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Alumni's Feeling Should Be Considered

The Tech received a copy of the following letter sent to Senior Associate Dean Robert M. Randolph.

Dear Dean Randolph

As a former resident of East Campus (from 1983 through 1987, including summers), I must say that I am very disturbed to hear about plans to convert both East Campus and Senior House to graduate housing. While I do agree that East Campus (and probably Senior House) are in dire need of extensive renovation, I believe that the long history that both buildings have had as undergraduate dorms demands that their change in status be seriously reconsidered.

MIT housing is not like housing at other universities, where students are randomly assigned to dorms by lottery. At MIT, students choose their living groups, and generally remain with them for their entire undergraduate career. The dorms at MIT are therefore not mere housing - they are living groups which alumni feel a great bond toward. This past September, while visiting MIT for the Alumni Leadership Conference, I snuck past the newly-implemented security so that I could visit my floor - third west at East Campus. Even though I had never met any of the current residents, I felt a bond with them - connected to them - because of what we had in common: third west. This is probably not unlike the bond that fraternity brothers feel towards the current brothers in their houses. I spent over an hour on the floor, talking to the residents about the "way things used to be" when I was a resident. And they listened, and they were interested.

Just as I looked forward to the times when 3W alumni visited the floor when I was an undergraduate - during our yearly formal floor dinner, C-league hockey games (on which recent alumni participated), and at the random times when former residents just happened to be in town. And I listened when they told me how it was when they were on the floor.

I know from informal surveys that when you ask a random group of undergraduate alumni which group at MIT they identify with most strongly, the majority will answer that it is their living group - not their course, not their class, but their living group. It is East Campus, and my friends from my floor, that I think of first when I think of MIT. Please don't break that bond by putting graduate students in my living group! Please consider the feelings and reactions of alumni when deciding the future of East Campus and Senior House.

Jack Leifer

Secretary, Class of 1987