College Defines J-Term Plans

Thesis writers, students working in labs, international students, and members of 19 varsity sports teams—including the men’s and women’s basketball and swimming teams—will be the primary categories of students that will be allowed to remain on campus during this upcoming January Term, according to Interim Dean of Advising Programs Inge-Lise Ameer.

Students with other needs to be on campus, such as those working in the homeless shelter, will also be strongly considered during the application process.

The number of students allowed to stay on campus will not exceed 1,000, which is the amount that can be fed in Annenberg, the only dining hall that will be open during the break.

But Ameer said she did not expect that more than 1,000 students would meet the criteria to stay on campus.

Students will receive an e-mail from Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds in the next few weeks with a link to an application to stay on campus during J-Term. Any student can apply to stay over the break, and the form will be due by October 15, Ameer said.

According to an e-mail sent to students this past April by Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds, the application was originally scheduled to be made public in May.

Ameer said that the committee ultimately decided that it was unnecessary to put out the form in the spring and that it would be best to delay the release until the fall.

William R. Rose ’11, one of the students on the committee, said he hoped that the form would be out as soon as possible.

“I think the more time we can give people to deal with it, the better that’s going to be,” he said.

Decisions will be made on a rolling basis, but Ameer said that students’ likelihood of approval will not increase based on when during that period they submit their application.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee made up of Ameer, representatives from the Office of Student Life, the Freshman Dean’s Office, the Athletics Department, the Facilities Maintenance Office, and three students—two members of the Undergraduate Council and one Peer Advising Fellow.

Though Harvard will not be offering any official programming during the January break, the Office of International Programs, Office of Career Services, Office of the Arts, Center for Public Interest Careers, and Philip Brooks House Association will be available to assist those not allowed to stay on campus with finding internships, travel abroad opportunities, or other activities for the break.

“Personally it is so cold here in January that I would recommend going to a nice warm climate and getting some rest,” Ameer said.

While the house dining halls will be closed, all the houses will remain open and students will stay in their own rooms. The houses and dorms will have tutors and proctors on call, UHS and the libraries will remain open, and approved students will have swipe access for the period they are authorized to be on campus.

Ameer said she did not yet know if the shuttles will continue to run during January.

This is the first academic year that the College faces an extended break between fall and spring semesters. Interim University President Derek Bok created the month long gap when he approved a new University calendar that moved final exams to before the winter recess.

This year, the official J-Term runs from Jan. 4 to Jan. 24, according to FAS registrar’s office Web site. Winter recess begins Dec. 22 this year.

While University-wide calendar reform was being considered, the idea of having academic programming—similar to that offered at MIT or Williams—was suggested by the calendar reform committee. After the revised calendar was adopted, ideas for programming were discussed, but with the University facing rising financial hardship last fall, it became clear that official college programming would be off the table.

After it began to seem unlikely that programming would be offered during the 2009-2010 academic year, some student groups, such as the Institute of Politics, considered developing their own programming. However, Rose said he sees little chance of groups such as this receiving approval to stay on campus this year.

“I’d still love to make that happen but I think it’s pretty unlikely at this point,” said Rose.

However groups with an expressed need to stay on campus—such as the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, which generally holds practices for its spring show during January—are likely to have their applications approved, Ameer said.

Rose said the committee has not had much control over who will be allowed to stay.

“The committee has had somewhat limit jurisdiction,” he said. “We have been implementing rules that have been given by higher up jurisdiction.”

—Staff writer Lauren D. Kiel can be reached at

—Staff writer Eric P. Newcomer can be reached at


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