The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 60.0°F | Overcast

Editorial -- Clearinghouse Must Be More Open

To make informed residence decisions during Residence/ Orientation Week, freshmen need as much information as possible. Clearinghouse collects and records the most significant rush data, but it currently serves participants on only one side of the rush process -- living groups trying to attract freshmen. Clearinghouse should become a tool for freshmen, as well as independent living groups.

Changes in Clearinghouse should begin the moment freshmen arrive on campus. R/O Week literature should explain that Clearinghouse's primary purpose is to allow interested ILGs to keep track of a particular freshman. While it is true that information on a freshman's whereabouts is useful in the event of an emergency, saying that this is Clearinghouse's main goal is simply misleading.

Clearinghouse's role during the rush process must change as well. When freshmen sign into a living group, they should have the option of indicating that their present location should be reported to Clearinghouse, but remain unavailable to ILGs. This will allow freshmen to exercise more control over the pace of their rush. Such an option will also increase Clearinghouse's emergency effectiveness, since freshmen are more likely to sign in at a particular living group when they no longer fear being hounded by others.

Each freshman should also be able to ask Clearinghouse for the names of any ILGs that are currently monitoring his or her location. Freshmen who might otherwise not realize that a particular ILG was interested in them would then have a chance to visit.

Once pledging begins, freshmen should have access to Clearinghouse's information on the progress of each ILG's rush. The number of outstanding bids and pledges at each ILG, as well as a target number or range for that ILG, should be made public. With these numbers, freshmen could more accurately decide whether to spend more time at a particular ILG and whether an ILG had any intention of extending him or her a bid. Freshmen would also be able to see which houses were still looking for pledges without having to go through the "referral" process. Such referrals can be confusing and unhelpful, especially when a freshman is referred to an unsuitable ILG.

Rush is a stressful time, when freshmen unfamiliar with the people and places around them are asked to make a critical decision about where they will live for the next four years. The Institute should do everything in its power to ease this process and provide them with any information that will make that decision easier. Changing Clearinghouse is the obvious way to achieve this goal.