Clark announces resignation


Dean Clark spoke earlier this year at a ralley against the military´s “don´t ask/don´t tell” policy.

In a letter to the Harvard Law School community on Monday, November 25th, Dean Robert Clark announced that he would step down as Dean on June 30th, 2003. Harvard President Lawrence Summers, who cited Clark’s leadership in a separate letter to members of the University, said that he would appoint a faculty group to advise him on hiring a new Dean. Summers also promised to consult with other faculty, staff, students, and alumni during the process of finding a new dean.

Clark, Summers Reflect on Clark’s Tenure as Dean

Clark said that he plans to take a sabbatical and then return to research and teaching at the Law School.

“Harvard Law School is a very special institution, and its impact on the world is both great and good. Serving it as Dean has been an indescribably meaningful and varied experience; I feel blessed,” Clark wrote in the letter.

Clark also explained that the school was in the beginning phases an ambitious Strategic Plan that will require a major new fundraising effort that is would to continue through 2007. Clark wrote that he did not feel that he would be able to see the plan through its completion.

“I do not think it appropriate, in light of current norms at Harvard University, to continue my already long tenure to such a time. Fortunately, there is a natural changeover point in our near future. The Law School is planning a celebration to kick off the public phase of its new campaign on June 13-14, 2003,” Clark wrote.

Clark added that he took over his position as Dean at a time when the school was at the early stages of implementing a larger plan and that it seemed natural time for a replacement to step in at a similar time.

Clark said that he had been privileged to serve during an important period of growth for the Law School. During his almost fourteen years at the helm of Harvard Law School, Clark oversaw the construction of Langdell Library, the expansion of the faculty and curriculum, as well as a growing emphasis on global legal practice.

In his letter, President Summers wrote that Clark had “devoted himself to strengthening the faculty, enriching the curriculum, improving the student experience, and enhancing the Law School’s physical and financial resources.” He added, “Academic excellence has been his constant guiding light. He has encouraged the School to take a more international outlook while building its specialized programs of research, reinforced its ties to the legal profession, and deepening its commitment to public service.”

A Difficult Road Ahead for the New Dean

Despite Clark’s assurances that the end of a school year is “a natural changeover point,” the new Dean will face a number of difficult issues that the Strategic Plan left unresolved. Primary among them is whether or not the School will move across the river to Allston.

Among other things, the strategic plan calls for hiring more faculty and staff to man new offices to support the clinical requirement and to support the beefed up first year program. Those space concerns have led to plans to construct a new building near Everett Street. However, the Administration has said that such construction is not a long-term solution to the Law School’s need for more space. (See:

At the same time that the Law School has begun to feel a space crunch, President Summers called on a number of schools at the University’s schools to think about moving across the river to land that the University holds in Allston. Along with the Kennedy School of Government and the School of Education, the Law School is considered to be one of the leading candidates in the proposed move. Last winter, Dean Clark appointed a committee headed by Professor Elena Kegan to consider “location alternatives” for the Law School.

The new Dean may face enormous resistance from faculty, alumni, and possibly students that do not want the school to move from its historic location. Three years ago the faculty voted almost unanimously against supporting a move to Allston. It is also thought that many alumni, who would be crucial to the new capital campaign, would initially oppose a move to Allston.

For Clark, the idea of moving to Allston was always one of weighing long-term practical considerations. Clark told the RECORD last year, “I’m less emotional about a lot of the space stuff.”

Where Clark’s replacement will stand on the issue remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen whether the new Dean will be able to play a role in the decision and whether the decision will have to be delayed.

While the possible move to Allston will certainly be one of the major issues facing the new Dean, it will not be the only issue. Over the past few years, HLS has seen itself losing out to Stanford in US News’ influential rankings and study undertaken by Mckinsey consulting for the school a few years ago found student dissatisfaction about quality of life at the Law School and concern about grades. While the strategic plan was designed to address some of the issues found in the study, the faculty failed to approve more controversial aspects of the proposed plan such as eliminating the current grading system. Also facing the incoming Dean will be a growing discussion about diversity at the Law School questions about the proper response to a string of incidents that occurred last year. (See: and

[This story did not originally appear in the print edition of the paper, but was posted on Monday, November 25th, 2002. Eds.]

Harvard Law’s proposed harrassment policy


I recently read a story about the debate inside Harvard Law School regarding the establishment of a harrassment policy for the school. The article reminded me of events that transpired at Tufts University during my sophomore year, 1988-89.

During the Fall semester, a male student printed and sold t-shirts on campus that listed “The Top 15 Reasons why Beer is Better than Women at Tufts”. The t-shirt offended a lot of people, and one female student in particular was so offended that she asked the administration for permission to buy the shirts and burn them on the campus quad.

The administration responded by suspending the male student who printed the shirts and establishing a speech code that laid out private, semi-private, and public zones on campus with different rules for allowable speech.

The speech code sparked a debate at Tufts much like the current debate at Harvard Law School. Opinions on campus were sharply divided about the potential effects of the code. In the end, a Harvard Constitutional Law professor (whose name, alas, eludes me) wrote a spirited defense of free speech that, in large part, led the administration at Tufts to repeal the speech code policy.

There is certainly a better way to protect students from harrassment than to demolish the First Amendment. I strongly urge the faculty and the administration at Harvard Law to review the events that transpired at Tufts in 1988-89 and, much as that administration did, reject the establishment of a de facto speech code for the school on Constitutional grounds.


Robert MunnSan Diego, CA

Letters: Censor this? (updated)


Censor This?

To the Editor:

Like many, I am concerned that a speech code would chill valuable speech on campus. In particular, I wonder whether Diversity Committee members would discipline the author of any of the following opinions:

1. Only the most hyperbolic imagination could believe that racism remainsa problem at Harvard. Indeed, the threat of being called a racist does more to chill speech on campus than the use of racial slurs.

2. However uncouth the two racist incidents of last spring, most adults,
to say nothing of aspiring attorneys, learn to withstand such petty
contumely. Even if they can’t, the incidents did not merit public demonstrations, months of campus angst, petitions, demands from the
administration, and, now, a speech code.

3. The two students responsible for the racist incidents of last spring
have already suffered public obloquy, ostracism, discipline from the
administration, withdrawn job offers, and may have had their legal careers ruined. A regime which visits even more punishment upon others like them verges on cruelty.

4. The effect, if not the purpose, of “Diversity Fairs,” “Ethnic Counselers,” and other programs of “Sensitivity Training” is to augment
racial differences and exacerbate racial tensions. If the administration
really wanted to promote understanding between races, it would eliminate all such programs and add no more.

5. African-Americans at Harvard are far more likely to have their speech
chilled by fellow African-Americans than anyone else, as the savage
treatment that Clarence Thomas receives attests. Given that groups like
BLSA reinforce the assumption that African-Americans speak univocally, an administration serious about encouraging African-Americans to speak up would withdraw its imprimatur from BLSA and all other ethnic student groups.

