere with faculty members’ academic evaluation of students, sought to overturn the sanctions.Further debate was then deferred while an “implementation committee” reported; and further deferred as a faculty-administrator-student committee convened by Dean Smith (and co-chaired by Khurana) reviewed the sanctions regime and then proposed prohibiting student membership in the clubs outright—and proposed that the final decision on implementing such a regulation be left to President Drew Faust. The committee then prepared for the new academic year as it took faculty members’ comments into account and issued a revised report recommending not one but the possibility of three different courses of action (the report issued last Friday and shared with faculty members today).And then, the issue again ran into the motions made by individual faculty members suggesting still different courses of action—including a motion from Lewis reiterating the objection to regulations that curb freedom of association—effectively asserting that student life is subject to faculty legislation and regulation, not to administrative decisions, as a matter of Harvard governance.Obviously, there was new news: the latest committee report with three proposed courses of action rather than one—a point emphasized in The Harvard Crimson and other accounts. The surprise[...]