Freshmen can choose Chocolate CIty
By Irene C. Kuo
Freshmen may now designate "Chocolate City," currently an all black, all male section of New House 1, on their housing preference cards. In the past, students interested in living on these three floors first had to select New House, then choose Chocolate City during the dormitory's internal rush.
This plan equalizes the rush procedures of Chocolate City and the language houses at New House. "It allows those who really want to live in Chocolate City the chance to do so," said Chocolate City co-chair Robert Dodd '90.
Chocolate City residents met with Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey to request a change in this procedure last spring, after which they submitted a formal proposal to him.
While this year's housing preference cards could not be changed, Tewhey said that next year's cards will list Chocolate City separately.
Group offers "cultural support"
"We are not separatists," Dodd stressed. "Our residents participate in a wide range of campus activities; they are members of Number Six [Delta Psi] and black fraternities."
"Right now, all residents are black, and thus our goal is to provide a cultural support group for them, but you don't have to be a minority member to live here," Dodd added. "If a white or Asian student joined, we would expect them to participate in our activities," which include functions with other schools in the area. Dodd said no non-minority person has lived in Chocolate City in the past three years.
The 1986 Racial Climate Report revealed three quarters of those who lived in predominantly white living-group settings described their experiences as generally negative or mixed. It found that students who lived in predominately black living groups were "unanimously positive" about their experiences there.
"Ninety percent of our residents are from urban areas where `minorities' are not all that small," Dodd explained. "But at MIT they do form a small population."
"Black students in Chocolate City had a more comfortable experience at MIT," Tewhey concurred. "Living in that kind of environment was helpful."
Chocolate City will continue to have space for 28 residents.