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Moving Forward on Housing

The Tech urges the Interfraternity Council to withdraw its proposal that the new dormitory now being planned be designated as substance-free housing.

The Interfraternity Council has no standing to dictate policy on the new dormitory and should remain silent on these policy questions. It is the representative organization of the residents of fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups. It is not the representative council of dormitory residents. The IFC has overstepped its bounds in attempting to force decisions on issues in which it has no claim to jurisdiction.

The Tech also worries that creating substance-free housing in the dormitory system deprives the system's residents of choice. Dormitory residents are not guaranteed placement in their first-choice dormitory, and students not wishing to be placed in substance-free housing may nevertheless be placed in a substance-free dorm under such a scenario. No member of the FSILG system lives in a substance-free group against his or her will. The same should remain true in the dormitory system.

The dormitories are already banned from using house funds to purchase alcohol. While this step is reasonable, other, more stringent regulations by MIT would prove harmful to the dormitory community as a whole. It is the residents of a dormitory, and not the administration, who should make the choices involving the regulation of dormitory life. Residents of an entry or floor should be able to declare themselves substance-free by a unanimous vote if they so desire, but they should not be cajoled or forced into following that designation.

Most disturbing, however, is the IFC's unwillingness to become an active, honest participant in today's housing discussion. The IFC is still primarily concerned with registering vocal opposition to President Charles M. Vest's decision to house all freshmen in dormitories beginning in the fall of 2001. They are continuing to frame the debate in terms of vilifying President Vest and the administration for making this choice, and their recent press release on the Undergraduate Association's housing poll is further evidence of this objective.

President Vest is not going to change his decision, and groups across campus must now come together and discuss issues related to planning the new dormitory and the housing system as a whole. The IFC, by continuing to berate the initial housing decision, is holding this discussion back. Their current tactics hinder progress, and the IFC's continued delusion that Vest's choice may be reversed demonstrates that the IFC is not being honest with its constituents. It is time for the IFC to move forward, accept Vest's decision, and become an active participant in today's housing debates.