BY SALLY TAIRE
In a surprising move, the Harvard Law administration announced as students returned from spring break that the faculty had voted on a proposal to cut wireless Internet in classrooms to cut down on distracting web surfing and chatting by students. The proposal passed almost unanimously, and went into effect on Monday.
“I got the idea from Chicago Law,” said Dean Elena Kagan earlier this week, referring to Dean Saul Levmore’s controversial announcement to cut Internet in classrooms starting this quarter. “I figured, we’ve stolen all their professors, we might as well start stealing their classroom policies.”
“It’s so distracting to be teaching a class and see students snorting and giggling while I explain a prison rape case,” said Visiting Professor Sharon Dolovich. “Either I’ve got ten students on ICanHasCheezburger.com, or Harvard kids are really, really messed up.”
Added Dolovich, “I’m in ur classrooms bannin’ ur wifi, suckers.”
“I still don’t fully understand what the Internet even is,” said Professor Lewis Sargentich, who spoke up at the meeting on behalf of a group of senior faculty to clarify how many tubes were part of the law school’s Internet infrastructure. “Your world frightens and confuses us.”
As expected, the faculty delegation from the Berkman Center was incensed about the new policy. However, several Berkman-related professors and fellows were disqualified from the voting when it was discovered that John Palfrey was live-blogging the confidential meeting for The Huffington Post, and Professor Charles Nesson was playing in not one, but two online poker tournaments during the discussions.
“They’re both qualifiers for World Series of Poker seats, and I was looking at an outside straight draw and a huge pot,” said Nesson. “What?”
Palfrey vowed that the disqualified professors would fight back. “We will be making a wiki page and YouTube video about this,” he said.
Student reaction to the new regime was mixed. The Record observed several internet-free classes to gauge whether student participation and note-taking improved with the new ban.
“Huh?” said 1L Josh Schultz, who was playing FreeCell when a reporter approached him after class. “Yeah, I guess it’s OK.””Wait, hold on,” said 2L Keisha Sanders, who was on level 9 of Snood. “Can you repeat the question?”
2L Andrew McCaffrey had a more complex view of things. “Did you know you can load Java games while the Internet’s up, and then it when it goes out, the applet’s still running so you can still play whatever you already loaded? No? Me neither.”
McCaffrey added, “Zuuuma!”
By day three of the ban, alternate distractions had become even more elaborate. In Professor’s Jon Hanson’s Torts class, the entire back row of students showed up with small headphones and LAN cables and proceeded to conduct a Starcraft: Brood War 3-on-3 battle. In Professor Christine Desan’s Civil Procedure class, students used a network of cell phones to send pictures of celebrities in unattractive dresses to each other. In Professor Charles Fried’s Constitutional Law class, students even began to pass folded paper notes, causing an irritated Fried to assign every opinion in the Hamdi case for the next day’s reading and one hundred handwritten repetitions of “Con Law is serious and important, and it does not matter if Matthew Stephenson is cuter than Daryl Levinson.”
“Besides,” said Fried as he tore up the note that he had snatched up, “Everyone knows Ryan Goodman is the cutest.”
“I am dismayed and disappointed by our students,” said a perplexed Dean Kagan yesterday. “I am considering buying several dozen large alphabet rugs and asking students to come to the front of the room and sit cross-legged on them during classes, to make sure they are truly paying attention. Of course, then they might poke each other and start asking to go to the bathroom unnecessarily.”
While traffic on Abovethelaw.com was sharply down this week, the Harvard Coop reported that they were suddenly doing a brisk business in basic computer games, including You Don’t Know Jack, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?, and Oregon Trail III: Look Who’s Got Cholera Now.