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The Harvard Crimson

MAY 30, 2019


Year in Review Recruiting and Removing Harvard’s Faculty Deans Page 36


SE A s / a l l s t o n

h a r va r d l aw y e r s

While Harvard is no stranger to divestment activism, this year has seen the revitalization of movements demanding the withdrawal of investments activists believe to be immoral.

As construction of the SEAS complex in Allston nears completion, faculty raised concerns about how the long-anticipated move will impact its closely affiliated Sciences Division.

As Harvard faces a flurry of lawsuits, it must often make a pressing decision: who is best suited to defend one of the world’s most prestigious universities when it comes under attack?

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The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

Contents Year in Review Staff MANAGING EDITOR Angela N. Fu ‘20 ASSOCIATE MANAGING EDITOR Jamie D. Halper ’20 SECTION EDITORS Caroline S. Engelmayer ’20 Jensen E. Davis ‘20 Sonia Kim ’20 Norah M. Murphy ‘20 Eliya O. Smith ‘20 Jordan E. Virtue ’20 Michael E. Xie ’20 Luke W. Xu ’20 Andrew J. Zucker ’20 DESIGN EDITORS Truelian Lee ‘21 Elena M. Ramos ‘20 Matthew J. Tyler ‘22 Akhil S. Waghmare ‘20 PHOTO EDITORS Delano R. Franklin ’21 Ryan N. Gajarawala ‘22 Awnit S. Marta ‘20 Kai R. McNamee ‘21 Amanda Y. Su ‘22 TECH EDITORS Nenya A. Edjah ’20 William Yao ’21 PRESIDENT Kristine E. Guillaume ‘20

FEATURE | pages 24-27


4 5 6 9 12

Year in Quotes The most memorable words, remarks, and witticisms of 2018-19.

Year in Headlines The craziest scoops, biggest stories, and hottest takes of 2018-19.

‘A Judgment Call’ Amid controversy, Harvard has kept its donation acceptance policy under wraps.

The Athlete Advantage Recruited athletes often earn a boost in the college admissions process.

A New Day for Divestment This year has seen the resurgence and creation of divestment movements at Harvard.

FEATURE | pages 12-17



18 21 24 28 32

‘We Will Tell Our Stories’ As Harvard faces a lawsuit challenging its admissions process, students of color have built coalitions to defend affirmative action.

Working At, Not For, Harvard For contracted and contingent workers, recent policy changes offer hope for better benefits.

Uncertainty in SEAS Era As SEAS prepares to expand into Allston, faculty wish administrators had consulted them on the details of the move earlier.

‘Down From the Big Hill’ Bacow has touted Harvard’s partnerships across the country as higher education faces hostility in today’s political climate.

A Moment of Recognition Members of the new recognized social groups say the College’s policies still remain unclear.

FEATURE | pages 36-41

faculty deans

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

FEATURE | pages 48-50

Industry in academia

34 36 42 44 48 51

Title IX in Turmoil Harvard’s gender and sex-based harassment policies hang in the balance in the DeVos era.

‘Not Really a Job’ Following student outcry Winthrop Faculty Dean Ronald Sullivan, the faculty dean role has come under scrutiny.

Paul for the People After 15 years at the helm of Harvard University Health Services, Paul Barreira reflects on his legacy.

53 56 58 60 63 65 69

When Harvard Housing Fails The majority of students have positive experiences with Harvard housing, but some say when it goes wrong, it can go very wrong.

Professorial and Professional Law School Professor Ronald Sullivan is not the first faculty member to conduct outside work during his time at Harvard.

Truffles and Title IX Donald H. Pfister juggles many roles — professor, botany manuscript curator, and chair of a Title IX policy review committee.

Defending Harvard in Court As the University faces a barrage of lawsuits, it must think carefully when choosing who to defend it.

For the A.R.T., The Next Act After a record-breaking donation, the American Repertory Theater is now in the spotlight.

Barriers to Entry Students with physical disabilities sometimes struggle to navigate Harvard’s campus, especially before House renewal.

A Changing Funding Landscape Harvard researchers are pivoting away from the federal government to private companies for funding.

Degree Committees at Harvard

FEATURE | pages 60-62

Nine of Harvard’s 50 concentrations are committees, which often struggle without tenured faculty and limited course offerings.


Bridging Academia and Industry Professors at the University lead multifaceted careers that expand beyond the gates of Harvard Yard.

Mapping the Square’s Future Executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association Denise A. Jillson navigates a challenging landscape.


YEAR IN QUOTES 2018-2019 September 2018

We are concerned about the impact Kavanaugh, based on his record and based on these credible allegations from Dr. Ford, would have on the law, around civil rights, sexual harassment, women’s place in public life, and a whole host of other things.” Sejal Singh Second-year law student and Pipeline Parity Project member

November 2018

February 2019

Growing up as an undocumented person in New York City, I had a lot of formative experiences that have taught me that it’s important for me to use my talents and my educational training to give back to the undocumented community.

Our board unanimously was like, ‘What in the world is this law?’

Jin K. Park ‘18-’19 First DACA recipient to win the Rhodes

While we are a community in which individual responsibility matters, we also have a collective responsibility to provide support and resources for students in times of need. RAKESH KHURANA Dean of the College

Ali Dastjerdi ’19 Former HSA President

One thing you have to understand about me is that I don’t respond to demands, I respond to reason. Lawrence S. Bacow University President

April 2019

I guess I didn’t expect them to be as visibly livid. But it’s clear that we got under their skin, which is good. Joanna C. Anyanwu Law School student and divestment advocate

December 2018

Harvard has really shown a disregard for the rights of its students to associate with people they want to associate with. What they do off campus shouldn’t be any of Harvard’s business.

Depending on sort of what we learn through the independent review of this particular situation, we’ll also see if there are other changes that we need to make to our policies or practices.

David A. Russcol Lawyer representing social groups

Claudine Gay Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

I looked at my watch and I said ‘It’s four o’clock and I haven’t been sued yet, but the courthouse is still open for another hour.’

May 2019

October 2018

The wolf of racial bias is at Harvard’s door and at the door of this courthouse. WILLIAM F. LEE ’72 Corporation senior fellow and Harvard lawyer

A lot of the things that we’re saying that we could never do or we couldn’t afford here at Harvard University, with an endowment the size of the GDP of some nations, are things that other universities already have in their unions’ contracts. Felix Y. Owusu HGSU-UAW Civil and Human Rights Committee member


Lawrence S. Bacow University President

January 2019

It is particularly important for this category of unpopular defendant to receive the same process as everyone else – perhaps even more important. Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. Winthrop House Faculty Dean

We believe the University and the Government Department failed to uphold a basic commitment: the provision of a safe and productive work environment. Government Committee on Climate Change Report

I have concluded that the situation in the House is untenable. Rakesh Khurana Dean of the College



1With2Home-Cooked 3 4 Salmon, 5 The 6 7


Bacow Era Begins




11 12

13 14

Claudine Gay Named Next Dean of of Arts Sciences 15the Faculty 16 17 18and 19 20 21


100 Percent 9Facing 10Penalties, 11 12 13 of14 15 College Students Completed Sexual Harassment 16 17 18Training 19 20 21 22 Hundreds of Harvard 23 24 25 26 Law 27Students 28 29 Walk Out of Class to Support


Kavanaugh Not Return 1 2Will 3 4 to5 Teach at Harvard Law School




10 11


12 13

Harvard, Students for Fair Admissions 14 15 16Do Battle 17 Over 18 19 20 Discrimination on Day One of Trial

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Harvard, Grad Student Union Set to Begin Negotiations 28 29 30 31Monday










Bacow Responds to DeVos’s Title IX Rules, Releases 9Proposed 10 11 12 13 14 Policy Report


16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Prof. Fryer Facing Two More Harvard Investigations: One Title 23 24Financial 25 26 27 28 29 IX, One

Illegally Discriminates Against

26 27American 28 29 30 31 Asian Applicants

Two Sessions In, Grad Union 1 Says 2 3 Bargaining With Harvard Will Be 4Uphill5Battle6 7 8 9 10

11Harvard 12 Rolls 13 Out 14Mandatory 15 16 17 Sexual Assault Prevention Training for Faculty, Staff

18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Harvard Suggests Clarifying 25 26 27 28 29 30 Policies, Changing Yardfest in Final Report On Arrest of Black Student

December 1

12Social 13Groups 14 After 15GoLast 16Three 17 18 Holdouts Agree to Co-Ed


Kavanaugh Accusers 30

Social Groups Sue Harvard Over

5Harvard 6 Is 7 8 9 10 11 Without All-Female

19 20Department 21 22 Says 23Harvard 24 25 Justice

September Women, Ending Nearly 200 Years of 2All-Male 3 Performances 4 5 6 7


During 22 23First 24Washington 25 26Trip 27 28 as President, Bacow Pledges to Champion Higher Education 29 30 31

Hasty Pudding Theatricals Casts Six 1

Government Department Climate 1 2 3 Committee Releases First Report

Shutdown Poses Research 1 2 3 4 Challenges For Some Harvard Faculty






9 10 11 12

Harvard Law Prof. and Winthrop 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Dean Ronald Sullivan Joins Harvey

Bacow Tells Prison Divestment 1 Not2 Group He Responds to ‘Reason’ ‘Demands’





7 8 9

Harvard Launches ‘Climate Review’

10of Winthrop 11 12 13 14 15 16

Weinstein’s Legal Team 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

17Mass. 18Attorney 19 20 21 Office 22 23 General’s

Harvard, University Coalitions 27 28 DeVos 29 Title 30 IX31Changes Criticize

24 25 26 27 Violated 28 Labor Employees $46,000,

30 31

Found Harvard Shop Owed Laws




Mothers of Opioid Victims Urge 1 2 Harvard to Remove Sackler Name, 3Bacow4Refuses 5 6 7 8 9

With Unclear 1 2 Consequences, 3 4 5 6 HCFA’s Yearlong Probation Comes 7to a Close 8 9 10 11 12 13

Harvard Prof. Dominguez 1 2 Stripped 3 4 of Emeritus Status Following of Title 5Conclusion 6 7 8IX Investigation 9 10 11

Harvard 14 15 Investigates 16 17 Head 18 Fencing 19 20

Against 12‘With13Us or14 15 Us’:16Current, 17 18

Six Harvard in 16 10 11 12Alumni 13 Charged 14 15 Nationwide Admissions Fraud Scandal

17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Coach for Real Estate Transactions Involving Family of Current and 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Former Student-Athletes

Harvard Faces Lawsuit Alleging It 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Unlawfully Possesses and Profits

28 29 30 Cambridge Mayor McGovern,

31from First Photos of Slaves

Harvard Student Activists Rally for Heat Week

Former Winthrop Affiliates Say Deans Created Toxic 19Faculty 20 21 22 23 24 Environment


26 27 28 29 30 31 Winthrop Faculty Deans to Leave After Harvard Refuses to Renew Their Appointments


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

‘A Judgment Call’ Amid outcry over controversial gifts to the University, Harvard has kept its donation acceptance policies under wraps. By Aidan F. Ryan and CindY h. zhang Crimson Staff Writers

MATTHEW J. TYLER—Crimson Designer


ver the past two years, activists have periodically gathered in front of the Harvard Art Museums — not to take issue with anything in its collection, but rather to object to one of the names mounted on its facade. In the midst of a national opioid cri-


sis, the protesters have repeatedly called on Harvard to remove philanthropist and drug marketer Arthur M. Sackler’s name from its Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean art collection. Despite these persistent calls, University President Lawrence S. Bacow has re-

peatedly declined to remove Sackler’s name or return the gift to his estate. Sackler’s is not the only donation that has caused controversy in recent years. Gifts like those given by billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey E. Epstein and the Saudi Arabian government have

also prompted questions. These donations have raised concerns about how Harvard screens gifts it is offered and evaluates when it might be necessary to return a donation to its benefactor. An internal gift policy guides these decisions, but it is not made available to

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

the public. University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain declined to provide The Crimson with a copy of the policy or disclose members of the University Gift Policy Committee, a group chaired by University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 and made up of faculty members and administrators who review gifts. Swain wrote that Harvard accepts donations that will have a “positive impact” on Harvard affiliates and research. “Harvard accepts donations in good faith and with the expectation that the philanthropy is intended to have -- and will have -- a positive impact on learning, scholarship, teaching, research and the student experience at Harvard,” he wrote. “That, in turn, will continue to enable Harvard to make discoveries, educate future leaders, and contribute to innovation, progress and positive change.” Between the lack of a public gift policy and keeping its review committee members under wraps, Harvard appears to be making an effort to keep its fundraising policies and procedures behind closed doors. This secrecy in turn creates barriers to understanding the ethics behind Harvard’s fundraising.

Sackler, Saudi Arabia, and Epstein

As one of the wealthiest universities in the world, Harvard receives countless gifts every year. Some, however, receive more scrutiny than the rest. In the case of the Sackler donation, activists have argued that Harvard should remove its benefactor’s name because of what they say are ties to Purdue Pharma, the makers of the addictive painkiller OxyContin. Members of Sackler’s extended family have served as executives at the company and have been blamed for playing a role in the opioid epidemic. Since the 1990s, more than 200,000 Americans have died of opioid abuse. Bacow has repeatedly said the University would neither remove the Sackler family name from campus buildings nor return any past donations from the family, justifying his decision with Sackler’s lack of a connection to OxyContin’s production. “Dr. Arthur Sackler died before the drug was developed. His family sold their interest in the company before the drug was developed,” Bacow said. “I think it would be inappropriate for the University to either return the gift or take Dr. Sackler’s name off the building that his gift

supported given that he had absolutely no relationship to it.” Criticisms of Harvard’s connection to the Sackler family first arose in January 2018 when Nan Goldin, a photographer of several works housed in Harvard’s art collection, urged Harvard Art Museums to refuse donations from the family. At the time, Goldin was undergoing treatment for her addiction to OxyContin, and she later organized a “die-in” to protest the Harvard Art Museums’ ties to the Sackler family in July 2018. Activists and politicians have since joined calls for Harvard to remove Sackler’s name from the art museum, including Democratic presidential candidate and United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass). A spokesperson for Jillian Sackler, the widow of Arthur Sackler, did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story. In a recent interview, Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation William F. Lee ’72 said the Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — supports Bacow’s decision. “Issues like Sackler have arisen, President Bacow has basically articulated the position of the University,” Lee said. “But we’re the fiduciaries — we’re the board, he’s the boss, and we feel we fully support his position.” In that same interview, Lee declined to comment on Epstein’s donation, a gift about which Bacow has also refused to answer questions. Epstein, who never attended Harvard, donated tens of millions of dollars to the University, including funds to construct a Harvard Hillel building and to establish the University’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. In November, the Miami Herald reported that though he faced a potential life sentence for running a sex ring of underage girls out of his Palm Beach, Fla. home for years, Epstein’s legal team negotiated a plea deal that ended an FBI investigation into his conduct and sentenced him to 13 months in county jail. When the Epstein allegations first came to light in 2oo6, a Harvard spokesperson said the University would not return the gift. “Mr. Epstein’s gift is funding important research using mathematics to study areas such as evolutionary theory, viruses, and cancers,” a Harvard spokesperson said at the time. “The University is not considering returning this gift.” Former University President Derek C.

Bok — who was serving as interim president in 2006 — stood by a 1979 open letter he wrote on the ethics of accepting controversial gifts. He wrote that in extreme cases the University should return donations from those who earned their money immorally, but generally, the University should not consider the “symbolic” value of returning a gift. “[O]n the whole, I would be inclined to accept such donations on the ground that the tangible benefits of using the money … should overcome the more abstract, symbolic considerations that might lead us to turn down such benefactions,” Bok wrote. In light of the Miami Herald investigation, The Crimson reported on Epstein’s long-standing connections to Harvard. This time, the University stayed silent on the matter, with a University spokesperson declining to comment on the donation. Earlier this month, Bacow said he was not aware of Epstein’s donation or his connection to Harvard. “I don’t know the specifics of the Jeffrey Epstein donation or his relationship to the University, actually,” Bacow said. “I’m not going to speculate.” Epstein’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Cambridge residents and Harvard students have also questioned the University’s ties to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited both Harvard and MIT in March 2018. The University offered no public events or press releases about Prince Mohammad’s meetings with Harvard administrators, while the Saudi government touted “strong ties” between them and Harvard. After a group of Saudi citizens affiliated with the crown prince killed Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, many American businesses, politicians, and universities re-examined their affiliations with the kingdom. The Crimson also reported on ‘secretive, dubious partnerships’ between the University and the Saudi royal family through donations for programs and professorships across Harvard’s schools. A foundation with ties to Prince Mohammed — called MiSK — sponsors a summer leadership development course hosted at Harvard. A press release in March 2016 stated that the “MiSK Foundation has an agreement with Harvard University to allocate 12.5% of the 800 seats for MiSK students.” In an interview, Lee said the Corpora-

tion has not considered cutting ties with Saudi Arabia. “No, no,” Lee said. “I would say if you think about it, cutting ties for the country’s sort of a blunt instrument,” Lee added. “We did divest from Sudanese investments. But that was for really radically different reasons.” The Saudi Arabian embassy did not respond to a request for comment.

Top Secret

Amid these controversial donations, Harvard’s secretive gift review process offers little insight into its ethical standards. A website for Harvard’s Financial Policy Office says that its Alumni Affairs & Development office maintains a gift policy guide for the University. “ADS works collaboratively with internal and external University partners to...keep up-to-date the University Gift Policy Guide which covers issues that include endowment fund minimums, naming, financial administration of funds, establishing fund terms, and dealing with situations specific to particular types of donors, designations, or gift vehicles,” the website reads. When asked for the gift policy, Swain offered a statement instead. “The gift policy is designed to ensure that no gift to Harvard will provide a donor with real or perceived influence over the structure, process, content, or results of research, curriculum or other academic activities,” Swain wrote. “In accepting gifts, Harvard retains full control over the administration of the funds which are then administered for the purposes agreed to in the terms of the gift.” It is unclear what specific guidelines the policy includes, but Swain listed the types of donations Harvard does not take. “Harvard will not accept gifts with terms that would require involvement by the donor or a third party in directing the use or administration of the gifts, including decisions regarding admissions, financial aid awards, hiring, faculty appointments, or research topics,” Swain added. “Direct donor involvement in the administration of a gift is prohibited. Donors may not have special access to the results of research funded by a gift.” Harvard’s Gift Policy Committee is tasked with reviewing gifts from donors. Swain declined to name members of that committee. Beyond administrators’ unwillingness to share policy or committee specifics, it also does not appear to discuss their existence widely.


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

Some Harvard donors had not heard of the review committee and were not aware of whether their gifts had been reviewed. Paul A. Buttenwieser ’60, a donor and former Crimson editor, wrote he had not heard of the University Gift Policy in an email. “I hadn’t even known there was a Gift Policy Committee, and I neither know who serves on it nor what part of the University runs it,” Buttenwieser wrote. Peter L. Malkin ’55 — for whom the Malkin Athletic Center is named — was also not aware of the Gift Policy Committee. “I do not know whether this is a long-standing committee or whether it’s something new, but the answer is I have never heard of it personally,” Malkin said. The Gift Policy Committee is the main forum for reviewing gifts, but Lee said on rare occasions he and the rest 0f the Corporation will weigh in if asked by the committee. “From time to time, there will be issues that have come to that committee that they will want the Corporation to know about, and usually I’ll get a call,” Lee said. “And it will just be, ‘Here’s the question, here’s what the committee has decided, do you think there’s any problem?’ And it will generally not go any further than maybe me and the treasurer.” Lee also said the Corporation can get involved in managing major donations as well. He cited gifts from billionaires Gerald L. Chan, who pledged a $350 million gift to rename the School of Public Health, and John A. Paulson, who gave the largest gift in University history with

his $400 million donation toward the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Generally, though, Lee said the Gift Policy Committee makes the decisions on their own. “They come to us pretty rarely, because the guiding principles are pretty clear, which is, we’re very grateful to our donors, but anyone who gives a gift basically has to make the gift, but then rely upon the University to administer the gift and use the funds in the best interest of the faculty and students, and without the donor believing that it somehow gives them a right to become involved in the management of the University,” Lee said.

The Ethical Stakes

When issues arise after a gift has already been given, the path forward is also unclear. Swain wrote that it is highly unusual for the University to return a gift. He also wrote that a variety of factors go into choosing which gifts to review and that accepted gifts should contribute to the academic or student experience at Harvard. “Terms for funds gifted to the university include protections for Harvard’s fundamental commitment to academic freedom and the rigorous and independent pursuit of truth,” he wrote. Experts disagree on how the University should proceed with donations from controversial benefactors. Chiara Cordelli, a professor at the University of Chicago who studies philanthropy, said that it is important to acknowledge that Harvard is wealthy enough not to accept every gift offered

The Arthur M. Sackler building. The use of the Sackler name at Harvard has recently come under scrutiny for the family’s ties to the opioid crisis. awnit s. marta—Crimson photographer


Renamed in 1985 to honor Peter L. Malkin ‘55, the Malkin Athletic Center is one of Harvard’s primary recreational centers. ryan n. gajarawala—Crimson photographer

and thus should use more discretion in accepting donations. “Harvard generally does not need to accept certain donations in order to survive and of course, depending on the organization, there are different symbolic or expressive powers that come with accepting the donation,” Cordelli said. “If you are accepting a donation that … directly comes from an injustice such that if the injustice hasn’t occurred then the money wouldn’t be there, then there is a serious question of complicity. You can be depriving victims of the injustice of resources that they should receive.” Both Cordelli and Peter A.D. Singer, a philosopher and professor at Princeton, said that money from the Sackler family would be better used to repair the damage of the opioid epidemic. “An institution like Harvard could remove the name and indicate it would not return the gift but put similar funds toward something else,” said Singer, who suggested medical programs to help those addicted to opioids, social science programs to study vulnerable populations, and other legal and ethical programs. Cordelli, however, also noted that legal considerations may make this challenging. “Contractually, you’re not supposed to redirect the money unless the donor consents. What I think Harvard should do is to publicly push for the donor to give consent to redirect the money for a program that can be regarded as reparative of the injustice done,” Cordelli said. “If the donor refuses to give this consent — I think

in the case of Harvard, this might change case-by-case — Harvard should give back the money.” Swain declined to comment on criticisms of Harvard’s use of the Sackler gift. Harvard recently started a partnership with the University of Michigan to study solutions to the opioid epidemic. Similar to Bok’s views in 1979, Malkin said that a donation should be accepted unless a donor earned their money illegally or has bad intentions. “My feeling is that unless the donation will serve an ulterior purpose of the donor or will be derived from funds that were received from an illegal or grossly improper source, I think that the University certainly should have the discussion to whether to accept the donations,” Malkin said. Rick Cohen, an executive at the National Council of Nonprofits, said that ultimately, there’s no one right or wrong answer. “At the end of the day, it’s about what is in the best interest of the organization, the people that the organization serves,” Cohen said. “Where the money comes from is part of the consideration, but the larger consideration should always be the mission of the organization. That’s not to say money from a bad place should always be accepted if the organization is going to do something good with it. It’s a judgment call for each organization.”

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

The Athlete Advantage Recruited athletes often earn a boost in the admissions process, receiving endorsements and advice from coaches. By Delano R. Franklin and Devin E. Srivastava


Crimson Staff Writers

vy Day — when Harvard releases its admissions decisions, alongside other Ivy League schools — was March 28 this year. But for many recruited athletes, acceptances came much earlier. Endorsed by Harvard coaches, these students received advanced notice that they had won places in the College’s incoming freshman class via highly coveted “likely letters.” “We send such an early positive indication only to outstanding applicants,” the College wrote in an email to some recruited athletes in the Class of 2022. By assuring some students early on that there is spot available to them, likely letters allow recruited athletes to start preparing for their move to Harvard Yard. But the admissions process for recruited athletes starts much sooner, sometimes as early as sophomore year of high school. Harvard coaches might first connect with prospects over email; others might meet them at various national tournaments. Though early communications with Harvard officials and campus visits mean that recruited athletes quickly get acquainted with the College, Harvard has maintained that athletes go through the same admissions process as everyone else. Several recent high-profile controversies and legal challenges have brought increased scrutiny to recruitment policies at elite schools. The University is currently investigating its head fencing coach after allegations surfaced last month that he sold his Needham, Mass. house to the father of a fencing recruit who was subsequently admitted to the College.

Those accusations came weeks after federal prosecutors announced an unrelated investigation — known as “Operation Varsity Blues” — that culminated in indictments of 50 people in connection with a national racketeering scandal. Some of the parents charged in the investigation allegedly bribed coaches at various elite universities to recruit their children as athletes. And just last year, the trial for the admissions lawsuit filed by anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard brought to light details about the boost recruited athletes receive in the College’s admissions process. An internal report included in court filings found that highly academically qualified athletes see an acceptance rate of roughly 83 percent. Despite recent headlines, recruitment remains a priority for Harvard athletics. Each year, the University pours more than $1 million into the practice, and hundreds of recruited athletes commit to the College. Many higher education experts say athletic recruiting perpetuates social inequalities and favors white, wealthy students. As critics continue to search for inequities in the College’s admissions process, Harvard’s recruitment practices will likely come under even greater scrutiny in the near future.


Victor Crouin ’22, a member of Harvard’s squash team who hails from France, said he was at the 2017 world junior squash championship in Tauranga, New Zealand when he first connected with a Universi-

TRUELIAN LEE—Crimson Designer

ty coach. “The coach went all the way to New Zealand to watch the students, and then pick a few of them, and ask them, and give them a spot in case their grades were good enough,” Crouin said. Harvard’s coaches and recruiting coordinators trek across the world looking for new additions to their teams. The travel costs add up. The Athletics Department incurred more than $1 million in recruiting expenses in fiscal year 2018, or roughly 4 percent of the department’s total expenses that year. Though recruiting tactics and regulations vary from sport to sport, coaches often try to contact prospects well before they begin applying to colleges. Coaches can reach out to recruits in their sophomore or junior year of high school and invite them to visit Harvard starting junior year. Riley L. McDermott ’22, a member of Harvard’s track and field team, said colleges started reaching out to him during his junior year of high school. His first

contact with a Harvard coach occurred the summer after his junior year. “I got a call from a coach here and they basically just said, ‘Hey, we’re interested in you,’” he said. “They talk to you on the phone and try to get a feel for what kind of guy you are.” Other athletes said they reached out to Harvard first. Some recruits contact coaches on their own, while others enlist the help of parents, coaches, or recruiting agencies. Campbell J. Schoenfeld ’22, a member of the men’s volleyball team, said his father was the one who first reached out to Harvard. “My dad sent the coach at Harvard an email of my recruiting video and I thought it was crazy,” Schoenfeld said. “I hadn’t thought of Harvard ever before and he just shot that email out. And then they saw me play at nationals. And then that summer I came here for camp and talked to the coach more.” Certain sports, however, don’t require coaches and recruiting coordina-


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

tors to travel much. McDermott noted that, though Harvard reached out to him, he did not meet with any coaches in person prior to visiting campus. Runners, jumpers, and throwers have the option of sending coaches race times or distances — which are often available online — to demonstrate their athletic prowess. After coaches travel and meet prospective recruits, many then invite athletes to campus on “official visits” to meet with coaches and other athletes, attend practices and classes, and stay overnight with a current student. Though high school seniors can sign up for overnight visits or spend time on campus with other College programs, official visits are a part of the admissions process reserved for athletic recruits. Cameron J. McInroy ’22, a rower on the men’s lightweight crew team, described his official visit as “brilliant” and said it was a major factor in his decision to attend Harvard. “I think it was partly what convinced me to come,” McInroy said. “I definitely felt like I knew the place a lot better other than just visiting as a tourist.” McInroy had previously come to Cambridge to row in the annual Head of the Charles Regatta, but said his official visit let him experience the campus in a new way. “We had this one nighttime row that I was out in the launch for. And it was crazy beautiful, because it was all dark. You just had Boston lights. It was a pretty good time,” McInroy said. “And then I tried a few classes. Just being on campus was definitely pretty nice.”


Harvard’s coaches wield considerable power over the admissions prospects of recruited athletes as they both advise and endorse prospective students. Like the other universities in the Ivy League, Harvard does not offer athletic scholarships — only need-based financial aid. Unlike some schools, Harvard does not reserve spots in each admitted class for recruits, according to College spokesperson Aaron M. Goldman. “We find out how many athletes we would be able to support and then we are looking at a number of candidates to kind of fill those positions,” squash team recruiting coordinator Luke Hammond said. “But that does not mean it’s a slot at Harvard. It’s far from that.” In looking for candidates, coaches sometimes ask prospective students to send them their high school transcripts


so they can vet their academic qualifications before endorsing their application. “Having done it for a few years, we’ve got a pretty good sense of who has a chance of being admitted,” Hammond said. Though some students send coaches standardized test scores, McInroy said the rowing coaches only asked for informal confirmation of his academic qualifications. He said the coaches asked about his SAT scores “so that they could then tell [him] whether they’d be good enough to be recruited.” “But I didn’t have to give them like exact exam scores and everything,” he added. “But it was like, ‘What SAT are you getting? Can we recruit you?’”