6. African-Americans may very well feel disproportionately intimidated at
Harvard Law School, but that is more likely a function of affirmative
action, which creates a presumption that blacks on campus are less
qualified, than systemic racism on campus.

7. BLSA’s habit last spring of capitalizing the first letter of “black”
in its literature has undeniably racialist overtones. Certainly no group
could get away with calling whites “Whites.”

I welcome any thoughts on which of the above opinions, if any, should be silenced.

–Austin W. Bramwell, 3L


A Lesson Already Learned

Dear Editor:

I recently read a story about the debate inside Harvard Law School regarding the establishment of a harrassment policy for the school. The article reminded me of events that transpired at Tufts University during my sophomore year, 1988-89.

During the Fall semester, a male student printed and sold t-shirts on campus that listed “The Top 15 Reasons why Beer is Better than Women at Tufts”. The t-shirt offended a lot of people, and one female student in particular was so offended that she asked the administration for permission to buy the shirts and burn them on the campus quad.

The administration responded by suspending the male student who printed the shirts and establishing a speech code that laid out private, semi-private, and public zones on campus with different rules for allowable speech.

The speech code sparked a debate at Tufts much like the current debate at Harvard Law School. Opinions on campus were sharply divided about the potential effects of the code. In the end, a Harvard Constitutional Law professor (whose name, alas, eludes me) wrote a spirited defense of free speech that, in large part, led the administration at Tufts to repeal the speech code policy.

There is certainly a better way to protect students from harrassment than to demolish the First Amendment. I strongly urge the faculty and the administration at Harvard Law to review the events that transpired at Tufts in 1988-89 and, much as that administration did, reject the establishment of a de facto speech code for the school on Constitutional grounds.


Robert Munn

San Diego, CA


[Because the next issue of The RECORD comes out in February, we are publishing Letters to the Editor directly to the website.

Health Service plans new changes


Health Services can be conveniently accessed right from the tunnels.

Dr. Ellen Schwartz, head of the Law School’s branch of Health Services, gets excited when she offers her vision for the clinic’s future. She wants to “move out of the individual doctor-patient mode,” where the clinic’s medical staff of eight sees patients, and plan more events educating students in large numbers about the services her staff can offer.

Dr. Christopher Coley, Harvard’s director for University Health Services, says he focuses more on exactly that doctor-patient relationship. “I’m a big believer in the continuity of primary care,” he said, adding that he wants students “to negotiate their own health” through the generalist doctors who see patients with a broad set of ailments.

Health Services officials may sound off fluently on what they think about the future. But their ideas are only part of a broader discussion, as the Law School begins to convene its new committee on the state of Health Services. That committee, with its combination of health staff, administrators and students, has met every two months to re-evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the clinic and get students more involved in the process.

The committee’s first student member, 3L Gary Slossberg, said he hopes that more student representatives will join him soon. He also said the committee plans to seek student opinions, but says that he personally has not “done anything [yet] to try to get any detailed student input.”

Student opinion is still hard to assess. Health Services recorded 667 student visits last April and approximately 6,100 for the 2001 calendar year. In an ad hoc campus survey of a few dozen students, most shrug their shoulders with satisfaction with their clinic experiences. But others hint at reports of unhappiness with the wait for appointments or the cost of health insurance.

On the wait for appointments, Schwartz and Coley both say that Health Services treats patients quickly if they need urgent care. The schedule leaves open appointment times each day for those in need of attention. For routine appointments, Schwartz said most students are seen within a week or two.

Schwartz also said she has a possible plan for opening up the clinic schedule so that slots would be available more quickly, on the same day or the next. Ultimately, students might be able to schedule themselves for appointments, without first telling a staff member to schedule them.

On insurance costs, HLS students pay more than their peers at other schools. Here at Harvard, the university charged a total of $1,770 for 2002-03 health fees and Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance. For the same academic year, Yale students paid $1,152 and Columbia students $1,382 for their health plans, according to the universities’ websites.

The Harvard costs include both the university health fee of $1,020 and the optional fee for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of $750. Students are permitted to waive the Blue Cross charge, though Coley said very few graduate students do so.

Comparing health plans is a difficult task, Coley said, since each plan has a different scope of coverage. But he said Harvard’s plan may be more expensive because the university offers more services on site. Health Services here, he said, has its own specialist doctors, while other universities must contract with outside hospitals.

Schwartz also said that higher prices here may include coverage for prescription drugs that other schools do not include. The university included that coverage in response to requests from students themselves, Schwartz added.

She also detailed her plans for more activities to involve students outside of the clinic itself. The Student Health Fair, held in October, could become a yearly event, along with other programs aimed at educating students about health issues.

Those issues would include, especially, relaxation, meditation and other stress-reduction techniques. Schwartz said that the Law School clinic has seen more and more mental health-related cases during her three years on the job, mirroring what she said was an increase on university campuses in general. The clinic has a social worker, psychologist and psychiatrist — all separate from the Office of Student Life Counseling’s own team — to treat students.

“As people are more stressed out in society, it filters down,” Schwartz said. “There’s a lot of pressure on this generation that wasn’t on previous generations.”

In the end, Schwartz said she hopes that Health Services can build on what she regards as its successes. “I think students who have used Health Services are pretty satisfied,” she said, though there are “still a lot of students who don’t know we’re here.”

Seas of Change and Trotting Yankees


Somewhere in the warm glow of midnight oil and a boarded-up Hastings fireplace, a pensive music writer exhales sharply, pauses for a moment and begins typing. It is the last issue of the year/semester/whatever and he’s trying to put a little capstone on the year in music. Given that the usual ten-paragraph monologue seems lacking in user-friendliness (mind you, not that this has ever stopped him before), the thought seems to be to compose some sort of list of the ten best albums of the year.

The realist in him accepts that this is intrinsically a bit of a silly idea. You don’t have to be too much of a cynic to realize that when any self-appointed rock critic writes this sort of thing it ends up being a “let me tell you all what’s in my player these days” sort of thing and inevitably dropping the names of all the oh-so-clever little esoteric bands that you’d like to give a plug for makes the average reader shrug and wonder why you don’t listen to the radio more often.

So the trick seems to be to frame the sort of list in a way that begins to organize it a little bit — make the rankings and inclusions less arbitrary. Hmm… well, why not think of it this way: A lot of albums came out this year. A thousand or more probably, depending on how much digging into the indie world you do. This happens every year, and sooner or later you look back on a given year and only remember a few albums. And it might not even be the ones that seemed to dominate the airwaves at the time. No, for one reason or another, various albums just seem to stave off the dustbins of pop cultural history with more resolve than many of the obvious hit paraders. Here, then, perhaps, are some from 2002 that will turn up regardless of whose list they are on (in reverse order):

10. Eminem: 8 Mile Soundtrack – This will undoubtedly be remembered as a big year for Eminem, but not because of The Eminem Show. No, in a mere four tracks on the soundtrack to his much-ballyhooed ersatz biopic, Mr. Mathers demonstrates just how it is that he remains so vigorously relevant despite the perpetual media circus that surrounds him.

