The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 43.0°F | Fair

East Campus Raises Tax To Replenish Dorm Funds

By Zareena Hussain
Staff Reporter

Last week, students living in East Campus were informed that the term house tax for each resident will be raised $10 to its new high of $50.

The increase was passed partly to compensate for budget deficits that have accumulated from rush expenses and other special expenses this year that have drained funds, said Stephanie A. Jenrette '97, vice president of East Campus.

The tax has not been raised in a number of years, and the accumulation of inflation costs also contributed to the need for an increase, Jenrette said.

Even with the increase, East Campus still has one of the lowest house taxes of any dormitory, Jenrette said.

The higher house tax means additional funds totalling about $3,700 per term for the house.

Rush costs went over budget

One reason for the higher tax is that East Campus spent $2,000 more than it budgeted for Residence and Orientation Week activities. While $5,000 was originally budgeted for rush events, $7,000 actually was spent, Jenrette said.

Overspending during rush was largely a result of miscommunication between the dormitory's rush chair Stephen V. Baird '97 and the rest of the house government, Jenrette said.

Apparently, the rush chair was under the impression that the $5,000 budgeted for rush did not include the money for in-house rush, although it did in actuality, Jenrette said.

This misunderstanding resulted in an additional $1,000 being spent on top of the $1,000 East Campus usually overspends on rush each year, she said.

The money spent on rush events was necessary, Baird said.

"I've heard many people mention that we had an amazing rush this year," Baird said. "I think residents of any dorm benefit from rush. It's important to find new residents who will enjoy the flavor of life that is pursued in a particular living group."

Jenrette also said that East Campus normally spends an amount of money that exceeds revenue collected from the house tax each year. The dormitory has spent more money recently because two years ago it received a large influx of money from washing and vending machine revenue.

However, that money has run out, Jenrette said.

In addition, $1,013 was spent this year to celebrate the dormitory's house manager's retirement. Plans to renovate the house's weight room will cost a significant amount as well.

"Not all of our money goes to parties," Jenrette said.

Tax passes with concerns

East Campus residents, for the most part, agreed to the house tax, Jenrette said. The increase has, however, raised some concern among students.

"There is a sense that we need to hold people more responsible to stricter budgets," Jenrette said.

"Since we passed the house tax, we are really in the clear," Jenrette said.

Some hall chairs were concerned that no one would give them copies of the proposed budgets before they were passed, although copies were distributed eventually, said Michael A. Behr '98, a hall chair.

The house government is currently thinking of revising the dormitory's constitution. "We're going to review at least some sections," Behr said.

There will probably be a move to clarify the budget process. "That just seems like a useful thing to put in the constitution," he said.

To get an idea of how East Campus allocated its money in the past, members of the house's government spent time during rush looking at the past records of housebudgets.

Unfortunately, while the house government was examining several past annual budgets, the original copies were left in the open, and a custodian mistakenly recycled them.

"It was really sucky," Jenrette said.

Copyright 19,95, The Tech. All rights reserved.
This story was published on Tuesday.
Volume 116, Number 54.
The story began on page 1 and jumped to page 16.

This article may be freely distributed electronically, provided it is distributed in its entirety and includes this notice, but may not be reprinted without the express written permission of The Tech. Write to archive@the-tech.mit.edu for additional details.