We find out how many athletes we would be able to support and then we are looking at a number of candidates to kind of fill those positions...But that does not mean it’s a slot at Harvard. It’s far from that. LUKE HAMMOND Squash team recruiting coordinator

McDermott said his coaches gave him specific advice on how to approach his application to Harvard as an athlete. “I was told specifically not to talk about track in my essays. They were like, ‘They know you’re a recruited athlete. Don’t talk about it,’” he said. “So I avoided that.” Some international recruits, many of whom had little prior knowledge of the American college admissions system, pointed to their Harvard coaches as the people who led them through the process. Kyle J. Murphy ’22, who is from Australia and is now on the track and field team, said Harvard coaches ran him through the basics so he would be prepared to apply. “The process is the same, but it has a little bit of a unique impact for international recruits,” Murphy said. “I didn’t really know what the SAT was or a GPA or anything like that. So, through recruiting, they helped me actually figure out what the process is to come to college in the United States.” As recruits finalize and submit their applications, coaches choose to officially endorse some athletes. The admissions com-

mittee takes these endorsements into consideration and typically sends likely letters to those athletes tapped by coaches. Even after talks with coaches and official visits, recruited athletes apply to Harvard using the same application process as all other students — that is, they submit essays and test scores, sit for alumni interviews, and can only earn admission after a vote from the full admissions committee. The eight Ivy League schools have policies stating their admissions offices may only issue likely letters between Oct. 1 and March 15. The Harvard admissions office, therefore, can send likely letters even a few weeks before the Oct. 15 early application deadline. Official admissions results are typically not released until mid-December for early action applicants. “Likely letters will have the effect of letters of admission, in that as long as the applicant sustains the academic and personal record reflected in the completed application, the institution will send a formal admission offer on the appropriate notification date,” a joint Ivy League agreement on admissions procedures states. Schoenfeld said he received a likely letter around a week after submitting his application, though he did not receive an official offer of admission until later. “My coach was like, ‘Okay, I need your application to take to admissions with my likely letter,’” he said. “I sent it in and he had my application and, like, next week I got the phone call from admissions. It was super early.”


The details of the College’s recruiting process and the degree to which it differs from the standard application process has made Harvard a consistent target for critics. In particular, anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions, which is suing the University for allegedly discriminating against Asian American applicants, argues that Harvard’s athletic recruitment has contributed to racial discrimination in the admissions process. Harvard has repeatedly denied allegations of discrimination. Last summer, SFFA filed documents in court including an internal University report that found that the College’s acceptance rate for highly academically qualified athletes is roughly 83 percent. Non-athletes with similar qualifications

see an acceptance rate of 16 percent. Hammond said those numbers can be misleading, however, because coaches vet recruited athletes before the admissions committee even looks at their applications. “The success rate for the department overall is very high. But that’s because so much work has been done on the front end,” he said. Still, some experts claim athletic recruiting exacerbates inequality in higher education. Graduate School of Education Professor Natasha K. Warikoo said recruitment largely benefits already privileged students. “The research suggests that athletic recruiting leads to greater inequality in admissions, because the majority of students who are being recruited have some kind of privilege,” Warikoo said. “In some ways, in order to get to a point where you have the skills, and also get scouted to be recruited, means that you have to have certain kinds of resources.” Recruited athletes sometimes attend expensive summer camps and receive private coaching to strengthen their skills and attract the attention of recruiters, Warikoo said. Some have said the nationwide admissions scandal — in which people bought their children admission to elite universities — reveals how the recruitment process could be manipulated or abused by those with the resources to do so. The case, which came to light in March, did not directly implicate Harvard. Federal investigators found that wealthy parents bribed college admissions advisers, standardized test administrators, and coaches to falsify their children’s credentials and secure them spots at various universities. In one instance, investigators found that a woman recruited to play soccer at Yale did not actually play soccer. Rather, her parents paid college adviser William “Rick” Singer — who has since pled guilty to federal charges — $1.2 million to get her a spot at Yale. The head coach of Yale women’s soccer, Rudolph “Rudy” Meredith, recruited the woman in exchange for a $400,000 bribe. Rick Eckstein, a Villanova University sociology professor who studies youth sports, said the bribery scandal closely resembles legal iterations of the recruiting process. “This scandal, this so-called corruption, is a millimeter — it is a molecule — away from business as usual. These admissions advantages exist. They’re real.

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

Communication with Coaches

Credentials Submission

Official Visits

Athletics Recommendations

Likely Letters

Admissions Offers

As early as freshman year of high school for some athletes, coaches reach out to some prospects, while others reach out directly to Harvard. The NCAA sets limits for how early recruiting can begin that differ between sports.

Coaches commit their support for some recruits in the admissions process, which the Admissions Office takes into consideration, though recruits’ applications go through the same admissions process.

Prospective student athletes share copies of transcripts and athletic records or highlight reels to determine whether Harvard will be a good fit for the student.

Some prospects receive likely letters before receiving their official offers of admission, which indicate that they are likely to be admitted.

Coaches invite promising prospects to campus on official visits, usually in the fall before they apply to Harvard, where they meet current student athletes and attend practices and classes.

Recruited athletes who win offers of admission then decide whether they will attend Harvard and withdraw applications to other schools.

AKHIL S. WAGHMARE—Crimson Designer

They’re strong,” Eckstein said. “None of this stuff would have worked unless the system existed where coaches get these preferential slots and admissions officers are kind of part of the system.” Harvard was not implicated in the scandal — a fact that University President Lawrence S. Bacow attributed in part to the College’s requirement that all applicants sit for alumni interviews. He also noted that Athletics Department officials are not involved in making admissions decisions. In a March interview, Bacow said “we do some things very differently” compared to some of the schools implicated in the scandal. “For example, with respect to athletes, every athlete who is admitted to Harvard gets an interview,” he said. “Apparently, not true at some institutions.” Less than a month after Bacow’s comments, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay announced on April 4 that Harvard was investigating

head fencing coach Peter Brand after the discovery that he sold his home to the father of a current sophomore for hundreds of thousands of dollars above its market valuation. Administrators also decided to retrain all Harvard coaches on the University’s conflict of interest policies in the wake of the scandal. Still, as the University reckons with the accusations against its fencing coach, many of Harvard’s athletes report that they believe the recruiting process is overall a fair one. “I know some athletes feel ingenuine when they get here,” McDermott said. “To be an athlete, like, I worked really hard in high school. I spent years and years, thousands and thousands of miles running, just to get to that level — to get into college.” “I feel like I’ve earned my way here,” he said.

In light of the Operation Varsity Blues scandal, athletic recruitment at Harvard has come under scrutiny. kai r. mcnamee—Crimson photographer


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

A New Day for

Divestment By Alexandra A. Chaidez and Luke W. Vrotsos Crimson Staff Writers

Student activism at Harvard has evolved over the years, and while divestment is nothing new, it’s now become students’ favorite tactic.

Disclose, Divest, or This 12

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019


ust moments after University President Lawrence S. Bacow took the stage in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Harvard Kennedy School at an event in early April, student protesters emerged from the crowd with signs demanding divestment. Six activists joined Bacow on the stage, sitting silently with their signs aloft as the Kennedy School’s dean implored them to leave the stage and allow the event to continue. Following his request, the students and roughly 20 counterparts scattered throughout the room began their signature chant: “Disclose, divest, or this movement will not rest.” Addressing the

protesters, Bacow questioned their methods. “You’re not being helpful to your cause and I suspect you’re also not gaining many friends or many allies in the audience by virtue in the way in which you choose to express your point of view,” Bacow said. After a few minutes, he left the stage to continue the event in another room, while students remained chanting a while longer before leaving together and returning to Harvard Yard ecstatic. The demonstration represented the first time that activists from Divest Harvard and the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign had joined together publicly to advocate for their cause. Over the past several months, the two groups have ramped up their de-

mands for the University to divest its nearly $40 billion endowment from companies related to the fossil fuel and prison industries. While Harvard is no stranger to divestment activism, this year has seen the revitalization and creation of movements demanding the withdrawal of investments activists believe to be destructive and immoral. At the same time, Bacow has maintained a longstanding precedent that the endowment should not be used toward political ends. As climate change and the United States prison system continue to garner national attention, Harvard’s divestment movements have sought to bring these conversations to Cambridge. Their history, newfound collaboration, and tactics have forced the University to confront a distinctly divestment-focused campus discourse,

raising questions about the role of Harvard’s endowment in the world.

Movement Roots

Calls for divestment may be in vogue at Harvard today, but are not new in the scope of University history. Harvard Management Company — which oversees the endowment — has a sustainable investment policy, which states that the University does, “on very rare occasions,” divest from companies whose activities are “deeply repugnant and ethically unjustifiable.” Harvard has divested three times in recent history — partially from South African apartheid in 1986, fully from tobacco in 1990, and from one company tied to the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan in 2005. After divesting in 2005, the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — reiterated its pol-

elena M. Ramos—Crimson Designer

Movement Will Not Rest 13

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

icy of a “strong presumption” against divestment, unless in “exceptional circumstances.” Fossil fuel divestment, the University’s largest and longest-running campaign active today, did not start at Harvard. The movement has its roots at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where students founded Swarthmore Mountain Justice in October 2010. Patrick Walsh, a member of the group who graduated from Swarthmore in 2014, said mountaintop removal mining in West Virginia inspired the group to call for Swarthmore’s divestment from coal and other fossil fuels. He said the student activists settled on divestment after considering past movements against apartheid at the school. Swarthmore has not divested from fossil fuels, but more than a dozen universities nationwide have since partially or fully divested, including Stanford. Calls for divestment from prison-related companies, while new to Harvard this year, also have a history elsewhere. Columbia became the first American university to divest from private prisons in August 2015 following student sitins

and other protests. The movement spread throughout the Ivy League, first picking up steam at Princeton. After students made a list of 11 private prison companies from which to divest, a university committee’s 2018 report stated that Princeton did not hold stock in any of them. Micah Herskind, a prison divestment activist

a t Princeton, said the school still contracts with companies like Aramark that work with private prisons. Over the past year, Herskind said activists have wound down their protests because it has appeared unlikely that Princeton will heed their calls for full divestment.

“This is a place where… Princeton has all the power and has made it clear that it’s not willing to make a moral decision,” he

said. A Princeton spokesperson declined to comment on further calls for divestment. At Harvard, however, divestment movements including those opposed to prison-related holdings have gained momentum throughout the year.

The Divestment Landscape

Two core movements dominate Harvard’s divestment landscape — students opposed to fossil fuel investments, and students opposed to investments in companies related to the prison industry. The fossil fuel divestment campaign first began in 2012. Activism reached a boiling point in 2015 with Heat Week, during which Divest Harvard members occupied Massachusetts Hall for days in an effort to persuade then-University President Drew G. Faust to MATTHEW J. TYLER—Crimson Designer


back their cause. Earlier this spring, students held another Heat Week, this time focused on demonstrations rather than blockading buildings. Prison divestment activists with HPDC held their first public event in November 2018, but had discussed the issue privately during the months prior. Since its inception, the group has hosted rallies, circulated petitions, and met with Bacow several times to personally advocate their cause. A fledgling movement to divest post, Harvard from Baua

company that holds Puerto Rican debt, also sprang up in fall 2018, but has not pursued public activism on the same scale as Divest Harvard and HPDC. While Divest Harvard and HPDC share a preferred mechanism for change, each group is distinct in mission and tactics. Isa Flores-Jones ’19 credited fossil fuel divestment’s resurgence to a rising tide of climate activism around the world. In 2018, students in countries including Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States walked out of schools to demand solutions to the worsening climate crisis. “Divest Harvard is a very young campaign, following and considering ourselves a part of a global youth-led climate movement,” Flores-Jones said. “I think that’s also a big difference in the way that students are thinking about fossil fuel divestment at this particular moment, is that they see themselves as part of this national and international effort to really center young voices and also voices of frontline community members.” The United Nations-linked Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also released a report in October 2018 that

forecasted a continued rise in global average temperature, worsening food shortages and wildfires, and the destruction of coral reefs by 2040. Divest Harvard organizer Ilana A. Cohen ’22 said that Harvard’s financial support of the fossil fuel industry is “morally unjustifiable” given recent climate research. “There is a point in time at which it will be so socially unacceptable for Harvard to be continuing to prop up an industry at the heart of this injustice that they will divest,” Cohen said. “The question is when, and that depends upon public pressure.” Faculty and alumni have also contributed to calls for fossil fuel divestment. Philosophy professor Edward J. Hall is among a group of faculty who have encouraged Bacow to discuss divestment with faculty, raising the issue at a faculty meeting. “For us, in some ways, one of the things that’s most important is that there be a kind of comprehensive, sophisticated discussion of the pros and cons of divestment,” he said. In January, several alumni and faculty members — led by Timothy E. Wirth ’61, a former member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers and former United States sena-

tor from Colorado — met with Bacow and Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow William F. Lee ’72 to advocate for fossil fuel divestment.

Divest Harvard is a very young campaign, following and considering ourselves a part of a global youth-led climate movement. isa flores-jones ’19 Divest Harvard Organizer

The group, which also included former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy and former Securities and Exchange commissioner Bevis Longstreth, recently wrote to Bacow and Lee asking them to meet again over the summer and clarify the school’s engagement strategies. “As you know, advocacy for divesting from fossil fuels reaches far beyond any political agenda, into profound existential issues related to the globe’s environment and mankind’s survival, issues that the University’s teaching and research rec-

ognize,” the group wrote in their letter. “It would be great if you could modify the University’s statements about divesting to better reflect the depth of the climate issue, which every institution should attack with all available tools.” University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain said Bacow and Lee have received the letter and plan to respond but have not done so yet. He declined to comment further on calls for divestment, directing The Crimson to previous statements he has offered on the subject. “The University’s position, as it has stated previously, is that it should not use the endowment to achieve political ends, or particular policy ends,” Swain previously wrote. “As President Larry Bacow has said, the University agrees with the urgent need to tackle climate change and has valued the opportunity to discuss the issues with members of the community. Harvard is committed to influencing public policy on climate change through scholarship and research.” Prison divestment activists have also employed a number of strategies, including a specific focus on educating Harvard affiliates about the U.S. prison system. HPDC, which comprises both undergraduate and graduate students, has host-

ed six Abolition Action Assemblies — discussions about eliminating prisons that touch on issues like gentrification and homelessness. Harvard Law School student and HPDC organizer Amanda T. Chan said the assemblies were a part of the campaign’s attempt to build a base on campus through “political education.” “Connecting the carceral state to your role as a student, and to the role of your university and the world is actually really enlightening for people who, at first glance, might not give too much thought to why investing in prisons is bad,” Chan said. Graduate School of Design alumnus Samuel A. J. Matthew co-founded the campaign along with Anthropology department graduate student Jarrett M. Drake as part of a project for a class on incarceration. Initially, the two envisioned the project as a way to better inform school affiliates about Harvard’s investments in the “prison industrial complex.” After the class ended, the duo eventually brought on several organizers to implement a broader initiative. “The team has been amazing and has taken it to… whole levels, above which we could kind of barely imagined when we

Divest Harvard, in collaboration with Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign, has organized several campus-wide events to mobilize opposition to Harvard’s investment holdings. kai r. mcnamee— Crimson photographer


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

started,” Matthew said. Since the beginning of the campaign, Bacow has met several times with members of HPDC during his designated office hours. During a m e e ting with activists in February, Bacow said he does not respond to “ d e mands.” “One thing dersta nd you have to unabout me is that I don’t respond to demands, I respond to reason,” Bacow told students at the time. In another meeting with two HPDC organizers, Bacow disclosed that Harvard’s total financial holdings in companies tied to the prison industry amounts to roughly $18,000. Bacow also said the University does not have direct holdings in businesses that operate private prisons. The group said their research indicates that the University has $3 million invested in the “prison-industrial complex” as of February. HPDC said their number accounts for Harvard’s holdings


in banks and compa nies like Bank of America and Amazon.

‘Building in Solidarity’

Unlike in previous years when divest campaigns have operated largely solo, the existence of two major campaigns has provided an opportunity for collaboration. Still, members of the two groups recognize that there are differences in how they’ve been received on campus. Flores-Jones said one of Divest Harvard’s organizing principles this semester has been pursuing a partnership with HPDC. “I think that the organizing tactic on campus this semester has really been towards base building, has really been towards building in solidarity with the other major divestment campaign on the campus, building solidarity with other students, activists, and trying to create hope and possibility, not just in terms of fossil fuel divestment on campus, but also in terms of the way that we are all working on and against the climate crisis,” FloresJones said. The April Kennedy School protest also served as a key moment for bringing the two campaigns together. HPDC organizer Zoe L. Hopkins ’22 said the April action at the Forum

“launched” the group’s relationship with its fossil fuel counterpart. “We’re really hoping that we can continue to grow our relationship with the fossil fuel divestment campaign,” Hopkins said. “We can discuss how we can continue to facilitate this collective power, and how we can work together to achieve our asks.” In addition to the joint protest, Salma Abdelrahman ’20 — a member of HPDC — also spoke at Heat Week’s closing rally this year. Abdelrahman said that the groups are in “direct partnership and collaboration.” Despite these shared moments, however, organizers also identified distinct challenges each group faces, especially HPDC. In an April 12 interview, Bacow said that prison and fossil fuel divestment are “obviously” different issues, but that they can both be solved through scholarship, rather than divestment. “What they share in common is that in both cases, I believe the way the University can respond to the challenges of climate change, as well as the challenges represented or issues represented by mass incarceration, are the same,” Bacow said. “And that is our principal way that we influence the world — is through our scholarship and through our teaching.” Divest Harvard benefits from being long established on campus. Its age has allowed it to build a more substantial faculty and alumni base.

Wirth said that while he’s not resistant to prison divestment, he believes fossil fuels are a more salient issue. “People do what they want to do and what they think is the most effective avenue, and we have chosen fossil fuel as the process to target because of the extraordinary overhanging load of the climate crisis,” Wirth said. “That just is overwhelming everything else.” Members of the two divestment movements have also identified instances in which administrators have responded differently to shared activism. Following the Kennedy School protest, resident deans at the College and deans in the Law School were asked to identify students who were involved in the protest, according to Hopkins. No students are known to have been punished for their participation, but Abdelrahman said some HPDC members were informally told that they could face disciplinary action in the future if they were to act similarly. “We were able to thankfully navigate through that and circumvent the fear that they were trying to fester up within our group to prevent us from pursuing future action,” Hopkins said. Flores-Jones said members of Divest Harvard were not threatened with similar disciplinary action, despite their involvement in the same protest. “None of our members were disciplined or were threatened with discipline directly,” Flores-Jones said. “I think that

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

is a huge difference, especially considering that we use many of the same tactics as HPDC.” “It is something that we feel necessary to call out as we work towards real solidarity and real coalition work on campus,” she added. College spokesperson Rachael Dane declined to comment on disciplinary processes or procedures, citing a policy not to discuss the Administrative Board’s activities.

‘A Very, Very Long Process’

Divest Harvard and HPDC have fully embraced divestment as their method of choice for advancing their causes. While campaigns to withdraw Harvard’s endowment from different companies have seen varying degrees of success over the years, experts are divided on the strategy’s efficacy for creating lasting change. Fossil fuel divestment in particular has gained popularity around the world in recent years. New York City and Ireland are among city and national governments that have sought to legislatively cut their ties with the fossil fuel industry. Robert Pollin, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said divestment would have little economic effect on fossil fuel companies because other investors would simply buy the shares that universities sell. “When somebody else buys [the shares], the fossil fuel companies don’t

take any kind of economic hit,” he said. “The fact of the matter is there’s virtually no impact whatsoever on the direct economic status of the fuel companies as it affects their stock prices. It hasn’t affected their investment activities. It hasn’t affected their profits.” Pollin said it may be more effective for students to push for reductions in carbon emissions at their universities. Former University President Drew G. Faust announced in early 2018 Harvard plans to be “fossil fuel neutral” by 2026 and “fossil fuel free” by 2050. The University set a 10-year goal in 2006 to reduce its emissions by 30 percent, which it said it met in 2016. Pollin conceded, however, that divestment could offer symbolic value that may advance activists’ goals. “I know that’s part of what divestment activists have been focused on. And they’ve been successful, and I want to give them credit for that. I’m certainly not hostile to all of it,” he said. Others say that if Harvard were to divest, it might inspire others to do the same, influencing the market. Paula J. Caplan ’69, a research associate at the DuBois Institute who has long worked to reduce compensation at Harvard Management Company, said she supports both major divestment movements. “It’s certainly inspiring to see that this is going on,” Caplan said. “I think it needs to be done. It’s so clear it needs to be done.

If Harvard does it, then probably a lot of other places will follow. And so it’s wonderful that these students are leading the way.” Divest Harvard organizer Carl F. Denton ’19, a Crimson Magazine editor, said the divestment movement is effective because it stigmatizes the fossil fuel industry and creates public pressure to withdraw Harvard’s holdings. “The one thing that divestment does is makes a very strong public statement that the people at large are not okay with that activity, and that it should not be allowed to continue,” Denton said. Some acknowledged that the value of divestment lies in its symbolic importance, not its economic impacts. “For those who are supportive of fossil fuel divestment, they acknowledge that this is largely a symbolic thing. But symbolism in this point in human history, can be very powerful, and maybe more so than the exact causal relationship,” said Northeastern University Professor Jennie C. Stephens ’97, who studies energy policy and divestment. Tyler Hansen, a University of Massachusetts Amherst Ph.D. student who has worked with Pollin, said divestment could shift public discourse, but realistically will have little effect by itself on the fossil fuel and prison industries. “Since the divestment movement started, the movement has had an impact on public consciousness, bringing liberal

climate change concepts into the mainstream and more radical concepts closer to the mainstream,” Hansen said. “It’s had a very important impact in that sense.” “However, the actual strategy of divesting — of moving the money itself — hasn’t been affecting share prices and we don’t expect it to do so anytime soon,” he added. Hansen pointed to other strategies, such as encouraging universities to go fossil fuel free or passing the Green New Deal — a progressive economic plan geared toward sustainability — as necessary supplements to divestment-focused activism. Abdelrahman said that divestment is vital because it advocates concrete actions Harvard can take. Like Hansen, however, she said she sees divestment as a “small step in a very, very long process” of reforming the U.S. prison system. “We say that we care about these issues. What is the thing that we have control over that is causing direct harm to communities that we can change? And how do we change it?” Abdelrahman said. “Money talks at this place. And it’s important to recognize that, and recognize the power of divestment as a tool to send a message.” “The reality is this is a really messed up system,” she added. “And we have a part to play in changing that.”

elena M. RAMOS and Matthew J. Tyler—Crimson Designers


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

‘We Will Tell Our Stories’ As Harvard faces a lawsuit challenging its admissions processes, students of color build coalitions to defend affirmative action. By camille G. Caldera and Amanda Y. Su Crimson Staff Writers Matthew J. Tyler—Crimson Designer


day before a high-stakes and high-profile lawsuit challenging Harvard’s admissions practices went to trial in mid-October, students took to the streets of Harvard Square chanting and holding signs to defend affirmative action at the College. Students marched from the Harvard Square T stop to Cambridge Common in bright, blue shirts with the slogan “Defend Diversity” and carried signs reading “The Spot I Have, I Earned,” “Yellow Peril Supports Black Power,” and “Diverse Campuses = Better Campuses.” “We will not be silenced — we will tell our stories,” another sign at the rally read. The rally marked the end of “#DefendDiversity Week” — a series of events organized by campus groups to garner support for race-conscious admissions and educate students about the impending trial. Though student organizing ramped up in the weeks leading up to the trial, the lawsuit had been looming over the University for years. Anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions sued Harvard in 2014 over allegations that it discriminates against Asian-American applicants — a charge the University has repeatedly denied. The trial lasted three weeks, during which SFFA and Harvard delivered their



arguments for and against race-conscious admissions, featuring testimony from administrators, experts, and students. Outside of the courtroom, students from different affinity groups united to protest publicly and host teach-ins to show their support for affirmative action and diversity at large. Former Asian American Association co-President Jonathan T. Paek ’20 said the lawsuit provided a coalition-building opportunity for students of color. “Obviously there’s differences racially between our student groups, and there’s different histories,” Paek said. “But at the same time, we were able to get together and act in solidarity with these other minority groups and communities of color.”


Student activists aimed to demonstrate how affirmative action can affect all students on campus, regardless of ethnicity or racial background, Cecilia A. J. Nuñez ’20 — a student who testified in the trial — said. Nuñez, who is also the president of Phillips Brooks House Association and former vice president of Fuerza Latina, said she believed the case attempted to pit different minority groups against each other. Black Students Association President

Aba Sam ’20 said she thought the divisive premise of the case threatened to exclude underrepresented groups from the discussion. “I believe SFFA set out to frame this as white admissions officers are discriminating against Asian Americans,” Sam said. “That’s sort of pushing black, Latinx, Native students and other minority groups on campus out of the conversation.”

Something we were trying to do is make sure students come together and realize that we all have a stake in diversity on campus. Cecila Nuñez ’20 President of Phillips Brooks House Association

Administrators appeared to be aware of the potential for division. Days before the trial, University President Lawrence S. Bacow sent an email to Harvard affiliates defending the College’s practices, but also warning them to not let the lawsuit create rifts between them. At the Oct. 14 rally, students sport-

ed buttons reading “#DefendDiversity” and others reading “#notyourwedge” adorned with images of cheese. The latter button symbolized what many said they saw as an attempt to use Asian Americans to divide minority communities for the benefit of white students. “Something we were trying to do is make sure students come together and realize that we all have a stake in diversity on campus, ” Nuñez said. Each group had different motivations for backing Harvard’s side of the lawsuit and defending race-conscious admissions more broadly. Nuñez said underrepresented minority groups have the “most to lose” if Harvard were to transition to a race-blind admissions process. Native Americans at Harvard College Treasurer Kennard G. Dillon II ’20 said he believed if Harvard were to adopt a race-blind policy, admissions for minority students would drop by 50 percent — a projection that administrators referenced in their testimony at trial. Dillon said Native American students represent just 1.9 percent of the class of 2022. “It’s already small to begin with, so for it to go down by half, which was projected, then that’s already a drastic change,” he said. For Asian and Asian American students who backed Harvard, activism ef-

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

forts focused on providing accurate representations of their experiences, said Daniel Lu ’20 — a former board member of the Task Force on Asian and Pacific American Studies. “In some ways, it’s like this was our fight to fight in the sense that we wanted to show everyone, including other students on this campus, that this lawsuit did not represent most Asian American view-

If we were going to be this political identity, we need to be in solidarity with other marginalized communities as well. Catherine H. Ho ’21 Former Co-President of the Asian American Women’s Association

points,” Lu said. Madison A. Trice ’21 — a former board member of the Association of Black Harvard Women who testified in court — said it was important to put Asian American voices at the “forefront” of organizing. ”I feel like the only people who could really speak to that, to the fact that they felt that they weren’t being discriminated against as Asian Americans, were Asian Americans,” Trice said.


Though student organizing reached its peak directly before and during the trial, affinity groups on campus had been holding discussions and events both individually and together for years.

In October 2017, AAA, BSA, and Fuerza Latina co-hosted a conversation on the lawsuit in its earlier stages. Paek said this was one of the first events that involved more than just one cultural group and allowed him to hear other perspectives. “This event was really interesting because you just hear these first hand accounts of black students or Latinx students of people just straight up going up to their faces and being like, ‘oh, the only reason you got in is because you’re black, right?’” Paek said. A few months later, in April 2018, students began to take a more tactical approach against SFFA. Nine student organizations co-sponsored a panel featuring a lawyer from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. By then, the NAACP LDF had already begun speaking to various affinity group leaders about filing an amicus brief in support of Harvard, according to Sam and Catherine H. Ho ’21, the former co-president of the Asian American Women’s Association who testified in the trial. Sam and Ho said affinity groups worked on the brief and discussed signing it with their boards over the summer. Filed in August, the brief ultimately featured 25 student and alumni organizations, including many affinity groups, PBHA, and TAPAS. “We didn’t know if we should sign on in the first place,” Ho said. “But we had to make the decision as a board that Asian American is a political identity. And if we’re going to be this political identity, we need to be in solidarity with other marginalized communities as well.” During #DefendDiversity Week, sev-

eral groups hosted a series of educational events. AAWA organized a teach-in on race-conscious admissions and the Harvard College Democrats held a panel on race, diversity, and affirmative action featuring speakers from the NAACP LDF. “These events had speakers from many different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, who were able to touch on a variety of experiences to make sure that it wasn’t just Asian voices being heard, it wasn’t just black voices being heard,” Paek said. Aside from interorganizational collaboration, groups also held inward-facing events. ABHW dedicated their first general meeting in October to a discussion about what the lawsuit could mean for black women, according to Trice. During the trial, Ho and Trice said they were able to voice their own perspectives on the stand, adding another dimension to activist efforts. “I mentioned the importance of having the opportunity to discuss my racial identity in my application, not just because it was important to shaping me but also because there are certain obstacles that I faced because of my race,” Trice said. Ho said she described her background as a Vietnamese American and posed the question: “What are you defining as Asian American?” “Asia is more than East Asia,” she said. “Economic backgrounds, immigration histories, and ethnic histories really matter. For me, it was a really important platform to say you can’t think of us as a monolith because that’s literally erasing my lived identity and lived experiences.”

DIVERSITY BEYOND ADMISSIONS Many affinity group members said they felt organizing against SFFA’s anti-affirmative action stance formed a lasting coalition of students of color on campus. Trice noted that she formed long-term friendships with fellow organizers and met a variety of people who were invested in the outcome of the case. Sam said she thought the process of coalition-building was “successful” because she learned about different perspectives on admissions beyond that of black students. Yet despite the overall success, some said there were challenges in unifying several different groups. AAA co-President Sami G. Um ’21 said, within the Asian American student population, there are varying viewpoints on the College’s admissions process. “Part of the struggle was that a lot of the personal opinions within the Asian community on campus were very divided,” Um said. “It was difficult to try to encompass all of those.” Former TAPAS co-director Sally Chen ’19 said she wonders if students were not making “deep enough” efforts to completely execute inter-organizational, cross-racial work. “There were maybe some gaps in how deeply we were engaging with each other as different student groups — besides getting co-sponsorships and the minimum number of our board members to show up to events,” Chen said. She also said she was aware that a “burden of organizing” existed for many underrepresented groups who are “under attack on so many fronts” during the trial.

