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Madhavan, Vanderson Prevail in Dormcon Elections

By Dan McGuire
Editor in Chief

Manju V. Madhavan '99 was elected president of the Dormitory Council and William W. Vanderson '99 vice president in elections held last Thursday. They take office immediately.

Kai-yuh E. Hsiao '99 was named rush chair, Daniel G. Collarini '99 was elected judicial committee chair, Jennifer A. Kelly '99 was named treasurer and secretary, and Zhelinrentice L. Scott '00 was elected social chair.

Dormcon is the governing body for all undergraduate dormitories except Bexley Hall, which has no formal house government. The council's main function is to act as an advocacy group for dormitory residents.

"I'd definitely like to see Dormcon play a larger role in overseeing student life," Madhavan said. "We need to make sure that the administration hears what we say and that decisions are made with our input," he said.

"I want to work with the administration more closely and bring the Dormcon into play much more forcefully," he added. Dormcon has "done some things, but I think we're going to have a lot more work to do in the future," Vanderson said.

Madhavan, unlike most recent Dormcon presidents, is not currently the president of a dormitory and thus does not have a vote on the council. Madhavan, who was the president of Burton-Conner House last year, said that he does not think that this will pose a problem.

"The Dormitory Council is not as structured" as the Interfraternity Council, the Panhelic Association, or the Undergraduate Association he said. "We do a lot of talking and discuss the issues. Votes come into play at election time and on major policy decisions" but on other issues decisions are generally reached through discussion and consensus.

"I don't think that not having a vote will hamper my ability whatsoever," he said.

Alcohol policy under scrutiny

The new council leaders begin their terms with a full plate. One matter that will come under discussion is the current alcohol policy. "It's hard to find a balance between MIT's legal responsibility and what people want to do," Vanderson said, and some tweaks to the policy may be warranted.

Of particular concern is the distinction that the policy makes between small events in personal rooms where alcohol is served, which are allowed if nobody present is under the age of 21, and those parties which spill out into lounges where underage students may be present, Madhavan said.

"There's the problem with the distinction between public and private space," he said. The administration is "thinking about how that plays in each dorm as a unit," he said. Instead, they should be looking for a more general solution, "trying to find the most general policy that will take into account the diversity that exists," Madhavan added.

Orientation will be considered

"What the dorms always wanted was to be on equal ground with the fraternities. That seems to be happening," he added. Under the new Orientation rules "we can start rush at the same time," Vanderson said.

Despite the gains, Mahdavan said that he wanted to keep his options open. "Everything's on the table from our perspective," he said. "Lots of changes took place over the course of this year. Our responsibility is to work on problems we see."

There is a "policy of dealing with things as they come and taking the most pressing ones first," Hsiao said. At the moment, Dormcon's attentions are largely focused on the housing pamphlet detailing the vital statistics of each dormitory and ILG that is being sent out to incoming students.

Other concerns, such as the possibility of restarting the joint IFC-Dormcon Mediation Committee, which, until it was disbanded two years ago, coordinated the rush activities of the two groups and dealt with disputes, will be resolved later. "There's some time for these things to fall into place," Hsiao said.