While it might at first be mistaken as an “Eye of the Tiger” for the hip-hop set, “Lose Yourself,” the album’s first single, shows Eminem at his leanest and meanest. With renewed focus and unstemmed flow, Eminem manages to be emotionally earnest without all the self-adoration and almost voyeuristic enthusiasm for his own fictionalized past that, ironically, is more visible on his regular albums than on this work of musical drama.

The Eminem Show found Eminem gleefully spinning off into his own mythology. 8 Mile, however, cuts him back down to size while still leaving him just a little larger than life. In the same way that the movie is often preoccupied with the Elvis-esque tensions of being a white superstar in a black art form, the soundtrack, with contributions from no less than Rakim and Jay-Z serves to contextualize Eminem in a hip-hop tradition in which he, for reasons beyond mere ethnicity, is a standout.

9. Interpol: Turn on the Bright Lights — A much-talked-about debut from a band that just naturally seems to place itself well within the midst of the sensibilities of just about every hardcore indie rock connoisseur. The music, within seconds, takes you back to lots of familiar moments of the nerd-rock past — Built to Spill, Joy Divison, Comsat Angels, maybe even the Talking Heads. The ambition, though, is well at home in this year of masterful, sprawling attempts to do everything at once (witness the Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots or the American release of the Super Furry Animals’ Rings Around the World).

Grainy, edgy, focused and even more memorable than it sounds on first listen, the album presents 11 reasons why Interpol will be a band to watch in the years ahead.

8. Paul Westerberg: Stereo/Mono — As a writer, you get one completely personal judgment call on a list like this, and this is mine. This was not a record that will change the music world anytime soon. This was not a record that sold too many units or started, marked, or ended any trends. Instead, this was simply the triumphant return to form of a songwriter whose relative absence from the field in the last few years has been one of rock’s greatest silent tragedies. Sure Costello’s new album is good, and Bowie and Peter Gabriel seem to still be relevant, but Paul, well, Paul is a revelation. Basically recorded in his basement with little or no organization or pretense, Stereo/Mono rolls up its sleeve and reveals a few road tattoos, some bruised guitar-wrists, and a heart that still beats with all the pathos and charm of any street-corner poet, anguished punker, or still-viable cult legend.

7. Bruce Springsteen: The Rising — In times of crisis, some Americans look to our political leaders, while others look to the Boss. It’s been said before — if anyone could channel the anguish and uncertainty of September 11 into a meaningful exorcism it was Bruce. If anyone had the hard stories of a complex American reality in his blood it was Bruce. If anyone could so lovingly rock his way into redemption it was Bruce. What time will add to this album, though, is all the praise that it deserves when stripped from context. Issues of national healing aside, The Rising ranks even within the Springsteen canon as an amazingly sensitive and lyrical exploration of relationships between people. Better yet, it manages to do so with a bare minimum of navel-gazing. With the guitar-loving grit of Brendan O’Brien’s production, Bruce and the E-Street Band manage to quite legitimately rock out with one sprawling, epic heartland anthem after another.

6. Queens of the Stone Age: Songs for the Deaf — Having reviewed this in depth this year, little needs to be said in addition here. Hard-rocking, high energy, grindy, catchy, quirky and inspirational. Don’t call it grunge, don’t call it metal. Just call it damn good.

5. …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead: Source Tags & Codes — Perhaps the only album this year that could be said to rock harder than the Queens of the Stone Age, Trail of Dead pushes their sonic roar to a new plane of intensity. Intensely emotive, Source Tags & Codes takes the Sonic Youth formula and makes it sound angry, scared, confused, and revolutionary again. Undoubtedly helped by their blistering live shows and tendency to be occasionally mistaken as another ’60s-’70s retro rock revival group, Trail of Dead has crawled from relative obscurity into the hearts and minds of record snobs everywhere. A punishing, breathtaking ride for the ages.

4. The Doves: The Last Broadcast — If Interpol lays claim to the well-loved musical terrain of indie record jocks and other corduroy-clad hipsters, the Doves have set out to conquer not just their own corner of the Britpop world, but the best-loved recesses of the American musical vaults themselves. One of the most-loved compliments rock writers pay to a band is to compare their album to the album widely regarded as the Beach Boy’s unfathomably visionary opus — Pet Sounds. The problem is, R.E.M. doesn’t usually sound all that much like Pet Sounds, and even if someone like Badly Drawn Boy is good, he still doesn’t sound quite like Pet Sounds. But, at the risk of overstretching, in moments here and there, the Doves do sound like a very Anglicized, trippy, dreamy, guitar-heavy version of Pet Sounds. Chiming guitars, drowsy vocals, and intricate bass melodies do more than fill the time between Radiohead albums— they suggest that Radioh
ead, Travis, and even the much-adored whiners in Coldplay should take their time — if The Last Broadcast is any indication, the future of thoughtful Britpop is well under control.

3. DJ Shadow: The Private Press — Despite the buzz around the Streets’ Original Pirate Material, DJ Shadow’s second full-length album remains the gold standard for electronica/hip hop excellence. Blurring across sonic categories ranging from pure funk to pure trance to something resembling 80s synth-pop, The Private Press broods, grooves and simmers into your psyche. Unlike, say the Avalanches’ dizzying Since I Left You (a turntablist masterpiece of yesteryear), though, Shadow’s production remains subtle to the last — for an album with tons of samples and lots of smoke and mirrors, The Private Press never once sounds unduly complicated. Versatile, lyrical and humble all at once, it is the elegant calling card of our generation’s master DJ.

2. Beck: Sea Change — Having also covered this one in relative depth, it suffices to say that on repeated listens Sea Change remains revelatory, weighty and utterly unforgettable.

1. Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot — Certain to top most critics’ lists this year — the story of Wilco, the little band that could, did, and eventually sold their album to the same big label twice — perhaps overshadows what is, on its own terms, a stunning, smart, lovingly-rendered, and incontestably classic album. Sprightly in some moments, sublime in others, it represents the continued excellence of a group that those in the know have loved to love since the moment of their conception. If Wilco didn’t exist, perhaps the critics would create it, but if Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was never made, it’s hard to imagine anyone else having the vision, heart and natural yen for musical complexity that makes this undisputed masterwork all that it is.

Sorcerer Seconds


Yes, the second Harry Potter movie is better than the first.

That’s really all you have to read. But stick around for the caveat — there always is one.

Despite being slightly longer, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets packs more suspense and moves a good deal faster than its predecessor, owing largely to the fact that it ditches all semblance of exposition. In tribute to its efficiency, so will I: I think I can safely assume that everyone who goes to see it knows the story already.

As a book, “Chamber of Secrets” is the weakest of the series, yet, as the movie proves, weaker books often translate into better movies. The movie works because it has a more focused, less episodic plot (and scarier monsters) than “The Sorcerer’s Stone.” And monsters, competently executed, are an easy slam-dunk for drawing in adults as well as kids. (Caveat: We’re talking scary on the level of Jurassic Park and Arachnophobia, not Alien.)

