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In the Dark on Residence Changes

In the past week, the MIT administration has begun to implement a series of changes to the Institute’s residence system which have yet to be formally announced to the student body.

Assistant Dean for Residential Programs Katherine G. O’Dair recently released details about a new Residential Coordinator program, which will place administrators in three undergraduate dormitories. A job description provided by O’Dair stated the coordinators’ duties will include upholding MIT policies and procedures and advising the dormitory’s staff and students on issues of discipline, policy, and enforcement.

We are currently unclear as to what the role of these coordinators will be and whether this program will provide a benefit to student life. Although we welcome the idea of having an administrator on campus who is able to deal with student problems 24 hours a day, we are not sure whether this administrator should have the authority to punish students. It is clear that the administration needs to give the student body more information about this program before coordinators are hired.

The Office of Residence Life and Student Life Programs has also gone below the radar with plans to expand the residence-based advising program to other dormitories. Yet again, MIT has provided students with little information, and important details within the accounts of different administrators seem to conflict.

It appears that the administration has begun to move toward some sort of master plan for the implementation of the new residence system, but this plan has not been disclosed to the student body. We urge MIT’s administrators to share these plans with students and to invite feedback and suggestions from the student body. While administrators may think that programs will be faster or easier to implement if they do not incorporate student input, it is essential to consider the opinions of those who will ultimately be impacted by these plans.