Matthew J. Tyler—Crimson Designer


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“Tapping on that same limited number of students on campus with the same labor every single time is also something that I was thinking about in this case,” Chen said. “This is something that we could get Asian Americans to show up for and care about.” Even with these complications, Trice lauded the work of Asian American students. “For testifying, most of the students in the room who showed up to support Harvard were Asian American,” she said. “Most of the students who went to protest

were Asian American.” Though internal challenges were a constant presence, some students also reflected on external pressures from media outlets covering the trial. Several black and Latinx students said they were frustrated with the media’s approach, which they said solely focused on Asian American narratives. “I wish that they highlighted more of the student experience and spoke to students,” Sam said. “From a lot of what I was reading, a lot of the conversations about merit and who deserves to be on campus

is always numbers based, which is, first and foremost, not a complete picture.” Trice said outside media coverage on the lawsuit was “disappointing,” referencing an October New York Times article that profiled five Harvard freshmen. “The New York Times article that didn’t talk to a single black, Latinx, Native American student kind of framed it as, ‘Harvard is discriminating against Asian Americans,’ or just took maybe a more nuanced view than that, but really didn’t seem to capture it,” Trice added. The New York Times did not respond

#DefendDiversity #DefendDiversity #DefendDiversity #DefendDiversity




to a request for comment. Judge Allison D. Burroughs is expected to deliver a verdict in the coming months. Experts and Bacow agree that the lawsuit is likely to be appealed regardless of how Burroughs rules, and the case has the potential to reach the Supreme Court. Going forward, numerous students and cultural organizations said they plan to remain involved with activism surrounding the case. Um said AAA will change its structure this summer to focus more on activism. Dillon said he believes it is important for NAHC to “maintain [its] commitment to upholding affirmative action” both locally and nationwide. But student activists also emphasized using the energy and cross-racial coalitions that formed over the last few years to advocate for other issues. In April, Bacow met with students who testified to discuss diversity on campus at large, according to Trice. She said the group talked about the importance of creating an ethnic studies department, a multi-cultural center, and providing long term mental health services with more diverse counselors. Bacow declined to comment further on the meeting via a spokesperson. Chen, Ho, and Thang Q. Diep ’19 — another student who testified — penned a February op-ed in The Crimson about the need to support students of color on campus beyond admissions through initiatives like ethnic studies. “We don’t just want diversity in student composition,” Chen said. “We also want to think about student experiences on this campus.” Others focused on moving beyond Harvard. Some students said they want to work with other colleges and universities facing similar challenges to their race-conscious admissions policies. Students for Fair Admissions has an ongoing anti-affirmative action lawsuit against the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a second lawsuit at the University of Texas at Austin. The Department of Justice is also investigating a number of higher education institutions — including Harvard and Yale — for potentially discriminatory race-conscious admissions policies. “What’s happening at Harvard isn’t particularly unique,” Sam said. “We need to also look at inter-school conversation and collaboration, and then turn to activism and see, concretely, what can we do?”

Matthew J. Tyler—Crimson Designer


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Working At — But Not For — Harvard


or 14 years, Kara Donohoe worked roughly 21 hours a week as an independently contracted massage therapist at Harvard and never once got to take a paid vacation. “Christmas time was kind of bittersweet for the massage therapists, when everybody was excited to go home on vacation, we kind of were a little disgruntled because we didn’t get paid,” Donohoe said. “That was kind of a hard pill to swallow.” As contractors, Donohoe and her fellow massage therapists could not receive many of the benefits afforded to Harvard employees. In 2017, she filed a class action suit against Harvard alleging that her classification as an independent contractor violated Massachusetts labor laws. The suit was eventually settled, and the University altered its independent contractor policy to better define who

For Harvard’s contracted and contingent workers, recent policy changes offer hope for better benefits. By james S. bikales and ruoqi zhang Crimson Staff Writers

TRUELIAN LEE—Crimson Designer

qualifies for that designation and who requires direct employment. The massage therapists were hired as employees, finally receiving Harvard benefits. The new policy, which will go into effect July 1, is not the only labor standard Harvard has updated in the past year to ensure all its workers are treated in accordance with state law and receive benefits comparable to full-time, in-house employees. In March, Harvard revised its policies for contingent workers — which include temporary and less-than-halftime employees — after the University’s largest union discovered that nearly 300 workers in this category worked “excessive” hours without overtime pay. At the time, Harvard spokesperson Melodie L. Jackson did not challenge the union’s analysis, but wrote in an emailed statement that the University did not believe it was a widespread problem.

Across campus, those who work at Harvard, but are not directly employed full-time by the University fall into a series of groups that are afforded widely different benefits and protections depending on their status. Harvard’s policy changes have benefited many workers, but some contend that inadequate guidelines compromise both workers’ well-being and the beneficiaries of their services.


With a name that rhymes with Harvard’s motto, “Veritas,” the Securitas guards that patrol campus buildings might appear to be an in-house security service owned by the University. Securitas, however, is a multinational Swedish company with 370,000 employees across the world — and its guards are just some of the tens of thousands of contracted workers across the University

that are employed by third-party entities. Often blending in with Harvard-employed workers, some of these individuals work full-time on Harvard’s campus and conduct similar work to direct employees. They are guaranteed the same pay and benefits as equivalent Harvard employees, but some say this is not necessarily their reality. Contractors have worked on campus for decades. The University stopped hiring in-house security guards, for example, in the wake of a 1992 discrimination lawsuit. Harvard Medical School outsourced most of its custodial staff in 2001. That year, members of the Progressive Student Labor Movement occupied Massachusetts Hall for three weeks as part of the Harvard Living Wage Campaign, which demanded that the University pay all workers, including temporary and outsourced workers, a living wage. In the


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wake of the sit-in, the University formed the Committee on Employment and Contracting Policies, eventually resulting in a “Wage and Benefit Parity Policy.” The parity policy guarantees that contracted employees in security, dining, and custodial services receive wages and benefits “comparable” to in-house employees who perform the same work, according to the version of the policy included in Harvard University Dining Services’ most recent union contract. Roxana Rivera, vice president of 32BJ Service Employees International Union — which helped craft the parity policy and comprises all Securitas workers and roughly 40 percent of Harvard’s custodians — called the policy’s implementation “groundbreaking.” “The entire community stood together to demand wage parity for all workers at Harvard, regardless of whether they’re employed directly by the University or by contractors,” she wrote in an emailed statement. “Today, Harvard janitors and security officers enjoy some of the best wages and benefits of workers in their field throughout the Boston area.” Still, some contracted workers said they lack the same employment protections as Harvard employees. In the past few years, administrators have requested that at least two Securitas guards at Harvard Medical School be transferred without cause, leaving them without work and pay as they awaited reassignments that never materialized. The guards — Arlene Yarde and Susan C. Castignetti — believe they were transferred as retaliation for speaking out against Securitas and requesting time off for medical needs, respectively. They alleged that Harvard administrators simply went along with Securitas managers’ requests to have them moved. At the time, Robert A. Dickson, director of campus services at Harvard Medical School, declined to comment, writing in an email that “this is a Securitas employment related matter.” After two years in limbo picking up isolated shifts, Yarde was finally given a full-time shift that worked with her schedule in March. Castignetti resigned May 8, which she called a “direct result” of financial problems resulting from loss of wages. Securitas did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story. Several contracted custodians also said they do not believe they are treated equally to their in-house counterparts. Doris Landaverde, a Harvard-em-


ployed custodian who works closely with contracted custodians, said the treatment of the two groups is “totally different.” She said Harvard helps its custodians purchase public transit passes, but contracted workers do not receive any assistance. Contractors’ retirement and health insurance plans are also inferior, according to Landaverde. Rogelio Rubio, who is a contracted custodian at the Business School, confirmed that he receives less comprehensive retirement and health insurance benefits compared to in-house custodians. Castignetti said she was not allowed to purchase the Harvard Pilgrim insurance plan that Harvard employees are offered, and was instead offered a plan through 32BJ SEIU with higher copayments and more expensive network providers. Rivera wrote in an email that the 32BJ plan is less expensive than Harvard’s plan because it does not charge premiums, while Harvard’s plan does. The 32BJ plan also offers $0 copayments at certain providers, she wrote. Christine Wickes — a spokesperson for C&W Services, a company contracted by Harvard — declined to comment on the enforcement of the parity policy. University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain also declined to comment.

‘A 50-50 THING’

Before Donohoe, the massage therapist, settled her lawsuit over Harvard’s independent contractor policies, she said she consistently felt “ripped off” by the University. “I didn’t have any health insurance, I never got vacation, never got sick days,” she said. “I just felt like I was not being treated fairly.” Since 2013, Harvard has engaged between 20,000 and 30,000 independent contractors, according to a Harvard human resources training presentation. Harvard hires independent contractors for specific tasks but does not directly employ them, according to another HR document. Independent contractors do not receive W-2 tax forms or standard benefits. Unlike outsourced workers, they are also not employees of large corporations, but typically contracted individually. Following Donohoe’s lawsuit, Harvard revised its independent contractor policy to adhere not only to federal law, but also state law. “The federal law is looser than the Massachusetts law,” said Shannon E. Liss-Riordan ’90, Donohoe’s attorney and

In preparation for Commencement, contracted employees from the William Blanchard Company install a tent in Tercentenary Theatre. kai r. mcnamee—Crimson photographer

a former Crimson editor. Massachusetts laws are “among the most restrictive” nationwide, according to the training presentation. Swain wrote in an emailed statement that the new policy ensures Harvard is compliant with state law. “The University has had a policy on independent contractor classification for many years and has revised it on several occasions,” Swain wrote. “The most recent revision, which will be effective July 1, is intended to provide guidance on and clarify the Massachusetts state law requirements for contractors.” Under the new classification policy, massage therapists like Donohoe at Harvard’s Center for Healing and Wellness Promotion must be hired as Harvard staff and become members of Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers. Three therapists took benefited positions working half-time at Harvard, but the equivalent of full time in the industry, according to Donohoe and other massage therapists. Others were converted to lessthan-half-time staff without benefits, ac-

cording to Suzanne Choquette, a therapist who has worked at the center since 2007. Donohoe, who holds a benefited position, said she has been “pretty happy” with her new classification. “It’s the first time in my 15 years at Harvard that we got paid during winter break, which was really exciting,” she said. “And then I recently just had a paid vacation.” Even though her wages fell more than 40 percent she said the new benefits made up for lost wages. Choquette, on the other hand, was less enthusiastic about the lawsuit outcome. She chose to become a less-than-halftime employee because she didn’t want her wages to drop as far as benefited employees’ wages fell. Choquette said Harvard employment offered more wage stability, but her schedule allowed more flexibility and had higher wages as an independent contractor. “The good thing is that if we didn’t want to work, we didn’t have to,” she said.

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Last year she decided she wanted to work 20 hours at Harvard, but discovered that as a less-than-half-time worker, she was capped at 17.5 hours each week. In March, this dropped to 14 hours per week, a limit implemented with a recently negotiated HUCTW contract. “It’s a 50-50 thing...It’s really a personal thing,” Choquette said. “You know, for some people that benefits are better for others, it’s not.” In part because of the new hours restrictions, she will leave Harvard altogether in June. The policy that capped Choquette’s hours was the result of HUCTW’s effort to provide full staff-level compensation and benefits for contingent workers that are employed for more than three months or more than 14 hours per week. In early May, HUCTW announced that 42 temporary and less-than-halftime workers had been transitioned to regular staff under the new rules, and more are expected to transition in the coming months. HUCTW Director Bill Jaeger said that the new rules are an “extension” of the “concerns” that led to Wage and Benefit

Parity Policy nearly two decades ago. “There is a thread that runs from then until now,” he said. “We don’t want pay and benefit levels to be getting degraded.” Swain wrote in an emailed statement that the University’s policies ensure fair compensation for contracted workers. “The University’s Wage Benefits Parity Policy is specifically designed to ensure that the employees of our service vendors receive compensation packages comparable to those provided to Harvard employees,” Swain wrote.


Harvard policies for contracted and contingent workers, however, do not just impact those individuals. In some cases, workers said that temporary workers were not adequately screened for their roles, or that changing employment status impacted their services to clients. Choquette, the departing massage therapist, said being an independent contractor allowed her to manage her schedule in a way that better served her clients. “I’d like to have 10 minutes in between, to not rush between the clients, and give

them more time on the table,” Choquette said of her old schedule that use to allow more time between clients. In Harvard’s dining halls, though, policies governing employment status can be more than just a matter of convenience. Kerry Maiato, a HUDS worker and UNITE HERE! Local 26 chief shop steward, said that temporary workers frequently staff Annenberg Hall — where he works — when employees call in sick or if they need “another set of hands” to prepare dishes. Maiato said that the “majority of the time,” temporary workers come in without the proper training for the role they are supposed to fill. “We’ve had a lot of issues with them in the past, safety wise, towards either prepping food, or just walking into the dish room with safety precautions about dirty dishes, or some individuals had intoxication — you can smell, you know, alcohol on them,” Maiato said. Maiato said he has seen temporary workers hired as cooks, but it is sometimes obvious that someone hired through a staffing agency “isn’t a cook,”

at least by professional standards. HUDS spokesperson Crista Martin wrote in an emailed statement that HUDS will only call in temporary workers from “several specialty foodservice temporary agencies” if no HUDS worker can fill in on an open shift. “Those employees are vetted by the temporary agency, but must meet certain criteria as part of a contract with Harvard,” Martin wrote. “If a ‘temp’ comes to our operations and cannot perform the functions of the job, or does not meet our criteria for safety or health, they are dismissed and their eligibilty [sic] for future opportunities at Harvard is removed.” Laquiesha N. Rainey, a staff cook in Annenberg, said that when HUDS cooks are hired, they are tested to make sure they can do the job properly and safely. “But temps, they’re not given that kind of test, they’re just called in,” Rainey said. “We have to give them specific instruction and make sure that we’re monitoring them so that they are not making errors or making anybody sick.”

A Securitas officer stands guard on Linden Street as workers begin construction on Adams House. The guards are contracted workers who work at Harvard via a multinational firm that employs them. kai r. mcnamee—Crimson photographer


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

In SEAS Era, Sciences Face Uncertainty, Opportunity As SEAS prepares to expand into Allston, faculty wish administrators had consulted them on the details of the move earlier. By Juliet E. Isselbacher and Amy L. Jia Crimson Staff Writers

F ­

rancis J. Doyle III, the dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is “fond of countdowns.” In just over a year — a year and a week, to be precise — he and his administrative team at SEAS will leave their offices on the second floor of Pierce Hall to take up new residences in the soon-to-be-completed Science and Engineering complex in Allston. This “first batch” of relocations comes ahead of a significant reorganization of SEAS, which will see faculty in a number of areas — including Computer Science, Bioengineering, and Electrical Engineering — move into the new facilities. SEAS faculty in areas like Applied Physics, Applied Math, and Environmental Science and Engineering, however, will remain on this side of the river. Doyle described the impending expansion of SEAS as fraught with excitement in an interview with The Crimson Friday. “It’s real, it’s palpable,” Doyle said. “We’ve got electricity in the building, we’re ordering furniture this week — all the nitty gritty things are falling into place.” Dean of Science Christopher W. Stubbs echoed Doyle’s sentiments. He said he is excited for Sciences faculty to make innovative and productive use of the spaces that SEAS will vacate in Cambridge.


“When I first came into this office, it became really apparent that — with the relocation of SEAS — we have a singular opportunity to make big macroscopic reshufflings,” Stubbs said. “It’ll be an interesting transition for us as a university as we expand to a bigger spatial footprint.” Nevertheless, as construction nears completion, faculty have raised concerns about an issue that has been obscured by the excitement: n a mely, how the S E A S move will a f fect its

closely-affiliated Sciences division, many of whose faculty collaborate with and hold joint appointments within SEAS. SEAS faculty also expressed fears that the distance will reduce the cohesion of various areas within the school itself, given that it will soon

straddle two campuses. “You’re kind of out of sight, out of mind,” Daniel J. Jacob, an atmospheric chemistry and environmental engineering professor, said regarding SEAS faculty left behind in Cambridge. “Could we then become kind of second-class citizens of SEAS?” he asked.


As a number of SEAS faculty prepare to move their offices, classrooms, and laboratory spaces to the new Science and Engineering complex in Allston, they will leave behind several largely-empty buildings, including Pierce Hall and Maxwell Dworkin. Administrators must determine how to best allocate this newly vacated space to faculty. Doyle said he has worked closely with Stubbs to create a unified vision that aligns their goals for their respective programs, according to Doyle. Stubbs said architectural features will determine the redistribution of space. “There has been an extensive series of consultative meetings in partnership with the Engineering School — including an architectural assessment of the different buildings — to ask just

n it t y gritty engi-

neering questions,” he said. These meetings have revealed, for example, that certain buildings are “not well-suited to putting big biology, chemistry-type experiments in them” due to inadequate heating, ventilation, and air conditioning infrastructure, and are instead better suited to house offices. Doyle said the insights gleaned from such assessments need to be married to the resources available for renovations. Following the release of an architectural report at the end of May, he and Stubbs will work with faculty to brainstorm possible relocation scenarios. They will also work with Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay to bring in additional resources through fundraising. Consequently, engaging faculty in discussions about space reallocation at this stage of the process would be “a lose-lose proposition,” according to Stubbs. “If you bring a bunch of faculty around the table too early, and there’s nothing concrete to talk about, you can waste a lot of people’s time,” Stubbs said. “On the other hand, if you come to the table with a fully-formulated plan, the faculty get irritated because they weren’t consulted.” Former Dean of FAS and Engi-

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neering and Applied Sciences Professor Michael D. Smith said competing interests between faculty in various overcrowded departments could create “space wars,” which he described as one of the “most crazily-fought battles” on university campuses. “We always have people who always want space,” he said. Both Doyle and Stubbs said seeking faculty input is important to the decision-making process. Stubbs said discussions involving faculty will begin with “small groups of faculty” that represent key stakeholders potentially affected by the move and will expand to bidirectional, department-wide conversations.

Could we then become the second-class citizens of SEAS? Daniel J. Jacob Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering

“One of my big themes here in the [Sciences] division is to give the faculty a stronger voice in what we do and the decisions that we make,” he said. “I certainly intend to do that.”


But some faculty said they wanted administrators to consult them more proactively and that relocation decisions have mostly been made by “high level” administrators, according to Applied Physics professor Federico Capasso. Capasso is among several SEAS faculty members staying in Cambridge due to his area’s affiliation with the Physics department. “[The whole process] could be done better,” he said. “It’s a, I think, widespread opinion in SEAS, if you talk to faculty.” Likewise, Jacob will be staying in Cambridge because of Environmental Science and Engineering’s close ties to the

Earth and Planetary Sciences Department. “The administration seems to be a little wary about bringing faculty in the conversation early, because then they create expectations of faculty and then they may lose flexibility in that way,” he said. Other professors said they are not sure how much of the lack of communication is deliberate and how much is due to disorganization. Capasso said the system has been “a bit chaotic.” “There are different centers of power,” Capasso said. “Professors are definitely a center of power, but they’re very diffuse, so it’s often incoherent.” “I don’t think there’s any active planning on exactly what’s going to happen,” Physics department chair Subir Sachdev said regarding divvying up soon-to-be empty spaces. “I think, hopefully, when there is, it’ll be nice if there’s a formal process in which different departments are solicited for input.” Astronomy Chair Avi Loeb said he was “not asked to participate in any discussion” about who would occupy vacated spaces. “I think it’s a little bit premature, although people need to start thinking about it,” he said. Stubbs said administrators are not yet ready to engage faculty in these conversations. “It’s a complicated process,” Stubbs said. “We’re candidly not quite as far along as I had initially hoped, but I think we have a good process underway.” “By the time we have the opportunity to start to inhabit those spaces, I think we’ll have a clear plan in mind,” he added.


Physics and Applied Physics Professor Eric Mazur said he thinks administrative attention has also neglected the question of faculty collaborations, which naturally crop up in the shared ground between SEAS and the Sciences division. “Most people within SEAS have joint appointments, or many, espe-

Professor Horng-Tzer Yau is a professor of Mathematics who said earlier this month the University should install a ski lift system across the river. Kai r. McNamee—Crimson photographer

cially in the applied sciences part of SEAS: applied mathematics, applied physics,” Mazur said. The relocation of SEAS faculty with joint appointments is decided on a caseby-case basis. Several professors said that the productivity of joint appointments and informal collaborations alike might be hampered in light of SEAS’s partial move to Allston. Molecular and Cellular Biology Chair Venkatesh Murthy said faculty in his department do work in Computer Science, Applied Physics, and Applied Mathematics, all of which fall under SEAS’s purview. Murthy said the move comes at a “tricky time,” given that computational science techniques are trending in the life sciences. In particular, he highlighted the burgeoning intersection of computer science and neuroscience at the development of artificial intelligence. “If those computer science people are sitting in Allston, it makes it harder to have an informal joint appointment,” he said. Murthy said the move might also affect his department’s concentrators. “There are classes taught by faculty in MCB that are more mathematically or quantitatively oriented, so many people in Applied Physics and Applied

Math want to take them,” he said. “If those groups go to Allston, then it is a question to what happens to the students.” “Is 15 minutes enough for people to run from here at Allston?” he asked. “Will you, as a student, take one class in Cambridge, run over to Allston, and then come back?” Some professors in the Math department, like their colleagues in MCB, said they enjoy fruitful collaborations with Computer Science. Math Professor Horng-Tzer Yau said because he and his students regularly attend Computer Science seminars, the move to Allston might be “a great loss.” “I’m afraid if there is no simple way to connect to campus, then I’m pretty sure nobody will go to the other segment,” he said. Computer Science Area Co-Chair Salil P. Vadhan affirmed the discipline’s close connection with the Math department. He added that many students in Computer Science courses are Math concentrators or joint Math and Computer Science concentrators. Vadhan also said there exist “very strong” and “increasing” ties between CS and the Statistics Department, citing the Data Science Master’s Program on which the two collaborate. “A lot of our faculty who are working in

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things related to data science, like visualization and machine learning, really value their ties to Statistics,” Vadhan said. “That’s why one reason that transportation is really important — shuttles, new bike lanes. Good video conferencing is also going to play a role in maintaining the research collaborations that many of us have,” he added.


Several faculty members shared concerns that SEAS’s expansion to Allston would jeopardize the “social identity” of faculty members who would remain in Cambridge. Given the “extremely multidisciplinary” nature of SEAS and the high proportion of faculty members with joint appointments in the Sciences division, Mazur speculated that these professors might “gravitate towards their [Sciences] appointments” in light of the separation. He added that faculty meetings might be difficult without a streamlined system to enable direct conversations between faculty members. Issues like these,

according to Mazur, have “not received the attention of the administration [they] should have.” But the biggest concern for faculty staying behind in Cambridge, according to Jacob, is the fear that they may be “orphaned from SEAS.” “If all of SEAS administration is in Allston, then what kind of support are we getting here?” he asked. Jacob said this problem is especially relevant with regards to sponsored research, a subject handled by the research grants administration at SEAS. “If everybody there was going across the river, then we wouldn’t really have anybody to talk to,” Jacob said. “That would be a problem, because sometimes we need fast feedback.” Doyle acknowledged faculty members’ worries but said that such a setup, whereby SEAS administration is based on one side of the river, is unavoidable. “We can’t afford to duplicate things,” he said. “I can’t afford to just replicate my staff on both sides — that would be inefficient, ineffective, and they’d have about a

50 percent effort on each side.” Still, Doyle said he hopes to address this issue by taking advantage of hoteling offices — “shared office[s] that I rotate in and out of with other faculty” — so that professors on both campuses can have equal access to administrative staff and resources.


Those involved in planning the move are confident the distance across the river can be bridged. “I get that there’s a psychological barrier of distance and the bridge and the river,” Doyle said. “[But] there are campuses, if you look around the country...who have bigger, more distributed campuses than we do, and their faculty manage to keep vibrant research collaborations going across great distances.” Vadhan said he advocates for an “over-provisioning” of shuttles so that affiliates can “trust that getting from this part of campus to the Allston campus and back is reliable and convenient and fast.”

Yau said he is not confident shuttles will prove adequate, given that it takes him at least an hour round-trip to commute to MIT. Instead, he urged the University to install a ski lift system across the river, estimating that it would cost between $20 and 30 million — “almost nothing, if you think about how much money we spend on one building.” Though he acknowledged it may seem like a “crazy idea,” Yau said it is still one he believes should be taken seriously, given its potential to radically reduce transportation times. In a similar vein, Murthy said, “I keep joking it seems like we should just build a monorail from here to there.” Murthy conceded, though, that many MCB faculty collaborate with affiliates at Harvard Medical School and manage to build the commute to the Longwood campus into their routines. But the river can be crossed without making a physical venture, according to administrators. Indeed, Stubbs said administrators

In 2020, Harvard’s expanded SEAS campus in Allston will see its first student users. This rendering shows part of the new campus. COURTESY of Behnisch architekten


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are working to implement an immersive, real-time video conferencing system to “electronically shrink the distance” between the two campuses. This system is feasible with current video technologies, according to Doyle, who said it would enable participants to feel as though they were talking to someone at the other end of the table. “A student who has a question about their degree requirements doesn’t want to walk 20 minutes to have a two-minute conversation and walk 20 minutes back,” Doyle said. “We have to have a way they can communicate with our staff seamlessly and efficiently.”

A student who has a question about their degree requirements doesn’t want to walk 20 minutes to have a twominute conversation and walk 20 minutes back. Francis J. Doyle III Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Vadhan discussed the imperative to reduce distance in a more abstract sense. “It can’t be that what happens in Allston in just computer science is there,” he said. “It’s really important that there will be classes from throughout the college’s curriculum that are offered there, and that from the day that students arrive, they feel like it’s as much a part of their campus as Harvard Yard is.” Vadhan said he sees opportunities for freshmen seminars, Expository Writing sections, and General Education courses to be offered on the Allston campus. He added that he hopes the growing art presence in Allston — bolstered by the move of the American Repertory Theater — will even attract departments in the arts and humanities. Loeb agreed, remarking that disciplines beyond those at SEAS could also benefit from the move. “It’s interesting to us which disciplines can benefit from proximity to each other, and the synergies between the research in those disciplines may blossom as a result of them being next to each other in Allston,” Loeb said.

This rendering shows the atrium at Harvard’s new SEAS campus. The expanded SEAS campus will be equipped with labs, maker spaces, and more. Courtesy of Behnisch Architekten


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

‘Down From the Big Hill’ University President Lawrence S. Bacow has touted Harvard’s partnership across the country as higher education faces criticisms. By Alexandra a. chaidez and aidan f. ryan Crimson Staff Writers


wo months after University President Lawrence S. Bacow took office, he traveled to his home state of Michigan to convince its residents that Harvard and its scholarly work matter to people outside Cambridge. The trip came days after the University


truELian lee—Crimson Designer

announced two major partnerships with the University of Michigan — one focused on combating the opioid epidemic and another centered on encouraging economic development Detroit. “What I’ve tried to do on this trip is to connect with people in Detroit and Ponti-

ac...and to help identify ways in which not just Harvard but universities around the country can work to try and address issues of income inequality, social mobility, opioid addiction, and other major issues which exist throughout the country,” Bacow said in an interview at the time.

Throughout his first year in office, Bacow has traveled across the world meeting with alumni, donors, and prominent leaders. Though his visits are not uncommon for a newly minted Harvard president, the places he has traveled offer insight into Bacow’s vision of cementing national rel-

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evance for a university that has long been viewed as catering primarily to America’s elite.

What we’re doing in the rural schools is consistent with his vision for the University to play more of a role around the country. Thomas j. kane Harvard Graduate School of Education Professor

While Harvard has historically engaged in partnerships with myriad other universities, cities, and nonprofits, Bacow’s efforts to highlight these initiatives come amid a challenging political climate for higher education institutions. With an impending tax on some large university endowments — including Harvard’s — and general criticisms that elite higher education institutions are out of touch with everyday people in the United States, publicizing these partnerships offers Harvard a mechanism for shifting that narrative.

‘Institutional Humility’

As Bacow settled into office, he made it a top priority to place Harvard’s partnerships across the country at the fore. “I think what we’re looking to do is to enhance our capacity to make a difference in the world more broadly,” Bacow said in an interview. “And in many cases, that’s best done in collaboration with other institutions.” Those involved in these various initiatives say Bacow is pushing to broaden not only the locations where Harvard establishes partnerships, but also the scope of topics on which they focus. Harvard’s two new partnerships with Michigan are cornerstones in this effort. The two collaborations arose from conversations between the universities’ leaders following Bacow’s transition into office. The partnerships have since become a highly publicized attempt for the University to apply its economists’, scientists’, and researchers’ work to issues including the opioid epidemic and economic inequality. Harvard School of Public Health Professor Mary T. Bassett ’74, who leads the partnership tackling opioid overdoses, said the impetus for the project was Massachusetts and Michigan’s “shared” challenges with opioid addiction and what she

called Bacow’s desire to work on “something of public importance.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse calls increasing misuse and addiction to opioids a “serious national crisis” with more than 130 people dying from overdoses each day in the United States. The epidemic has hit Michigan and Massachusetts especially hard in recent years, with both states seeing some of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the country. Bassett said the partnership — which has already resulted in a conference in Ypsilanti, Mich. and will host another on Harvard’s Longwood campus in the fall — indicates Bacow’s inclination to engage with universities and issues beyond the scope of what may be typical for an elite institution like Harvard. “I think it’s part of President Bacow’s interest in Harvard sort of coming off down from the big hill and working more collaboratively with others and his idea of institutional humility,” Bassett said. University of Michigan President Mark S. Schlissel wrote in an emailed statement that the partnership represents Harvard centering its attention on issues with national importance. “President Bacow expressed a willingness for Harvard to focus more outwardly and collaborate to address big national issues,” Schlissel wrote. “He’s also a native of Pontiac, Michigan. I’ve known him for a while and was eager to reach out to discuss ideas for our faculty to partner and leverage one another’s strengths.”

It’s much more effective than just trying to dictate from the top down, you know, me metaphorically going out with a machete in hand trying to bushwhack my way through the fields. Lawrence s. bacow University President

Harvard has also turned its sights toward elementary education in recent months. In February, the Harvard-based National Center for Rural Education Research Networks received a $10 million grant to address issues such as college enrollment and student absences in rural school districts. The project — led by two Harvard professors and one at Dartmouth — plans to recruit a network of schools in

New York and Ohio in which to implement experimental strategies. Graduate School of Education professor Thomas J. Kane, a leader of the initiative, said the partnership exemplifies Bacow’s efforts to refocus research away from elite centers.