It’s much harder, however, to draw in adult viewers through delight, and in the delight department — which is what Sorcerer’s Stone, more than Chamber of Secrets, depended on, and where the movie failed — the Potter film franchise still falls short. The secret charm of the books lies not just in Rowling’s ability to spin a good yarn, but in a palpable feeling of giddy pleasure at the colorful richness, the potential for endless invention, in the parallel universe she concocted as a cheekier, cooler answer to our everyday world. The attempts to reproduce this quality in The Sorcerer’s Stone felt heavy and clunky — closer to a souped-up Willa Wonka & the Chocolate Factory than The Wizard of Oz.

The problem is less evident in the second installment, because as a whole it moves away from trying to capture that Christmas-morning mood of surprise and delight (the Weasley house, one of the highlights of the book, gets particularly short shrift) and concentrates instead on building an atmosphere of mystery and fear.

And we do get a better sense of the eerie dread, the shadows slowly growing around the edges, that oddly enough isn’t altogether realized in the book, which still carries on the breezy tone of “The Sorcerer’s Stone.” (It is only in the third installment, “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” that the narrative really begins to darken and deepen.) In the film, the castle seems darker and more twisting, the lighting seems deliberately poorer, and we are more aware of the precarious fragility of the ring of protection that surrounds Harry and his friends — fittingly captured in the hushed frailty of the late Richard Harris (in his last screen appearance) as Dumbledore.

We also get flashes of humor, provided largely by a fey and very funny Kenneth Branagh as the self-enamored celebrity teacher-cum-quack Gilderoy Lockhart. But overall, the second movie, like the first, lacks the light comic touch that distinguishes Rowling’s style. The three protagonists, too, seem more earnest and less spontaneous than in their first outing — especially Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione (Emma Watson), while Rupert Grint as Ron somewhat overdoes his comically incredulous grimaces.

As for new characters, the most successful addition besides Branagh may be a girl-ghost who strikes the right balance between humor and slight creepiness. Less successful is the CGI-generated house-elf Dobby, never one of my favorite characters. (The mandrakes, however, were spot-on.)

The movie builds to an effective climax, a vast improvement on Sorcerer’s Stone, and milks the scare factor for all it’s worth. Yet even the big scares seem like variations on a familiar theme. After the raptors which crashed through the wall and stalked the children in the kitchen in Jurassic Park, there’s been nothing left but retread for scaly, predatory CG-generated reptiles. It’s also worth noting that Jurassic Park, in its time, succeeded in conjuring up that sense of childlike awe of being confronted with the impossible made real. Which makes me wonder, yet again, what Spielberg could have done with Harry Potter — though it is true that for every E.T. and Jurassic Park he’s also had a Hook or a Lost World. And there are grounds for optimism with respect to Azkaban, with the appointment of Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, whose repertoire (Y Tu Mama También, Great Expectations with Gwyneth and Ethan and A Little Princess) shows the kind of versatility and dexterity that Rowling’s books need so much.

To date, Columbus has steered prudently and brought the H.M.S. Potter, laden with gold, safely into port. For the sake of Rowling fans everywhere, though, it’s time for a risk-taker to take the helm.

Vino & Veritas: A fine Chianti



After surviving a pass/fail, repeatable Wills & Trusts exam and a rough two-day-a-week class schedule, Duncan and I settled down with two bottles of Chianti and the WB’s Tuesday Night lineup before us.

Before I get to the Chianti, allow me to plug the WB’s Tuesdays, particularly Smallville, a show about young Superman. Set in Kansas but filmed in Vancouver, this show rivals Buffy with drama, romance, and boatloads of teenage angst. The show features the incomparably beautiful Kristen Kreuk as Lana Lang. Also interspersed throughout the commercial breaks are at least four airings of her Neutrogena ads. Finally, the show features quotes like “The road to darkness is a journey, not a light switch,” delivered in the classic WB style – with the unnaturally long pauses, excessive eye darting and exaggerated earnestness that reminds you of your high school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

As for chianti, there are a few things you need to know. Chianti and Chianti Classico are areas in the Tuscan region of Italy along the coast and the wine is made primarily from the sangiovese grape. Chianti tends to be very dry, acidic, and medium-bodied. Typical flavors include spicy fruit and cherries. Bad chianti, like the 2000 Ruffino, will taste thin and watered-down, while good Chianti is known for having highly concentrated fruit flavor.

A few simple guidelines are helpful for enjoying Chianti. Look for bottles labeled “Chianti Classico.” Wines from that zone tend to be better than other chianti. Look for bottles with “Riserva,” as well, as such bottles generally must be held by the wineries longer and generally have better cellar potential.

Finally, have chianti with food. This wine is known for pairing well with food, particularly because it is not overwhelming.

2000 Ruffino Chianti ($10.95): Miserable. Watered down and thin tasting with hints of citrus fruit and tomato. Very musty nose and very acidic.

1998 Villa Antiviori Chianti Classico Riserva ($21.99): Pleasant. A nose of blueberries and hints of tobacco. Good structure but unusually sweet.

Impress Your Date/Eight-Year Old Brother: Sangiovese’s Latin name is “sanguis Jovis” which means blood of Jupiter.



I must preface my remarks with a confession: I think Kristin Kreuk is cute. She has beautiful skin, adorable mannerisms, and the Asian-Dutch genetic combo gave her marvelous cheekbones (I love high cheekbones!). There – I’ve said it.

She is emphatically not, however, the hottest woman alive, contra Chaisanguanthum. For one thing, she has a snaggletooth (check out her left canine). For another, she is too lacking in, shall we say, womanly attributes to qualify as “hot,” much less the “hottest woman alive.” And let’s not forget that she stars on a show that could only survive on the WB.

However, from his burning-loin feelings about Ms. Kreuk our female readers can learn this much about my cohort in wine, Mike C.: He digs ladies who look young, have round faces and straight, black hair (i.e. Asians), and are shorter than he. If you match these descriptors, have faith! You might hook an oenologically gifted Asian man with unfathomable intellect and depth of passion. But you could end up with Mike, too.

On to the chianti. Chianti is most easily recognized when served in cozy little Italian restaurants in those Orangina-on-‘roids bottles, bulbous-bottomed and clad in straw baskets. The flavor of most chianti is not nearly so appealing as those bottles, though, and the best chianti has always resided in Bordeaux-shaped bottles. This week we review two Bordeaux-shaped bottles of chianti, one of which was a winner, the other not so much.

2000 Ruffino Chianti ($10.95): Syrupy-sweet currant on the nose. Nice, slow, medium-thick legs. Flavor is lacking; generically sweet (a bit of the currant follows through to the palate), with a wet cardboard aftertaste (no, I don’t eat wet cardboard). Hardly distinguishable from water.

1998 Villa Antiviori Chianti Classico Riserva ($21.99): Currant and dark berries with noticeable alcohol on the nose. Thin, runny legs. Light tannins and slightly astringent, with the flavors on the nose nicely carrying through the palate – and with a pleasant finish.

