The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 49.0°F | Fair

Gray calls for smaller class

President Paul E. Gray '54 said yesterday he will ask the Academic Council to reduce the size of next year's incoming class to alleviate dormitory crowding.

"We're not going to have this [level of crowding] again," Gray said. About 500 students are crowded this fall, including upperclassmen in some Institute Houses. The crowding affected 195 dormitory rooms.

Gray said he would not raise tuition to maintain a constant tuition revenue level with a smaller class. The "perturbation" in class size would have only a "second order effect" on the amount of tuition revenue, he added.

Associate Dean for Student Affairs Robert A. Sherwood reacted to Gray's decision to recommend class reduction with "surprise and delight." He had suggested last week that the Institute may no longer be able to guarantee eight terms of on-campus housing to undergraduates unless class size is reduced.

Removing the eight-term guarantee "doesn't sound to me like a very attractive solution" because it would be unfair to students, Gray said. He could not say whether the housing guarantee will remain because the Academic Council has not yet discussed the problem.

Gray said reducing the class size is a more acceptable way to approach the problem of crowding. But he did not know how much smaller the next incoming class will be.

The Academic Council will examine the number of spaces expected to be available in Institute housing next fall, Gray said. The council will decide on the class size in December, January or February.

Gray will also ask the Admissions Office to insure that the incoming class does not exceed its targeted size. The Admissions Office must treat the target as a "ceiling," he said.

"I'm not eager to reduce the class size," Gray said, because a smaller class would mean "more unhappy people who wanted [to go to MIT] and couldn't."