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Don't change the housing system

Don't change the housing system

The MIT housing system has for years held the distinction of treating incoming and continuing students as adults with the capacity to make their own decisions. In addition, MIT housing provides the unique supportive environment necessary for students in the rigorous world of the Institute. The Tech strongly favors the current system, and urges both students and administrators to work toward maintaining and improving the existing housing process.

The largest threat to the current system is the Freshman Housing Committee's report, issued two years ago. The report said, among other things, that all freshmen should be assigned to dormitories. The Tech believes that this would be a step in the wrong direction. Freshmen are indeed capable of making their own housing decisions. While Residence/Orientation Week may not be the ideal system for choosing a living group, individual choice is vastly superior to random assignment.

Continuing students benefit from the fact that Institute houses, like ILG's, have distinct personalities. A strong identity and in-house government allow students to participate in the decision-making process where it affects them most directly -- in their own living groups.

Under the current system, new graduate resident tutors are approved by the residents of the floor or entry where they would live. The residents are provided with a list of approved candidates, and can decide among themselves who will become their tutor. Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities James R. Tewhey recently told a meeting of house tutors that he is attempting to move toward a system in which the dean's office would select and assign tutors to each floor or entry. Taking this power away from the students would change the role of the tutor from one of being a friend who can give advice to one of a perceived plant from the dean's office.

Breaking down this power of choice would ultimately destroy much of the individual personality of the Institute houses. The distinctions between the dormitories provide an opportunity for students to choose an environment in which they feel most comfortable. The support available in one's living group is often the best, because it exists in an environment the student can choose as opposed to an Institute-selected advising system. The unique pressures and hazards associated with being an MIT undergraduate require this unique and supportive housing system, starting during the freshman year.