FENNO: The morning after


“Hey Fenno, it’s Jonas.”

Fenno looked at his clock alarm.

“Jonas, Christ, it’s like 3:30 a.m.,” Fenno said.

“Yeah, sorry, we had gallon-of-milk-and-a-hogshead-of-cheese-night at the Inn,” Jonas explained. “Holy dairy product overload.”

“Sure, I can understand that,” Fenno lied. “What do you want?”

“Hey, you were at Ames tonight, right?” Jonas asked.

“Yeah. Why?” Fenno answered.

“Do you think you could interview the Gunther team for The RECORD?”

“Oh, I don’t know Jonas,” Fenno replied.

“C’mon. It doesn’t have to be that long. Just a thousand words,” Jonas implored.

“All right. Fine. Last favor.”

“Last favor,” Jonas agreed.

Fenno woke to the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post” playing on his alarm. He was exhausted. Why can’t I be deaf? Fenno said to God. God smiled mischievously and walked out to get coffee and a newspaper.

Ever the faithful columnist, Fenno showered, dressed, and headed to campus to interview the team. Fenno tried to recall how things had developed. Let’s see, he thought….

First, Kelly Smith read something from a piece of paper. Then Rick Coe walked in and made some incredibly loud remarks. A bunch of Law Review kids talked to two old white men and a black lady in bathrobes for a little over an hour. Rick picked up his loud remarks where he’d left off from before. The bathrobed visitors walked away. People applauded the Law Review kids for talking. More Law Review kids came up to the talking Law Review kids. They talked. Kelly came back to the microphone and said something that made everyone sit down. Rick made yet more incredibly loud remarks. These loud remarks made the bathrobe clique come back. They sat down and congratulated themselves for coming. Something, something, and Greg Lipper won Ames.

That’s what you get for believing that intramural football really means anything, Fenno thought. What’s next: Men aren’t really from Mars and women aren’t really from Venus? Fenno made a note to give God a good talking to when they met for drinks at Westside Lounge that night.

Fenno figured that maybe if that’s all that had happened in the Ames Competition, it wasn’t much worth doing the interview. But he knew he at least owed the teams the courtesy of telling them so in person. He knocked on the door of Gannett House. The door creaked open slowly and ominously. Bert Huang stood in the hallway. “Come in, Fenno,” Bert said. “We’ve been expecting you.” He began to cackle softly.

Fenno interrupted Bert before the latter could throw his head back to cackle any louder. “Hi, Bert. Thanks. Um, I’m not really doing the Halloween or monster-movie theme anymore.”

“Oh.” A look of disappointment flashed across Bert’s face and as quickly disappeared. “Well, come in anyway.” Fenno entered and followed him up the stairs.

Fenno ascended to the second floor where he encountered the Gunther team still whoopin’ and hollerin’. They were wet from spraying white grape juice all over each other. From the look of things, Fenno could tell that there had been many pats on the butt throughout the course of the night. The butt-patting had started during the obligatory “good game, good game,” low-fiving session between the teams at the end of the Competition. Butt-patting can quickly get out of hand. This was another reason to skip the interview.

Fenno cleared his throat: “Congratulations, you guys. I just wanted to let you know that because I was at the Competition last night, it won’t be necessary to do any lengthy wrap-up here. So if Erin Bernstein, the staff photographer, could just take a picture of a file cabinet real quick, the story should be all wrapped up. Don’t want to take any time away from your celebrating.” (Erin found her subject. “I want to take a picture of the file cabinet from the side, with the third drawer open.” She raised her camera. “No, closed.” “What’s the caption?” asked Fenno. “Does it matter?” Erin answered.)

Josh Solomon spoke up for the team: “Thanks, Fenno, we appreciate that.” Or maybe Josh didn’t speak for all of them after all, as halfway down the stairs, Fenno felt a hand on his elbow. It was Louis Tompros. Norina Edelman stood next to him. “Fenno, you don’t have the whole story,” Louis started, speaking quickly and in hushed tones. “Our Ames case, Morales v. Gallows, was just the byproduct of a much larger project, two years in the making.” Fenno became a little more interested. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll write that in for you.” Fenno turned back around to go.

“No, no, no, you don’t understand,” Norina sputtered. “The Ames competition was just an outgrowth of our initial conception of a language called ‘Amesish.’ It’s spoken by people called Amesh.”

“You mean ‘Amish,’” Fenno corrected her. “With the buggies.”

“No ‘Amesh,’” Norina returned.

“Is this conversation spoken or written?” Fenno asked.

“It’s of no importance,” Louis cut in. “To continue, we developed a whole language, which grew into a system of social connections; a constitution, government, political parties, a revenue-collection system; public primary and secondary schools; a state university system complete with honor codes, rules for tenure, financial aid, public grants; banking regulations; building codes; antidiscrimination laws. This housing case was inevitable. Ames is real.” Louis’s eyes lit up with a greenish glint. “Oh, and, and, you should read the follow-up we wrote for those interested in learning even more about the land of Ames: the Amesmarillion.”

“Of course, then you’ll want to read Unfinished Briefs,” Norina added. “It explains how the Amesh first came to Ames, but were thwarted by the Dark Lord and —”

“I get it, I get it,” Fenno said. “I’ll work that in. Thanks. I think I should leave now.”

Fleeing Gannett House, Fenno ran into the Austin basement en route to his locker. There at the iMacs was Gloves Girl and Bald Austin Basement Study Guy. They were wearing gloves and hairlessly studying in an awkwardly public location (HSAPL), respectively. They didn’t notice Fenno.

“I’m not too worried about finals,” Gloves Girl was saying. “I’m part Vulcan.”

“Really?” answered Bald Austin Basement Study Guy. “So am I.”

“That is optimal for exam preparation, to be Vulcan,” said Gloves Girl.

“I’m also part Romulan,” Study Guy added. Gloves Girl seemed to be intrigued by that.

“That might be suboptimal,” she said. “Who do you think would win in a fight between Worf and Commander Riker?”

“I’m not sure. That’s a really good question,” Study Guy replied, furrowing his brow meaningfully.

“Why do you study down here?” Gloves Girl asked.

“It gives me a sense of knowing that I’m studying while being seen studying by others, who clearly must appreciate the fact that it’s me, here, studying,” was Study Guy’s answer. Fenno moved on.

That night, Fenno crawled into bed and promptly slipped into a coma when —

“Hey Fenno, it’s Jonas.”

Fenno looked at his clock alarm.

“Jonas, it’s four in the morning,” Fenno said.

“Yeah, sorry, we had g
allon-of-milk-and-a-hogshead-of-cheese night at the Inn,” Jonas explained. “Holy dairy product overload.”

“I thought that was last night.”

“It’s every night.”

“Fine, what is it?” Fenno demanded.

“Listen, I just had this crazy idea I wanted to run by you.”

“Okay.” Fenno prepared to fall back asleep.

