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Students Object to Committee's Original Plan

By Eric Richard
Associate News Editor

Over 300 students voiced their disapproval of the Institute Calendar Committee's current proposal to lengthen the school year in a survey released at last week's Undergraduate Association Council meeting. Nearly 100 percent of undergraduate respondents expressed their opposition to the current proposal, with many noting the proposal's possible effects on their income.

If the proposed calendar changes are approved, each semester would be lengthened to 67 days -- up from the current average of 64 days per semester -- and IAP would be augmented by two days. Summer break would be reduced by two weeks. Opponents of the proposal feel that decreasing the length of the summer will reduce the amount of income that can be earned during break.

Overall, 98 percent of respondents were opposed to the present calendar proposal. The survey indicated that over 13 percent of undergraduate respondents felt that the new calendar proposal would cause them to lose summer internships or jobs, and 8 percent felt that this loss of income may force them to leave MIT.

While undergraduates living in campus housing and those living in independent living groups tended to respond similarly, almost 22 percent of undergraduates living in ILGs felt they would lose internships or jobs if the proposal were approved, compared to 7 percent of those not living in ILGs.

Except for complaints about the length of terms, students were ambivalent about other proposed calendar changes.

The survey was prepared by John S. Hollywood '96, an IFC representative to the Undergraduate Association Council and a member of the UA-Graduate Student Council Calendar Committee.""

Results are `overwhelming'

Hollywood said the results of the survey "show great concern on the part of the MIT community towards the new calendar," adding that "the response by MIT to this survey and to the Institute calendar proposal has been overwhelming."

UA President Shally Bansal '93 said that although the survey is an informal one, "I think that the results overwhelmingly indicate that students are opposed to the 67-day term. ... There are a lot of good things that the calendar proposal does, but the cost of reducing the summer by two weeks is too high. The results of this survey support this very well."

Bansal pointed out that the survey emphasized the solidarity of student opposition to the calendar proposal. "I think that as students, we felt the same way, but it was really good to have confirmation of those ideas," she said.

Students will have another chance to voice their opinions at a UA forum planned for this Thursday. The faculty are scheduled to begin debating the issue at their May 10 meeting.

The next step, Bansal explained, is to inform the faculty of student opinion. "It is going to be our job to present it to the faculty [at the next faculty meeting] and put together a presentation that highlights the costs and benefits of the plan."

"While there are some benefits," Bansal added, "I think that there are alternatives that aren't as costly."

Bansal feels that many faculty members disapprove of the calendar proposal and might be swayed by undergraduates to withhold their support. "There is not overwhelming support on this. There are staff who are opposed to it for the same reasons, although ours our compounded by financial reasons," she said.

Robert J. Silbey, chair of the Institute Calendar Committee, said that although he had not had a chance to read the survey, he expects that "there will be lots of input at the student forum on Thursday."