President Bacow expressed a willingness for Harvard to focus more outwardly and collaborate to address big national issues. MARK S. SCHLISSEL University of Michigan President

“What we’re doing in the rural schools is consistent with his vision for the University to play more of a role around the country — helping solve problems, solving challenging problems,” Kane said. “We see ourselves as not solving challenging problems, but helping these districts solve their own challenging issues.” Bacow has said that the majority of the University’s partnerships stem from faculty interests and that he focuses on facilitating those collaborations. “As I like to say, my strategy is always to identify where faculty have trampled down the grass between Harvard and another institution. . .to see how we might, in some cases, sort of pave that pathway, maybe build rapid transit to run on it,” he said. “It’s much more effective than just trying to dictate from the top down, you know, me metaphorically going out with a machete in hand trying to bushwhack my way through the fields. That doesn’t work.” “Our job is to help and empower the faculty,” Bacow added. “We’re trying to work with others.”

The Harvard Impact

In many cases, researchers involved in Harvard collaborations say the University’s campaign to build its partnerships brings valuable scholarship and resources to the initiatives. Linda Davis, the Executive Director of Families Against Narcotics — a Michigan organization that aims to address stigmas associated with addiction — said that the Harvard-University of Michigan partnership increases awareness for their goal of educating people about addiction. “I just think then, when you say, University of Michigan, in Michigan, and

then you add the Harvard connection to it, that these two universities are working together on this, it adds credibility to everything that we’re doing,” Davis said. “Across the board, it’s getting attention.” “You know, it was probably the most talked about summit that I’ve heard of in Michigan, the one that [Harvard] just recently did,” Davis added. Michael Fuller, the director of the innovation and data services center at the Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center in Ohio, said he welcomes Harvard’s partnership with rural schools in Ohio and New York. “Harvard brings a lot of resources in terms of technical know how,” Fuller said. “I think Harvard can take advantage of what we already have infrastructure-wise in place in terms of some of our knowledge about the data infrastructures in Ohio, about the culture of the school, about just educational programming in general.” Experts also say that Harvard can, and should, bring its intellectual and financial resources to parts of the country that don’t typically receive such support. Neal McCluskey, director of the center for educational freedom at the Cato Institute, said Harvard should engage in this kind of work and bring students from underrepresented places to Cambridge itself.

There is no reason that the expertise that’s housed at a place like Harvard or elsewhere couldn’t do some good in all sorts of places around the country and around the world. Neal McClusky Director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute

“There is no reason that the expertise that’s housed at a place like Harvard or elsewhere couldn’t do some good in all sorts of places around the country and around the world,” McCluskey said. “And I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t get some more students — maybe by working harder to make Harvard known to people who are outside the usual recruiting grounds — and to help students who may be qualified to go to Harvard, but don’t come from backgrounds or don’t have social networks where they know how to


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

navigate the college application process, get the word to them.” David A. Bergeron, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said it’s important for Harvard and its peer institutions to “step up” and ensure that students across the entire country have access to higher education. “For Harvard, to go into those communities makes a strong statement about the kinds of things that those communities should be working to being able to offer to their students so that they’re able to access higher education institutions, on par with suburban and urban students,” Bergeron said. “And so, for me, that’s the one area where it’s really important that institutions of higher education step up because otherwise we’re going to leave broad swathes of the country behind in terms of

access to higher education,” he added.

‘Reaching Beyond Privilege’

While many believe Harvard’s partnerships yield benefits for their collaborators and the causes they study, some say the University’s participation is not always critical, and others say its outreach might be better directed to other issues. One “major collaboration” Bacow has highlighted exists between Harvard, Texas A&M, and a number of other universities that jointly collect atmospheric data from convective storms and analyze their impact on the stratosphere. The $30 million partnership is funded as part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Earth Venture program. Kenneth Bowman, a geosciences professor at Texas A&M who heads the project, said multi-university collaboration is

“absolutely essential” to collecting relevant data. “On projects like this, there’s no way that a single institution can do this,” Bowman said. “It’s not really a question of doing this for altruistic reasons or something like that, it’s really the only way that you can put together the team that you need in order to be successful in a project like this.” NASA scientist Kenneth W. Jucks, however, said that Harvard’s reputation is “just as credible” as any other institution conducting earth science research and the decision to partner with the school on this project was a matter of convenience based on current research. “There’s nothing in particular, that special about Harvard, other than a number of the observations that are being made to this are at Harvard, and they were

Massachusetts Hall in Harvard Yard, is the seat of the University’s central administration. kai r. mcnamee—Crimson photographer


deemed as quite applicable to it,” Jucks said. Experts noted that university partnerships that do not succeed can spell danger for schools’ reputations. Richard R. Rush, the chair of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Task Force on University Partnerships, said that the “optics” of collaborative projects can hang in the balance for their duration. “If a partnership should fail, the community’s perception of the university or universities or the partners, including from the private sector, broadly defined, could be diminished,” Rush said. Dartmouth professor Douglas O. Staiger — a leader in the rural schools initiative — said he is “optimistic” about the center’s prospects, but that tackling issues in rural districts might be challenging for

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

he’s reaching beyond privilege, then he’s got to go a little bit further than just public flagships,” Bergeron said. “Historically, getting faculty from a historically black colleges like Xavier University in New Orleans, to come and teach at Harvard, and have Harvard faculty spend a semester teaching at Xavier — those are the kinds of things that go beyond just staying at a privileged tier,” he added. Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute Frederick M. Hess said Harvard should be cognizant of how it interacts with those who may take issue with its affiliates and researchers advising them on local issues. “One of the big issues for many people in Middle America and red states’ rural communities is they feel like people who don’t live in their communities who

have different views and values frequently come in and tell them what they’re supposed to think what they need to do,” Hess said. “Part of the challenge that is how does Harvard partner with people and organizations in a way in which it is actually partnering to help solve problems, rather than showing up with folks saying, ‘hey, we’re from Harvard University, we’re here to help,’” he added. University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain wrote in an emailed statement that Bacow has promoted a “wide range” of partnerships with the aim of making a “positive difference.” “President Bacow has put an emphasis on the importance of Harvard engaging with a wide range of organizations and institutions to make a positive impact in communities locally, across the country

and around the world,” Swain wrote. “He has sought to highlight and support the work of many Harvard faculty, students, staff and alumni who are working in communities with local organizations, educational institutions, government agencies and public service leaders, to address critical issues and help make a positive difference in the world.” Bergeron agreed with Hess that Harvard’s partnerships and their promotion must take into account the experiences of those outside the University. “It’s hard to escape the elitist perception of institutions, and partnerships have to be genuine, they have to be reciprocal, in order for them to not reinforce the elitist...tone that exists,” he said.

I think what we’re looking to do is to enhance our capacity to make a difference in the world more broadly. Lawrence S. Bacow University President

many involved who currently only have experience in urban and suburban school districts. “I think there’s a perception issue, but there’s also a reality issue, which is that we have primarily worked in urban districts,” Staiger said. “There will be some of these issues, these Ivy League folks coming in, and so. . .I think our hope is that we have a lot of things in place to help manage that issue.” Higher education experts also say that Harvard can do more to partner with a wider variety of universities and more directly engage with their students. Bergeron said that Bacow and Harvard should work to partner with and promote work at institutions beyond wealthy, elite public universities like the University of Michigan and Texas A&M. “If what he’s trying to get across is that

elenA M. ramos—Crimson Designer


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

A Moment of Recognition A

fter the Harvard chapter of sorority Kappa Alpha Theta disaffiliated from its international organization to become gender-neutral last August, the new group tried to retain part of its past, dubbing itself Theta Zeta Xi. College administrators didn’t like the moniker. The Dean of Students Office asked the group members to rebrand themselves if they wanted administrative recognition to shelter their members from College policies, which penalize single-gender social organizations, Rena N. Simkowitz ’19 wrote in an email to The Crimson. Simkowitz — who is the former CEO of Harvard’s Theta chapter — and the group’s other leaders at the time eventually settled on the name “Themis Asteri,” evoking a Greek goddess instead of Greek row. “Personally, one of the hardest parts of undergoing the transition to be an RSO was that even when I was dedicating multiple hours a day to the process of transitioning my organization, I felt like I was never doing enough,” Simkowitz, an inactive Crimson sports editor, wrote. “The bar that I needed to reach in order to ensure that members of my group would not be sanctioned for their affiliation was constantly going up.” Themis Asteri is one of 14 organizations listed by the Dean of Students Office as a “Recognized Social Organization” for the 2018-2019 school year. The designation represents the practical culmination of the College’s social group sanctions, first announced in 2016 by former University President Drew G. Faust. The sanctions — which took effect with the Class of 2021 — bar members of unrecognized single-gender groups from holding campus leadership positions, captaining varsity athletic teams, and receiving College endorsement for certain prestigious fellowships. After three years of protests, committees, shifting rationales, lobbying, and lawsuits, the implementation and effect of the policy are finally beginning to take shape.


But onlookers and club-members say the landscape of social groups remains sprawling and complicated. As the new recognized social groups turn one year old, the policies have led to a group of social clubs stumbling toward change, doc-

Members of the new recognized social groups say the College’s policies still remain unclear. By Shera S. Avi-Yonah Crimson Staff Writer

The sanctions drew intense protests from women’s groups almost immediately. Rallying in Harvard Yard, they argued that the policy would eliminate fledgling all-female groups rather than their more entrenched all-male counterparts.

Matthew J. tyler—Crimson Designer

uments littered with administrative lingo, and a still-murky future for social life at the College.


When Faust first debuted the sanctions three years ago, she and Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana said the policy aimed to combat a rising tide of sexual assault on campus, including incidents from within the walls of all-male final clubs.

Last August, their predictions came true. For three months, the College was without all-female groups as both sororities and female final clubs buckled under College pressure. After the sorority Alpha Phi returned to campus in December, Harvard now boasts one. National Panhellenic Conference Chief Executive Officer Dani Weatherford said the new chapter is much smaller than its predecessor as many for-

mer members have since chosen to join a gender-neutral club, the Ivy. Of the 14 recognized organizations listed by the DSO website, nine are former women’s groups and five are former men’s groups. Simkowitz wrote that she thinks the sanctions’ differential impact stems from the unique mission of all-female groups. She wrote that, because the missions of women’s groups are often leadershipand service-oriented, their members tend to seek the opportunities affected by the sanctions. “The University has created a policy that makes it impossible for women’s organizations, which were founded with leadership-focused missions, to exist, while many of the men’s groups are still thriving on campus with little-to-no structural or cultural changes following the implementation of Harvard’s social organization policy,” she wrote. “In practice, Harvard’s policy, explicitly targeting leadership opportunities, was a direct attack only at the women’s organizations,” she added. College spokesperson Aaron M. Goldman declined to comment. Chiara “Kiki” Albanese ’19, a former member of the IC Club, said she thinks the policy has strayed far from its initial purpose. She said women’s groups have become “collateral damage.” “The irony in taking away women’s spaces, in order to work on the issue of sexual assault on campus, was kind of laughable to me, because anecdotally, that’s, I think, one of the more protective measures,” she said. When the female groups disappeared last summer, Associate Dean of Student Engagement Alexander R. Miller wrote in a statement that he was pleased both formerly all-male and all-female groups applied for College recognition. “These applications represent a cross section of male, female and multi-gender groups, as well as fraternities, sororities and final clubs,” Miller wrote. “We are thrilled to have received so many applications, and excited to begin working with

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all of these groups.”


For both formerly all-male and all-female groups, the path to recognition has been far from uniform. Several former club leaders said they have seen inconsistencies between groups on the path to RSO status. Simkowitz and former Oak Club president Christopher P. Ulian ’19 said that, in addition to changing names, some groups have had to “rebrand” in order to appeal to recruits of different genders. They said administrators advocated changes — such as new titles, logos, and organization colors — in order to make sure the RSOs are totally new groups rather than repackaged versions of sororities and fraternities.

The irony in taking away women’s spaces, in order to work on the issue of sexual assault on campus, was kind of laughable to me. CHIARA “KIKI” ALBANESE ’19 Former member of the IC Club

The Themis Asteri website states that its “founders saw [the new name] as reflective of our organization’s commitment to always strive to make decisions that are in the best interest of current and future Harvard students.” Other clubs, though, have allegedly had to make fewer changes to make it onto the RSO list. Several club leaders and members with knowledge of the matter said that the Delphic and Bee Clubs, which share a house on Linden Street, are merged in name only. They said the two clubs hold many separate events and selected members independently last fall. Undergraduate and graduate leaders from both the Delphic and the Bee did not respond to requests for comment. Ulian wrote in an email that leaders of several recognized social groups formed a council after a series of group meetings with administrators beginning in the fall of 2017. He said the leaders strategize over how to navigate the road to recognition. “It has provided opportunities for the clubs to have a hand in creating and implementing the recognition process, both through the representation that the co-presidents have on the RSO commit-

tee and by allowing club leadership to provide formal feedback and occasionally pushback to the administration,” he wrote. Ulian said he broadly agrees with administrators’ decision to make different asks of different groups. “There are also differences in the actual mechanics of each group’s transition process, because each group is coming from a different place,” he added.


Once a group makes it onto the DSO’s list of compliant organizations, its work is far from over. To stay in the administration’s good graces, it must continue to demonstrate compliance with the policies. Assistant Dean for Student Engagement and Leadership Kate Colleran wrote in an emailed statement that her office will continue to work with recognized groups to ensure they fall in line with the sanctions. To shield their members from the College penalties, groups must prove that they have a gender-inclusive roster each year. “We have been in regular communication with all of our RSO’s and these conversations have been very useful and productive. We plan to continue engaging with them, not only to ensure compliance with the policy, but to assist with any issues that may come up and make sure they have what they need in order to be successful,” Colleran wrote. “All of our RSOs have demonstrated a commitment to gender inclusion and must continue to do so,” she added. “Each group is asked to submit an annual gender breakdown.” Last spring, the DSO created a three-tier system of recognition for social groups: “Interim Recognition,” “Full Recognition,” and “Recognition with Distinction.” The three tiers have varying requirements. Depending on which level a social organization is seeking, College administrators may ask its leaders to produce house rules, complete alcohol-related trainings, or create plans to reduce members’ financial burden. All tiers do, however, have two major components in common. One is a gender-neutrality requirement. The other is a mandatory divorce from outside influence, whether from a national Greek organization or a graduate board that wields control over groups’ day-to-day affairs. “Our intention has been to ensure that all organizations are operating in-

dependently from national or graduate boards, meaning that these boards are not involved in the group’s day-to-day operations, budget management or guidance of overall mission,” Colleran wrote. Some social organization leaders said they faced as much difficulty in meeting the “local autonomy” requirement as they did in going gender-neutral. Simkowitz wrote that the requirement to separate from her organization’s national sorority proved time-consuming. “[It was] a complex, multi-step process that involved first formerly disaffiliating from Kappa Alpha Theta, an international sorority, and then incorporating a new, locally-autonomous 501(c)7 organization with by-laws that would enable us to be co-ed,” she wrote. She added that she feels administrators have not adequately recognized the challenge that meeting their standards poses. In particular, she pointed to the difficulties social group leaders face when trying to shift their groups’ traditions and culture. “Over the last year, the Theta leadership has worked tirelessly to figure out the best way to structurally build an organization from the ground up while also navigating the complex task of how to best approach integrating men into a space that was formerly designed for women,” Simkowitz wrote. Fly Club graduate president Richard T. Porteus Jr. ’78 wrote in an email that he thinks many of the all-male final clubs, including his own, may consider admitting members of all gender identities in the future. But he added that they will always resist other parts of the policy: College oversight and the mandate to sever clubs’ graduate and undergraduate arms. “The central issue is the organizational autonomy of self-sustaining off-campus social organizations that involve students and alumni and that make no use of Harvard’s name or resources,” Porteus wrote. “‘Gender neutrality’ has been a Crimson herring, used by the administration to divert attention from other, indeed onerous requirements for official ‘recognition,’ supposedly the only alternative to sanctions,” he added. Goldman declined to comment on the College’s requirement that organizations operate independently from a national or graduate board.


Despite the staunch holdouts, Ulian and Colleran both wrote that they are hopeful

about the future of sanctions-compliant groups at the College. “The Dean of Students Office is committed to engaging in regular dialogue with all of our social organizations to ensure that they are getting the most out of their time at Harvard College, and that they have the guidance and resources needed to meet their full potential,” Colleran wrote. “I’m optimistic about the future of RSOs, and excited to see the ideas that new classes will bring,” Ulian wrote. The sanctions have survived a series of internal reviews and repeatedly won the endorsement of the University’s top administrators. But the policy’s advocates also currently face an external challenge: a pair of lawsuits brought in December by a group of plaintiffs including the national organizations for several fraternities and sororities and three unnamed male final club members. The suits allege that the sanctions infringe upon students’ freedom of association and discriminate against them on the basis of sex. After receiving competing filings from both sides in March and April, state and federal judges will decide whether to let the case move forward. Administrators will also likely face their first real challenges enforcing the penalties in the coming months. As members of the Class of 2021 enter their junior year, they will be eligible for a growing number of the athletic captaincies and leadership positions that fall under the sanctions. Though College officials have repeatedly denied that they will use an anonymous reporting system to seek out students who violate the policy, they have also declined to specify exactly what system they plan to use. Still, Ulian said that, after meeting with administrators, he is sure the sanctions have teeth. As for students in recognized organizations, they must both continue to meet the administration’s standards and prove that they can flourish long-term. Porteus wrote that, in the coming year, both administrators and RSOs have a steep climb ahead compared to some of the centuries-old final clubs. “Harvard administrators have yet to prove that socially engineered student social organizations — conceived and policed by itinerant deans with no longterm commitment to Harvard — have a robust future independent of sanctions,” he wrote.


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

Title IX Turmoil in the DeVos Era Harvard’s gender and sex-based harassment policies hang in the balance. By Simone C. Chu and iris M. Lewis Crimson Staff Writers ELENA M. RAMOS—Crimson Designer


fter years of adjusting its Title IX policies, procedures, and administrative infrastructure, Harvard’s system for preventing and addressing instances of sexual and gender-based harassment finally seemed to be laying down roots. But in August 2018, new Title IX rules from United States Secretary of Education Betsy D. DeVos were leaked to the public, and the foundations of Harvard’s approach were once again in uncertain territory. The rules officially released to the public in November confirmed initial reports and gave weight to speculations that Harvard’s policies would have to change once again in the near future. Harvard unveiled its current system in 2014 as the University faced a federal probe into its Title IX compliance. Title IX, a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions that receive federal funding, underpins universities’ sexual harassment prevention and adjudication policies across the country. In addition to altering its policies and procedures, Harvard has extensively restructured the offices that oversee its compliance in recent years and instituted new training program. DeVos’s new rule, however, threatens to throw years of information gathering and implementation into limbo. As the higher education world awaits final approval of the new rule, Harvard students and administrators have reflected on the long road to its current position


and have grappled with the possibility of having to do it all over again.


Before 2014, each of Harvard’s schools was left to its own devices to decide how it would comply with federal Title IX rules. In 2010, Harvard began reviewing the disparate policies across its schools and created a policy working group following the appointment of its first Title IX coordinator in 2013. Just months after two students filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights arguing that Harvard was not in compliance with Title IX, the University formed a central Title IX office and released its first universal set of policies and procedures for handling sexual misconduct allegations. Those documents, however, did not settle the matter. Immediately after their release, professors at Harvard Law School launched a fervent campaign to craft a new policy according to their vision for adjudicating these types of cases. After a conflict involving memos and public letters, the University acquiesced and allowed the school to draft its own resolution procedure so long as it kept in line with the University-wide policy. The universal policy is brief — only four pages — and comprises a policy statement, a series of definitions, and information about its jurisdiction and confidentiality rules. A set of FAQs issued in 2018 clarify the policy and address its application to various instances of misconduct. Whereas Harvard’s policy document

sets the rules for identifying sexual and gender-based harassment, its procedure documents lay out the processes for handling various types of complaints against students, faculty members, and staff. Besides the Law School, every Harvard school uses the same basic procedures outlined by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The FAS uses a “single investigator model,” where an investigator in the Office for Dispute Resolution collects information from parties involved in a complaint and issues a verdict in the case. Once ODR — which is independent from the Title IX Office — has reached its conclusion, each school’s Administrative Board or equivalent body determines what sanctions may be necessary. Sarah E. Wald, a Harvard Kennedy School Title IX coordinator, said she is “really happy” that ODR is a central investigatory body for students. The office employs trained professionals — not faculty or staff as can be the case at other institutions — according to Wald. “It does take away at least the perception that there might be some favoritism,” Wald said. The Law School, however, has a different investigative approach. “It being a law school, they were very interested in doing a lot of that procedure themselves,” said Deputy Provost Margaret E. Newell, who oversees Title IX compliance at Harvard. Following years of federal probes into its policies, the Law School sought to create its own procedures for adjudicating cases.

In investigations involving complaints between students, the Law School crafted a policy allowing a hearing process. The school also decided to provide funds for each party to access an attorney, and investigators give evidence to three neutral adjudicators who listen to both perspectives and issue a verdict. Janet E. Halley, a Law School professor who led the criticisms against the University’s Title IX policy in 2014, said she and her colleagues took issue with the lack of a clause that requires a “reasonable person” to find misconduct disagreeable. She also took issue with Harvard’s definition of sexual harassment more broadly.

It being a law school, they were very interested in doing a lot of that procedure themselves. Margaret E. Newell Deputy Provost

“The University presented a definition that takes some of those words [from federal legislation] — not all of them — drops them in a blender, whirls them up and then spills them out on the page in a pretty much random order,” Halley said. “It’s not a useful definition.” University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain declined to comment on the University’s definition of sexual harassment. In 2015, Harvard and the Department of Education signed off on the Law

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School’s procedures, setting it on its own course. These developments, however, were not the only changes to the system. Two years later, in 2017, Harvard announced that it would split its Title IX Office and create ODR to investigate formal complaints of sexual misconduct. It appointed Nicole M. Merhill as its Title IX officer, and William “Bill” D. McCants as ODR director.


Even though all of Harvard’s schools share one policy — and most share one set of procedures — experiences with Title IX vary from school to school. For instance, administrators said training and implementation must often take into account the unique demographic makeup of each school. Roughly 47 percent of the Harvard Kennedy School’s student body is composed of international students, and the mean student age across all of its degree programs is about 32 years old. In comparison, international students make up 12.8 percent of the College’s class of 2022. Because some of the Kennedy School’s international students “may not come from a culture where this is either talked about or where it’s gotten as much attention,” its trainings include background information to better contextualize the law’s importance, according to Wald. Wald added that in Kennedy School conversations about Title IX, students’ professional goals are often a focal point. “Everybody here is interested in making the world a better place,” Wald said. “This is a public problem, and you’re going to be public leader. So it’s your responsibility.” The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has also made individualized efforts to combat sexual harassment on campus. The school has conducted its own mental health surveys — in collaboration with Harvard University Health Services — that include questions about sexual assault and sexual harassment, according to GSAS spokesperson Ann Hall. Hall wrote in an email that findings from a 2015 sexual misconduct climate survey led GSAS to add a second Title IX coordinator to its student affairs team, develop a mandatory online training for students — launched before University-wide training was mandated — and create new workshops and targeted departmental trainings. Newell said she believes that the differences between schools’ demographics re-

sult in different Title IX-related needs. “The lifestyles and the age and the things to which students are exposed to is different in many cases,” Newell said. “So, if you had a residential situation, as you do in the College, people are spending all of their time together, they’re at parties together, they socialize together. That’s a lot different than people who come here and take a course, and leave and go back to a family someplace else.” Despite the schools’ attempts to tailor their policies, students across campus said there is still room for growth — both at their specific schools and on a University-wide scale. Sydnee Robinson, a law school student and organizer with the Law School’s Harassment Assault Law-Student Team, said she believes it is important that Harvard bolster campus resources dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault — like the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. “I think that OSAPR is a really, really great resource, and should have way more funding and staffing than they do, especially given how much emotional labor is attached to these issues,” she said. Swain declined to comment on calls for increased funding for OSAPR. Some students said they are concerned about the culture surrounding gender-based harassment within their professional fields at large. Activists and organizers from both the Law School and the Kennedy School, in particular, spoke to the gender-based discrimination they feel is inherent to law and politics. Alexandra V. Kohnert-Yount, a Law School student and member of the Pipeline Parity Project, said that sexual harassment in academic institutions affects elite professions. “It’s keeping women out of science, keeping people of color out of the law. It’s keeping all these people out of making real contributions to the world,” KohnertYount said. Evelyn Nam, a student at the Kennedy School, created a Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Outreach Committee through the school’s student government because she believed there was a need for more education in issues of gender-based violence. “Gender-related things, particularly gender-based violence, are considered dangerous to talk about as they are political and divisive, so people don’t talk about them,” Nam wrote in an email. Through the committee’s work, she said she hopes to make these conversa-

elena m. ramos—Crimson Designer

tions more mainstream.


Despite years of honing Harvard’s policies and procedures into their current form, the DeVos rule has the power to significantly alter their course. The new rule redefines sexual harassment, mandate live cross-examinations, and allow the discussion of investigation proceeding with outside parties. Harvard signed onto official comments on the DeVos rule during a public comment period citing concerns with these changes. The comments — written by the Association of American Universities and Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts — specifically took issue with the aspects of the rule that they believe are not well-suited to university sexual misconduct adjudication proceedings. Administrators, however, have refrained from offering individual comments on the policy and have declined to speculate on how Harvard’s policies

might ultimately be affected. Though the 60-day period of public comment closed in February, the Department of Education received more 100,000 comments. Until the department finishes reviewing all of the comments, it is unable to put the rule into effect. For now, Harvard’s policies hang in the balance, shifting priorities for some student activists that previously sought to push the University to further alter its policies according to their vision of best practices. Remedy H. Ryan ’21, an organizer with anti-sexual assault advocacy group Our Harvard Can Do Better, said that while the group has advocated for policy changes in the past, today it has a different focus. “There’s been a lot of attacks on Harvard’s policy from Betsy DeVos’s rules and regulations,” Ryan said. “I think that our priority is definitely defending the policies that Harvard currently has.”


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

‘Not Really A Job’


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

By SHERA S. AVI-YONAH and DELANO R. FRANKLIN Crimson Staff Writers

Following student outcry over Winthrop Faculty Dean Ronald Sullivan’s decision to represent Harvey Weinstein, the faculty dean role has come under scrutiny.

Elena M. Ramos—Crimson Designer


y July 1, Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. and Stephanie R. Robinson will have moved out of a stately home on Memorial Drive, with glittering chandeliers and a view of the Charles. But they will also leave their post as the Winthrop House faculty deans and the power that comes with it — power over hundreds of students and dozens of staff. For nearly a century, scores of Harvard faculty have occupied the post of faculty dean without much scandal. But the controversy over Sullivan and Robinson’s leadership has attracted unprecedented attention to the role. The pair’s critics argue their conduct demonstrates the extent of faculty deans’ influence and the role’s lack of oversight. On May 11, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced he would not renew Sullivan and Robinson after Sullivan sparked heated arguments following his announcement that he would represent Hollywood producer and accused sexual harasser Harvey Weinstein. Khurana attributed his decision to let Sullivan and Robinson go to the “untenable” climate they had caused in Winthrop. Khurana said the House had experienced a “noticeable lack of faculty dean presence” and that multiple House affiliates had repeatedly brought concerns about the House’s climate to the College. Sullivan and Robinson wrote in a May 11 emailed statement that they were “surprised and dismayed” by Khurana’s decision. “We believed the discussions we were having with high level University representatives were progressing in a positive manner, but Harvard unilaterally ended those talks,” they wrote. Sullivan and Robinson are one of the College’s 12 pairs of faculty deans. Each pair oversees an undergraduate House, managing between 350 and 450 undergraduates and making decisions that range from the color of house carpets to the contracts of dozens of staff. The role is unique to Harvard. This semester, though, it has become the focus of national scrutiny because of the Winthrop scandal. Though many outside commentators have focused solely on Sullivan’s representation of Weinstein, some College affiliates have turned their attention to his performance more broadly as faculty dean. Students have argued that administrators need to make the expectations for faculty deans more transparent to students and said the Winthrop contro-


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

versy threw into sharp relief why faculty deans are an essential part of residential life. Some parts of the job are purely administrative, according to current and former faculty deans and House staff. Faculty deans hire tutors, house administrators, and building managers. They dispense their house’s budget and coordinate its formals. They pick out furniture and approve house-wide events. But some of their responsibilities are less concrete. Administrators, house staff, and tutors said faculty deans set the culture in their houses. They decide when to keep house traditions and when to replace them. They develop relationships with students and occasionally intervene when they face personal or academic crises. Though some of the finer details of the position are up to interpretation, all of Harvard’s faculty deans wield enormous power.


Candidates for a faculty deanship either have the right personality or they don’t. “I think it’s odd when a faculty dean says, ‘Tell me about this job.’ It’s not really a job. It suits certain personalities and

Lowell Dorothy A. Austin and Diana L. Eck



doesn’t suit others,” said former Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67, who has surveyed students as part of previous faculty dean searches. Personality aside, few specific criteria exist for those seeking a job as faculty dean. Candidates tend to be married couples or those in long-term relationships. At least one half of the couple must be a tenured professor or hold some other senior academic position. While most of the deans who hold professorships are members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, some teach at Harvard’s professional schools. Sullivan and Robinson work at Harvard Law School, while Adams House Faculty Dean Judith “Judy” S. Palfrey ’67 is a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. When a faculty deanship opens up, Khurana compiles an initial list of candidates — some self-nominated, others suggested by FAS affiliates — and convenes a committee in the house with the vacancy to determine students’ priorities for the search. “I will often go and be at that first meeting and ask people what their aspirations are for the house, what the strengths of the house are, and what the opportunities are for the house,” Khura-

Adams John G. “Sean” Palfrey ’67 and Judy S. Palfrey ’67


Kirkland Tom C. Conley and Verena A. Conley


na said. Following these meetings, Khurana then narrows the pool of candidates to two or three pairs. He said student input helps ensure that candidates’ priorities align with the priorities of the house and the College. “You’re really matching people’s energies to what the house’s needs are rather than matching people’s real estate preferences or how close it might be to their department or their school,” Khurana said. “It’s important to sort of really match aspirations together.” The next stage of the search consists of in-house interviews. Students and tutors meet with prospective faculty deans over meals and send feedback on each one to the dean of the College. Michael D. Rosengarten and Christie R. McDonald, who served in Mather House when Harvard called faculty deans “house masters,” said they interviewed at several houses when the College needed to fill three vacant deanships. “We spent like 20 to 25 hours visiting all the houses, meeting students, finding out how the culture is,” Rosengarten said. “It was great.” The emphasis on whether a candidate has the “right” personality continues


as they undergo interviews. Residents evaluate how well the candidates fit the house’s character. “It’s a vocational choice, as much as anything. It’s something that you feel you’d be good at,” Lowell House Faculty Dean Diana L. Eck said. “It’s just a fit of personality. And where it gets in trouble is people who think of it as a plum that they somehow managed to pluck.” Using feedback from the interviews, Khurana makes his final decision in consultation with the dean of students, the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the University president.