“I wanted to see if maybe you could write ‘Fenno’ next semester,” said Jonas. “The person who’s doing it now might not be able to do it next semester. Something about third-year pro bono requirement.”

“Jonas, there is no third-year pro bono requirement.”

“Then why do all the 3Ls keep offering to water my plants, do my laundry, walk my girlfriend home from school, and smiling at me and wishing me good luck?” Jonas asked.

“Because they’re bored to death, Jonas. They’re probably smiling at the person behind you. Maybe they’re just surprised to see you awake during the day, and wishing you luck curing your vampire kick. As for the girlfriend thing, you’ll just have to figure that one out on your own.” Fenno began counting to 100 to try to fall back to sleep.

“Well what to do you think about writing ‘Fenno’?” Jonas asked again. “I mean it makes perfect sense: You’re Fenno, and no one would ever think that Fenno was writing ‘Fenno.’ It would be too obvious. It’s brilliant.”

“Don’t you think that would be a little weird?” Fenno answered. “I mean, not just for The RECORD, but like, for my sanity.” Fenno tensed up a bit as he imagined the walls of his room closing in on him like an existential trash compactor.

“Jonas, I’m not Luke Skywalker or Chewbacca,” Fenno blurted.

“What?” Jonas rejoined.

“Sorry, I was starting to drift off,” Fenno said.


“Jonas, first of all, this conversation is really creepy. You’re starting to worry me. Fenno is not a real person. Second —”

“I know, I know, I just thought. . . Wait. Who is this?”

Fenno hung up.

The phone rang again.

“What?” Fenno yelled.

“Well, could you at least write the ‘Letters from Berkeley’ column?”

“That makes no sense.” Fenno hung up again, fell asleep, did not dream.

RECORD Editorial: HLS needs harassment policy alternatives


One week after the Harvard Business School administration threatened its student newspaper editor with sanctions over a “deeply hurtful” comment in a cartoon, the Law School is confronted with its own free speech conundrum.

The mission of the recently-formed Committee on Healthy Diversity is to improve the racial climate on campus and promote more positive interaction. So far, the Committee has taken some admirable steps, including the Diversity Festival and the “Difficult Conversations” workshops.

Criticism of the “Difficult Conversations” workshops, in national papers such as The Wall Street Journal, is wrongheaded. The workshops are not radical thought reprogramming, nor is their mission worthless. While critics say that the Law School should expect its students to speak and interact like adults, last year’s racial incidents clearly indicate that some students here need help.

However, the Committee’s proposed “racial harassment policy” will not further its mission. Such policies, historically, have been grossly ineffective, instead spurring inappropriate and disturbing prosecutions such as the infamous “water buffalo” incident at the University of Pennsylvania. Here at HLS, the result might be no different. As Dean Robert Clark himself has asked, is a harassment code worth that risk?

Prof. Martha Field argues that although the type of speech the code might prohibit could not be limited by the government, HLS should take steps to restrict speech that might be offensive and hurtful, especially if part of a larger pattern of harassment. Yet it seems that a professional school which, by its nature, trains its graduates to perform primarily outside of academia would not want to impose false constructs and standards that do not exist in “the real world.”

The BLSA leadership argues that the harassment policy is not a “speech code,” but instead a method of preventing larger patterns of discrimination. But what does the policy really prevent? If physical threats are at issue, ample rules are in place to deal with them. Even Field’s contemplated example – of a student following around another student shouting racial epithets – would run up against current regulations. An additional harassment policy, one which lacked the physical/action component of the sexual harassment guidelines, could only serve to restrict offensive types of speech, and would likely be infeasible as well.

While we deplore the behavior of the students involved in last spring’s controversy, freedom entails both the freedom to outrage and to be outraged. The mission of the Law School, rather than silencing disturbing or inappropriate speech, should be to subject that speech to light of truth. Truth is arrived at through discourse, through debate and through reason. Mechanical rules restricting speech cannot change the irrational and hurtful beliefs behind it.

The problem with community standards codes was made clear by the recent controversy at the Business School. There, a fuzzy rule designed to promote a “mutual respect” was used to silence a student newspaper. Thus far, proponents of a harassment policy at HLS have been unable to articulate any clear guidelines for delineating between harassment and speech – the same problem the Business School code has.

It seems unthinkable that HLS students would want to live under a harassment code regime that could punish them for even mild criticism of the administration. It is even more inconceivable that one of the groups advocating such a code has also been one of the administration’s most outspoken critics, going so far as to hold public demonstrations on the Law School campus.

Harvard Law School is already a rarified atmosphere, insulated from many of the troubles of the real world. Racial discrimination and bigotry are pernicious evils felt here and elsewhere. They will not be eradicated by keeping them in the dark. What Harvard Law School can do to fight racial harassment is to do what it does best: foster an environment open to the widest range of perspectives possible, where all speech – even inappropriate or offensive – can be heard.

Israel and Palestine: A narrative response


In last week’s RECORD, Donovan Rinker-Morris ignorantly reinforces the stereotype that Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip “intimidate and beat people.” Morris also equates Jews in the West Bank with White settlers who occupied Native American land. Perhaps after reading-up on his history, Rinker-Morris will realize that Jews lived in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza since at least the second century C.E., , before they were massacred and expelled by Palestinians in the pogroms of the 1840s, the Arab massacre of the Jewish community of Hebron in 1929, the Arab revolt of 1936-39, the Jewish massacres during the Holocaust (under the direction of the Palestinian leader and Hitler collaborator Haj Amin Al-Husseini), and the expulsion and extermination of the Jews from the West Bank and Gaza by invading Arab armies in 1948-1949.

If children returning to the homes of parents who were massacred and expelled are “settlers,” then that term should be glorified. As to Rinker-Morris’ contention that “settlers” intimidate and beat, perhaps this narrative by “settler” Moshe Saperstein will illuminate the reality of who the real murderers are and what the “settlers” deal with on a daily basis:

I had been hearing reports of attacks around the country. I had planned to drive to Ashkelon to do some shopping the following day, but the reports, combined with a bad case of cabin fever, put me on my high horse. I started declaiming on the “Zionist imperative” of getting in the car and going for a ride. Thus do the stupid get into trouble.

I got into the car, lit a cigar, turned the music up, and set off. My headlights picked up a car that seemed to have stopped at the side of the road. I thought this unusual, as no one stops on this road unless they are forced to. I slowed up as I approached the vehicle, intending to help.

Just as I drew abreast of it, I was hit by a burst from an AK-47. The shooter must have been hiding in dark on the other side of the road. Two bullets hit me in the hand and one in the leg.

My car rolled for a few yards and stopped. I looked at what remained of my hand. My palm had been blown away.

Unbeknownst to me, an army jeep with an officer and a driver was a few hundred yards behind. They raced to the scene, pulled up behind me and came out of their vehicle. They ran towards me. One of them said, “We’ll protect you.” There was a burst of gunfire and they both fell alongside my car. The shooter then appeared from the darkness.

