Grad housing policy discourages involvement
By Dave Watt
One year after its implementation, the new policy for housing graduate students in on-campus dormitories and apartments has gotten mixed reviews from graduate student leaders.
Many said that incoming graduate students with non-renewable leases are not as willing to get involved in organizing social activities in Tang Hall or Ashdown House. However, the Housing Office pays graduate coordinators in Tang Hall and Edgerton House to keep the house social life going in those houses.
It has been MIT's stated policy to try to house every incoming graduate student who requests it since last May's announcement by Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56. The Housing Office has done this by offering incoming first-year graduate students non-renewable one-year leases for Institute housing, and by holding a lottery to dole out a small number of renewable leases every year.
The new policy has made it difficult to recruit new graduate students for house officer positions in Ashdown, according to Gregory D. Troxel G, the chairman
the chairman of the Ashdown House Executive Committee. Ashdown usually has between 25 and 30 house officers to serve about 420 residents, and historically about half have been first-year students, according to Troxel.
But this year, less than half a dozen first-year students took officer positions, Troxel said. "So few first-years applying made it difficult to fill all of our positions," Troxel said.
Ashdown currently has over 60 vacancies, according to Troxel. He blames these vacancies on the new housing policy as well. According to Troxel, for students staying only one year, Ashdown is much less attractive than other on-campus housing options.
Graduate coordinators paid
in Tang Hall, Edgerton
The Housing Office has increased student involvement at Tang Hall by paying students or offering them other incentives to encourage them to organize house activities. "I'm paid about $100 per week," said Tang Hall graduate coordinator Gautam Nayar G, who recently resigned as Tang Hall Residents' Association (THRA) president.
Also, students who volunteer to work on the THRA will be offered leases for another year at Tang, according to Nayar. "People don't like to contribute unless they see something in it for them," Nayar said. "[People in Tang] are friendly, but there's not much interaction. We hope to correct that," he added.
Edgerton House, which opened last July, has also hired two graduate coordinators, Robert D. Kiss G and Linda D. Kiss G. Edgerton House has formed a house government without the incentives that Tang Hall has, according to Robert Kiss, and several first-year students have gotten involved, he said.
Little has changed
for married students
Little seems to have changed in married students' housing, where students have traditionally kept to themselves. In fact, none of the house officers interviewed for this article could name any official representatives of either Eastgate or Westgate, where married students live.
Even though the lottery for renewable leases was held in early March, the Housing Office still has no estimate on how many renewable leases will be offered, according to Linda L. Patton in the Housing Office. She said that people who are applying for renewable leases will be informed by mid-April of their chances of getting a place.