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Bacow Announces a Design Contest To Revamp Institute Housing Policy

By FrankDabek
News Editor

Students will be invited to participate in a January design competition on how freshman will choose their housing and participate in rush beginning in 2001.

At Wednesday's faculty meeting, Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow '72 presented the current state of thinking on "how to design this planning process" to adjust the current housing system to the changes caused by moving freshmen onto campus in 2001.

Bacow described the overriding goals of the design by saying that his office hoped to produce a "participatory process" that would "engage the entire community." Bacow stressed the importance of alumni participation in the process.

Participants in the proposed design competition, the tool intended to procure community input on the housing system's future, will be given a design kit which will "specify specific problems as well as resources" available, Bacow said.

Problems that will be discussed in the design competition include deciding when fraternity, sorority, and independent living group rush will occur and when bids can be given out, how to arrange the housing choice at the end of the first year, and how to assist FSILGs through the transition to freshmen on campus, Bacow said.

Briefing sessions will be held for participants and the designs will be posted on the web for public review. Three winners will be selected and a synthesis of their designs will be presented to Bacow after a second round of public scrutiny. This final recommendation will be made sometime next fall.

Dean of Students RosalindH. Williams added that this design contest is in an "MIT like spirit." She stressed that teams should contain members from both FSILGs and dormitories so that "both sides of the river" will be represented.

Williams also said that the early plans produced by the contest would influence planning for next year's orientation. "How we do orientation or rush in the fall won't contradict how we want to to rush in 2001," she said.

Steering committee described

The process of choosing the plan will be guided by a steering committee, to be made up of four students, two faculty members, two alumni and two members of the Office of Dean of Students and Undergraduate Education. Bacow said that the committee will be announced next week.

The committee will appoint a chair and will contain an additional member who would serve as a project coordinator. This coordinator would aid the committee full-time in their deliberations and research.

Bacow further broke down the committee membership by stipulating that he hoped the student portion of the committee would contain a representative from the graduate student body, the dormitories, the FSILG system and at least one female member. He noted that women tend to have largely different experiences of the MIT housing system than men do.

Housing discussion continues

The debate on undergraduate housing continued in the student body as well. The Undergraduate Association is holding a poll of student opinion on housing issues. Students can vote at http//:ua.mit.edu through Sunday.

The Interfraternity Council passed a resolution at its presidents' council meeting on Wednesday which "recommends that the new dormitory be designated as substance-free housing."