Crowding Fears Spur Grad Housing CutsBy Frank Dabek
Tang Hall will house an additional 72 undergraduates this fall, amid growing fears of a poor rush caused by negative media coverage of living groups during the past year.
This decision follows a move this spring to open an estimated 70 spots in Tang, which is normally reserved for graduate students. Floors two through nine of Tang will now house around 140 rising juniors and seniors, said Linda L. Patton, director of graduate planning.
However, the housing of undergraduates in Tang is intended to be a temporary situation, Patton said. For undergraduates who choose to move to Tang, housing will only be guaranteed for two semesters so that graduate students may return to the space, Patton said.
Fears of slow rush fuel move
The decision was a result of "continually evaluating the information that is available" and is based on the question of how to best provide for new students, said Andrew M. Eisenmann '75, associate dean for Residence Life and Student Life Programs
MIT is "making our best guess" based mainly on anecdotal information from incoming students, their parents, and rush chairs that pointed to "more students being more likely to choose to live in residence halls."
By creating additional spaces in the on campus housing system, MIT is able "to bring our freshmen [to the Institute] in as positive a way as possible," he said. The additional spaces maintain all of the housing choices available to freshmen, Eisenmann said.
Graduate concerns addressed
Brian J. Schneider G, president of the Graduate Student Council, said that he was informed of the possibility of moving additional undergraduates into Tang on July 17.
"We understand that the administration is in a difficult position," Schneider said. While acknowledging that the housing system "can only crowd underclassmen so much before you spill into graduate housing," Schneider said that theGSC "wants to make sure graduate students are accommodated."
Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow '72 and several other administrators met with members of the GSC on July 27. At the meeting, Bacow laid out principles governing the use of graduate housing space for undergraduates including honoring graduate housing commitments and providing financial relief to those affected.
Other possibilities for replacing lost graduate housing were also discussed. These included leasing space from the alumni corporation of Phi Gamma Delta, a plan which would depend on obtaining a new housing license for the property from the Boston Licensing Board, which suspended the license for the property last year.
In addition, several FSILGs have also expressed a willingness to house non-member graduate students. Housing graduate students in FSILGs is "most likely an option for incoming graduate students who arrive in Boston with no housing.," Schneider said.
Crowding graduate students in Ashdown House, Green Hall and Edgerton Hall is also a possibility, Patton said. In addition, the large, two bedroom Worthington Place apartments may house three graduate students if necessary, Patton said.. Graduate students housed in Worthington Place will be subsidized for part of their rent.
Housing commitments honored
All students assigned housing in Tang are guaranteed spots in the graduate housing system whether in Tang or elsewhere, Patton said.
"When they told us [about moving the undergraduates] we were practically done with our assignments," she said. Patton said that there are still 25 apartments at Worthington Place which could be given to those displaced. However, Patton said that "I may have enough space within Tang."
The fall plans are designed to be temporary, Eisenmann said."Every intention is to have graduate spaces return to graduate student use. This is not intended to be a long term solution."
"I would like to see everything that belongs to graduate students revert [to graduate students.]," Patton said.