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UA begins survey on housing

By Reuven M. Lerner

With the debate over undergraduate housing scheduled to begin at Thursday night's Undergraduate Association Council meeting, the UA has begun a door-to-door survey to determine students' attitudes toward the current housing system.

The survey, which was sent to ILG presidents and dormitory rep resentatives last week, asks students if they agree or disagree with many of the points made by the Freshman Housing Committee in their two-year-old report.

UA President Stacy E. McGeever '93 said in an interview last night that preliminary survey results would be presented at the next UAC meeting, when the UA will discuss undergraduate housing. "I would like to be able to state the results of the survey [on Thursday night] if there is enough there to be considered valid," she said.

Vijay P. Sankaran '95, a member of the UA housing committee, said that the purpose of the survey is to "find out what the student body feels about the report. We want to know how many people want to change the system."

McGeever said the survey would help focus discussion on issues that concerned students the most. "The results, when they are in, will show quantitatively what students perceive, off the cuff, to be problems with the housing system," she said.

Many ILGs are finished

Many ILGs had already conducted the survey or were planning to do it as of last night, McGeever said. UA Vice President J. Paul Kirby '92 felt there would be "near 100 percent" participation from the ILGs, in part because fewer people live in each house, making it easier for a single person to poll all the residents. He said weekly house meetings also improved the chances for interaction between those giving the survey and other students.

Despite the success in surveying ILG residents, polls in the dormitories seem to be going slowly. Sankaran, who is in charge of polling Burton House and MacGregor House, said he had not begun to survey students, in part due to heavy coursework, but that he would have results ready for the Thursday night meeting.

Sankaran would not say whether his sample would be representative, but said that "we want to get as large a sample as possible." One of the students responsible for Baker House said that polling had not begun in that dormitory, either.

McGeever said it was more important for the UA to have representative data than for all the data to be in by Thursday night. The UA is not "requiring surveys to be back by any date, but are keeping in touch" with the people administering them, she said.

She added that "the intent was not to get them by Thursday, although that would be nice. The point was just to get them."

The UA decided to use a door-to-door poll, rather than have students fill out forms left in their mailboxes, because of the personal feeling that such a survey conveys. In addition, they said, having a person administer the questions meant students could ask for the pollsters to clarify unclear issues or questions.

Among the recommendations made in the FHC report were that all freshmen live on campus and rush be postponed until the spring term. The committee cited lack of diversity among living groups and a stressful housing selection process as reasons for these recommendations.