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Tang Will Receive Undergrads to Relieve Dormitory Crowding

Dennis Yancey--The Tech
Tang Hall will house approximately 100 undergraduates next fall in an attempt to relieve dormitory crowding.

By Krista L. Niece
Associate News Editor

Approximately 100 undergraduates will likely move to Tang Hall next fall in an attempt to relieve dormitory crowding.

Incoming freshmen will not be housed in the graduate dorm. Sophomores and juniors from the undergraduate residences will be able to volunteer for the spaces, which will be subsidized, said Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Andrew S. Eisenmann '70.

This decision follows last autumn's alcohol-related death of Scott S. Krueger '01. "It came from some discussions after Scott's death," Eisenmann said. "There is a great deal more uncertainty [with regard to rush] this year" with the negative publicity surrounding his death, he said.

The decision to create more undergraduate housing became "more crystallized" through the efforts of the Orientation Committee, chaired by Professor of Ocean Engineering J. Kim Vandiver SM'75.

The administration's "best guess" is that fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups will attract 100 fewer pledges in the fall than they did this year, Eisenmann said.

Plan will relieve overcrowding

Although the movement of upperclassmen is "a contingency plan to provide for a decrease in the number of freshmen [who rush FSILG's]," Dormitory Council president Manju V. Madhavan '99 said that the plan will be valuable in relieving crowding even if next fall's rush goes well.

Leaving freshmen in the traditional undergraduate residences will allow them to "build a community" in their first months at MIT, said Madhavan. Building community would be more difficult at Tang, which is currently inhabited only by graduate students.

At the same time, the new housing will help relieve the chronic problem of overcrowding in the on-campus undergraduate residences, Madhavan said.

Students will likely be permitted to apply for housing jointly. This will allow "groups of students to remain together" and keep some continuity in the lives of the undergraduates involved, said Madhavan.

However, there is no plan to move a cohesive living group to the dormitory, as was done when Sigma Kappa was housed in Ashdown beginning in 1995.

"The hope is [that this will be] a one-year anomaly," Eisenmann said. Undergraduates who move there next year may be permitted to stay more than one academic year, but it is unlikely that additional undergraduates will move to the residence in the future.

Benefits planned for residents

MIT is planning several incentives to encourage students to move. In addition to subsidized housing costs, graduate residence tutors will be installed and a connection to Next House dining may be established.

A shuttle service to Tang is also being discussed, although details have not yet been decided. Bicycle racks may be added to reduce the difficulties of living far from campus.

The final decision on whether to move undergraduates to Tang will be made today, Eisenmann said. Mailings will be sent out to undergraduates "hopefully by the middle of the week," he said. Some dormitories have already sent their residents e-mail notifying them of the opportunity to move to Tang.

Tang was chosen in an effort to minimize the disruption of graduate student life. Since it houses mostly first-year graduate students, most of the student population will move out at the end of the year. Next year's undergraduate population can then be integrated into the dormitory with a minimum of disruption.

Although undergraduates will take up 100 beds in Tang, the administration hopes to offset those losses with 132 new spaces for graduate students in the new Worthington Place in Kendall Square, Eisenmann said. Eisenmann said that the new spaces might be subsidized for incoming graduate students.

Separately, the Graduate StudentCouncil has asked the Provost Joel Moses PhD '67 to subsidize Worthington Place apartments, which are priced at $750 per month compared to $400 at Tang, said Brian J. Schneider G. "Our concern now is that graduate students aren't paying for undergraduates to live in what used to be graduate housing."

"Iwouldn't say that the GSCis very happy" about the upcoming move, Schneider added.

This situation is not unique in MIT's history. In 1993, many upperclassmen were housed at Westgate in an effort to decrease crowding. During the 19945 school year, undergraduates were housed in Huntington Hall, a dormitory in Boston belonging to the Massachusetts College of Art.

Other past efforts to decrease crowding have included converting MacGregor House lounges to bedrooms and crowding large rooms in Baker House and Burton-Conner House.