Everything faculty deans do — the hours they spend eating breakfast in the dining hall, the events they plan, and their outside work — affects their house. Elizabeth G. Terry, who has served as the Lowell house administrator for 17 years, wrote in an email that faculty deans’ individual choices are like pebbles in a pond. “The effects ripple out, and sometimes slowly,” she wrote. “Whether it’s the events they support, the character of tutors they choose to hire, the level of personal enthusiasm they evince, the rituals





Rakesh Khurana Deb J. Gehrke and Ronald S. Sullivan and Stephanie R. and Stephanie R. Lee Gehrke Khurana Robinson


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

they value, their willingness to be present in a conversation, or a hundred conversations — the daily comportment and choices of any faculty dean affect everyone around them.” Both current and former faculty deans and house staff said the most essential parts of the faculty dean role are intangible. They said the deans set the tone for the unique culture of each house, where most students spend three out of their four years at College. As student backlash against Sullivan grew, administrators responded by launching a climate review of Winthrop House beginning in February. Khurana wrote in a Feb. 26 email announcing the review that the College sought “a more complete understanding of the current environment at Winthrop.” Khurana referenced Winthrop’s climate again in his May email announcing Sullivan and Robinson’s impending departure. He wrote that their inaction during “critical moments” had “deteriorated” the climate. Undergraduates across the College say their faculty deans animate their houses in small ways. Their deans’ academic or professional proclivities shape

the events they hold and the traditions they introduce. Eck, a professor of comparative religion, said several house events during her tenure have had a distinct pagan theme. Alongside Eck and co-Faculty Dean Dorothy A. Austin, Lowell residents frolic on the John W. Weeks Footbridge each May Day and dance at Yule Ball and Bacchanalia, the house’s two formals. Rakesh Khurana and co-Faculty Dean Stephanie R. Khurana, both of whom have backgrounds in organizational management, said their work informs their approach to the faculty dean position. The pair strategize and plan activities in Cabot House, much like they do in their professional lives. “My background is, also, in building early stage organizations, and so I think I always liked the idea of listening to what needs are, and then thinking about how do you bring people together to help create something new and different,” Stephanie Khurana said. “I think that’s just always been part of my DNA.” But Eck, Rosengarten, McDonald, and the Khuranas all said house events only come to fruition with student involvement.

When Eck and Austin – who will leave Lowell this summer after two decades at the House — first became faculty deans, they hosted a “Winter Waltz.” “We had classes in ballroom dancing and whatnot to encourage people to learn how wonderful it was to waltz in that wonderful chandeliered dining hall, you know, with all the space in the world,” Eck said. “But you know, it wasn’t cutting it for students, so we just said, ‘What should we have instead?’” The next year, Lowell House had its first Yule Ball, with a DJ and a holiday dinner. Students planned the event, which still happens annually. Faculty deans — known as house masters prior to 2016 — had much more influence over house culture prior to the 1970s when they selected the students who lived in their house. Some houses became a home for a “type” of student — Adams was famously a haven for gay undergraduates and students of color concentrated in the Quad. “They all claimed, you know, these were not problems for them, because somebody else was taking care of them,” former Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis ’68 said. “[The problem] was that




Gail A. O’Keefe


Anne Harrington

Latanya A.

Sean D. Kelly and

and Doug A.

’82 and John R.

Sweeney and

Cheryl Chen



Sylvia I. Barrett




it got all the other houses off the hook.” In 1993, Lewis headed a committee that recommended randomizing house assignments. He and then-Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett ’57 implemented the current random assignment system, changing the faculty dean role. “It did change things overnight,” Lewis said. “The year before randomization, Quincy House had 40 percent of the summas in the College, and it was the quietest house. And the following year, there were two blocks of football players who got put in Quincy, and it was no longer the quietest house.” Though randomization leveled some differences that had negatively impacted students, faculty deans still retain considerable power today. Currier House senior tutor Thomas “Tom” J. Roberts ’98 said he thinks discrepancies between houses persist today. Citing strong fellowship advising in Quincy and challenges BGLTQ students previously reported facing in Dunster House, Roberts said he thinks the houses need greater consistency because students cannot choose where they live. “It’s almost crazy to me, how we find 12 different ways of doing everything,” he



L. “Maha”

Brian D. Farrell

Mahadevan and

and Irina P.

Amala Mahadevan


2018 Elena M. Ramos—Crimson Designer


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

said. “It’s great that houses have varying personalities, et cetera, but there should be like minimum expectations that like everyone can sort of walk into.”


Though faculty deans leave personal touches, they don’t run their houses alone. Rather, they work closely with tutors and staff to make sure everything in the house — from the food to the formal events — runs smoothly. Faculty deans directly oversee some of these staff, including tutors, building managers, and house administrators. Stephanie Khurana said she and Rakesh Khurana are also ultimately responsible for the custodians and dining workers in Cabot. “You’re really working collaboratively as a team,” she said. “Like, the dining team all reports to [Harvard University Dining Services], but they work with us to be part of our community.” The College’s hundreds of tutors — many of whom live in the houses alongside undergraduates — provide students with residential supervision and academic advising. They, like the faculty deans, participate in building and promoting house culture. Rosengarten said one of his greatest priorities during his time at Mather House was developing a strong tutor corps. “If there’s one anxiety you have, it’s that you’ve picked the right people to be on the front lines, which are the tutors and the resident dean,” he said. “We were very fortunate. We just had a great team.” Tutors and staff said their relationships with their faculty deans could make or break their experience in the house. Terry wrote in her email that Eck and Austin have maintained a productive relationship with house staff during her time at Harvard. “Their ability to remain receptive to their staff, and to the concerns of the people in the House, combined with their innate sensitivity make them wonderful leaders,” she wrote. “They never led by decree, but rather through a mix of consensus and consideration.” Sullivan and Robinson, however, allegedly created a hostile work environment for Winthrop tutors during their tenure as faculty deans. More than a dozen current and former Winthrop staff said the pair retaliated against tutors they deemed disloyal, threatening to fire them.


Those staff members argued Sullivan and Robinson failed to adequately fulfill many of the tasks faculty deans are charged with — interacting with students, hiring qualified staff, and managing the house budget. They alleged Sullivan and Robinson treated house administrators like personal assistants and publicly berated at least one tutor. “During our decade of service we have been, and remain, committed to creating a home for all students in Winthrop House,” Sullivan wrote in an emailed statement to The Crimson earlier this month. “Our commitment extends to creating an appropriate environment for the House’s tutors and staff.” In 2o16, at least eight Winthrop tutors raised their concerns in meetings with College administrators. But several tutors said administrators were unresponsive and left concerned staff unprotected. That same year, 13 tutors made a pact to quit in protest, though they eventually stayed. Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane declined to comment on the College’s alleged 2016 response. Even today, some say the College’s processes for resolving conflicts between faculty deans and their staff remain unclear. Roberts said he does not know how tutors or staff would formally report concerns about their faculty deans and that he thinks tutors who have such concerns are in a “difficult position.” “I would definitely feel comfortable going to the resident dean if I had an issue with the faculty deans. But then it’s like, where would it go from there? Because they’re kind of her boss too,” he said. “So it would probably be kind of delicate to figure out.”

Timeline of a Faculty Dean Demonstration of Interest

Faculty members may express interest in the position to the Dean of the College before there is a vacancy.

Committee Formation

A committee in the house with a vacancy develops a list of priorities for candidates which is used to select around “two to three” pairs of candidates for interviews. The Dean of the College solicits nominations for the open post and pulls pairs from the general interest pool.


Faculty dean candidates sit for interviews over dinner with current students and tutors, and meet with other house administrators and College officials.

University Consultation

The Dean of the College shares feedback about the candidates with the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the University President, as well as other involved administrators.


The College offers the position to one set of candidates, who often spend time before they officially take the position getting acquainted with the house staff and residents.


The newly appointed deans go through a several day long orientation before the start of their term.

Monthly Meetings

Each month, faculty deans meet to discuss any new initiatives they may undertake or problems they may face with each other. About a week before, the faculty dean docket committee sets an agenda for the meeting.


Just weeks after Sullivan announced he would represent Weinstein, students started calling on administrators to remove him. But, without much guiding precedent, the process for doing so remained unclear to onlookers. Every five years, faculty deans must prove to the dean of the College that they deserve to stay in the role. As they approach a five-year mark, the dean of the College assembles a committee to examine their work. Khurana said he typically taps faculty members familiar with the relevant house, former faculty deans, and a College staffer. The committee gathers information over the course of several months and

One-Year Review

Faculty deans meet with the Dean of the College for an informal annual check-in to discuss any issues or to be connected with College resources.

Five-Year Review

The Dean of the College forms a three-person committee to decide whether faculty deans will be renewed every five years. Over the course of several months, the group prepares a report about how the deans have shaped house community, how they interact with students, and how they approach staffing the house.

Akhil S. Waghmare—Crimson Designer

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

submits a report to Khurana, who then decides whether to renew the faculty deans. Former FAS Dean Michael D. Smith oversaw the Khuranas’ first review in 2015. Next year, the FAS Office of Faculty Affairs will do the same when the Khuranas finish a decade at Cabot. Lewis said he vividly remembers the reviews he led; he pored over every aspect of house life when deciding whether to renew a pair of faculty deans. “The five-year review is the one I remember,” Lewis said. “That was sort of serious.” Faculty deans also troubleshoot in between renewal years. Eck, Quincy House Faculty Dean Lee Gehrke, Eliot House Faculty Dean Doug A. Melton, and Pforzheimer House Faculty Dean Anne Harrington ’82 currently sit on a docket committee that sets the agenda for the faculty deans’ monthly meetings. Eck said attendees at both meetings discuss current events and solutions to

problems within their houses. Topics in recent years have included the University’s expansion into Allston, alcohol policy, single-gender social organizations, and mental health, Eck said. During their last meeting, Currier Faculty Deans Latanya A. Sweeney and Sylvia I. Barrett led the group in a reflective exercise. “We sort of started out around different tables and talked about the things that we felt were most difficult during that year, things that had gone best, the things we knew nothing about,” Eck said. “There isn’t an actual job description that says, ‘These are the things that you do if you’re a faculty dean.’ So how do you navigate that? How much should you try to do?” Khurana has added to the bureaucratic structures related to the faculty dean position. Every summer, he requests that the faculty deans produce a report about the state of their house. He also instituted a formal procedure

to address intra-house issues. A copy of the “Inquiry Process to Address House Issues” obtained by The Crimson notes that, “where possible, most disputes and minor misconduct issues are best handled ‘locally’ by the Houses.” The process outlined in the document has two parts: “intake,” where a College official meets with the concerned individual; and “inquiry,” where a College or University official interviews all relevant parties and determines an “outcome.” Over the past decade, the College has launched at least two house-wide reviews in response to concerns about faculty deans. In 2015, administrators surveyed Dunster residents about concerns that former Dunster Faculty Deans Roger B. Porter and Ann R. Porter were insufficiently supportive of BGLTQ residents. The College never publicly released the results of the review. In late February, Khurana launched

the Winthrop “climate review” which included a survey and gave House affiliates the opportunity to meet with Dingman and share their thoughts. The College has also not publicly released its findings. As Sullivan and Robinson prepare to leave, the College is gearing up to start another faculty dean search. Because administrators anticipate the search will take months, Winthrop will have interim leadership. Winthrop student Madeleine D. Woods ’19 said she thinks the College must conduct its search carefully. “I’m hoping that the College moving forward doesn’t consider [the events in Winthrop] a one-off and really kind of looks at the processes they have in place and what they’re looking for in faculty deans so this problem doesn’t pop up again,” she said. “Because I think this was preventable.”

Akhil S. Waghmare—Crimson Designer


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

Paul for the People O n the day of her interview for a position at Harvard University Health Services, Amanda J. Ayers’s nerves disappeared when her interviewer, HUHS Director Paul J. Barreira, pulled out a jar of dirt. The two had just realized that they shared a passion for the Red Sox and were reminiscing on the team’s win that year in 2013. Barreira revealed that he kept a jar of dirt from the pitcher’s mound at Fenway on his desk. Ayers, who had been nervous about meeting Barreira because of his high-ranking position, said his downto-earth personality immediately put her at ease. “He was so human,” said Ayers, who received a job as a health educator. “He really has been kind of a source of calm for

After 15 years at the helm of Harvard University Health Services, Paul Barreira reflects on his legacy. By Brie K. Buchanan and Michelle G. Kurilla Crimson Staff Writers

me here. Like I can see him in the hallway, and we can crack a couple of jokes.” Several colleagues say Barreira is personable, easily connects with others, and uses those experiences to inform his decisions as HUHS director. During his seven years in the position, he has expanded Counseling and Mental Health Services and created new channels for student feedback. Barreira’s tenure is set to end this year. University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 and Executive Vice President Katie Lapp announced that he would step down in a Jan. 11 email to Harvard affiliates. Before Barreira assumed the role of HUHS director in 2012, he taught as an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and served as direc-

tor of Behavioral Health and Academic Counseling, overseeing a host of organizations including Alcohol and Other Drug Services and the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. “I characterize my profession as being a good surfer,” Barreira said. “What does that mean? It means since I finished my psychiatry residency, I get on the surfboard, I find a job that appealed to me,” Barreira said. “I do the job until it was over. I’d get off the surfboard, I find another job. It’s like riding a wave.”


Before Barreira arrived at Harvard, he pinballed between a diverse set of jobs, trying everything from farming to coaching a high school swim team. At one point,

Prevention and Response Center for Wellness Department of Health Promotion and Education Student Mental Health Liaisons Indigo HealthPals CrimsonEMS Graduate Student Mental Health Initiative

Elena M. Ramos—Crimson Designer


he studied to become a Jesuit priest, though he was never ordained. “Everything I did was motivated by ‘This looks like an interesting job. It looks like I’d learn something. I think I could make a contribution, and it’ll be fun,’” Barreira said. Barreira — who graduated magna cum laude from Boston College in 1970 — worked at Boston College High School as a science teacher for a year. Though he soon left for medical school, he managed to rework the science department while he was there. “He was even innovative then,” Chief of CAMHS Barbara Lewis said. “He changed the whole way he taught labs. He had to teach science when he said he knew nothing about teaching, but he made it more of a hands-on lab, and it went over so well that I think they kept his model.” In 1971, Barreira enrolled at Georgetown Medical School and later specialized in psychiatry during his residency. After medical school, he led departments, did research, and served as a licensed clinician — but he said his most difficult job was an administrative one. In the 1980s, the Department of Justice sued the state of Massachusetts for violating civil rights law. The Justice Department investigated Worcester State Hospital, which is designed for patients who required months-long hospital stays under constant supervision. “To get into a state hospital, yet, it’s probably unfathomable to you how sick you’d have to be, but you have to be really very, ill and need constant supervision and not able to function in very basic ways and probably need a pretty long stay like, months or years,” Barreira said. Investigators found that patients were being mistreated and many had been unnecessarily admitted. The governor at the time appointed Barreira to serve on a committee responsible for restructuring the hospital. “Here are the most vulnerable citizens of the Commonwealth, getting unbelievably horrible care, nothing that looked anything like a real hospital,” Barreira said. “It’s just horrible, and there was no real interest in changing it.” Barreira said that as an “outsider,” he

The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

realized the only way to change the hospital was through a fundamental structural change. He helped eliminate direct admissions to state hospitals. Now, the only way psychiatric patients can be placed at a state hospital is to be first admitted to a general hospital or private hospital. “We convinced the legislature that there should be no direct psychiatric admissions to a state hospital,” Barreira said. “So by removing those directed admissions, we saved a lot of people’s lives.”


Former University Provost Steve E. Hyman recruited Barreira to Harvard in 2004, creating a position just for him — director of Behavioral Health and Academic Counseling. In creating the role, Hyman wanted someone with experience in mental health services. He said Barreira met the requirements for the position - knowledge of medicine and the ability to oversee the infrastructure, costs, and insurance. “Paul stood out, I mean, he had substantial administrative experience working for the state,” Hyman said. “He had already been involved with UHS, and had taken a mental health service that was really struggling and had brought it into the modern era.” At Harvard, Barreira separated Mental Health Services — which served both faculty and students — into CAMHS and Behavioral Health. CAMHS caters to students while Behavioral Health focuses on faculty. Lewis said the split helped ensure both faculty and students received the resources they needed. “A lot of the staff and faculty are at Harvard a long time. Students are here for a certain period of time, but if you have staff and faculty that are using a lot of the resources, there are fewer for students,” Lewis said. “So, I think that that was one of the first things he did.” Immediately after Barreira created CAMHS, he looked to further expand its space. To grow the department, he found ways to stretch his budget despite increasing health care costs, according to former Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67. “He’s also been in a really tough spot, because nobody wants to see the tuition, room and board go up and up and up,” Dingman said. “He’s had to keep looking for ways to budget in a way that doesn’t have the bottom line creeping north — or zooming north.” Dingman said Barreira found ways to reallocate funds within HUHS by looking to other campuses, listening to students,

and cutting superfluous services. “He’s been able to expand mental health hours,” Dingman said. “That’s been a real concern — that there’s a spike in and throughout higher ed and people experiencing anxiety and depression, and he’s thrown a lot of resources at that.” CAMHS has been able to expand its facilities and hire more staff as a result of the cuts, according to Lewis. The 2015 closing of Stillman Infirmary allowed the service to expand and renovate its old waiting room — which Barreira had previously likened to a bus stop. Beyond restructuring mental health services, Barreira has worked to bring together HUHS administrators across teams. Individual teams had previously focused on their own activities and met individually with their boss, but the entire team wouldn’t necessarily come together, according to Senior Director of Nursing and Health Promotion Maria Francesconi. In response, Barreira installed a table in his office. Every week, staff across the HUHS departments sit at the table, surrounded by sports memorabilia - including a jersey of Larry Bird — and talk strategy. Barreira has also worked to mentor members of his current leadership team, including Lewis. When she made the transition from psychiatrist to chief of CAMHS, Lewis said she could sometimes get stuck in the “weeds” of smaller details and that Barreira often helped her see the bigger picture. “When there’s a problem or an issue that’s come up, he’s been very good about, you know, saying, ‘I think you should collaborate with this person, or I think you should build a bridge with this person or that person. And, you know, go in from this perspective,’” Lewis said.


In shaping HUHS services, Barreira has deliberately sought out student perspectives. During his tenure, he has established multiple mental health-focused student organizations, conducted surveys, and led focus groups. “They [HUHS] were not paying a lot of attention to students and what students needed,” Barreira said. “I was definitely kind of keen on looking more carefully at what students needed from health services broadly, not just CAMHS.” To further health promotion and reach students, Barreira has created the Department of Health Promotion and Education, Student Mental Health Liaisons, Crimson EMS, Indigo, and Health PALs.

He also established the Student Advisory Council to HUHS, which meets regularly with Barreira to discuss recent initiatives. Maile V. Sapp ’17, who served as an SMHL for more than a year, said Barreira worked closely with the group. “He actually attended all of our SMHL meetings, which I think is a very special trait to have, especially when you’re in such a highly esteemed position,” Sapp said. “Many kind of lose touch with students,

try who’s actually looked at mental health of the graduate students,” Lewis said. “I think he’s really been at the forefront of that.” Barreira plans to continue his work with graduate student surveys even after he steps down as HUHS director. HUHS has also led a number of focus groups. Just last month, HUHS tasked five groups with collecting student feedback about their experiences with health services. “When we start back up next

In January, HUHS Director Paul J. Barreira announced his plans to retire at the end of the academic year. Barreira poses with a farewell poem. AWNIT S. MARTA—Crimson photographer

but he was always there for us, always advocating on behalf on the students.” Two recent initiatives include the distribution of mental health surveys to graduate students and the creation of several focus groups. In 2018, Barreira worked with graduate students in the Economics department to create a department-specific mental health survey. Since then, he has worked with students from several other departments, as well as Harvard Law School, to create similar surveys. “It’s become something that many departments have wanted, and the University as a whole, because we are so concerned and interested in the health and wellbeing of our community,” Francesconi said. Lewis noted the originality of Barreira’s initiative and focus on graduate mental health. “There’s no one across the coun-

fall, there’ll be some follow up, probably a survey, because focus groups are never a representative sample of everybody in the College,” Barreira said. As Barreira prepares to leave, students involved with SMHL and his leadership team have said they will miss him. At his retirement party, HUHS Chief Medical Officer Soheyla Gharib presented him with a poem about his time at HUHS, and several SMHLs gave him a “yearbook-like” photo book with notes from previous members. “It’s just filled with all this stuff,” he said in reference to the book with a smile. “Isn’t it great? There are some students that think I’m a jackass and then there are some students that think I’m okay.”


The Harvard Crimson COMMENCEMENT 2019

Harvard’s Committee Concentrations Stand In Between Departments Nine of Harvard’s 50 concentrations are committees, which often struggle with limited resources. By Elizabeth X. Guo and Ruth A. Hailu Crimson Staff Writers


hen asked to distinguish between a department and curricular committee, Folklore and Mythology Chair Stephen A. Mitchell referenced a quote about actors Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. “You know that old line about Gin-

ger Rogers, ‘she did everything Fred Astaire did except backwards and in heels,’” Mitchell said. “That’s like being a committee.” Nine of the 49 undergraduate concentrations, excluding special concentrations, are tied to multiple departments.

Elena M. Ramos—Crimson Designer


These nine — Chemical and Physical Biology; Environmental Science and Public Policy; Folklore and Mythology; History and Literature; Neuroscience; Social Studies; the Study of Religion; Theater, Dance and Media; and Women, Gender, and Sexuality — are standing committees. The committees “administer undergraduate concentrations outside of the departmental structure,” according to the Office of the Secretary’s website. Without a departmental structure, these committees generally cannot tenure their own faculty or run their own Ph.D. programs. The Faculty must vote to establish a standing committee or to dissolve one. The Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, in conjunction with the Faculty Council, can also dissolve a standing committee with its permission. “Being a committee is basically an executive order, you can just click and it’s gone,” Mitchell said. “Being a department’s a little bit more like being a law that’s been passed. There is an established, institutional sense that you have a certain structure within the institution.” Every faculty member interviewed said being able to traverse different departments is an essential strength of standing committees, which are interdisciplinary in nature. “The committees are formed when it is a feeling that an intellectual area. . .doesn’t fit well within an existing department,” he said. “They do enable a

way to explore intellectual spaces, which aren’t represented by traditional departments.” The Study of Religion, like other standing committees, benefits from an interdisciplinary structure, according to the program’s Director of Undergraduate Studies Courtney B. Lamberth. “It is, I think, an ideal way of bringing together the humanities and the social sciences,” she said. “The committee allows for the multiplicity and the complexity of religious experience, religion and culture to be engaged.”


Standing committees generally cannot tenure faculty and must instead rely on appointments in similar departments and non-tenure track lecturers. “Because you’re not a department, you have very little influence, direct influence on, for example, the hiring of new faculty. Because that’s something that’s done by a department,” ESPP Head Tutor Paul R. Moorcroft said. Most committees are composed of jointly appointed faculty and lecturers who often have limited terms. “[This] can be a good thing, because we have a very interdisciplinary faculty from all different kinds of departments,” WGS Director of Undergraduate Studies Caroline Light said. Meanwhile, faculty who conduct research related to a standing committee’s field of study must often be placed in departments that are broader than their fo-

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cus area, according to Neuroscience Associate Concentration Advisor Laura M. Magnotti. For example, prospective faculty cannot be appointed to Neuroscience but instead must join an existing FAS department, like Molecular and Cellular Biology or Psychology. “But just because their title includes the designation of MCB or Psych doesn’t mean that their research doesn’t fall solidly in the realm of Neuroscience,” Magnotti wrote in an email. Currently, only one standing committee can hire faculty — WGS. In January 2016, an external committee submitted a report arguing that WGS should be able to hire its own ladder faculty. “The Review Committee showed that nationally, the strongest WGS programs and departments have faculty who are hired solely in WGS, and that Harvard’s Program would become even more successful by doing the same,” wrote inactive WGS Chair Robin Bernstein, who is currently on sabbatical. Shortly after, WGS launched a faculty search and ultimately hired Assistant Professor Durba Mitra and Professor Robert Reid-Pharr.

Being a committee is basically an executive order. You can just click and it’s gone. Stephen a. mitchell Folklore and Mythology Chair

One disadvantage jointly appointed faculty face is that they must split their time between their home department and the committee. “That can be really hard, especially if you are a junior faculty member who is jointly appointed through a committee on one hand, and a department on the other,” Light said. “The department tends to have more power and a larger structure, and can make heavier demands upon that faculty member.” Ali S. Asani ’77, professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures and one of the first Study of Religion concentrators, said he personally struggled with balancing commitments arising from his joint appointments when he was a junior faculty member. “It was hard, you know, to negotiate, because you always have two bosses,” Asani said. “From a faculty perspective, that was difficult, I think the hiring per-

spective is also difficult, because [committees are] always beholden to find a partner.”


The lack of tenured faculty often leaves gaps in standing committees’ curricula and inhibits the predictability of their course offerings. Moorcroft said committees sometimes struggle to provide a diverse range of classes because they cannot recruit specific faculty who are experts in those areas. “Sometimes that can make things a little challenging because we think ‘wouldn’t it be really great if we could hire a person in a particular area?’ but we don’t have the capability to do that. That goes out to the department,” Moorcroft said. Several students said they have noticed this issue in their own concentrations. Though ESPP concentrator Yasmin Yacoby ’19 called her concentration “probably the best part of [her] Harvard experience,” she said the committee needed to offer a more diverse curriculum. “I don’t think that that’s a lack of initiative on the part of the faculty,” Yacoby said. “I think that is a lack of resources, and there should be more people making the push for environmental justice classes to be taught or more Af-Am classes to be integrated into the curriculum.” Committees sometimes face difficulties offering a consistent curriculum year to year due to the high turnover rates of lecturers and tutors within the committees. Lecturers and tutors tend to work on fixed-year contracts, unlike ladder faculty who can receive tenure. Julia H. Fine ’19 said the only negative aspect of her time as a concentrator in History and Literature, Harvard’s oldest concentration, was that the tutors can only stay “for about three years.” “The fact that the turnover is so high is kind of sad, because it would have been great if some of them could stay with Hist and Lit for a longer period of time,” Fine said. Committees like WGS and Folklore and Mythology, which lack Ph.D. students, often have to do a “bit of scrambling” every year to find teaching fellows for courses, according to Light. Light added that, for WGS, it is important that these graduate students are trained properly because of the sensitive

Lowell Brower is a Ph.D. candidate in the African and African American Studies department. Ryan N. Gajarawala—Crimson photographer

Catherine “Cat” Zhang ‘19 concentrated in Social Studies. Ryan N. Gajarawala—Crimson photographer

Philip J. Deloria is a professor of History and the chair of the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature. Ryan N. Gajarawala—Crimson photographer


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Tiffany Lau ‘19 concentrated in History and Literature and Theater, Dance and Media. Ryan N. Gajarawala—Crimson photographer

nature of the course material. “We can’t just drop people in the classroom who have never had any training in gender studies, because a lot of times — I would say more often than not — the courses that we’re offering in this program address what can be very sensitive topics for our students,” she said. Some committees offer a secondary field for graduate students. Though these committees can then draw upon that pool of students to serve as teaching fellows, asking them to split their time can put them in an “awkward position,” according to Light. “When we come to them and ask them if they want to teach for us, we never want to do that in a way that might jeopardize their good standing in their home department,” she said.


Julissa Higgins ‘19 concentrated in History and Literature. Ryan N. Gajarawala—Crimson photographer

Narayan Narasimhan ‘19 concentrated in Social Studies. Amanda Y. Su—Crimson photographer


The strength of the committee structure lies in its focus on undergraduate education, according to Light. Because many committees do not have graduate programs, they are able to prioritize undergraduates. Many committees are also relatively small, allowing concentrators to develop close relationships with faculty in seminar-style classes. Several students cited the smaller size of their committee concentrations as beneficial to their undergraduate experience. “A lot of the work you do, you do in small groups with people who are also very interested in the topic as opposed to sitting in a lecture hall and listening to a professor talk,” History and Literature and TDM joint concentrator Tiffany Y. Lau ’19 said. Smaller committees, however, sometimes struggle to procure comparable levels of funding to departments, according to Moorcroft. One reason for this is that newer committees lack the historical endowments some departments possess. ESPP, for example, does not have any “ongoing funding,” Moorcroft said. The committee has trouble funding annual weeklong field trips for its concentrators, a feature that some departments are able to provide. Though grateful for the funds FAS has already provided Folklore and Mythology, Mitchell said the difference between the extent of resources available to committees and to departments is palpable. “I mean, it’d be terrific to be able to offer what some departments just a few buildings away are able to offer their stu-

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dents,” Mitchell said. Many concentrators said they did not notice any issues arising from a lack of funds. They instead praised the flexibility offered by committees and the close advising relationships they formed with professors and lecturers. For instance, some standing committee concentrations, like Neuroscience and CPB, arose from broader departments. Concentrators in these committees can focus on more specialized fields of study and draw from departments related to the committee.

