Antico seeks student input
By Linda D'Angelo
The creation of a freshman evaluation committee is now in the works, according to Undergraduate Association President Paul Antico '91. The move is one of many that will be undertaken by the UA this year in order to increase student involvement and "pull the UA back on it's feet," Antico explained.
The committee was suggested in reaction to last year's UA educational reform committee, which focused on reform of the freshman pass/fail system, but consisted mainly of upperclassmen who had lost touch with the first year experience, Antico said. Aside from one upperclass advisor, the freshman evaluation committee will consist entirely of freshmen.
The main point of the committee will be to get freshmen thinking and writing about issues, possibly through interviews or logs kept throughout the first year, Antico said. He saw this new freshman committee as an important source of information, as well as an opportunity for freshmen to "take the bull by the horns and get actively involved."
Antico also plans to renew the practice of holding UA meetings in the different dormitories and independent living groups, a practice first established by 1987 UA President Manuel Rodriguez '89, in an effort to increase the number of students attending the meetings. Last year meetings were held in the Student Center and, sometimes, attendance fell below the required thirteen. Antico saw a connection between the "cliquish" atmosphere of these meetings and the UA's difficulty "in meeting quorum."
Getting students more directly involved in the search for MIT's next president is also a goal of the UA, Antico said. The main vehicle for this student input will be a UA report, which will focus on the qualities necessary in the new president and the issues he will have to address rather than on the actual person to be chosen.
An effort to make the UA Financial Board "more accountable" to students is also among this years UA goals, Antico said. Researching student opinion through surveys or expanding the Financial Board to include a few elected positions are among the suggested reforms designed to "give students more say," he added.
The policies and procedures of the Financial Board will also be reviewed by a new investigation committee, Antico stated. In addition to students, independently-funded activities will be encouraged to participate in the committee, "pointing out the problems as they see them."
Student housing will also be a "big issue," Antico said. The Ad Hoc Institute Committee on Housing, established to "look into the current housing system and come up with an alternative plan," is due to release its report soon, he noted. Antico is anxious to see if this report has incorporated the suggestions made in the UA Housing Committee report issued last year. He has also met with Provost John M. Deutch '61 to discuss the "next steps" in the housing reform process, Antico said.
In addition, "this is the year" that decisions will be made about the campus food service, Antico said. ARA, the catering company currently contracted by MIT, is under investigation "based on an incredible number of [student] complaints," he explained. And although ARA has made "some improvements ... they need to show us something this year" or their contract may not be renewed, he added.