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Chancellor to Unveil Residence Decision

New System to be Implemented Fall 2001

By Rima Arnaout

Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72 will present his decision for the redesign of MIT’s residence system Thursday, to be implemented by fall 2001. Bacow will make his presentation Thursday at 5 p.m. in Room 3-270.

“I regret that the report has been delayed so that it is now coming out on the eve of finals. I had hoped to have it finished earlier, but I have been working with DormCon, IFC, and others to resolve a number of open issues,” Bacow said.

Bacow refused to comment both on the content of the report and the basic elements of its organization. Paper copies will be distributed in Institute lobbies and the Student Center. The report will be available online at <> tomorrow.

Student input pivotal in decision

Bacow said the final report draws equally from earlier proposals by the Residence System Steering Committee and the Unified Response to the RSSC Proposal, presented by the student-run Strategic Advisory Committee to the Chancellor.

“I see what the SAC did was to refine what the RSSC did, using it as a jumping-off point... I’ve basically tried to do the same, blending the two reports,” Bacow said.

Bacow stressed the importance of student input, stating that he has worked with the leaders of MIT's student governments to develop a plan “that’s workable from all perspectives.”

“I’ve been working very closely with the President of the UA, the head of Dormcon, and the head of the IFC to ensure that we have a plan that’s workable from all perspectives,” Bacow added. “Student input has been critical.”

“If Chancellor Bacow’s final report reflects what students want, it’s because [the SAC report] was done so well,” said Undergraduate Association floor leader Andrew D. Montgomery ’01.

“The chancellor’s been very receptive to the ideas of the various groups that have been providing him with input,” said Dormitory Council President Jennifer A. Frank ’00.

Decision raises hope, concerns

Bacow stressed his hope that the MIT community will see the decision as an improvement to the current system. He encouraged students to “roll up their sleeves and get involved in the implementation process.”

Frank concurred, stating, “The presentation is designed to lend closure to the process so that we can begin the implementation.”

Bacow conceded that the decision leaves certain issues unresolved. “I consciously tried not to answer every question because some are best left to other groups,” Bacow said.

“We’ll wait to see the decision before we determine the exact first steps of implementing the decision,” said UA President Matthew L. McGann ’00. “The UA, IFC, Dormcon, and GSC plan to collaborate again on the implementation process.”

Students will have a chance to react to the decision, but according to RSSC and SAC member Jennifer C. Berk ’01, “it looks like feedback will be directed to those implementing the decision.”

Vest announced in the summer of 1998 that all freshmen will be housed on campus beginning in fall 2001. The decision necessitated a redesign of MIT’s residence system.

Bacow formed the RSSC to submit a residence design plan in late fall 1998. The RSSC sponsored a Residence System Redesign Contest over IAP 1999 to gather student input.

After two drafts and community feedback, the RSSC’s final report went to the chancellor on October 1, followed by another report submitted by the SAC later that month.

The decision, which passed through Academic Council last week, received the approval of President Charles M. Vest, Dean of Students Rosalind H. Williams, and Vice President and Secretary of the Corporation Kathryn A. Willmore.