Forum on FHC plan generates student praise
By Reuven M. Lerner
Participants in last night's Undergraduate Association Council meeting agreed that the discussion about student housing had been productive, and predicted that there would be similar meetings in the future.
Associate Provost for Educational Programs and Policy Samuel J. Keyser called the three-and-a-half-hour meeting "wonderful," and added that he was extremely impressed that "everybody treated the issues extremely seriously."
Keyser joined Dean for Student Affairs Arthur C. Smith and Director of Planning Ovadia R. Simha SM '57 in answering students' questions and comments about the two-year-old report of the Freshman Housing Committee. The report made a number of recommendations concerning the current residence selection process, the most controversial of which would require all freshmen to live in dormitories. Rush, according to the report's recommendations, would be postponed until the spring term of freshman year.
Students agreed that the meeting was worthwhile, although several complained that it was too long. The meeting gave students "the chance to make some opinions about the FHC proposal, the housing system in general," said John S. Tan '93.
While disagreeing with the report's findings, Samuel T. Nadler '94 felt it was important to discuss important issues such as housing. "It's good to rock the boat, because then you know how stable it is," he said.
James H. Bandy '93, while satisfied with the meeting, thought it would be best to "throw out the old report and start from scratch." He added: "If MIT's going to try to practice social engineering, it will take away the last thread that holds MIT together."
about others' attitudes
UA President Stacy E. McGeever '93 said she had learned "at least six new things" about student perceptions of undergraduate housing at the meeting, including issues relating to racial tensions and rejection from fraternities. McGeever said she was particularly surprised to hear Simha say the system is going to have to change in 10 years.
Keyser was surprised by students' acceptance of rejection as a cost of choosing where they want to live. "I wonder how many of them have been rejected," he added.
McGeever was generally satisfied with the meeting, and said there would be more meetings and discussions on the issue of student housing, but said future discussions would be held in smaller groups. "It's a good brainstorming format," she said, but "it's a very poor format for formulating a proposal."