Graduate housing plan supported
By Linda D'Angelo
A plan which, if implemented, would guarantee one year of Institute housing to over 50 percent of incoming graduate students was approved by a 29-3 vote at the Graduate Student Council meeting last Tuesday. Proposed by the GSC Housing and Community Affairs Committee, the plan has since been submitted to the Office of Housing and Food Services.
There are currently 5229 graduate students enrolled at MIT, 1348 of them in their first year, yet only 1276 spaces are available to house them. Of the 54.4 per
cent of first-year graduate students who applied for housing this year, 22.9 were assigned a space.
Under the GSC plan the percentage of first-year graduate students to receive housing would rise to 58, according to the GSC Housing and Community Affairs Committee Chair Julia J. Vail G. To achieve this increase, 185 of the 190 spaces in the Albany Street graduate dormitory (now under construction) would be reserved for first-year graduate students. And quotas for first-year spaces in the remaining graduate residences would also be set: 45 percent of Ashdown, Green Hall and Tang and 50 percent of Eastgate and Westgate.
Aside from these quotas, each dormitory would be encouraged to submit a plan for the allocation of its remaining house spots to the Housing Office. This would allow the dormitories a voice in the way that the majority of their space would be allocated each year.
Should a dormitory fail to submit an acceptable plan to the Housing Office, or simply chose not to submit one, then its spaces would be allotted according to a default plan. Under this plan,
one year non-renewable leases would be allotted to first-year graduates through lottery until the quotas (set by the GSC plan) were filled. The remaining spaces would then be distributed on the basis of tenure.
Since each house would in effect control its non-first year spaces, it would be free to grant
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those spaces to students who had been first-year students in the previous year. Thus, graduate dormitories would be free to recognize de facto tenure, Vail noted.
Through the quotas, the committee hoped to establish a framework which would ensure a high percentage of first-year spaces, while still allowing for flexibility within the the dormitories themselves, Vail said. "Each house has a different character, and functions in a different way," she explained. The GSC respected these differences and thus was "able to balance the needs of" both first-year and continuing graduate students, she stated.
The GSC plan has "clear broad base support in the graduate community," Vail said. Members of the administration, such as Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey and Dean of the Graduate School Frank E. Perkins '55, also "basically support the plan," she said. Perkins, however has expressed reservations about reserving the Albany Street dormitory entirely for first-year graduate students, Vail added.
Proposed by the Housing Office, the 50/50 Plan is another option to the current graduate housing system. Under this plan lines would be drawn "right down the middle" of the dormitories, according to Vail. Fifty percent of spaces would be allotted to first-year graduate students through lottery, with a one year non-renewable lease. And the other half of the available graduate housing spaces would also be distributed by lottery, but with renewable leases.
The two plans differ in the amount of space they would provide if implemented, Vail said. The GSC plan would provide spaces for approximately 58 percent of first-year graduates, as compared to the 54 percent which the 50/50 Plan would house; the difference is 52 spaces. In short, the GSC housing plan "would ultimately house more first-year grads and that is a plus over the 50/50 plan," she concluded.
But Vail was quick to point out that the GSC plan is only a "temporary solution" to the lack of available housing for graduate students. "A firm commitment needs to be made at all levels of the administration" because the only real solution is to create "more graduate housing," she explained.