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Referenda will assess opinion on presidential search, R/O week

By Brian Rosenberg

Three referenda approved by the Undergraduate Association Council will appear on the UA election ballots on March 14. The referenda deal with student involvement in the presidential search and possible ill effects of flushing during Residence/Orientation Week.

The first question asks, "Do you believe that the committees responsible for choosing the next president of MIT were too secretive about the process and candidates?" The second reads, "Do you believe that students should have had more control over the search for the next president of MIT?"

Stacy A. Segal '90, who introduced the referenda to the UA Council, said, "A lot of students have felt that they haven't been involved at all [in the search process]. Right now, there's no way for students to actually participate in the decision. Students are afraid that the next president won't care about student issues."

Seth A. Gordon '91, who authored the presidential search questions, said "I wrote them [the referenda] out of concern that students don't have even minimal control over the search process. The student body generally has input into administrative decisions, but without a reliable idea of who the candidates are or what criteria the search committees use, giving input is like throwing your ideas into a black hole."

"It's important to know if people are concerned about the search," said Gordon. "I hope that the next time the administration makes a major decision, they bring students into the process more."

The third question asks, "To what extent, if any, did `flushing' have a negative impact on you during your R/O Week?" Responses will be on a scale of one to five, rated from "no impact" to "severe trauma." UA President Paul L. Antico '91 commented, "We basically want to see to what extent people's flames [about rush] are true. It's also information that the Student Housing Working Group needs."

Segal, who chairs the working group, related the third question to concerns raised by the Freshman Housing Committee last fall. "We want to see if there really is a flushing problem, or whether it's a faculty illusion. Even if a very small minority is being hurt, it still needs to be dealt with."