Bacow Receives Reports
RSSC, SAC Submit Conflicting ReportsBy Sagara Wickramasekara
Two groups working to redesign the residence system at MIT, the Residence System Steering Committee and the Strategic Advisory Committee to the Chancellor, presented reports to Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72 this week.
Bacow declined to comment on either of the reports until he reviews both the RSSC report and the Unified Proposal from the SAC. Bacow plans to meet with each group separately.
Before presenting the report to Bacow, the RSSC released the report to the community in September and held student feedback forums to gather input. Along with the amended final report, the RSSC provided Bacow with the minutes of said forums.
RSSC report largely unchanged
“We believe that none of our recommendations in this final report have changed significantly from those of the draft document in September,” the report stated.
Apart from a few clarifications and expansions on unclear points, most of the RSSC’s major proposals remain unchanged. The new report recommends that MIT should be able to rent out housing for those forced out of the dorm system through the housing lottery. Off-campus housing is still valued over crowding.
The proposal leaves theme houses like Chocolate City with a Catch-22. Theme houses will no longer be able to select freshmen residents and may choose only to accept or deny freshmen they get from the moving out of the dormitories they currently reside in.
The report also highlights the situation of graduate students more than in previous drafts, and it recommends the formation of another committee to handle graduate housing.
SAC presents alternate plan
Undergraduate Association President Matthew L. McGann ’00, a member of the SAC, which draws student members from the UA, Dormcon, Graduate Student Council, the Interfraternity Council, the Living Group Council, and ILTFP, said that the SAC was able to present to Bacow half of its report and “give him the most recent draft of an evolving document.”
McGann said that the Unified Proposal is “more robust” than the RSSC report. Rather than focusing on policy, the Unified Proposal concentrates on capital, resources, and governance.
John S. Hollywood G, chair of the SAC, said “I got the impression that [the RSSC] had a large amount of input they didn’t seem to take in.” Hollywood was also disappointed with the lack of scope of the proposal. “It dealt mainly with the hydraulics of rush... [the RSSC] felt pushed into a box and [only solved for] what would work with the current system.”
“We appreciated that they thought of the concept of theme houses but [the method of] dealing with them is not admirable,” said Jen A. Frank ’00, Dormcon president. “[We] think the feedback wasn’t used as much as it could have been. I think that most students agree that they’d rather be crowded than be kicked off campus. [Sophomore year] is stressful as it is as your on grades for the first time.”
A copy of the amended final report is available at <http://web.mit.edu/residence/systemdesign/>.
A copy of the current SAC report is available at <http://web.mit.edu/advise>.
Naveen Sunkavally contributed to the reporting of this article.