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ILG Resident Adviser Pilot Program Will Receive Full Funding Next Year

By FrankDabek
News Editor

All independent living groups which participate in the resident adviser pilot program next year will now be funded by the Institute despite early concerns that funding would not be available for all houses, according to Assistant Dean for Resident and Campus Activities Neal H. Dorow.

"We will be able to provide funding for all the houses who decide to participate [in the pilot program]," said Dorow, who acts as adviser to fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups.

The program will place graduate students in off-campus fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups. These students will assume a position much like that of graduate resident tutors in dormitories although, as of yet, the role that resident advisers will play within a given FSILG has not been completely defined.

Ten living groups have applied as potential participants in the pilot program. The fraternities likely to participate are Chi Phi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Beta Epsilon, Tau Epsilon Phi, Zeta Beta Tau, Theta Xi, and possibly Kappa Sigma. All of the resident sororities will be part of the program.

Originally, funding was only promised for the first six houses who chose to participate in the fall. According to Dorow, several houses said that they would be unable to participate if funding was not provided.

Funding for houses beyond Fall term 2000, when all ILGs must have a resident adviser, remains uncertain, however. "I'd like to think we're going to" fund advisers in future years using Institute funds.

Resident adviser position defined

Steps have also been taken to define more clearly the position of the resident adviser in ILGs specifically. According to Dorow, resident advisers will be employed by the ILG rather than by MIT, an arrangement which could have implications for potential liability issues in the future.

"To have a formal employee [of MIT] there[in the ILGs] could create a potential for liability that doesn't really exist," he said. "We don't want to imply that this person is there as an agent of the Institute," Dorow said. He characterized MIT's relationship with the resident advisers as a partnership.

The job description for resident advisers includes providing tutoring assistance, promoting health and safety, attending chapter meals, maintaining a relationship with the Office of the Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education, and making students aware of MIT's policies, including those concerning alcohol, drugs, hazing, and harassment.

Dorow said that he did not expect any problems finding enough tutors to fill all of the resident adviser and graduate resident tutor spaces since the resident advisers "are not being taken form the GRT applicant pool" exclusively. Houses "can go out and recruit people," Dorow said.

Sig Ep, for instance, found their potential advisor through a resident scholar program sponsored by their national fraternity.

At PBE, an alumni who lived in the fraternity as an undergraduate will serve as its adviser, said treasurer Tony Chao '99. "If we are forced to have a residence advisor we should have total choice on who we want; someone who can integrate easily into the house would be ideal."

Resident advisers will be required to be approved by RCA, and may not have lived in an FSILGwith any of the current undergraduate residents. Except for those hired through a living group's national adviser program, all advisers must be enrolled in an MITor joint-MITgraduate program.

The sororities will likely tap their pre-existing house directors as resident advisers. The sororities provide a "role model" for the program, since their house director position approximates the role of a tutor, Dorow said.

The additional funding should help the pilot program "make sure the program will work the way we think it will" as Dorow said, and will hopefully aid the transition from an idea conceived in the wake of the death of Scott S.Krueger '01 last fall into a part of everyday life for a large segment of the MIT community.

Elaine Wan contributed to the reporting of this story.