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Crowding Causes Rent Uproar

By Michael A. Saginaw
Staff Reporter

After settling in a crowded double in New House 5, Dennis A. Burianek '96 now must move into a space which has opened up in that house or pay rent as though he were living in an uncrowded room.

This is part of an effort by the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs to return "some crowded rooms to normal capacity," according to a memo from Eliot S. Levitt '89, a staff assistant in ODUESA.

In past years, if a room was selected to decrowd, one resident had to move. This year, however, students have the option of staying in a crowded room and paying the full price of an uncrowded room if they want. The intent of the new policy is that students should not have to decrowd in the middle of the term if they do not want to.

When space in Room 207 of House 5 became available, all crowded residents of New House were asked if they wanted to decrowd. No one volunteered. MIT policy states that if a dormitory does not have a valid method of selecting who must decrowd, then every student in the house has to pay full rent.

Based on this policy, Levitt decided that New House residents would be billed for uncrowded rent even if they were occupying a crowded room. Shortly after, Levitt learned that New House had a valid method of decrowding selection.

Vjekoslav Svilan '95, the New House room assignment chair, ran a lottery to pick a new roommate for Marc Choudari '95, who lives alone in Room 207. Svilan considered the nine freshman males who are living in crowded rooms in New House 5 and randomly chose Burianek to decrowd. "Only people from New House 5 were in the lottery. People are supposed to go by the rules of a particular house here," Svilan said. Burianek's two roommates are Luiz A. Ortiz '96 and Shawn K. Kelly '96.

Burianek was upset because he is very sensitive to smoke and Choudari smokes. Although he doesn't smoke in the room, burianek says he can still smell the smoke on Choudari's clothes. "I get sick if I'm around smoke," Burianek said.

In addition, Burianek did not want to have to pay the higher rent of an uncrowded room, so he worked out a plan in which he would stay in his crowded double and all nine freshmen males in crowded rooms would pay a little bit extra.

Levitt said this was unacceptable because "We can't make a policy that says that every time a room opens up, everybody's rent changes."

Burianek said he will probably remain in his crowded room. He and his roommates will pay uncrowded rent, he said. This situation means that four students living in two doubles are paying uncrowded rents, although three live in one room and only one occupies the other.