J-Term Rules Bar Guests, Parties


Students authorized to stay on campus during the upcoming three-week January term will not be allowed to hold parties or host guests—including fellow Harvard students not among the 1,316 cleared to stay—according to an statement e-mailed to The Crimson yesterday by Interim Director of Advising Programs Inge-Lise Ameer.

The rules, which have not yet been officially released to students, come in addition to the normal expectations for student conduct as outlined in the student handbook, Ameer wrote in the statement.

“We hope that these guidelines will help facilitate a productive January for those students who will be on campus,” Ameer wrote.

According to Lowell House Master Diana L. Eck, the rules stem from the fact that the January “J-Term” is technically a break from school during which students are privileged to stay on campus.


Students who are on campus have been granted access “by virtue of special petition,” she said. “[It is] considered to be a time to be working.”

In addition, there will be a reduced number of resident tutors on campus to supervise students, Eck said.

“We do not have our normal resources in place, so there will be zero tolerance for parties, guests, or unapproved students being here,” wrote Adams Allston Burr Resident Dean Sharon L. Howell in an e-mail about J-term to Adams residents yesterday evening. “Students who do not uphold expectations related to conduct will be asked to leave, and may lose the privilege of having Winter Break housing in the future.”

Ameer said she plans to notify students staying over J-Term of these additional rules by e-mail next week.

The three-week January term represents a new provision under the altered academic calendar which then-interim University President Derek C. Bok approved in 2007, and which was instituted this year. While the College initially planned to provide programming during the January period, budgetary concerns precluded that option, leading administrators to instead institute an application process to approve athletes, researchers, and thesis writers needing to stay on campus over the break.

Some students have expressed consternation about the rules for those staying on campus, which they say signal unnecessarily harsh precautions. Caitlin J. Rowland ’12, who will stay on campus to train with the women’s basketball team, said she first heard of the rules from her teammates on Wednesday.

“I’m frustrated with the fact that they’re trying to make it so difficult for family members to stay,” said Rowland, who added that many teammates had originally planned to host relatives during J-Term.  She was also disappointed about the restrictions on social life.

“[They are] trying to make it more difficult for us to have parties in the dorms,” said Rowland. “I think that’s a really big inconvenience.”

Jeremy L. Hsu ’11, who will continue his science research over J-Term, acknowledged the problem of having less tutor supervision during the break, but still felt the restrictions were excessive.

“If they trust us enough to be here, they should let students be able to have fun responsibly,” Hsu said.

“It definitely hurts the credibility of the [College’s] commitment to extend full student privileges to people who want to stay during J-Term,” said Vikas Lonakadi ’10, who is staying to work on his economics senior thesis.

Other students were less concerned about the College’s decision. “To be honest, I don’t see what the big deal is,” said Maxim M. Kenyi ’12, who will be on campus with the men’s basketball team.

“While I’m personally disappointed that J-Term will not be one long extended orgy for the 1,316 students staying in Harvard housing over J-Term, I think it’s reasonable for Harvard to prioritize safety during its J-Term,” wrote Undergraduate Council President Johnny F. Bowman ’11. He added that the UC will work to advocate in favor of reduced restrictions for future J-Terms.

During J-Term, only students authorized to be on campus will have access to Houses, dorms, Annenberg dining hall, and gyms. University Health Services and libraries will remain open during their normal hours, and shuttle schedules will maintain their term-time schedules.

—Staff writer Melody Y. Hu can be reached at

—Staff writer Xi Yu can be reached at


An earlier version of the Dec. 18 news article "J-Term Rules Bar Guests, Parties" incorrectly stated that Inge-Lise Ameer is the Interim Dean of Advising Programs. In fact, Ameer is the Interim Director of Advising Programs.


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