There’s really no reason, from what I see, to keep the committee structure. Ali S. Asani ’77 Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Culture

Lily Xu ’19, a CPB concentrator, described CPB and Neuroscience as “offshoots” of the MCB department. Xu said that her own committee concentration’s close relationship with a full-fledged department simultaneously allowed for structure and flexibility. “I think the uniqueness of CPB as a standing committee, compared to maybe some of the other standing committees is that we are lucky to have a lot of the MCB department’s resources and support,” Xu said. The ties between standing committees and larger departments provide students with broader networks of potential faculty advisors. Fine described her thesis advising as the “best of both worlds” because she was able to gain the perspective of both a History professor and a History and Literature tutor. Unlike most committees, the Study of Religion has its own Ph.D. program and ties to a graduate school, the Harvard Divinity School. These connections provide a constant stream of faculty and graduate student mentorship for undergraduates. “I think the Div School connections have been really essential to having a big support network, that a small number of undergrads can really take advantage of,” Study of Religion concentrator Sarah E. Coady ’19 said. Most of the seniors interviewed for this article said they were not aware that their concentration was not a part of a de-

partment. “I suppose it’s a little hard to know what you’re missing out on when you’re not super aware of it,” History and Literature concentrator Julissa Higgins ’19 said. “But I do think that if [Hist & Lit] were a department, it would elevate the student experience.”


The road to departmental status remains unclear as very few committees have successfully made the transition. The African and African American Studies department, which started out as a “program” in April 1968, is one such example. Students protested its status as a “program” in April 1969, and by the end of the month the faculty had agreed to their demands to establish Afro-American Studies as a distinct department. In June 2012, the Study of Religion seemed poised to make a similar transition. Former University President Drew G. Faust commissioned a task force that recommended Harvard “give serious consideration to creating a department of religious studies,” per the task force’s report. Instead of implementing this recommendation, Faust created a working group that looked into ways to address the task force’s concerns without making Study of Religion a department, according to Lamberth. One barrier to creating new departments is the financial investment required. For instance, Harvard has refused to create a formalized ethnic studies program despite decades-long activism by affiliates, in part because of a lack of financial resources. Faust wrote in a 2012 emailed statement that establishing a Study of Religion department would “divert resources” from the rest of FAS. Despite financial barriers, some committees believe departmentalizing would make their programs more cohesive and would give them resources to better serve both undergraduate and graduate students. “There’s really no reason, from what I see, to keep the committee structure,” Asani said. “It’s a legacy of the past and we have to be cognizant that we live in a different world and the study of religion is a discipline of its own. FAS needs to recognize that it’s a discipline, it’s a subject of its own right, and it should be its own department.” Since its creation in 1986, WGS has

moved to departmentalize by expanding its course offerings and recruiting more faculty and concentrators. “I think we feel more confident, slowly ramping up to a point where we’re ready to become a department,” Light said. “I want to make sure that we have everything in place, all the structures in place to maintain not just an excellent system for undergraduates, but all the scaffolding we need to ensure that Ph.D. students are going to have the best possible experience.” Bernstein wrote in an emailed statement that official departmentalization will have implications beyond just Harvard. “Departmentalization would make a powerful statement, at Harvard and beyond, about the vitality of the study of women, gender, and sexuality,” she wrote. “Departmentalization would appropriately reflect the significant contributions that WGS makes to Harvard University.” Not all committees would like to transition into a department, however.

Some faculty say departmentalization is unnecessary and could inhibit the scope and flexibility of committees’ fields of study. “I think if things are functioning as they are, where people from different departments are working well in this interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary area, I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that it either should or could or would become a department,” Moorcroft said. The interdisciplinary nature of committees is one of their greatest strengths, according to Folklore and Mythology Head Tutor Lowell A. Brower. “We play so well with so many departments so we have such a wide range committee, and that flexibility and that possibility to speak across the College really serves our students well,” Brower said. “If becoming a department would foreclose that or would kind of work against that, I think that would be a difficult decision.”

Akhil S. Waghmare—Crimson Designer


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‘More Than Just Advancing Knowledge’ In their multifaceted careers, faculty members at Harvard bridge industry and academia. By Ruth A. Hailu and Amy L. Jia Crimson Staff Writers


y the time Federico Capasso was appointed a Harvard professor, he had held a high-ranking position at a scientific development company, invented a type of laser, and co-founded a startup based on that laser. Capasso, who is now an applied physics professor at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, joined the research team at the Nokia-owned industrial research company Bell Labs in 1976, nearly 30 years before arriving at Harvard in 2003. During his time at Bell Labs, Capasso quickly climbed the ranks. He headed multiple research divisions before ascending to one of the company’s most preeminent management positions — vice president of all physical research. While at Bell Labs, he and his colleagues invented a “quantum cascade laser” — a semiconductor laser that emits in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum — and started a company based on their invention. Capasso credited his “excellent” scientific upbringing at Bell Labs with instilling in him a unique way of thinking about research — one he hopes to pass on to his students through his teaching. “We should not think about disciplines but about problems… Most of the time today, interesting areas of research are at the boundaries between traditional disciplines,” Capasso said. “As a professor, I want to train students who are great problem solvers.” After coming to Harvard, Capasso continued to dabble in industry. He — along with several postdoctoral fellows from his own lab and that of Atmospheric Chemistry Professor James G. Anderson — developed a second company that expanded the potential applications of quantum cascade laser technology to include chemical detection, emissions compliance, and


healthcare. Capasso’s journey from industry to academia and back is far from unique, especially among faculty in engineering and applied sciences disciplines. Across Harvard, countless professors boast similar tales of early forays into the private sector that have, in turn, informed their teaching and research. Others have found themselves unexpectedly working in industry after lab discoveries proved to harbor commercial value. Though faculty members may take different paths to arrive at the intersection of industry and academia — intersections that manifest in myriad ways — those in the applied sciences all affirm the bidirectional benefits that arise from experience in both areas. “Engineers and applied scientists are translators, and translators take bright ideas, clever inspiration, and create something from that,” Dean of SEAS Francis J. Doyle III said. “That ‘something’ ultimately is going to have a role in society, in life.”


Many professors began their careers as researchers at private companies — sometimes spending decades in these roles — before assuming their present academic posts. Before joining the Computer Science faculty at SEAS, Hanspeter Pfister worked for 10 years at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories in Cambridge, where he conducted basic research on long-term technology development and sought to “connect that research with business units.” Like Capasso, Pfister held several management positions at MERL, eventually becoming its associate director and a senior research scientist. He also helped

develop technology that would later give rise to a startup, though he ultimately did not join the startup. Pfister said his industry experience has been “extremely va luable” for both his teaching as well as his research at Harvard. “It has given me an a p p r e ciation for finding projects that have an





application that somebody might care about,” he said. “That affects my teaching in the sense that in my classes, I try to teach students skills that will allow them to do projects that will hopefully make a difference in the world.” Computer Science Professor Boaz Barak wrote in an email that the five years he spent at Microsoft Research before coming to Harvard allowed him to meet people whose expertise spanned a wide range of disciplines. “In particular, the lab I was part of had a large number of

social-science researchers that in a university would be in a different department than mine,” he wrote. He added that being able to talk to and work closely with people of different academic backgrounds gave him “broader perspectives as a scholar and teacher.” Though prior industry experience is not the “first and foremost” aspect administrators look for when recruiting new faculty, time spent in the private sector is “certainly” taken into consideration, according to former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith. Before assuming the FAS deanship, Smith worked closely with industry partners and founded the data security company Liquid Machines. “We certainly look for those kinds of experiences to help inform the kinds of skills and benefits that person would bring to working across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences,” he said. Though administrators do not expect faculty to possess industry experience, SEAS professors seem to have an “appetite” for translating their work into industrial applications, according to Doyle. “Every one of the seven areas of SEAS has people doing t ra n slat iona l work,” he said. “It’s not all the people, and some tRUELIAN LEE—Crimson Designer areas have more




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people than others, but every area has opportunities and has faculty looking for those opportunities.”


SEAS Professor Marko Loncar — who researches interactions between light and matter — holds a microchip in the lab. Kai r. McNamee—Crimson photographer

Professor Avi Loeb, the director of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy, poses on the roof of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Delano R. Franklin—Crimson photographer

Computer Science professor Hanspeter Pfister studies visual computing across a wide range of topics. Courtesy of anna olivella photography

Academic research often yields commercial opportunities that not only benefit society, but also generate millions of dollars in revenue for Harvard and its faculty. In 2018, Harvard made more than $54 million in revenue from commercialized technology, according to the Office of Technology Development, which oversees intellectual property management at Harvard. “The ideas that spin out of our laboratories produce a revenue stream from which every student and staff member and faculty member at this University is a beneficiary,” Dean of Science Christopher W. Stubbs said. “We should be grateful to those colleagues who push things in that direction,” he added. Harvard, unlike most companies, is “generous” with distributing profits earned from commercialized technology, according to Engineering Professor Robert D. Howe. Recipients include the technology’s inventors, the inventors’ departments or centers, the University president, and the University itself. “If the idea proves to be useful, it’s patented, the patent is licensed to a company, and the company pays royalties. They [Harvard] actually provide the inventors with a fraction of that,” he said. Though some professors proactively seek out projects they can then commercialize, others say they come upon these opportunities serendipitously. Physics and Applied Physics Professor Eric Mazur said he had “never thought about commercializing what came out of [his] research” when he first joined Harvard. So when a member of the Office of Technology Development approached him to discuss a potential licensing opportunity for a device his lab had developed, he was initially hesitant. “My initial reaction was ‘No, I’m working on advancing knowledge, not on developing [intellectual property] for commercial purposes,’” Mazur said. Yet, he soon realized that the device in question could benefit other labs experiencing similar challenges. Because the technology was not something scholarly publications generally include, the idea would “die in [his] own lab” without the broad distribution afforded by commer-

cial licensing. This realization prompted Mazur to license the device to an optics company through the Office of Technology Development. “That was the first time that I thought maybe some of the things that I do are useful for more than just advancing knowledge and educating students,” he said. Years later, Mazur’s research yielded another commercial product. He and several members of his lab launched the company SiOnyx based on an invention they called “black silicon,” an altered, more absorptive form of silicon that could revolutionize the way cameras take pictures in the dark. Howe, who also created several startups based on his lab’s work, echoed Mazur’s sentiments about the far-reaching benefits of translational research. “To see an idea that actually turns into something useful in the real world is extremely rewarding in terms of validating all the work you’ve been doing,” Howe said, noting that this phenomenon was a “rare thing” for researchers. Academic research and industrial ventures often feed directly into one another in a self-reinforcing cycle, according to Electrical Engineering Professor Marko Lončar. “Some of our most applied work comes from a very fundamental understanding of materials,” Lončar said. “Then, whatever we build there enables us to make devices that improve our understanding of fundamental physics.”


As faculty work to commercialize their research, they must manage potential conflicts of interest and navigate patent agreements and licensing contracts — tasks that fall under the Office of Technology Development’s purview. One of the office’s foremost priorities is to protect intellectual property, Chief Technology Development Officer Isaac T. Kohlberg wrote in an emailed statement. The office does this by facilitating and funding patent applications. “The mechanism of technology commercialization is a license agreement that grants rights to a company to practice the intellectual property owned by Harvard,” he wrote. Once the technology is licensed to a company, the Office of Technology Development “stay[s] very engaged with that company” to ensure that “Harvard innovations are being fully developed toward useful products and services,” ac-


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Matthew J. Tyler—Crimson Designer

cording to Kohlberg. New challenges arise, however, as faculty must reconcile their research interests with a potential financial stake in their companies. Mazur said a “clear division” must exist between a professor’s academic mission of “advancing knowledge and educating students” and a CEO’s mission of “making money.” Pfister said he often sees professors maintain this division by staying on the “research side” of their company rather than adopting a “hands-on, active management role.” He noted that some professors may also elect to take a sabbatical to focus on their company before returning to teach. Even if professors do not hold management positions, they are nevertheless required to disclose potential conflicts of interest and cannot use federal funding for “any research that would be immediately useful for [their companies],” according to Howe. “I inform all the members of my group every year about this so that they know what’s reasonable and what’s not, and I make sure that none of the work we do in the lab is related to the company,” he said. Doyle said his main responsibility as SEAS dean is to educate faculty on the mechanisms for disclosing conflicts of


interest. Though these processes can often seem like a “bewildering array of forms and databases,” they ensure faculty conduct research objectively and are “not unduly influenced by things like patent royalties,” Doyle said. Managing conflicts of interest — rather than seeking to avoid them altogether — results in greater long-term benefits for all parties, according to University spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain. Swain wrote in an emailed statement that commercial collaborations between industry and academic institutions “inevitably” entail conflicts. “The intellectual property developed by a researcher is the idea that industry is interested in developing for market, and often the researcher is best positioned to do the research,” he wrote. “This inherently creates a potential conflict, that if prohibited, has a detrimental effect on the potential to get valuable medications, or other products to the market.” Stubbs said effectively managing conflicts of interest “benefits us as a University in many ways.” “If our broader institutional mission is to impact the world in positive ways, having things transition out of the library into clinical applications and commercial applications, that’s all for the good,” he said.


Though some professors worry that academia can inhibit innovation, administrators say they are working to promote collaborations between industry and academia. “My frustration is that many people, when they enter academia and become tenured professors, start to worry mostly about their image and about getting honors and awards and take fewer risks as a result,” Astronomy Department Chair Avi Loeb said. “The only way not to make mistakes is never to take risks,” he added. “That goes against innovation.” Loeb said in order to avoid static research, universities must cultivate a culture in which professors are encouraged to think “independently” and facilitate connections with industry. Pfister said he was “a little surprised” by Loeb’s characterization of academia’s effect on innovation. “I would think you’re actually more likely to, for example, have a startup once you have tenure,” he said. “Once you do have tenure, you have the luxury of sitting back a bit and thinking about, ‘Okay, you know, maybe now I have a nice portfolio of research, maybe I should do a startup.’” Stubbs said whether professors choose to get involved in industry reflects their

“internal value structure” — something he believes administrators should not interfere with. “I don’t know that it’s our place to try to, in a top-down fashion, try to manipulate individuals’ value structure,” Stubbs said. Instead, he said administrators should give professors “full intellectual latitude” to follow their individual pursuits. Doyle said facilitating interactions between industry and academia remains a priority of his administration because they directly impact the student experience. “The internships, the job placement, and the classroom experience — those were my top three. Those remain my top three priorities for pulling companies in,” Doyle said. Administrators have implemented several measures to foster student involvement in both industry and academia. SEAS and the Harvard Business School recently partnered to launch a joint MS/MBA degree program. SEAS has also recruited industry professionals to lead undergraduate classes like the pilot course COMPSCI 281: “Advanced Machine Learning,” which was headed by researchers from Google. Howe said industry professionals can offer students unique insight into areas like “project management for large teams” and “operating with lots of resources and tight deadlines” — topics Harvard faculty might not be as familiar with. “We’re pretty good at training students how to build prototypes, how to build the first of something, proof of concept, understanding what works and what doesn’t work,” Howe said. “How you then scale that to producing 100,000 units a month is a completely separate set of technologies that we don’t specialize in here.” Involving industry professionals in the classroom ensures that Harvard is not a disconnected “ivory tower sitting off on the side” but a key player in real-world problems, according to Smith. “One of the most interesting things when you look at higher education is how you build that interface and do it in a productive way that allows the institution to still stand by its mission of education and research, but at the same time, not do it in a way that’s completely disconnected from the rest of the world,” he said.

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Mapping the Square’s Future Denise A. Jillson, the executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, works to navigate a challenging commercial landscape. By Rebecca s. araten and ellen m. burstein


hen Denise A. Jillson picks up her phone and hears someone ask, “Are the shoes ready?” she knows she needs to run up the street to Felix Shoe Repair. That’s because Christos Soillis, the shop’s owner, does not have his own landline — so Jillson volunteered to field calls meant for him. “If you look at the directory, the phone for Felix Shoe Repair is our number here,” she said, sitting in her office at the Harvard Square Business Association. Whenever she gets a call meant for the local shoe shop from the Brattle Street office, Jillson stops whatever she is doing, rushes down Massachusetts Avenue, and alerts the store’s employees. Directing customers to the shoe shop is not a formal part of Jillson’s job de-

Crimson Staff Writers

scription. As the executive director of the HBSA — a job she has held for 13 years — she coordinates events to promote local shops, restaurants, and non-profit groups. She also informs local business owners of information relevant to their stores and connects them with resources from the city of Cambridge. Several Square business owners and HBSA colleagues said they think one of the hallmarks of Jillson’s leadership is her willingness to go above and beyond her explicit responsibilities. “I don’t think people understand the scope of what it is that this office produces to make this an inviting place for people, so there’s a lot of things behind the scenes that people aren’t aware of,” said William W. Manley, the HSBA’s marketing and events manager, who has worked

with Jillson for nine years. Soillis similarly praised Jillson’s commitment to Harvard Square’s businesses. “She does a lot of things for not only for me, for everybody,” he said. “Go ask something, she’s there. She’s going to help you, doesn’t matter — daytime, nighttime, overtime — doesn’t matter what.”

A Vision for the Square

When Jillson first stepped into her role in 2006, she was presented with the Harvard Square Initiative, a set of documents that outlined changes for the Square’s future commercial landscape. Ever since, the papers have sat on her desk enduring time and coffee stains. “I took that as my roadmap, and that hasn’t changed,” Jillson said. “And that has nothing to do with me, or frankly the

TRUELIAN LEE—Crimson Designer

association, and everything to do with what the community wanted and how they envisioned Harvard Square.” On that list of agenda items were calls to revamp the Square’s MBTA station, provide support for lost visitors, host more festivals, change Cambridge’s alcohol licensing policy, and support people experiencing homelessness in the Square. Jillson’s current project is working alongside Cambridge to restore and repurpose the kiosk in the heart of the Square, which currently houses Out of Town News. She’s also advocating for constructing a new theater on Church Street, where a once-vibrant theater now stands empty and abandoned. “It’s about this absolute belief from our leadership here in Harvard Square and the University and the city of Cambridge that this place is important and that nothing, or as little as possible, should slip through the cracks,” she said. As Jillson tries to accomplish her goals for the Square, however, she has faced some challenges. In the past year alone, there has been significant turnover among its businesses — Crema, Chipotle, Sweet Bakery, Starbucks, Urban Outfitters, Tealuxe, Au Bon Pain, and Petsi Pies have all closed their doors. Just this month, the new owner of the World’s Only Curious George shop announced the store would shutter its Harvard Square location and move to Central Square on June 30, citing rising rent prices. Jillson attributed many of these closings to the rising popularity of online shopping. “What people have to understand is when they make a decision to purchase online, or even to have Uber Eats delivery, that has an impact,” she said. “And the reason for that is, if you’re at home and you’re getting something delivered from Felipe’s or El Jefe’s, the chances of you popping into the Coop to pick up a book or


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going into Black Ink to get a little gift for a friend’s birthday this coming weekend has just become completely diminished, right? It’s not going to happen.” Not everyone, however, completely agrees with Jillson’s characterization of the issues facing Square businesses. Susan Corcoran, the owner of stationery shop Blank Ink, wrote in an emailed statement that she does not think public tastes are what are driving stores out of the Square. “With unsustainable rent increases and development construction displacing more of us in the near future, it’s disingenuous to say that the community makes disingenuous to say that the community makes the choice of who succeeds, but community support at this time is crucial,” Corcoran wrote. Corcoran added that she decided not to renew her membership with the HSBA this year. She said that she intended to use the funds to foster a “grassroots movement” that aims to encourage shoppers to support local businesses. Jillson replied in an emailed statement that encouraging support for local businesses is “amongst our highest priority,” member or not. “While over 70% of the businesses in Harvard Square are locally-owned, independent, we work on behalf of all,” she wrote. “We value our members and appreciate their support. Those businesses who are not dues paying members of the HSBA surely benefit from our efforts.” Vice Mayor of Cambridge Jan Devereux said that while the HSBA and Jillson will increasingly have to contend with changes in the Square, she said she thinks they’ve responded well to challenges so far. “People are like, ‘Oh, it’s not what it used to be, it’s dead,’ and you know, that’s not true, but it needs to evolve, and I think Denise knows that and is working really hard,” she said. “I give her a lot of credit for being so determined, and so optimistic, and so positive that Harvard Square has survived for centuries and will survive.”

Backing Businesses

Central to Jillson’s responsibilities is supporting businesses and helping them draw customers. Out of the many initiatives she has lead over her tenure, Jillson says she is particularly proud of her social media strategy. When she wants to drum up publicity for local restaurants, she posts on Facebook at 11:55 a.m. — a time she says residents are likely to be hungry and search-


ing online for menus. Some local business owners say Jillson’s attention to this sort of detail shows her individualized commitment to the Square’s businesses. Jillson is “huge supporter” of local owners, according to Mary D. Taylor, who runs specialty foods store Salt & Olive Market. When Salt & Olive moved to a new location in the Garage earlier this year, Jillson and the HSBA helped Taylor by posting about Salt & Olive’s move on their website. The HSBA also facilitated interactions between Salt & Olive and Cambridge’s city manager to help Taylor to obtain her lease and license. Suzy L. Palitz similarly praised Jillson’s willingness to tailor her support to each business’s needs. Palitz, who owns Furnishing Hope — a nonprofit organization that collects furniture donations and distributes them to families transitioning out of homelessness — said that when she was moving from Central Square to Harvard Square in September 2017, Jillson met with her to strategize for the relocation. “From that very first meeting, she was just amazing in terms of brainstorming about how to help us get settled here, how to help us reach out to the community,” Palitz said. After the move, Jillson planned a ribbon-cutting event and brought then-Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons along with her. At HSBA’s annual breakfast, Jillson helped jumpstart Furnishing Hope’s linen drive by encouraging attendees to donate. Jillson said she tries to offer advice to small and large businesses alike, and works to bring all of them into the Square’s community. “When new people come to town, and it doesn’t matter who they are, whether they’re an international company like Zambrero or if they’re a small locally owned independent that just arrived last summer, like Black Sheep Bagel or something, we want to make sure they feel like a part of the community very quickly,” Jillson said.


Her title may suggest a singular focus on the Square’s commercial offerings, but Jillson said she believes there’s much more than just working with businesses. Jillson said she thinks it is important to promote a sense of community in the Square. Store owners and Cambridge residents say she tries to make the place wel-

coming for new businesses and to forge relationships with visitors. On March 2 — Dr. Seuss’s birthday — she stood in front of the Out of Town News kiosk and distributed green eggs and ham to passersby in celebration of one of the author’s most famous books. For William Shakespeare’s birthday in April 2015, she handed out cake in front of the Harvard Square T Station. Jillson said one of her focuses as HSBA director has been arranging events that showcase local businesses and draw Cambridge residents to the Square. Each January, Jillson organizes the “Taste of Chocolate Festival,” a weekend-long event that allows businesses to share their chocolate treats with event attendees. The annual “Some Like It Hot”

Jillson’s commitment to the Square. “HSBA and Denise, apart from being sort of passionate and energetic about the cause of the Square and drawing people to the Square like a Venus fly trap, they’re are also great stewards of the space,” she said. “By that I mean it’s not just all about celebrating money — which of course is important for businesses to make money in the Square — but they take care of everybody in the Square.” In 2017, Jillson noticed that James B. Lappin, a man who often sits outside of the Cambridge Trust Company, was having trouble with his wheelchair. Jillson proceeded to promote an online fundraiser that that eventually raised $13,305 to buy Lappin a new chair. “Cannot thank you all enough for help-

Denise A. Jillson, the executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, discusses the state of the Square. ryan n. gajarawala—Crimson photographer

Chili Cook-Off draws Harvard Square chefs together each February to cook chili for attendees to sample. In 2016, Jillson collaborated with the Cambridge Arts Council to unveil a new project to beautify the Square — the Utility Box Art Project, which brought together artists from Cambridge to paint electrical boxes in Harvard Square. The initiative resulted in 12 painted boxes featuring a host of images, from depictions of devilish pandas to exhortations to “follow your dreams.” “It’s tiny details, and then, you know, it’s big details,” Jillson said. For Mary Stack, director of the Cambridge Public Forum, these efforts reflect

ing me with the money for my new wheelchair,” Lappin wrote in a note to Jillson at the time. “I love all of you very much.” Beyond her partnerships with local businesses that form the base of her work, Stack said she appreciates Jillson’s efforts to help Cambridge residents and build a sense of community in the Square. “Their operation is not just working with businesses but giving back and helping out people that are in need,” she said. “So I think they’re very good stewards of the Harvard Square space. It’s in good hands.”

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Powerless: When Harvard Housing Fails


s Jan. 31 drew to a close, Harvard Kennedy School student Doaa Sobeih gathered her belongings and stepped outside her Western Avenue Harvard apartment for the last time. Surrounded by her furniture, Sobeih was left alone on the street in 14 degree weather with nowhere to go. The past few days had been a frenzy of apartment hunting. She had returned


The vast majority of students have positive experiences with Harvard housing, but some say that when it goes wrong, it can go very wrong. By Declan J. Knieriem and Luke A. Williams Crimson Staff Writers

TRUELIAN LEE—Crimson Designer

to campus from break on Jan. 26 to find that one of her two roommates had left without paying January’s rent or finding a replacement. Unable to pay and “threatened” by her lease coordinator, Sobeih had three options: stay and pay two shares of the rent, stay without paying and face legal action, or sign a termination of her lease and leave. She opted to leave.

“Now, I have no willingness to live in Harvard housing,” Sobeih said. “I lost all trust in those people.” Approximately 5,000 graduate students decide to live in Harvard housing each year. Harvard University Housing alone owns more than 62 properties — ranging from $1,800 to $5,000 a month per lease — in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston, and individual graduate schools

own even more property. Harvard housing is in many ways more convenient than other options; the rent includes the cost of utilities and amenities and the properties are close to campus. HUH surveys conducted over the last five years have found that 92 percent of graduate students would recommend Harvard housing to incoming students, according to University spokesperson Brigid O’Ro-


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urke. But some students have experienced repeated issues with HUH’s infrastructure including flooding and broken elevators. Others, like Sobeih, have suffered the fine print of HUH’s leasing contract, which stipulates that students with incomplete rent payments are barred from registering for classes or graduating on time. Dissatisfied students often seek alternative housing in Cambridge — a phenomenon some say has contributed to the city’s current housing crisis and is straining the relationship between Harvard and the city. From widespread satisfaction to proximity to campus and included amenities, Harvard housing has plenty of draw. Yet, some students say that when Harvard housing goes wrong, it can go very wrong.

‘Not About the Welfare of the Students’

Because Harvard has no housing-specific financial aid, students must pay their rent out-of-pocket, drawing upon fellowship money, school stipends, or personal savings. Students who miss a payment face not only potential legal issues, but also academic consequences. The cost of Harvard housing is comparable, if not slightly cheaper than, MIT’s housing prices and Cambridge housing prices once utilities and amenities are considered. But Harvard’s average housing cost is almost double the average cost at other peer institutions, like Princeton and Columbia, due in part to geographic and socioeconomic factors. Since the average cost of Harvard housing is approximately $2,500 a month, housing costs can account for well over half of a student’s income, depending on the graduate school which they attend. Despite the costs, some students choose to live in Harvard-owned properties because of their proximity to campus and the included utilities and amenities. “I think a lot of students feel that Harvard housing is prohibitively expensive. It’s a shame because in a lot of cases it’s the most convenient option,” Kennedy School student Emma S. Margolin said. “There aren’t a lot of options for people who don’t have a lot of savings.” But the conveniences come with restrictive leasing contracts. Harvard can withhold students’ diploma and transcript if they do not pay their rent. The University can also prevent students from registering for future classes and renew-


ing their leases. “If you’re paying expensive rent anyway, you might as well live off campus, where you’ll have more control. You’ll have more leverage as a tenant,” Margolin said. The restrictions included in Harvard housing contracts are part of the reason why Sobeih decided to terminate her contract before she could find alternative housing. Set to graduate this semester, Sobeih did not want to run the risk of incurring debt. If she had stayed for the semester, she would have had to pay approximately $9,000 — an amount she would not have been able to afford given that she was on financial aid.

I think a lot of students feel that Harvard housing is prohibitively expensive. It’s a shame because in a lot of cases that’s the most convenient option. Emma S. Margolin Kennedy School student

On Jan. 28, two days after she discovered that she owed her former roommate’s share of the rent, Sobeigh asked her leasing coordinator to put her in contact with the building manager. But her leasing coordinator flatly refused, leaving Sobeih to face imminent expulsion. “Pressuring me to pay for another one [roommate] because you want your money is not fair, and if this is really the policy, this is the time to change it,” Sobeih said. “They were threatening me that they were going to withhold my graduation until I pay all the charges on the apartment.” O’Rourke declined to comment on Sobeih’s case, but wrote in an emailed statement that HUH’s lease makes explicit its policy of requiring present roommates to cover the rent of an absent roommate. She added that tenants are made aware of the policy before renting their apartments. The night Sobeih was due to leave, HUH offered replacement housing — a single unit where Sobeih would have to pay more per month than her previous rate. Sobeih said she wrote a letter to University President Lawrence S. Bacow, and her letter was redirected to HUH lead-

ership. They scheduled a meeting with Sobeih, but it fell through. “I was mistreated by Harvard housing,” Sobeih said. “I would envision it that in Harvard housing, they care about their business…It’s not about being students, it’s not about the ethics, it’s not about the morals, it’s not about the welfare of the students.”


