Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Private Universities Must Recognize Graduate-Student Unions


Graduate students at private universities have the right to form labor unions, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in a 3-1 decision Tuesday. The ruling means that Harvard and other private universities where students have called for a labor union may have to engage in collective bargaining over pay and benefits with graduate students.

Harvard Magazine Celebrates 20 Years Online


Happy New (Academic) Year


The drought that fastened its grip on eastern Massachusetts during this hot summer may not be abating, but the calendar moves inevitably forward—toward the resumption of academic activity in a new school year.

The Purpose of Harvard Law School


This past year, Harvard Law School (HLS) experienced an intensely public moral crisis. After the portraits of African-American professors were found defaced in Wasserstein Hall, a racial justice movement calling itself Reclaim Harvard Law School formed in November. Even before, students had been calling on the administration to abandon the school’s shield, modeled after the crest of the slaveholding family that had endowed its first professorship. Reclaim’s advocacy helped that movement gain public legitimacy, and HLS dropped the shield a few months later.

The Human Side of Cancer Treatment


Editor’s note: Lisa Cox, who now lives in Salt Lake City, underwent cancer treatment at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in last year. The former Harvard Business School staff member wrote this personal piece about her oncology nurse, and the human side of cancer treatment, as a capstone for her master’s in journalism from the Harvard Extension School.

John Stilgoe on “Acute Observation”


On a Tuesday in late July, as the last few students filter in from the evening swelter to a basement classroom in the Carpenter Center, John Stilgoe, the Orchard professor in the history of landscape—and as unique a figure as there is on the Harvard faculty—begins his lecture with a digression.  

It’s the fifth week of a seven-week summer session, and the class is called “Scrutinizing the American Environment: The Art, Craft, and Serendipity of Acute Observation.”  

George Daley Appointed Harvard Medical Dean


Pioneering stem-cell scientist George Q. Daley has been appointed dean of Harvard Medical School (HMS), effective January 1, 2017. He succeeds Jeffrey S. Flier, who concluded nine years of service on July 31; Watts professor of health care policy and professor of radiology Barbara J. McNeil is serving as acting dean.

Pranks in Pusey Library


Visitors to Pusey Library this summer have been greeted by a large cardboard cutout of a cow—part of an exhibit celebrating The Harvard Lampoon and the role it has played in Harvard’s comedic history. The exhibition, “Remorseless Irony and Sarcastic Pens: The Story of the Harvard Lampoon,” showcases photographs, drawings and other artifacts collected over the course of the Lampoon’s 140 years.

China's Great Flood May Be No Myth


One of the oldest foundational stories in Chinese mythology recalls the Great Flood: a massive cataclysm in the upper Yellow River valley that persisted for decades. Early historical texts describe “endless”  water washing over hilltops and rising to the heavens. Survivors left their homes to seek shelter in the high mountains. Finally, a legendary hero, Yu the Great, tamed the flood by dredging channels to drain it away.


A Literary Chameleon

Colson Whitehead ’91 plays for higher stakes in his new novel.

September-October 2016

Colson Whitehead ’91 has written a zombie-apocalypse novel, a coming-of-age novel set in the world of the black elite, a satiric allegory following a nomenclature consultant, a sprawling epic tracing the legend of the African American folk hero John Henry, a suite of lyrical essays in honor of New York City, and an account of drear and self-loathing in Las Vegas while losing $10,000 at the World Poker Series. That work has won him critical acclaim.