He was wearing a Palestinian Police uniform. He walked up to the two soldiers laying on the ground. He paused to look at me. We stared at each other. He turned from me and proceeded to shoot each of the downed soldiers in the head.

He turned back to me. He was standing in front of my car, caught in my headlights. He held a hand grenade in one hand and his AK-47 in the other. With an elegance and nonchalance that would do credit to Saladin and his other forbearers, he flipped the hand grenade at me. It hit the roof of the car directly above my head, made a dull noise and rolled off the back of the car without exploding. He raised the AK-47 and aimed at me. Filled with fury and frustration, I pressed my good foot on the gas pedal. The car shot forward at him.

He was surprised but agile, and was able to move fast enough so that I did not get him dead center. I had merely given him a glancing blow, which knocked him off balance. He bounced off the guard rail, picked himself up and calmly walked to the side of the car. I suspect that I had succeeded in really pissing him off because what he should have done was to go back into the darkness and wait for his next victim. Instead, he stood in the roadway, exposed, determined to finish me off. He raised the AK-47 again.

He was apparently so intent on me that he hadn’t heard other jeeps driving up. A soldier had opened fire and wounded him. Another grenade he was carrying exploded on him, finishing him off. The soldier who wounded him was injured by the explosion. I am amazed that I, who was even closer than the soldier had been, received no further injury.

Four soldiers, in full battle dress, crouched near my car to protect me. Except for the excruciating pain in my leg, all I felt was embarrassment that these children were putting themselves on the line for me.

It wasn’t until a day or two later than I learned that the car at the side of the road contained the body of a beautiful 30-year-old mother of two.

Letters: Abortion, Stem Cells, and the GOP


Students argue for abortion refunds

As usual, we found Greg Lipper’s column both witty and thought-provoking (“Choose HLS, get mail-in rebate!” The RECORD, Nov. 14). We heartily agree with his call for increased charitable giving to the poor, and with his assessment of the abortion debate as implicating “core value judgments” that admit of no easy resolution.

However, we believe he does his side of that debate a disservice by suggesting that abortion is a positive gift or blessing to many fetuses, especially those who would be born into poverty and sorrow (“a suffering infant… just might have benefited” from being aborted). The abortion issue is difficult and divisive because it requires a balancing of competing incommensurable goods: the autonomy of a woman faced with a wrenching moral decision on one hand, and the intrinsic value of a new, unique, developing human organism on the other. By suggesting that the latter value is generally the more fundamental, we have no intention of denigrating or devaluing the former.

Greg’s suggestion that the being and life of young children in poverty is not intrinsically valuable, but is a positive evil to themselves and to others, strikes us as unnecessarily radical – analogous to the equally unconscionable argument that a woman’s freedom and dignity should be accorded no weight in abortion policy.

Like freedom and dignity, life is a fundamental value. The continued being and life of an infant, even one suffering in poverty, participates in the same goodness and beauty, the same freedom and dignity, as the lives of other human beings. We agree with Greg that poverty burdens this goodness and dignity, but we disagree that even the most extreme poverty can ever extinguish it.

Every group is free to petition the University to refund mandatory fees used for purposes it finds morally objectionable. One reason the Society for Law, Life and Religion’s petition has succeeded is that so many members of the University community share a deep discomfort with mandatory fee subsidies for elective abortions – as indicated by the increasingly enthusiastic responses to the abortion opt-out program every year.

– John Sauer, 2L

Terrific Tapas


Cambridge could use a little fun, don’t you agree? Enter Cuchi Cuchi. The restaurant is fun from beginning to end — its name is fun to say, its ambiance screams “fun,” its drinks are fun to sample, and its entrees are fun to share. Given that, in my humble opinion, maximizing your “fun quotient” (to steal a term from Professor Randall Kennedy) should be the ultimate goal of any first date, I particularly implore the dating-scene folks to keep this place in mind.

Cuchi Cuchi’s setting can be described as something akin to a 1940s garage sale for the well-to-do — sounds odd, but somehow the owners have managed to pull it off. Antique chandeliers of all varieties hang in the dining room, while splendid stained glass windows light the equally colorful selection of liquors behind Cuchi Cuchi’s forty-foot bar.

Speaking of the bar, despite its emphasis on fun, Cuchi Cuchi takes its cocktails very seriously. The cocktail menu is divided into “Signature Cocktails” (all $9), “Vintage Cocktails” (all $9) and “Bottoms Up” (original Cuchi shots, all $6). The vintage list consists of a handful of the old standbys (sidecar, rob roy, mai tai, etc.). The list is also educational (for those of you who just can’t get enough education), adding a little blurb of history next to each drink (For instance, did you know that the gimlet originated in the British Navy when troops combined rations of gin and lemon to curtail scurvy? Think about that the next time you order one of those).

The signature list is reason alone to drop by this place on a Saturday night (or on a Monday through Sunday night if you’re a 3L). All signatures are made with fresh herbs and fruit. That’s right: If, for example, you order the sour apple martini, the bartender literally stands in front of you and crushes green apples and ice into a big glass. This freshness combined with a touch of creativity makes for a wonderfully tasty drink menu.

My dinner companion (who proceeded to drink me under the table) and I made it our job to sample as many signatures as possible. The winner in the frozen drink category would have to be the “Getting Layered,” a tropical sensation of Brazilian rum and mango puree. If you are looking for a twist on the classic julep, try the “Cuchi Julep” — Toru Orange vodka blended with lime, mint leaves and orange slices. For the sweet tooth, I suggest the “Dirty Little Secret,” a successful blend of Godiva White Chocolate liqueur and Stoli Vanilla vodka. Cuchi Cuchi also has six variations on the standard martini, each using a different fresh fruit, the most curious (and yet pleasant) of which is the strawberry basil martini.

Much like its décor, Cuchi Cuchi’s entrees are boldly eclectic. The menu consists of a respectable selection of “international” tapas. Restaurants that endeavor to present a selection of foods from a variety of cultures are always taking a chance at screwing up royally (e.g., Lexington, Kentucky’s International Buffet 2000 — a complete nightmare). Nevertheless, Cuchi Cuchi holds its own. Making our way around the globe, my companion and I sampled six different tapas (the number our waiter suggested, which seemed to be just enough to fill us up). Some of the more notable items included the mussels Thessalonica (a satisfying bowl of Prince Edward Island mussels bathed in a roasted red pepper and white wine sauce, $8), the Norwegian grilled salmon with red and white horseradish sauce (I’ve had better salmon, but the interaction of the red and white sauces was interesting, $8), the Brazilian pork braised in bacon and served with crimson lentil salad ($8), and the peculiar and yet delicious tuna carpaccio and salmon tartare (resting atop a colorful blend of couscous, banana and watermelon, $8).

Leaving (a little) room for dessert, I took a stab at the cornucopia pizzelle cone filled w/ fresh fruit, fruit kissel and whipped cream ($7), which proves a tangy treat for those who don’t get their fill of fresh fruit off of the martini menu. More rewarding were the homemade truffles ($7.50), consisting of champagne, orange, jasmine and rich dark chocolate varieties. I managed to wash all of this down with a “Bottoms Up” shot of “Mènage a Trois,” a smooth and creamy combination of Stoli Vanilla vodka, crème de cacao and Godiva Dark Chocolate.

