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Strategic Advisory Committee Offers RSSC Counter-Proposal

By Mike Hall

The Strategic Advisory Committee to the Chancellor held an open discussion last night on plans for its Unified Proposal, a counter-proposal to the oft-maligned Residence System Steering Committee’s Final Report.

The Unified Proposal, a student-initiated plan for the impending 2001 restriction on freshmen to dormitories, is scheduled to be officially unveiled next Monday.

In its report, the SAC proposes three main objectives for the new MIT residence system: the basic need for housing, the creation of a home environment for new students, and increased interaction between all members of the MIT community.

SAC: More money for housing

Funding for new dormitories is one of the SAC’s top priorities. The Unified Proposal currently calls for a $273.5 million capital expenditure in the next ten years. Benefits provided by the proposed expenditure include two new 500-bed graduate dormitories, a new 400-bed undergraduate dormitory, and renovations to East Campus, Walker Memorial, and Stratton Student Center. The $273.5 million is within the range of housing improvements made at peer institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, and Dartmouth College.

The SAC also recommended the installation of a Student Life Council to ensure quality of life at MIT, as well as providing bonuses of up to 15 percent for administrators who improve student life at MIT.

Housing selection modified

The SAC’s residence selection plan increases flexibility and allows students to switch living groups. Freshmen would first select a dorm during the summer, then move directly there during Orientation. After Orientation, freshmen could choose either to stay in their choice or enter another lottery.

In November and March, all dormitory residents would enter a new housing lottery, with residents who wished to stay in their halls guaranteed to keep their current housing.

In-house rush would remain largely the same. A group within a house would be allowed to request that a particular freshman live with them, but could not prevent any freshman from living with them.

Fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups would receive compensation for up to 35 percent of total house capacity, with support decreasing to zero percent over six years. Any FSILG willing to admit non-affiliated members would receive support from MIT. MIT would also provide support to FSILGs wishing to relocate near campus.

Community outreach in effect

Community interaction forms are another cornerstone of the Unified Report. The SAC’s recommendations for improving community interaction also include expanding the roll of graduate resident tutors, increasing leadership training at the Institute, and coordinating a campus-wide social calender when a different living group would sponsor an activity every weekend night during the academic year.

The SAC’s Unified Proposal is student-initiated and is non-binding. The SAC is working in conjunction with the Undergraduate Association, the Dormitory Council, and the Interfraternity Council.