Though the University has invested $44 million into developing and renovating its housing properties over the past 19 years, multiple students say the buildings often experience basic amenity failures — negating the benefits of Harvard housing. At Peabody Terrace, one of Harvard’s largest graduate apartment complexes, Margolin faced flooding, destructive renovations, broken elevators, and days without water. The damage broke her computer charger and printer, and caused her to miss class. Her coworkers thought she was “cursed.” “I think a lot of students have perfectly fine experiences with Harvard housing,” Margolin said. “But you could easily have mine, where I just had what felt like disaster on top of disaster and still haven’t received rent compensation for very high rent.” Renovations at Holden Green, a Harvard housing complex in Somerville, in 2017 resulted in endless piles of dust, water leakage, constant jackhammering, and broken air conditioners in mid-summer. Christopher J. Williams, a resident, described his home as an “active construction zone” necessitating a hard-hat, and “dangerous” for his two-year-old child. Even before the construction began, Holden Green experienced issues with false fire and carbon monoxide alarms, often sounding in the middle of the night. From September 2017 to this May, Holden Green has experienced 51 false alarms — including three since Harvard attempted to fix the issue in January. “When you talk about Harvard, you always think ‘Oh, things will be done properly and well-planned,’” said resident Pedro Moreira Protasio in a January interview. “That construction? I’m from Brazil and I’ve never seen anything like that.” Exasperated with her Harvard housing experience, Margolin contacted her property supervisor multiple times, but did not receive help. She said HUH does not have a formalized system to submit complaints or requests. “I was going through these issues and didn’t know how to navigate them,” Mar-

golin said. “I didn’t have any power in the situation with Harvard housing.” Margolin also write a letter to Bacow alongside Sobeih. But Bacow’s office redirected the letters to HUH, who reviewed Margolin’s situation and decided not to reimburse any of her rent. Instead, they sent her Whole Foods gift cards. Margolin was out of her room for six consecutive days, and her water shut off days earlier. With her rent rate at $2,460 a month, Margolin estimates that Harvard owes her more than $500. “I have no idea what went into the review of my situation. I never received rent compensation,” she said. Asked about the issues at Holden Green and Peabody Terrace, O’Rourke wrote that HUH is committed to ensuring a positive housing experience. “Student experience is a top priority for the University and this extends to HUH which engages in efforts to provide students with superior service, access to diverse and well managed properties in convenient locations, and rich programming designed to foster community and strengthen the bonds with University colleagues,” she wrote.


Thorny relationships with HUH go beyond student and administrator relationships, reaching the city of Cambridge. The city is currently facing an affordable housing crisis, which some say Harvard has aggravated. Students the University is unable to accommodate often find housing in Cambridge, driving up rental prices. Those graduate students, along with rising land and construction costs, cuts in federal funding, and competition from market rate developers, are some of the key sources of the crisis, according to city officials. Cambridge has long dealt with rising property values and an increasing gentrification. A family must earn more than $125,000 to afford a market rate rent for a three bedroom home, according to 2018 city data. Cambridge Mayor Marc C. McGovern said this gentrification has displaced residents. Harvard’s role in the crisis has strained relations with the city. McGovern compared the city’s relationship to the University to a “complicated marriage.” “Cambridge would not be Cambridge without Harvard, but Harvard would not be Harvard without Cambridge,” he said. “We’re stuck with each other, and we have to work through any differences that

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we have, and I think in most often we’re able to do that. So, you know, it’s never as simple as people would like it to be.” Councilor E. Denise Simmons, a former mayor and chair of the Housing Committee, also characterized the city’s relationship to Harvard as “tense.” The number of students that choose not to live in Harvard-owned housing overburdens the city and drives rent up, according to Simmons. She added that the council has repeatedly asked the University to “do more and give more.” “You’re also being a drain on the pool of affordable housing,” she said. “Because we’re all competing for the same units.” McGovern echoed Simmons, saying that while he is happy graduate students and other affiliates want to live in Cambridge, their presence in residential housing does create “more of a stress on the housing supply.” McGovern said he takes issue with the University charging market-rate rents for affiliates, which he says causes more affiliates to seek Cambridge

residential housing. A potential remedy would be the creation of more “desirable” housing by the University, according to McGovern. “We’ve talked a lot about graduate student housing, and calling on Harvard to do more,” he said. “And part of that desirability is making it cheaper than what they can get on the market.”

It’s just hard for us to negotiate because this is a city that everybody wants to be in. E. Denise Simmons Cambridge City Councilor

Spurred by spikes in living costs, the council has looked for ways to combat this dilemma. They have turned to proposing the 100% Affordable Housing Overlay, a zoning reform proposal that would incen-

tivize affordable housing developers to build residential units and amend zoning regulations for efficiency and cost. Housing pressure from Harvard affiliates dissatisfied with Harvard housing has not gone unnoticed by the students themselves. Margolin said students who live in Cambridge and contribute to the problem often feel conflicted for “compromising their values.” “I’m pretty sure the city of Cambridge doesn’t want graduate students driving up the cost,” she said. “This is an issue important to a lot of us too, we care about affordable housing.” Despite the criticisms coming from City Hall, O’Rourke argued the University does not contribute to — and in fact has helped alleviate — pressure on the Cambridge housing market. The University has created a “first-of-its-kind” housing loan program to incentivize students to choose Harvard housing and has “leveraged” $1.5 billion to develop more than 7,000 units of affordable housing across

Cambridge and Boston, according to O’Rourke. “Harvard and the City of Cambridge have enjoyed a long and successful record of working together to create affordable housing units throughout the city, including partnering to create and preserve more than 1,600 units of affordable housing which span every neighborhood in the City,” she wrote. Simmons and McGovern both said they would be eager to work with the University on housing issues though Simmons said significant obstacles still remain. “It’s just hard for us to negotiate because this is a city that everybody wants to be in,” Simmons said. “But it was developed as a city, not a university town, and you want to keep that feeling of it’s a city, it’s a community. So how do we work together?”

Peabody Terrace is one of Harvard’s housing options for graduate students. Delano R. Franklin—Crimson photographer


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Balancing the Professorial and Professional Harvard Law School Professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. is not the first faculty member to conduct outside work during his time at the University. By Jonah S. Berger and Connor W. K. Brown


arvey Weinstein’s defense lawyer or Winthrop House faculty dean — some argued Harvard Law School Professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. could only choose one. Sullivan decided to pursue both. But he ultimately ended up with neither. Sullivan’s decision in January to represent the film producer and accused sexual harasser sparked a national debate about the potential disconnect between faculty members’ outside work and their responsibilities to students. While particularly controversial on campus, Sullivan’s legal work was only the latest example of Harvard professors eschewing time with students for non-academic pursuits — and making money while doing it. Though Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced May 11 he would not


Crimson Staff Writers

renew Sullivan’s appointment as faculty dean due to an “untenable” atmosphere in the House, some asked whether the criticism of Sullivan in part stemmed from him simply being absent from campus. “I’ve wondered if this is part of the undertow that is pulling Ron Sullivan down,” former Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis ’68 said in an April interview. “There is this thing, ‘well, he’s been away from Harvard. He’s supposed to be here for us 24/7,’ which is not actually the way Harvard professors have ever been thought of.” For years, outside activities have played a role in the lives of Harvard’s law professors and other faculty across the University’s schools. Codified rules govern these side jobs, dictating the amount of time professors can devote to outside pursuits and curbing the potential for

conflicts of interest. Many faculty members who engage in activities outside the University say that such work is invaluable, providing a practical application of their research and ultimately benefiting their students. And the monetary incentives of these jobs remain a pull for professors — as well as a potential source of controversy.

‘The Income Is Not Bad’

In early 2015, Law School professor Laurence H. Tribe agreed to take on a legal case, one of many outside roles he has pursued during his time as a faculty member, including a position in the Obama Justice Department. This time, though, his decision caused an uproar. For nearly half a million dollars, Peabody Energy retained Tribe to lead its le-

gal opposition to an Environment Protection Agency regulation that would cut carbon dioxide emissions. Two of Tribe’s colleagues fired back at him on the Law School’s website, arguing that he was defending the indefensible. “Were Professor Tribe’s name not attached to them, no one would take them seriously,” wrote Professors Richard J. Lazarus and Jody Freeman. Tribe responded by citing his “lifelong devotion” to addressing the threat of climate change and his “admiration” for President Obama. “I take my arguments very seriously indeed and hope, by bringing them into the public forum, that I will be able to help others understand why… .I regretfully feel obliged to oppose their views,” he wrote. Though many professors say they take

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on external jobs for non-monetary reasons, the opportunity to earn compensation on top of their Harvard salary remains appealing. “To be candid, the income is not bad,” said Professor of Human Relations Jay W. Lorsch, who has consulted for multiple companies including Goldman Sachs and Shire Pharmaceuticals. Famed antitrust scholar and Harvard Law School professor Phillip E. Areeda ’51 donated $5 million towards the school— the second largest contribution by an individual in the Law School’s history at the time. He had amassed his fortune in part by consulting for a number of major oil, automobile, insurance, and film companies, according to the New York Times. The outside work that faculty members take on can draw scrutiny, even years after the fact. The Washington Post reported Thursday that Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took up dozens of legal cases — including one for a company facing potential liability over defective breast implants — while a professor at the Law School in the late 1990s and early 2000s. For her counsel, Warren charged as much as $675 per hour. These faculty must navigate financial conflicts of interest that, according to Harvard’s official policy, can “corrode the University’s reputation” and “diminish its trustworthiness.” “The University is cognizant that an individual’s relationships with outside enterprises can engender opportunities for personal gain or financial advantage that may be at odds with the primary obligations the individual assumes as a member

of the Harvard faculty,” the policy reads. But Harvard also profits off some faculty members’ outside work. Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Eugene I. Shakhnovich, who co-founded Vitae Pharmaceuticals with a colleague, George M. Whitesides, said he worked closely with Harvard’s Office of Technology Development to seek out new investors, and the University seemed “extremely positive” about his work. Harvard’s assistance paid off: In 2016, Allergan purchased Vitae for $639 million. Having gained an equity position in the company because of Shakhnovich and Whiteside’s association with the Chemistry department, Harvard likely made a windfall.

‘A Whole Protocol’

Over the last few decades, multiple Harvard schools have standardized their guidelines surrounding faculty members’ work outside the University and tightened certain regulations to stem conflicts of interest. Professor of Marketing V. Kasturi Rangan, who serves on the board of advisors of the nonprofit management consulting firm Bridgespan Group, said that the Business School’s procedures have become much more concrete since he arrived at Harvard. He said that in the 1990s, he learned what was considered off-limits from senior colleagues rather than a rulebook. “When I joined the University, that code of conduct was sort of informal,” Rangan said. “But about 15 to 20 years ago, we actually formalized it. And that document was put together by a faculty committee.”

Former University Provost Steven E. Hyman said he oversaw a “very substantial process” in the mid-2000s to review Harvard’s policies on outside work, which he now believes is “pretty strict” overall. “It involved all of the schools and lots of meetings and how to recognize that different professions have different rules and traditions, but also different financial opportunities,” Hyman said. “It was a very extensive process, but Harvard does have now across all of its schools a shared conflict of interest policy, which has relevant modifications school by school.” Faculty members across the University, no matter their discipline, must submit financial disclosure forms to their respective schools, which administrators then scrutinize. Their outside work cannot exceed more than 20 percent of their total professional effort — though some schools have more stringent policies. Since Harvard Medical School boasts more than 11,000 full-time faculty members across its teaching hospitals, an entire office comprising lawyers and other staff is responsible for inspecting financial disclosures. Former Medical School Dean Jeffrey S. Flier said the school has multiple mechanisms — including increasing oversight of concerning activities — to address potential conflicts of interest. “There are instances where, when the staff looks at this, they say, ‘you know, this raises the question, either you are doing something that you shouldn’t do according to the rule, or we have some questions about this issue,’” Flier said. Lewis acknowledged that professors’ outside positions can be “very hard to monitor,” but noted there is a “whole protocol” in place for approving such work. “Generally, people are good about it,” Lewis said.

‘Virtual World Practice’

Elena M. Ramos—Crimson Designer

Faculty involvement with outside work varies significantly, depending on individual professors’ interests and the applicability of their research to the needs of private companies. Shakhnovich said he believed his area of expertise is well-suited for private sector work. “Chemistry is the most amenable to industrial applications,” he said. “It’s at the center of many aspects, for example, pharmaceutical development, material science development.” Lorsch said outside work is simply “part of our life” at the Business School. “I cannot tell you how many different research projects that I’ve been involved in or books that I’ve written that have had

their genesis in research projects or consulting projects that I was working on,” he said. Faculty members’ reasons for pursuing outside jobs are numerous, but every professor interviewed said they believed their work benefits their teaching and research at the University. Law School Professor Mark Wu, a member of a think tank that provides policy advice for G20 leaders, called the interaction between the classroom and his outside work a “feedback loop.” American Literature Professor Elisa New — who founded “Poetry in America,” a TV series that seeks to increase children’s exposure to poetry — wrote in an email that much of the material she produced for the initiative has translated to the classroom. “I now offer much of the content I might once have delivered over 50 minutes from behind a podium in the form of multiple shorter video lectures that students can watch before they come to class,” she wrote. “This frees class time for discussion and also provides students a far richer experience than I could provide simply by lecturing.” Rangan said that because business is an “applied science,” consulting and other outside activities are “immensely valuable” in supplementing his and many of his colleagues’ research. “When I teach a particular case in class, I really know what’s going on at the particular location or museum or what’s happening with respect to social services, or how exactly the beneficiaries are on the ground,” Rangan said. “And my students benefit immensely from having virtual world practice.” Law and Business School Professor Guhan Subramanian, a board director of automobile parts company LKQ Corporation, also spoke of a close connection between his private sector work and his teaching. For instance, because LKQ’s annual shareholding meeting is “concurrent” with a corporate law class Subramanian leads, he believes he can offer students a more “salient” understanding of the real-world application of the course’s material. “Having your research tested in real, real ways is useful because it helps you either validate or adjust your academic writing and your teaching based on what you’re seeing out there in the real world,” he said.


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From Truffles to Title IX Donald H. Pfister juggles many roles — Organismic and Evolutionary Biology professor, botany manuscript curator, and chair of the Title IX policy review committee. By simone C. Chu and Iris M. Lewis Crimson Staff Writers


n any given day, Donald H. Pfister can be found studying fungi in his lab or curating the Farlow Reference Library’s botany manuscript collection — but he’s not just an academic. At Harvard, Pfister’s duties range as widely as his scholarly pursuits. From conducting research as an Organismic and Evolutionary Biology professor at the Harvard Herbaria to serving as a faculty dean of Kirkland House — and more than a few things in between — he has had a long and varied career during his years in Cambridge. As knowledgeable as he may be about


ascomycota, his area of fungi expertise, his current administrative appointment takes him out of the lab and into one of the most intricate areas of University policy — Title IX. The federal law, which underpins Harvard’s policies on sexual and gender-based harassment, has long required Harvard to work to adapt its policies to meet students’ and administrators’ best interests. In 2015, following the initiation of a federal probe into Harvard’s compliance and a survey that found a dire sexual misconduct climate, former University President Drew G. Faust appointed Pfis-

ter and a team of other professors, administrators, and students to examine the University’s policies. Since then, Pfister and his team have navigated a changing federal policy landscape, student activism, and an ever-evolving social climate on campus. In October, the group’s most recent report was released. At the time, University President Lawrence S. Bacow wrote that he was committed to implementing its recommendations. Between his academic roles, a stint as the interim dean of Harvard College, and his welcoming demeanor, those who

Donald H. Pfister, a professor of Botany, serves as the chair of the Title IX policy review committee. The committee was created in 2015 to study Harvard’s policies and recommend changes.. AMANDA Y. SU—Crimson photographer


know and work with Pfister say his background makes him an ideal candidate to steward Harvard’s ongoing efforts to ensure its Title IX policies are effective.


When Pfister came to Harvard in 1974 as an assistant professor in the Biology department, he had no intention of joining the interconnected webs of Harvard’s administrative processes — Title IX-related or otherwise. “I always thought the administration was kind of the enemy,” Pfister said with a laugh. “So, you know, I surprised myself a little bit that I’ve ended up doing administrative work.” Pfister first dabbled in Harvard’s administrative world when he became the curator of the Farlow Library in 1974. He later became the Harvard Herbaria’s director, and eventually the faculty dean of Kirkland House. He held the latter position for 18 years, from 1982 to 2000. Today, Pfister credits some of his administrative know-how to his interactions with students as Faculty Dean. “I never would have known the number of undergraduates that I knew as a faculty dean, if I were just teaching,” he said. “In 18 years, I once calculated what it was — it’s thousands of students.” Pfister has also served as an Administrative Board member, the Dean of the Summer School, and — from 2013 to 2014 — as the interim dean of the College. Among his students and colleagues, Pfister is known for his openness and depth of knowledge. James K. Mitchell, a graduate student in his lab, wrote in an email that Pfister was “supportive” and a mentor to any student interested in the field. “I consider myself very lucky that he was here,” Mitchell wrote. “Otherwise, I doubt I would have discovered or been

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Pfister poses looking through a microscope. Pfister’s research has focused on the molecular and morphological history of fungi. AMANDA Y. SU—Crimson photographer

able to pursue my academic interest in mycology.” Judith A. Warnement, a librarian for the Harvard University Botany Libraries who has worked with Pfister for 30 years, said he has always been “a great boss, and a really fair person,” and that Pfister’s committee appointment was no surprise.

We’re not either making the law or enforcing it. We want this to work. We want it to work for everybody. DONALD H. PFISTER Chair of Title IX policy review committee

“Because he’s done so much, we wonder who they ask when he doesn’t,” Warnement said. “I’ve always said he’s such a good citizen of Harvard.” Pfister said his time as interim dean also may have been a consideration when he was selected as chair of the Title IX committee. “I’d worked with undergraduates a lot,” he said. “I had to handle difficult situations sometimes.”


Pfister’s Title IX policy review committee first convened in 2015, amid a period of heightened visibility for sexual misconduct across campus and the country. In 2014, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into Harvard’s compliance with Title IX. That same year, Harvard’s first central Title IX office was created and it overhauled its policies. In 2015, a national survey on sexual misconduct climate found that 31 percent of women in Harvard’s senior class had experienced some form of “nonconsensual sexual contact.” In the aftermath, Faust created the Title IX policy review committee to evaluate how the new policy — and its enforcement — were playing out. Pfister described the committee as dedicated to evaluating the efficacy of Harvard’s Title IX policies and procedures. The committee comprises faculty and student representatives. In October 2018 — three years after its inception — the group produced an “interim” report with recommendations for University President Lawrence S. Bacow to consider. Those recommendations called for the Office for Dispute Resolution — which investigates formal Title IX

complaints — to shorten its reports, and for the Title IX office work to be more transparent. “We’re not either making the law or enforcing it,” Pfister said. “We want this to work. We want it to work for everybody.” In the policy review committee, Pfister said he sees himself as the “mediator” of the group. “I’m keeping everybody on topic and trying to make sure that we’re living up to our charge as a committee,” he said. Deputy Provost Margaret E. Newell, the Harvard administrator who oversees Title IX and sits on the committee, cited his experience in a variety of roles — both academic and administrative — as a key strength. “He has as broad of a perspective as you could hope for in terms of how student life happens in the college, how the ad boards operate, and what some of the challenges are at that level,” she said. “He’s a very balanced, sensible, dedicated person who really loves students and loves Harvard and loves teaching,” Newell added. “I think he’s been a terrific chair for the committee.” Pfister may not have entered with Title IX-specific knowledge at the committee’s outset, but Sarah E. Wald — a Harvard

Kennedy School Title IX coordinator and a member of the Title IX committee — said different backgrounds benefit its activities. “Having different perspectives in any group is helpful,” Wald said. Even though Bacow has accepted the October report recommendations, the committee’s work is far from done. Pfister said they will have to “wait and see” how University and federal policies shift in the coming months. In November 2018, United States Secretary of Education Betsy D. DeVos announced a new Title IX rule that deviates from many current Harvard procedures, most notably in its mandate of live hearings and redefinition of sexual harassment. For now, Pfister said he believes Harvard’s policy could be a model for other schools. “I think the Harvard policy is special in a way because it includes all of the schools, and all of the employees, students, and faculty,” Pfister said. As for Pfister himself, he plans to chair the committee for as long as Harvard wants him to stay.


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What It Takes to Defend Harvard As the University faces a barrage of lawsuits, it must think carefully when choosing who to defend it. By Camille G. Caldera and Molly C. McCafferty Crimson Staff Writers


eth P. Waxman ’73 may just be Harvard’s ideal lawyer. Waxman has delivered 80 oral arguments in the Supreme Court. He served as the United States Solicitor General under President Bill Clinton. And not only is he an alumnus of the College, but he is also a former president of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, the University’s second-highest governing body. These qualities make it “logical,” experts say, that the University chose Waxman as a lead attorney in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, a highstakes lawsuit brought by an anti-affirmative action group. The lawsuit, which contends that the College’s admissions processes discriminate against Asian American students, has attracted significant attention in recent months both at Harvard and across higher education writ large. But the high-profile admissions suit is not the only legal challenge Harvard is currently facing. During the 2018-2019 academic year, the University and its Corporation — known formally as the President and Fellows of Harvard College in




lawsuits — faced 27 lawsuits in state and federal courts, 18 of which remain ongoing as the school year draws to a close. The charges against the University in the cases vary widely, from civil rights complaints to labor lawsuits to intellectual property disputes. In handling such a broad spectrum of cases, the University constantly faces an important decision: who is best suited to defend one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the nation when it comes under attack?

‘Wonderfully Expert and Experienced’

Despite the wide range of legal challenges, there are some qualities the University returns to time and time again when choosing its representation. Predictably, Harvard always seeks out the experts on any particular type of litigation. “I think that the first thing that Harvard’s probably looking for is subject matter expertise,” said Mishell B. Kneeland, who represented the University of Texas in the second of its two high-profile affirmative action cases — Fisher II.





In Harvard’s own admissions processes challenge, Waxman’s past contributions to affirmative action defenses made him an unsurprising selection. Waxman wrote an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Ivy League universities, MIT, and Stanford when the Supreme Court heard Fisher II. In that case, Abigail N. Fisher unsuccessfully alleged the University of Texas’s race-conscious admissions policies violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Waxman was also listed alongside Harvard’s General Counsel Robert W. Iuliano ’83 and several other current Harvard admissions trial lawyers as an author of the University’s amicus brief in that case. Former Princeton General Counsel Peter McDonough said Waxman and his firm, WilmerHale, were the “logical choice” to take on the case, given Waxman’s prominence in the legal profession and the firm’s reputation for handling higher education litigation. “I’d probably have been surprised if Harvard tapped another team of lawyers for that case,” McDonough said. “That brief was terrific. They’re wonderfully


law firms + OGC

expert and experienced in this area.” Other expert lawyers may not have the same high profile, but Harvard still seeks out those who have demonstrated an ability to win nuanced cases. Harvard has faced three Title IX lawsuits in the past school year. One lawyer on all three cases — Victoria L. Steinberg ’01 of Todd and Weld, one of the firms Harvard calls upon most frequently — lists obtaining “full dismissal of a former student’s Title IX federal court case against a university, vindicating the university’s internal process for handling of the plaintiff’s complaint” as a “representative accomplishment” on her online biography. Expertise in a given subject, though, is likely not enough to win over Harvard. Many of the 61 outside lawyers Harvard employed this year have resumes bearing similar accomplishments and bona fides in the legal profession. For one, nearly half of the outside counsel currently litigating for Harvard are partners at their firms, a status that takes years to attain. Several have significant experi-


Harvard degree holders Akhil S. Waghmare—Crimson Designer


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ence at the federal level: Namely, one in five boast substantial experience either clerking for Supreme Court justices or making oral arguments before the court. Three have argued more than 15 cases before the body. Harvard also takes firms’ litigation records into account, but by no means sticks to one particular supplier; on the contrary, the attorneys retained this year hail from 17 different firms. Roughly a sixth of the lawyers who worked for the University this year worked on at least two cases concurrently. Two lawyers — Steinberg and Stephen D. Coppolo of Murphy and Riley — worked on four Harvard cases this year. Harvard also takes University affiliation into account in its selection process. Peter F. Lake ’81, a higher education law expert at Stetson University Law School, said Harvard ties help inform lawyers’ approaches to cases. “Knowledge of the institution and its operatives is incredibly helpful for a particular type of representation,” Lake said. “You don’t want people at the zero point learning curve coming in.”

Harvard has diverse legal needs, with many of the issues of a small municipality. RobertW. Iuliano ’83 General Counsel

Nearly a third of the lawyers on cases this year earned a Harvard degree, the majority either from the College or the Law School. In addition to Waxman’s administrative ties, William F. Lee ’72 — another WilmerHale lawyer on the admissions case — is the Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation. Lee has been a University affiliate since 1968, first as an undergraduate, then as an Overseer, and finally as a member of the Corporation. He said in an interview last week that such long-standing connections have been a boon to WilmerHale’s legal strategy in the admissions case, adding that his devotion to Harvard has made him “more invested” in the case than other cases he has tried. “At the end of the day, even though the institution is phenomenally complicated, even though there are so many different legitimate perspectives and views, there are certain fundamental values that the

Truelian Lee—Crimson Designer

University stands for, and over the years I’ve come to understand those values, you know, critically importantly,” Lee said. He noted that despite these benefits, his appointment has also posed some challenges. In order to avoid holding “competing imperatives,” Lee agreed to represent the University pro bono, and has recused himself from any Corporation discussions regarding the lawsuit. “During the course of the trial, whenever the issue came up, I actually physically left the room,” Lee said. “It was easier because I knew a lot. It was harder because I knew the people.”

‘Air Traffic Control’

Though Harvard retained 61 outside

lawyers this year, it nonetheless maintains its own core of in-house attorneys to manage its legal affairs more generally. Led by Iuliano, the Office of the General Counsel is responsible for overseeing the University’s daily legal needs in addition to managing its litigation strategy. Its lawyers rarely take cases to trial, but the office plays an important role in every suit the University faces: orchestrating the legal teams that represent Harvard. “Harvard has diverse legal needs, with many of the issues of a small municipality on top of those presented by a vibrant educational environment, in that the legal issues range from tax to intellectual property, from real estate to em-

ployment, from sponsored research to student issues,” Iuliano wrote in an emailed statement. “Drawing on the expertise of outside counsel is one way we manage that array of workload, in addition to the talented in-house legal team we have built within OGC,” he added. McDonough said work requiring “daily expertise” about the institution is usually handled in-house, and that such work is often extensive and time-consuming. Lake said that because of these other responsibilities, when it comes to handling lawsuits, OGC may lack the time and specific expertise necessary for the job. “For a school the size of Harvard, with


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“The Office of General Counsel (OGC) works very closely with any outside counsel we engage; the allocation of responsibilities between the firm and the OGC is determined on a case-by-case basis,” Iuliano wrote. Lake compared general counsel’s offices to air traffic controllers managing outside lawyers and deciding its own level of involvement in preparing cases.

The underlying thing is, in an age where what everybody wants is to sue college, institutions like Harvard become professional defendants. Peter F. Lake ’81 Stetson University Law School Professor

“The general counsel has to decide, ‘do my people manage the landing of planes, go out on the tarmac, actually pilot a plane?’” Lake said. “You see the tower, but the planes come and go, and it’s all happening through air traffic control, and that itself requires a lot of time and energy.”

‘A Class of Professional Defendants’

Robert W. Iuliano ‘83, Harvard’s senior Vice President and General Counsel, oversees the University’s legal strategy. Courtesy of Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

the amount of litigation it has, it would be almost unthinkable to try to handle everything from one central office on campus or even to use just one law firm,” he added. Though OGC lawyers rarely stand before the bench, after selecting attorneys to argue its cases, the office man-


ages outside lawyers throughout the litigation process, according to Iuliano. Ara B. Gershengorn ’93 is the only OGC attorney who represented the University in court in the past year. She examined Charlene Kim, a Harvard admissions officer, during the SFFA trial, according to court records.

In a year when lawsuits against Harvard seem to saturate headlines across the country, the University’s legal strategy and its lawyers are under strict scrutiny. Harvard’s practice of maintaining a large in-house managing team and turning to outside counsel for litigation is the industry standard for higher education today. But that was not the case a few decades ago. Before then, universities typically retained only one lawyer in their general counsel’s offices, if that, according to Georgetown Law School lecturer Frederick M. Lawrence, who specializes in higher education. “Now, in most schools, and certainly at the level of a Harvard or Yale or Stanford, the in-house counsel is not just a person, it’s like a small law firm,” Lawrence said. “And it’s a pretty select law firm.” The growth of university infrastructures to manage legal challenges aligns with the changing landscape of lawsuits against colleges and universities nationwide, according to Lake. “This is a longstanding development over the last 30 years or so. Universities

are getting called to court with increasing frequency,” he said. “The elite institutions have almost created a class of professional defendants.” “It’s just business as usual now to get sued for just about everything, in every dimension, and to go to court,” he added. Media attention and a desire to change legal norms may also increasingly play a role in people’s decisions to sue high-profile institutions like Harvard. “Everybody comes to the leader... [if ] they sort of want to test all the big issues,” Lake said. “If I sue Harvard — particularly if I throw incendiary claims at it — I’m splashed all over the media.” Barbara A. Lee, a higher education law professor and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Rutgers University, said though cases like the admissions lawsuit place Harvard in the public eye, national scrutiny depends less on the institution than upon the issue being litigated. She cited Fisher and an admissions case at the University of Michigan as examples of major cases against nonIvy League institutions. “To be honest with you, it doesn’t have to be Harvard. It could be a lawsuit against some other institution,” she said. “It’s not necessarily the name of the university that’s the issue, but it’s the impact of the decision on the rest of us that we’re watching.” Regardless of the motives driving the lawsuits, the magnitude and scope of ongoing litigation could take a toll on the University long term. “The underlying thing is, in an age where what everybody wants is to sue colleges, institutions like Harvard become professional defendants, and students and the endowment pay the burden of it,” Lake said. Though Harvard does not disclose its outside legal expenses, the costs of lawsuits against public universities reveal their significance. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill spent $16.8 million on legal fees in a suit against it from Students for Fair Admissions between February 2015 and July 2018, according to public records requests filed by the Raleigh News & Observer. “No matter how robust their endowment, or how they are financially relative to others, every college in America is trying to minimize the expense that they incur on running the business of higher education,” McDonough said.

