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MacGregor Crowding Questioned

By Karen Robinson

Crowding and decrowding policies at MacGregor House have come under scrutiny recently this year. Some residents think that room changes are being made unfairly, while others object to the policies themselves.

House President Aaron D. Adler ’01 said that crowding lounges in MacGregor -- converting lounges in the high-rise A, B, C, and D entries -- brings up some sort of controversy every year that it is done.

In an open email to MacGregor residents, Former Housing Chair Atish R. Babu ’00 alleged that Adler, along with current Housing Chair Andrew D. Montgomery ’01, have not been abiding by MacGregor’s crowding policy. The matter arose in the past few weeks, and will be looked at further by MacGregor Judicial Committee.

The recent confusion seems to concern six SAE freshmen who moved to MacGregor last fall.

When single rooms in D-entry opened, Adler and Montgomery passed over the SAE freshmen and moved a freshman who had been living in a single in F-entry to D-entry.

Babu holds that that policy dictates that the SAE freshmen would be moved out of their crowded rooms, or alternatively other freshmen would have been decrowded. Babu declined to comment further on the matter.

Policy under contention

The policy aims to decrowd people as soon as possible, to avoid leaving any singles in the dorm open. Many freshmen do not like the policy, as they are forced to move to different rooms, generally after second semester has started. It is necessary for the house, however, Adler said.

During late IAP and early this semester, students in the tower were circulating a petition decrying the policy, but the petition effort has since been dropped.

“I don’t think any of the freshmen want to move,” said Natasha Singh ’03. Singh has been an active member of A entry and was A entry chair until she her turn came up to move. “A lot of people wanted to see the decrowding policy changed, but it is house policy,” she said.

“Having people in the crowded lounges is bad for everybody,” Adler said. “It takes away from entry common space, then is a bad situation for the freshmen.” Adler also reasons that if freshmen are not moved into open singles, transfers from other dorms would be moved into the singles, making fewer free spaces for the the next year’s freshman class.

The order in which freshmen will move is determined at the first of the year by lotteries, and freshmen move as soon as rooms become open.

“There are really no exceptions made to the policy,” although freshmen are usually opposed to moving, Adler said. “Freshmen get attached to their rooms and the people they live around and, understandably, don’t want to leave ... space permitting, they can move back to their original entry sophomore year.”

House decrowding policy was updated when freshmen from Phi Gamma Delta were moved into lounges in 1997.

The policy was clarified last summer by members of MacGregor HouseComm, Montgomery said. The main change made was to be certain that freshmen understand from the beginning of the year that they will not stay in a crowded double for the entire year. Montgomery does not anticipate changing the policy so that freshmen do not have to move.