A System That Works
I was greatly disappointed to read that the editorial board of The Tech is endorsing the notion of housing all freshmen on campus ["Paving the Way for Radical Change,"Oct. 17] as proposed by Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences Stephan L. Chorover at this month's faculty meeting. As a student-run newspaper, The Tech should realize that a strong undertone in this debate is the belief that college freshmen are not mature enough to make "adult" decisions and understand the consequences of them. To deny freshmen the right to choose to live off campus would only further this erroneous mindset.
The primary reason cited for moving freshmen to campus was to build campus diversity and solidarity as well as closer ties to the faculty. The editorial failed to mention any reason why this should be the case. Building this sort of solidarity and communication takes effort and desire, things that cannot be had simply by forcing freshmen into dormitories.
The other reason cited for the endorsement was that MIT's current system does not give incoming freshmen enough time to make "wise or informed decisions" about where they will live. Compared to other universities, however, MIT's residence selection process stands out in allowing students to learn much more about a living group than they could possibly have otherwise. Not only can a new student explore the physical buildings they might be living in, but they get to meet the residents of a living group before they live there, a luxury only dreamed of at other universities.
The MIT system works, as evidenced by the high level of student satisfaction and yes, loyalty to their living groups. Taking away freshman choice eliminates the best part of the MIT system without rectifying its deficiencies. The MIT community should focus its efforts on making Residence and Orientation Week more informative for the freshmen, their parents, and the greater community.
Nicholas E. Matsakis '98