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At Other Universities, Procedures To Reside at Dorms, FSILGs Differ

By David D. Hsu
News Editor

While MIT freshmen select their housing in one fast-paced Residence and Orientation Week, the housing process at other universities varies greatly.

As a brief diversion from MIT's hectic R/O, this article will examine the housing procedures at four other universities.

Amherst College

In 1984, the trustees of Amherst College abolished all fraternities, according to Jefferson Decker, news editor of The Amherst Student. The school had just become coeducational, and the trustees felt that "fraternities don't make sense anymore" and were becoming "too cliquish," Decker said.

Without much off-campus housing, about 95 percent of Amherst's 1,600 students live on campus for four years, Decker said.

Amherst freshmen fill out a short form with general questions such as whether they want dormitories coeducational by floor or by room and if they want to live with upperclassmen, Decker said.

Based on these questionnaires, the dean's office assigns roommates and dormitories, Decker said. "They try hard to form diverse communities in each of the dorms," he said.

Students are guaranteed housing for four years, but nobody stays in the same dormitory all four years, Decker said. By the end of their sophomore year, students can elect to live in foreign language or culture houses, he said. Students not opting for these theme houses enter a draft and pick dormitories based on seniority, he said.

All on-campus housing students eat at the one dining hall at Amherst, Decker said.

Amherst also has four off-campus fraternities, one of which is coeducational, Decker said. The fraternities are not sanctioned and receive little support from Amherst, he said.

University of Illinois

At the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, new students must live for one year in housing certified by the school to meet safety and staffing standards, according to Joe Miller, associate director of housing.

UIUC is considerably larger than the Institute, with almost 39,000undergraduates.

Students can request the type of lifestyle, area of campus, a specific residence hall, and specific roommates, Miller said. They are placed in the order they reply to the university, he said.

Many students choose to live in apartments after their freshman year, Miller said. While 50 percent of the dormitory residents are freshmen, only about 5 percent are seniors, he said.

Freshmen can choose to join a fraternity or sorority, Miller said. While fraternity rush continues throughout the school year, sorority rush ends before the fall semester begins, he said.

"We have the biggest Greek system in the country" with 3,000 members, Miller said. Even so, the 50 to 60 fraternities and sororities only constitute 8 percent of the undergraduate population, he said.

There is enough housing to accommodate all of the college's undergraduates. "Everyone finds a place to stay," Miller said.

University of Texas at Austin

"We have a housing shortage," said Sholnn Z. Freeman of The Daily Texan. At least 95 percent of the almost 50,000 students live off campus, he said.

With a list of 650 students waiting for dormitory rooms, "it's really hard for freshmen to get housing," Freeman said. Rooms are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, and freshmen receive no special treatment, he said.

Most undergraduates live in apartments, and Austin has one of the highest apartment occupancy rates, Freeman said.

Undergraduates can also choose the Greek system, but fraternities and sororities are not very prominent and do only a "small part" to ease the housing shortage, Freeman said.

The housing situation should abate within the next five years, Freeman said. The new director of housing plans to build three new dormitories, he said.

Yale University

At Yale, freshmen are placed into 12 colleges, which are equivalent to dormitories at MIT, said Evin McCabe, publisher of The Yale Herald. The colleges are randomly assigned to freshmen based on social security numbers, he said.

Freshmen live separately from the upperclassmen in 10 of the 12 colleges, which are known as the Old Campus, McCabe said.After their first year, freshmen will all live with the upperclassmen, McCabe said. Yale has almost 5,200undergraduates.

Each fraternity's rush varies from house to house, he said. Sororities rush at the beginning of the second semester, he said.

Some fraternities and sororities are registered with Yale, and may receive some funding, McCabe said.

Ten percent of students are involved in the Greek system, but most do not live in their houses, McCabe said.

In fact, 90 percent of undergraduates live on campus, McCabe said. Students cannot move out of the colleges until junior year, he said. Previously, sophomores could move out, but the university felt "too many people were moving off," he said.

Occasionally, colleges have a shortage of rooms for students, McCabe said. At that point, some juniors are moved outside the college to somewhere else on campus, he said.