Whether you are in the mood for a few drinks that are a cut above the typical Cambridge concoctions, need a place to celebrate someone’s birthday, or are looking to show your date a fun time, give Cuchi Cuchi a shot. Besides, where else in Cambridge can you experience a “Brazilian Wax,” “Menage a Trois,” and a “Dirty Little Secret” under thirty dollars?


Getting there:

Cuchi Cuchi

795 Main Street


5:30PM-11PM (Bar until 12:30)

Advocates for Education revived


Brooke Abola (L) and Brooke Richie (R).

Only a few years ago, Harvard Law School students interested in educational issues in the law had almost nowhere to go. No specific outreach program provided students with an opportunity to work in related educational community activities, and few classes were dedicated to law and education. But when 2L Brooke Richie (who did a joint degree at the Kennedy School) and 3L Brooke Abola arrived in 2000, the problem started to be solved.

“I got here and realized there were no outreach programs that combined education, law and policy,” Richie commented. “Over the course of our 1L year, [Abola] and I started to talk about forming a group that could dedicate itself to education issues, bring interested people together, and work to get classes that focus on education, law and policy.”

The result of their vision was a restructured and revitalized Advocates for Education, a then-defunct group which now boasts 60 members. The group’s primary mission is to become a nucleus of education and law information, especially as it relates to internships, speaker events and community outreach programs.

“Many people feel like when they get here, because they don’t have a channel to pursue educational issues, they may have to put those interests on hold,” Richie observed. “We want to provide students with the resources so they feel like they have options,” she stated.

Additionally, both students said they hope to use the organization to provide legal services to educational institutions. Among the current possibilities is a clinical program that would allow students to serve as educational advocates in administrative hearings.

Members of Advocates for Education also put together an annual symposium on educational issues. Last year’s seminar, “Children on the Fringes,” examined how the traditional functions of education were inadequate for the needs of homeless and foster children, as well as those in juvenile detention. Participants in the symposium discussed how traditional educators, since they assume that children have both a home and at least one parent, construct a system whereby students can best function only when those criteria are met.

Participants also looked at how children in juvenile detention are oftentimes placed in holding while the Department of Youth Services (DYS) waits for beds to become available.

“While they are either in holding or in DYS,” Abola said, “these children do not get an equivalent educational experience.”

This year’s symposium, which is tentatively scheduled for April, will focus on the “No Child Left Behind” legislation signed by President Bush last January. “We aim to focus on the way the legislation fails to deal with children with special needs, as well as the reasonableness of teacher qualifications,” Richie said.

Although both students stressed that Advocates for Education is a non-partisan group, it does have an interest in providing information on educational issues during elections. This year’s critical issue was Proposition 2, a ballot initiative in Massachusetts designed to immerse non-native speakers of English in English-only programs.

“Our goal was to raise awareness of the issue, not take a stand either way,” Abola said. However, Abola added that based on her teaching experience in Oakland, CA, after a similar proposition was passed, little changed because parents had the choice to opt out of the program.

Both students also praised the work of Prof. Martha Minow, who is serving as faculty advisor for the organization.

“I have great hopes that the group will simultaneously help to meet a real need among elementary and secondary school students for advocacy and a real chance for law students to gain experience and even potentially meet the pro bono requirement,” Minow said of the group.

A different kind of choice


Why does real choice so often annoy pro-choicers? It is always interesting to witness the reactions on campus to the Society for Law, Life and Religion’s annual rebate program of health service fees that fund elective abortions. The Harkbox drive usually sparks a series of angry editorials and offensive emails, and last year even motivated some students to steal the completed rebate forms.

This year, the irritation has surfaced in last week’s opinion column by Greg Lipper, who expends several hundred words mocking the rebate program and the intentions of those who organize it.

Lipper’s first attack is easily refuted. He argues that pro-lifers are hypocritical because, if they were really concerned with saving lives, they would drop out of school and use their tuition money for “feeding starving orphans.” The rebate campaign, he maintains, is thus a dishonest attempt at ‘feel-good’ social activism by students who have actually embraced selfish materialism along with everyone else. Indeed, Lipper seems to take pride in his tolerance of unethical “resource allocation” as a courageous recognition of “life’s complexities.”

Lipper’s objection could be applied to almost any social action at HLS. By his logic, if the students at HL Central really cared about poor families, they would not limit themselves to a Thanksgiving turkey drive but would drop out of school and donate their tuition money to Boston’s struggling families. The absurdity of is readily apparent.

While one way of helping the poor is certainly to sell all belongings and work in a shelter, there are many other ways to pursue social justice. One of these is to become a lawyer, judge or politician who can exert influence on the future shape of our society. This is surely the hope of many of the participants in SLLR’s rebate program, who remain convinced that their voices matter, and who are dedicated enough to certain values and ideals that they take the time to engage even in a symbolic expression of their beliefs to the administration.

Yet Lipper also raises a serious question on which reasonable people can disagree. Should students be able to opt out of funding decisions made by the administration? After all, such a policy could lead to an untenable “cafeteria” tuition plan where nit-picky individual choices could paralyze effective governance.

The issue reminds me of cases where students have claimed a First Amendment right to prevent their public school tuition payments from funding student groups with which they disagree. Two years ago, the Supreme Court held in Board of Regents v. Southworth that a public university may in fact use mandatory student fees to fund such groups, as long as the funds are disbursed in a viewpoint neutral manner — that is, if the university funds all groups that comply with certain objective criteria.

If public schools can use our funds to support causes we dislike, then private schools can certainly do so. As a private institution, Harvard has no obligation to be viewpoint neutral in funding student groups or health services, and it could refuse to give SLLR participants their tiny symbolic refund of health service fees. Yale did exactly that last year, when it extended prescription coverage to the “abortion pill” RU-846, and refused a refund to Yale students for the portion of their mandatory health service fees used to cover the drug.

I am sympathetic to the “parade of horrors” argument that if we allow a refund for abortion funding, then we will have to allow a refund for every quirky belief. However, I disagree. Abortion funding is unlike most other issues on which students may have diverse opinions, because few other practices so immediately involve students in what they may believe to be outright, cold murder.

What other issue could cause the astonishing range of negative emotions that some people seem to experience at receiving one sheet of paper in their Harkboxes which they can simply throw away? Abortion is an issue that many people prefer not to think about, and their comfortable escapism is momentarily pierced when they see the word “abortion” next to the picture of a cute baby. For some students, the paper is also surely the reminder of a very unfortunate and painful personal choice.

Thus, Lipper would doubtless be happier if the university refused to even acknowledge through a refund program that abortion may be considered an unparalleled horror by some of his classmates. Yet I for one am glad to belong to a university that does not require me violate my most deeply held moral beliefs.

Lipper’s column may be found at: