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GSC Feels Ashdown Plans Deserve Graduate Input

We were quite concerned to read the articles and editorial on the housing situation in The Tech ["Deans Consider Moving All Undergrads to West Dorms," and "Housing Plan Deserves Student Input," Nov. 1], as they reflect a larger problem in MIT's handling of the long-term housing situation. There appears to be a lack of concern for the impact of any housing changes on graduate student life at MIT.

As The Tech coverage mentioned, undergraduates are upset because of the tradition that would be lost if the residents of East Campus and Senior House were moved to west campus. Yet it was never mentioned that the building they would move into, Ashdown House, is the oldest graduate housing facility on campus. When the graduate students are relocated to points unknown, there too will be a loss of tradition.

Ashdown House has a culture which is currently not replicated in any other place on campus. It is the only housing option that offers dormitory-style living to graduate students at MIT. In addition, it is the only graduate housing facility that is centrally located on campus. Although it is believed that any displaced graduate students will be relocated within 2 miles of campus, this does not guarantee that the new residence will be nearly as convenient as Ashdown. Both the dormitory-style living and location represent housing features which are very important to the current and alumni graduate students who have called Ashdown home.

As is so often the case, we acknowledge that any change involves some degree of pain and loss. However, we also recognize that sometimes change, albeit inconvenient, is necessary for the greater common good. After careful consideration, one might conclude that Ashdown House should be transformed into an undergraduate dormitory. Graduate students could potentially benefit from a new facility. If a change of location is deemed best, it is important that the attractive features of Ashdown are incorporated into whatever facilities are built or renovated.

Furthermore, we believe that it is important that the needs and views of graduate students be included in this decision-making process, and that they are not treated as second or third order effects.

In the very near future, the Graduate Student Council will be distributing a survey to all graduate students living on campus to determine the housing needs of graduate students. We strongly encourage students to respond to the survey, and also that the decision-makers in the administration incorporate the results into the process.

Roger G. Kermode G

President, Graduate Student Council

Susan L. Ipri G

Secretary, Graduate Student Council

Joseph J. Bambenek G

Housing and Community Affairs Committee