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UA Sponsors Second Housing Demonstration in Lobby Seven

By Susan Buchman
NEWS Editor

A second demonstration for freshman housing choice, sponsored by the Undergraduate Association, took place Monday in Lobby 7. Although the event was sparsely attended, many members of the community spoke out in favor of freedom of housing choice.

According to a pamphlet handed out at the protest, the purpose of the event was "to show that the MITcommunity believes that freshmen should be able to choose where they live."

Situation compared to Cornell

The event began shortly after noon with a speech by Matthew K. Belmonte, a lecturer in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. Belmonte compared MIT's current reorganization of the residence system to a similar process at Cornell University seven years ago.

Cornell was "destroying a village in order to save it," Belmonte said. Both the administration and the students were trying to preserve what they saw as the essence of Cornell, but their differing opinions as to what made Cornell great, and the animosity that followed, threatened to destroy both sides of the school.

Belmonte said that the orange ribbons worn by students should not be seen as symbols of anger, but of hope that the "dangerously polarized" MITcommunity will come together again.

Many speak, but few attend

Fifteen other members of the MITcommunity spoke at the demonstration.

Jeremy D. Sher '99 offered his suggestions to help MIT reach its potential and urged the administration to stop emphasizing a fictitious distinction between loyalty to MITand loyalty to a living group.

"Allowing freshmen to choose their homes and neighbors is something to applaud, not condemn. The trust and respect MIT has shown its students for the past 125 years sets it apart from its peer institutions," wrote Christopher R. Rezek '99 in a piece entitled "Why We Are Here Today" which was contained in the pamphlet.

The first demonstration for freshman housing choice occurred on Sept. 8, 1998. Although yesterday's demonstration was more well-organized, with pamphlets, beverages, and a central table, it was attended by significantly fewer people.