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For the A.R.T., The Next Act After a record-breaking donation, the American Repertory Theater is now in the spotlight. By Brie K. Buchanan and Katelyn X. Li Crimson Staff Writers

Truelian Lee—Crimson Designer


y itself, the American Repertory Theater’s record-breaking $1.4 million fundraising achievement at its annual gala this spring would have been cause for excitement among those who produce its award-winning shows. But this year the gala came with an additional cause for celebration — just a few weeks prior, David E. Goel ’93 and Stacey L. Goel made a $100 million donation to the theater. That gift will enable the A.R.T., which just a few years ago faced financial challenges, to construct a new home in Allston, across the river from its current space in Cambridge. The A.R.T. is no stranger to change after nearly 40 years at Harvard. As part of its move to Allston, the theater can now reinvigorate academic programs and continue its artistic legacy at the University. Diane Borger, the A.R.T.’s executive producer, said the recent fundraising and move to Allston present a rare blank slate for a theater to evaluate its work and ties to its neighbors. “It’s a wonderful opportunity, and it’s one that one doesn’t get very often in one’s theater career — to just think about what’s the best space for theater, and how do we make theater in the 21st century, and how do we bring theater to be...a public forum for Allston?” she said. While many of the theater’s leaders said it is too soon to know how exactly the move will transform the A.R.T., the theater’s rebirth offers a unique lens to reex-


amine its past and imagine its future in Allston.


Inspired by founding director Robert S. Brustein’s vision, the American Repertory Theater found its start in New Haven, Conn. in 1966 as the Yale Repertory Theater. Following disagreements with thenYale University President Angelo B. Giamatti, Brustein and his company uprooted the theater and moved it to Harvard’s Loeb Drama Center in 1980, where it has operated ever since.

Our hope is that our productions — especially the new work we develop and premiere — reach as wide an audience as possible, beginning with our community in Cambridge and Greater Boston. Diane Borger A.R.T.’s Executive Producer

Under Brustein’s leadership, the A.R.T. gained a reputation for experimental performances and a commitment to challenging the limits of theater. He said he’s specifically proud of the people

who have risen to fame from the A.R.T.’s performance and educational programs. “That system created people like Meryl Streep, Louis Black, Sigourney Weaver, Mark Linn-Baker, Cherry Jones. I could go on,” he said. Robert Woodruff took over as artistic director in 2002 after Brustein retired. He was later succeeded by the current artistic director, Diane M. Paulus ’88, in 2008. Borger said the A.R.T.’s mission of “expanding the boundaries of theater” remains central to its operations, but its artistic goals have evolved over the decades. “Every artistic director since 1980 has chosen to interpret it, I think, in different ways,” Borger said. Paulus — who was not available to be interviewed for this story — has led the theater to a number of Tony Awards, including for shows such as “Pippin,” “All the Way,” “Once,” and “The Gerschwin’s Porgy and Bess.” A.R.T. Board of Trustees member Paul A. Buttenwieser ’60 said he believes Paulus has “injected a whole new excitement and worldview” into the organization. He said she pushes the A.R.T. to engage audience members in unconventional ways. “I think the major thing is turning the audience from being a passive receiver of entertainment, to being an active participant in what’s going on,” Buttenwieser said. Borger said the A.R.T. has also worked to include voices that might not typical-

ly be found in a theater. The recent show “Endlings,” for example, follows the story of haenyoes — seawomen from the Korean island of Man-Jae. “We actively think, what voices are we hearing? Whose stories are we hearing? And that’s one way of breaking down the boundaries,” Borger said. Under Paulus, the A.R.T. has also served as a launching pad for shows that eventually moved to New York, where they became hits both on and off Broadway. This national acclaim, however, has caused tension with Brustein’s original vision for the theater. He said the A.R.T. under his direction was a “keystone” of the nonprofit theater movement, and that he “didn’t let Broadway producers near us.” Since then, he believes the focus has shifted. “As far as I can see from outside, the priority is to create commercial products and enrich various people involved,” Brustein said. “It’s a different place with a different purpose.” Borger wrote in an emailed statement that the theater has been “thrilled” to share its work beyond Cambridge’s city limits. “Our hope is that our productions— especially the new work we develop and premiere—reach as wide an audience as possible, beginning with our community in Cambridge and Greater Boston,” Borger wrote. “Over the past ten years, we have also been thrilled to share our


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work with audiences in New York, across the country, and at theaters around the world.” Despite clashing visions, Brustein wrote in an email that he still believes Paulus has brought a lot to the theater. “There have been some remarkable works created by Diane Paulus,” Brustein wrote.


From its earliest days in Cambridge with the creation of the Institute for Advanced Theater Training, education has been a central part of the A.R.T.’s mission, Brustein said. “It was the process, it was the mechanism that drove theater and it took on a quality of the theater and the theater took on a quality of the Institute,” he said. Two years ago, however, the A.R.T. froze admissions to the Institute — a professional training program for aspiring actors, directors, and dramaturgs — after the Department of Education gave it a failing debt rating. Later that year it announced it would shutter the program for three years to reevaluate its institutional strategy.

With scientists, you know, we have trouble talking about more of the emotional impact of the environment. So we really need the theater, and the arts in general. Daniel P. Schrag Director of the Center for the Environment

Borger said the A.R.T. is “fully committed” to re-launching the Institute in the near future. “It’s very much tied in with the next few years of the new building,” Borger said. “There were three things that we wanted to do better, as it were, and one was have more space. And so I think that as we’re envisioning our future in Allston, that’s very much part of our re-envisioning.” But the Institute is not the A.R.T.’s only educational component — its relationship with Harvard allows staff to regularly interact with faculty and students. Ryan S. McKittrick ’98, director of Artistic Programs and Dramaturg at the A.R.T., noted that Harvard’s faculty often help inform productions. He cited recent


partnerships between the A.R.T. and the Harvard University Center for the Environment as an example. “The Center for the Environment has been developing and commissioning work related to climate change with the A.R.T.,” McKittrick said. “One of those pieces is actually going to premiere — called ‘Ocean Filibuster’ — in our season next year.” Center for the Environment Director Daniel P. Schrag said the center’s partnership with the A.R.T. helps humanize academic research that may otherwise be inaccessible. “With scientists, you know, we have trouble talking about more of the emotional impact of the environment,” Schrag said. “So we really need the theater, and the arts in general.” The A.R.T. also works closely with Harvard’s newest undergraduate concentration, Theater, Dance, and Media, which was first introduced in fall 2015. TDM students can participate in summer and term-time internship programs, as well as workshops run by staff and visiting artists. Several TDM faculty members also work at the A.R.T. TDM concentrator Allie Jeffay ’21 said the A.R.T. values training students interested in theater. “It’s a very symbiotic relationship,” Jeffay said. “They definitely take advantage of what Harvard has to offer, and are very interested in kind of giving back to the students because they know that we’re like the next generation of people who will someday maybe be in their shoes.” Phillip Howze, a TDM lecturer said the interaction between professional work and academia is beneficial for students and the theater. “One of the great things about the relationship that the A.R.T. and TDM have is that one is working at a very high level in the professional field and the other is, you know, really kind of at the grassroots of student education and the performing arts,” Howze said.

ston-Brighton task force, said he believes the A.R.T.’s move to Allston is positive for local residents. “I think it certainly continues to put the Allston area, you know, on the map,” Bruno said. He noted that he plans to follow the project as it develops and hopes the building takes into account the neighborhood’s current character and needs. “We have to just make sure that we monitor this development closely, and that it fits in with the rest of the fabric of the neighborhood,” Bruno said. Harvard spokesperson Brigid O’Rourke wrote in an emailed statement that the University will gather input from various sources before proceeding with construction in Allston. “Any proposed project by Harvard University will undergo a formal regulatory process, including design review and feedback from our Allston neighbors and the Harvard Allston Task Force,” O’Rourke wrote.

Jeffay said she believes the A.R.T.’s move to Allston will also expand opportunities for TDM students. She added that she hopes students can observe the building process. “They can design it to be kind of a hybrid performance and teaching space, to kind of be a really good partner to Farkas and that will also attract people,” Jeffay said.“It would be super cool for students to get an inside look at what that process is like, because a lot of us will kind of be founding our own companies and looking for spaces and maybe creating spaces.” For now, though, the A.R.T.’s leadership was hesitant to offer any concrete plans for the move, and said their vision for the A.R.T.’s next chapter is still under construction. “I think we’re a little bit early on to have all the answers for you yet,” Borger said. “Come back in three years.”


The move to Allston will be a big step for the A.R.T., but for Harvard it is simply one of several art and community-focused projects across the river. The ArtLab, a new space for interdisciplinary artistic production, is set to open in September 2019, and Harvard has long run the Ed Portal, a center for collaboration with Allston-Brighton students. John A. Bruno, chair of the All-

elena m. ramos—Crimson Designer

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Barriers to Entry Students with physical disabilities sometimes struggle to navigate Harvard’s campus. By Juliet E. Isselbacher and Amanda Y. Su Crimson Staff Writers


uring Opening Days, eager freshmen flit between different dorms, rushing up and down flights of stairs to visit friends in their newly decorated rooms and to explore their home for the next four years. Case McKinley ’21, who uses a wheelchair, quickly realized he would not be able to participate in this frenzy when he


ELENA M. RAMOS—Crimson Designer

arrived on campus his freshman year. “I had the realization that I wasn’t going to be able to visit many of my friends here,” he said. “Because there would be Opening Days events in Grays [Hall]. And I couldn’t go to those or an Opening Days event pretty much anywhere except the dorm that I was going to make my home.” The only freshman dorms with eleva-

tors are Thayer Hall and Weld Hall. He was placed in the latter. “It made me feel really undervalued that I come from a small town in Hawaii with no money and most of the buildings were accessible. And then I come here to the institution with the most money and resources, and so much of it is inaccessible,” McKinley said.

For a small group of students, Harvard’s historic campus — which is filled with errant steps, steep stairs, and heavy doors — poses many day-to-day challenges that most of their peers never notice. Their days are complicated by physical barriers, which oblige them to enter campus buildings through back or side entrances, take circuitous routes, and wait


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for others to help open doors. The Harvard Accessible Education Office is responsible for supporting students with disabilities and working to provide appropriate accommodations. A student can register with the AEO by filling out a form online with questions about their disability, the challenges they’re experiencing, and any supporting medical documentation they possess. Every year, the admissions office notifies the AEO with a list of incoming students who noted a disability in their college application. Other students must self-identify to receive AEO accommodations. “Our job is to meet with the student, gather documentation that supports their needs, analyze that documentation, and then discover how there’s a disconnect between the environment that the student is in — whether it’s a classroom, a club meeting, housing, dining — and the student’s disability,” AEO Director Grace L. Moskola said. “The problem exists between the two. So what is it that accommodations can do to help equal out that opportunity or level the playing field?”

The ability to take classes shouldn’t be hindered by the fact that the class is held in a building that’s accessible or not. Lihn m. nam ’20 College Student

In recent years, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has launched several initiatives to achieve this equity, its most ambitious being the House Renewal Project. Both the AEO and its parent office, University Disability Resources, have adopted a more student-centered accommodation process, and in fall of 2017, the Office of the Provost convened the first meeting of the University Accessibility Committee to promote campus accessibility. But these initiatives are still in progress, and many students continue to struggle navigating Harvard’s campus. “Even with any new changes, it would require a bit of time for them to be implemented,” said Lihn M. Nam ’20, who used crutches after surgery for osteosarcoma in her sophomore fall. “But I look forward to seeing more accessible classrooms and accessible dorms and common spaces, especially for students to have more enjoyable college experiences, even with their




Harvard at its core is an educational institution. But some students say it can be difficult to access all academic opportunities. “I think a lot of what Harvard has to offer revolves around the academic experience,” Nam said. “The ability to take classes shouldn’t be hindered by the fact that the class is held in a building that’s accessible or not.” The AEO selected Nam to receive the Peter Wilson Award — given to a student who displays “courage and determination in not letting the disability stand in the way,” according to the FAS Prize Office website. The office asked her to recommend potential infrastructural improvements as part of the award. Nam suggested that Harvard make classroom buildings more accessible. One major issue with some buildings is the lack of an automatic door to large lecture halls, according to Harvard College Disability Alliance President Elsie A. Tellier ’19. “Main lecture halls and main classroom buildings should have an electric door because if you’re late to class, you have to knock on the door and hope somebody will let you in,” she said. Another difficulty for those with disabilities arises in moving between classes, and students often use vehicular transportation to cross campus. Though the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Harvard shuttle transit are all ADA accessible, many students with disabilities opt to use the Daytime Van Service, which provides rides personally tailored to their schedules. Beyond discouraging students from enrolling in specific classes, inaccessibility issues can even influence a student’s concentration choice or broader academic plans. Wonik Son ’19, who uses a wheelchair, said that encountering academic inaccessibility as early as his freshman year was a “defining moment” during his time at Harvard. “So I’m going in, and I’m figuring out what I’m going to concentrate in freshman year,” said Son, who is a former Crimson editorial editor. “I’m going in knowing that I have an interest in History, yet at the same time knowing that if I do concentrate in that field, the main building — where professors and different administrators are — will not necessarily be accessible.” The History department is housed in Robinson Hall, which was not made acces-

The Garage in Harvard Square contains many restaurants and shops. Kai R. McNamee—Crimson photographer

sible until early this year. As a concentrator without full access to his department’s building, he realized the onus would be on him to make sure his needs were met. Son — who characterized himself as an improviser — arranged meetings with his professors in accessible locations. Yet, he said that this obstacle could discourage people from pursuing certain academic paths. Overcoming that obstacle may lie in legislation. The Americans with Disabili-

ties Act, established in 1990, requires both public and private universities to make their educational opportunities accessible to students with disabilities. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that every building has to be completely accessible,” said Kathy Gips, the director of training at the New England ADA Center. “But it means that there needs to be enough access so that people can access all of the programs, services, and activities.” To facilitate students’ academic expe-

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riences, Moskola said the AEO works with the Registrar’s Office and Building Operations to assign or relocate courses that students identify as physically inaccessible. Moskola also said that the AEO has installed automatic doors along individual students’ paths. “That didn’t mean that we put a button on every single door in Harvard,” she said. “We were looking at their needs individually.” Harvard College Disability Alliance is currently working on introducing accessibility to classrooms in more ways than one. Tellier said the group submitted a proposal — in collaboration with other University advocacy groups — to John S. Wilson, senior advisor and strategist to the President, to create a disability studies certificate program.

You learn it pretty quick, but it shouldn’t be a hurdle for people who are new. Adams House C Entryway. kai r. McNamee—Crimson photographer

Elise A, TEllier ’19 President of the Harvard College Disability Alliance

The group’s biggest push, however, has been asking administrators to add onground signage and map accessible features within facilities. Harvard currently maintains an online map that indicates accessible entrances and paths between buildings, but not within them, according to Tellier. “You learn it pretty quick, but it shouldn’t be a hurdle for people who are new,” Tellier said.


Pinocchio’s Pizza in Harvard Square. kai R. McNamee—Crimson photographer

Physical barriers can also extend beyond the classroom into social and residential spaces. Though the AEO places students in fully accessible rooms and provides conjoining Personal Care Assistant suites if necessary, these students often cannot access their friends’ dorms or House common spaces. “In the housing lottery this time around, I was sort of put in the position of choosing between my friends and my medical necessities,” McKinley said. “My accessible single that I’m in right now — I’ve decided to remain in for the next couple years — is incredible and super nice, but when I wanted to live with some friends that presented logistical challenges.” Several students said they would benefit from more widespread accessibility


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across campus, especially when it comes to extracurricular events and club meetings — many of which are held in inaccessible upperclassman common rooms, according to Tellier.

The ability to be with your class and to not have a barrier to socializing with your class — or just using the same bathroom — were just taken as a trivial thing. Jennifer k. Cloutier Quincy House Tutor and Disability Liaison

Accessible social spaces are integral to student experiences, according to Jennifer K. Cloutier ’13, who uses a wheelchair and serves as a tutor and disability liaison in Quincy House. “The ability to be with your class and to not have a barrier to socializing with your class — or just using the same bathroom as your classmates — were just taken as a trivial thing,” she said. “But I think just having that moment to make eye contact in the hallway and to recognize each other as being part of the same class and community is really important.” Some student organization leaders inadvertently bar participation to students with physical disabilities by choosing inaccessible locations to host events. “I don’t think anyone wants to leave anyone out,” Cloutier said. “But it’s more like thinking — just even realizing — that you should be thoughtful about these things.” UDR Associate Director Shelby Acteson said her office is educating student leaders about making their organizations and events accessible to all. “It’s important that [student organizations] make sure that they have a statement saying if you need an accommodation, let us know,” Acteson said. “They need to have it in their budget to be able to pay for accommodations if somebody requests one.” Beyond campus facilities and residential halls, McKinley said he wants the University to actively encourage businesses they own in the Square to become more accessible. “Outside of just purely student spaces, there are a lot of businesses in the Square that get most of their business from students, and they’re a big part of student


life,” McKinley said. Harvard is currently facing a lawsuit due to alleged ADA violations by its tenant Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers, which has a step at the entrance, inaccessible counters, and inaccessible restrooms. The plaintiff, a local man who often vets places with purported barriers to access, requested that the court issue a permanent injunction ordering Harvard and Bartley’s to alter the building in compliance with ADA regulations. Harvard spokesperson Brigid O’Rourke wrote in an emailed statement that the University “is pleased” to have recently renewed the Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage lease. “Over the years Bartley’s has served a number of guests who use wheelchairs, some of whom have been regular patrons,” she wrote. “Harvard would like to make it easier for all individuals with mobility impairments to access the space. It is widely recognized that historic buildings, particularly those in urban environments such as this one, can present unique challenges for accessibility, but Harvard anticipates that with the assistance of appropriate experts, some readily achievable improvements may be identified.”


Arguably FAS’s most complicated accessibility initiative, the House Renewal Project seeks to make all upperclassman houses fully accessible. “Before renewal, these houses were 100 years old — some are even older than that,” said Merle Bicknell, assistant dean for the FAS Office of Physical Resources and Planning. “There weren’t things like elevators that existed.” The more than $1 billion project launched in 2006 and finished its first renovation in 2013, with the opening of Quincy House’s Stone Hall. Since then, FAS has renovated Leverett House’s McKinlock Hall, Dunster House, Winthrop House, and Lowell House. Construction on Adams House is slated to begin this summer. Architects have created hallways as one major accessibility improvement, according to Bicknell. Floors were formerly partitioned into vertical, discrete entryways, and students would have to descend to the ground floor, go outside, enter a different entryway, and reascend — all to visit the room next door. Now students in wheelchairs can easily exit their rooms and roll down the hallway to visit their friends. Bicknell said the house renewal team

has also had to completely raise or lower floors to even out ground surfaces. For example, the first floor of McKinlock Hall formerly had several level changes — some as large as nine feet — because of small steps or stairs. The renewal team also eliminated stairs outside the entrance of Stone Hall with a gently sloping walk rather than aesthetically displeasing “big ramps with railings,” according to Bicknell. “It takes good care of the courtyard and makes everything kind of hidden in that way,” she said. “It’s very tastefully done — a lot of really thoughtful, clever ways about how to take these buildings that are national historic landmarks and make them accessible.”

Before renewal, these houses were 100 years old — some are even older than that. There weren’t things like elevators that existed. merle Bicknell Assistant Dean for the FAS Office of Physical Resources

Some of the houses along the Charles River are national register buildings and subject to regulations that complicate the

renovation process, Bicknell said. The Cambridge Historical Commission must review any alterations to the buildings. For example, making every floor elevator-accessible in Lowell House would have entailed penetrating the roof, which is not something the Historical Commission would allow, Bicknell said. The architects’ solution was to convert the top floor of suites into duplexes. Though the second floor bedrooms can only be reached via a set of stairs, the first floor common rooms are accessible so that those with physical disabilities can visit friends who live in these suites. Throughout the process, administrators have solicited feedback from students about their needs and experiences. Cloutier — who was consulted as an undergraduate on the Stone Hall renovations, and returned years later to live there as a tutor — said she found the process to be a “rare opportunity” and a “really cool outcome.” Bicknell said she still remembers presenting the final design for Stone Hall to Cloutier while she was still an undergraduate in Quincy. “You could just see it on her face,” Bicknell said. “And I said, ‘What’s up?’ She goes, ‘My life would have been completely different here at Harvard if this had been renewed before.’”

Located in the Smith Center, the Education Accessibility Office works to make Harvard’s campus more physically accessible to students. AwNit Singh Marta—Crimson photographer

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A Changing Funding Landscape Harvard researchers are pivoting away from the federal government to private companies for funding. By Jonah S. Berger and Molly C. McCafferty Crimson Staff Writers


or decades, Harvard researchers could count on Uncle Sam. From the 1980s through the early 2000s, federal sources of research funding grew at a steady clip, largely providing all of the capital necessary for Harvard’s faculty to engage in worldclass scholarship. Though government agencies like the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation remain the largest sources of the University’s research funding, a multi-year decline in federal allocations has bred uncertainty about such funds’ stability. “The trust in federal funding has plummeted,” Chemistry Professor James G. Anderson said. In response to these constraints, faculty are looking elsewhere for cash to support their increasingly costly research endeavors. Private sources of funding including foundations and corporations — supplemented by internal Harvard sources — have stepped in to fill the gap. In total, Harvard researchers take in nearly a billion dollars in funding each year, equaling 18 percent of the University’s total operating expenses. “More and more of our faculty are drawing at least part of their research support from non-federal sources, from foundations, sometimes from industry,” Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay said in an April interview. But the changing landscape of funding comes with its own unique challenges, including potential conflicts of interest and constraints on the projects researchers can undertake.



When Harvard School of Public Health Professor S. V. Subramanian arrived at the University in the 1990s, he quickly learned where to go for research funding.

“There was just one funder in the town — NIH,” Subramanian said. “And maybe a few others, a handful, but nobody else really used to do much.” The NIH — which doles out more than $30 billion for medical research each year — contributed approximately $442 million to Harvard in 2018. Grants from NIH make up 71 percent of Harvard’s federal funding and 50 percent of all Harvard research funding. In the early 2000s, after decades of steadily increasing federal research allocations, Congress nearly doubled the NIH’s budget. Yet just a decade later — in the midst of a budget sequestration resulting from a standstill on Capitol Hill — the growth came to a grinding halt. Starting in 2011, NIH funding declined for three consecutive years, the most significant disruption to the agency’s beneficiaries in decades. Harvard felt the effects of that decline: NIH funding to the University fell from $484 million in 2011 to $402 million in 2015. “It just went absolutely into the doldrums,” former University Provost Steven E. Hyman said. Though federal funding has picked up in recent years — despite the Trump administration’s efforts to redirect money away from research and development — the increases are not enough to make up for declines earlier in the decade, Hyman argued. “Yes, the funding outlook has improved, but it’s not what it would have been had funding been on a kind of healthy trajectory,” he said. Two factors have placed further strain on those applying for federal research grants. For one, the number of researchers applying for NIH funding has continued to grow, contributing to a steady decline in the success rate of grant applications,

elena m. ramos—Crimson Designer


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from 32 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2017. Researchers also face ballooning lab maintenance costs, as new and expensive technology becomes increasingly necessary to produce cutting-edge research, according to Molecular and Cellular Biology department chair Venkatesh Murthy. “They are all using expensive techniques and machines, because as we get more and more advanced, you’re kind of probing more and more difficult things in the study,” Murthy said. “Each lab’s budget is also kind of going up.” The scarcity of federal funds has pushed more researchers to apply for internal funding sources — like the Dean’s Competitive Fund for Promising Scholarship — driving up competition, according to Gay. The grim federal funding landscape — as well as a longer review period for NIH grants — can disproportionately affect less experienced researchers, leading to a “vicious cycle” in which funding becomes nearly impossible to obtain, Murthy said. In order to present a compelling

It becomes kind of, almost like a bad feedback loop of getting harder, because then they’re not able to do research. Venkatesh Murthy Molecular and Cellular Biology Department Chair

grant application, researchers increasingly must submit preliminary data. “It becomes kind of, almost like a bad feedback loop of getting harder, because then they’re not able to do research,” Murthy said. “The number of people in the lab is lower, they’re not having as many resources. So when you write a new grant, what are you going to show?”


As the U.S. government becomes a less viable source for research funding, the private sector has moved to take its place. Between 2006 and 2016, the share of federal research funding at Harvard dropped from 82.3 to 70.3 percent, according to annual reports by the University’s Office for Sponsored Programs. Meanwhile, the share of funding from foundations and corporations increased from 13.3 to 23.4 percent, representing a


jump from $83.2 million to $197 million in private-sector grants. Some faculty rely on private sources to support high-risk and traditionally underfunded ventures, according to Gay. “Even in a world in which there is robust federal support for research, it’s often the case that some of the sort of highest risk, more exploratory research or research done by early-career scholars, that often tends to be the research that I think a lot of funding agencies are more nervous about,” Gay said. “I think many of us recognize that discovery requires taking risks.” In 2018, Harvard School of Public Health Professor Tyler J. VanderWeele inked a five-year deal with Aetna which he said has allowed him to hire two additional research staff. VanderWeele is examining employee well-being at the company in exchange for research funding and access to a dataset for his own research. “These other funding opportunities, I think, allow for the support of work in areas which are important, but which in my view, are very much underfunded by the government,” VanderWeele said. Researchers in other areas also face barriers in acquiring federal funding. For instance, because federal law prohibits marijuana usage, the NIH and other federal agencies have historically neglected to fund research into the drug’s health effects. As more states legalize recreational and medical use of marijuana, increasing the need to study such activities, non-government sources have pledged their own green. A private equity manager who is heavily invested in the Canadian legal cannabis market, Charles R. Broderick, donated $9 million to Harvard and MIT earlier this month to fund marijuana research. The gift is the largest ever independent donation to a biological study of cannabinoids. Broderick wrote in an email that he made the donation in part to help “lend credibility” to an area of research he believes has been “stigmatized and maligned.” “I think there was some reticence at first, as this was somewhat uncharted territory,” Broderick wrote. Climate research also tends to receive little federal support, according to Anderson, who studies chemical factors contributing to changes in Earth’s atmosphere. He argued that meager federal allocations do not meet the need for research into the “staggering” threat of

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climate change, and that private sector leaders are often more focused than the federal government on achieving concrete research objectives. “Government agencies can become programmatic,” Anderson said. “When you have people who have the resources to revolutionize climate research in this country and they are focused on that as an objective, you can advance a topic so quickly.”


The rise of private sector funding has brought with it conflict of interest issues that can call into question the validity of research conducted using such funds. For instance, some researchers argue that funding from fossil fuel companies generates unavoidable conflicts of interest. Geoffrey J.S. Supran, a History of Science postdoctoral fellow who studies climate change, contends that the “elephant in the room” of much climate research is the possibility that fossil fuel companies

financing studies could “disrupt” objective scientific processes. “I’d say the fossil fuel industry’s colonization of academia is straight out of the strategy playbook of big tobacco,” Supran said. “Any semblance of altruism or good faith is dwarfed by the real objective, which is the corporate capture of academia as a strategic tool for stifling action on climate change, which threatens their business model.” Harvard Kennedy School Professor William W. Hogan has produced research using funding from multiple oil companies, including Shell and Enron. Hogan, who is the research director of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group, said the group receives funding from both environmental advocacy organizations and oil companies. The policy group purposely diversifies its funding structure to prevent conflicts of interest. “Much of the design was driven by making sure that we had a balance to protect the independence of what we’re doing,” he said.

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Hogan said that while research could potentially be influenced by private funding “in principle,” there is no evidence to suggest any of the group’s work was compromised. In fact, he said Enron cut off funding after the group released a study contradicting the company’s aims. “He didn’t want to be associated with me,” Hogan said of Jeffrey K. Skilling, who was Enron’s CEO at the time. Skilling’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

People raised the question at leadership meetings as to, is there something we should do to make sure that when people write papers, all of the relevant potential conflicts of interest are listed? Steve Hyman Former University Provost

Harvard maintains policies to curb financial conflicts of interest in faculty research pursuits. Faculty members cannot grant outside sponsors authority to “di-

rect their studies” or “delay the release or publication of research results,” per University policy. If a faculty member fails to comply, the dean of their school can impose sanctions as they “deem warranted.” VanderWeele said that though he has so far encountered no “restrictions” from Aetna in carrying out his research and does not anticipate future meddling, he acknowledged that private-sector agreements could inherently threaten complete “academic freedom.” “I would guess that if there was some result that made them look really bad, that they could make our life difficult if we wanted to publish that,” he said. Sometimes, outside agencies crack down on unethical donation practices at the University. In 2018, a Medical School study of the effects of regular alcohol consumption came under fire for its ties to the alcohol industry. Though NIH footed the bill, a private foundation that raises money for NIH solicited funds from Heineken, Anheuser Busch InBev, and other alcohol companies for the study. Associate Medical School Professor Kenneth J. Mukamal, who led the alcohol study, pitched the project to alcohol executives with his colleagues at highend hotels, telling them it represented “a

unique opportunity to show that moderate alcohol consumption is safe and lowers risk of common diseases,” the New York Times reported in March 2018. In June, two internal NIH reviews into the agency’s funding of Mukamal’s study confirmed there was “early and frequent engagement” between liquor companies, researchers, and employees of NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Such engagement, they concluded, “calls into question the impartiality of the process.” The NIH terminated the study. Mukamal wrote in an emailed statement that the probe was not directed at his research team, adding that NIAAA asked him to speak with alcohol executives only after he wrote the grant proposal that outlined the study’s goals. “Industry had no role in the design (since, as noted, the general approach long preceded any such discussions) and provided funding specifically to NIH (i.e., not to investigators at HMS or anywhere else),” Mukamal wrote. “The NIH Office of the Director itself approved the agreement with industry through two separate reviews prior to any human subjects activity.” While Harvard itself has largely avoided damaging conflict of interest scandals in recent years, administrators

have reevaluated their policies following misconduct at other institutions. In September 2018, the chief medical officer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York resigned amidst reports that he had failed to divulge millions in funding from private health care companies. Hyman said researchers at the Broad Institute — a science research center affiliated with Harvard — have displayed “heightened awareness” since the Memorial Sloan Kettering allegations came to light, but said it remained too early to predict whether leadership will commit to “re-writing any of its guidance” to faculty. “People raised the question at leadership meetings as to, is there something we should do to make sure that when people write papers, all of the relevant potential conflicts of interests are listed?” Hyman said. Hogan argued that even when researchers take all possible precautions, no funding source is completely “immune” from the threat of a conflict of interest. “I don’t think there’s any neutral money out there,” he said.

AKHIL S. WAGHMARE—Crimson Designer


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Profile for The Harvard Crimson

Year In Review 2019  

Year In Review 2019