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Low pledge numbers, heavily subscribed dorms leave several freshmen still in limbo

By Frank Dabek

Twenty-five freshmen received no housing assignments in yesterday’s dormitory lottery due to heavy crowding at MIT this year.

Phillip M. Bernard, program director of residence life, said there were about “40 fewer pledges than we need to run the lottery efficiently.”

Those students who did not receive assignments will be assigned to housing sometime today after additional pledging creates additional spaces, he said.

As of 2 p.m., when the lottery was run, 268 freshmen had pledged fraternities, sororities or independent living groups, Bernard said. That number is expected to rise over the coming days as freshmen continue to accept bids.

The low number of pledges combined with a large number of upperclassmen living in the dormitory system also led to 11 students receiving assignments in a dormitory that they ranked fifth choice or lower. Last year, only 10 students received their third choice, and no student received lower than that.

Bernard said that the low number of pledges at the time of the lottery could have resulted from changes to Orientation which moved the time the freshmen were allowed to accept bids nearer to the time of the lottery. “Instead of getting three days of information, we get two days,” he said.

However, Bernard also said that in general “pledging is down... compared to what it was two years ago.”

Crowding heavy this year

The results of the lottery led to heavy crowding. One indicator: even Bexley Hall will be crowded this year.

MacGregor House was the second most popular dormitory this year. Several of MacGregor’s lounges were crowded last year, and the dorm could see even heavier crowding this year. Although only eight of MacGregor’s lounges have currently been crowded, “if we’re not able to get pledges or place [students] anywhere else... [we’ll have to] talk to MacGregor about using more lounges,” Bernard said.

Despite renovations which made it more difficult to rush, Baker was the most popular dormitory this year, and Bexley shot up the charts to become the third-most popular dorm.

Second lottery not unprecedented

In the past, an additional lottery has been necessary for students who did not receive a housing assignment, in the hopes that more students would pledge to off-campus living groups over the course of the week.

In 1993, approximately 100 students were told to wait for a second round of the housing lottery, and more than half of those students were put through a third lottery. The lottery difficulties were in part related to original efforts to reduce crowding; 60 less spaces were available than in the previous year. At least 80 percent of freshmen were crowded in 1992, “the highest percentage of crowds in recent memory” according to an article in The Tech at the time.