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Baker Considers Adopting Residence-Based Advisers

By Dana Levine


At a Baker House Committee meeting last night, residents discussed the possibility of expanding MIT’s residence-based advising program to their dormitory next fall.

Baker President Michael H. Roberts ’02 said that Program Administrator for Residential Programs Rick A. Gresh and Assistant Dean for New Student Programs Elizabeth C. Young discussed the residence-based advising system with the Baker Executive Committee on Sunday night. Baker has been given the rest of the week to decide whether they would be strongly interested in participating in this program.

While Michael Roberts was disappointed that MIT has given Baker little time to decide whether they would like to participate, he said that he understands that the administration is also under time constraints.

Residence-based advising programs are currently being tried in McCormick and Random Halls, but MIT hopes to expand this program to at least one new dormitory next year. Next House and Baker are currently considering the program.

Under a residence-based advising program, freshmen would apply to Baker over the summer and be accepted into the dorm based on their applications.

According to Michael Roberts, Baker would be given some control over the resident-selection process. “It seems that we would be able to have a considerable amount of input in writing the application and selecting applicants if we are willing to work at it,” he said.

Last year, McCormick residents submitted five questions to the office of Residential Life and Student Life Programs, and two of these were included in the final application form.

Baker would also have some control over the seminar topics which will be offered, and would possibly be able to solicit professors and invent their own seminars.

Students express concerns

Several important concerns about residence-based advising programs were raised at the meeting.

Dormitory Council Vice President and Random Hall Resident Adviser Matthew S. Cain ’02 believes that Baker should not be forced to commit to this program before comprehensive results are released from this year’s program.

“They haven’t even done a simple survey of all McCormick residents saying, ‘Did you like this program or not?’” he said. “I don’t believe that they have proven beyond the anecdotal level that all of these things are good.”

Another important concern was the issue of a correction lottery which would be run at the end of rush. “As of yesterday, Rick Gresh told me that there would be no housing and orientation lottery (during orientation),” Michael Roberts said.

Dormcon President Jeffrey C. Roberts ’02 said that “what was told yesterday to Exec Comm was misleading.” Jeffrey Roberts, who is a member of the 2002 implementation committee, said that the committee has worked from the report released by Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72 in December 1999, which mentions this correction lottery.

Several positive comments were made about the current residence-based advising programs. Michael Roberts said that McCormick President Kelly V. Chin ’02 gave a generally favorable impression of McCormick’s pilot program.

Cain said that the main benefit of Random Hall’s residence-based advising program has been that “we’ve gotten several thousand dollars towards social programming and community building.” Although RLSLP has specified topics for the programs run by Random Hall’s RAs, Cain said that the RAs have had a significant amount of leeway in planning these programs.

“For our ethnic diversity program, we did an ethnic food potluck dinner,” he said as an example.