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Dormitory Council Circulating 2003 Rush Petition

By Jennifer Krishnan


The Dormitory Council is circulating a petition for a “uninterrupted multiday” dormitory rush period during next year’s Orientation.

“The goal is to show student support for a period, during Orientation, to have dorm events,” said Grace R. Kessenich ’03, president of Dormcon. “It’s to show that it’s not just about choosing where you live, but it’s also about the community that is built during that period.”

“The petition is about increasing the ... prominence of dorm rush in the eyes of the freshmen,” said Dormcon secretary Ryan D. Williams ’03. “We’re not sure if the constituents of all the dorms are with us, since we tend to represent not all the dorms ... but we think that most people will remember that their having a decision [regarding where they would live] was important.”

Kessenich said part of the goal is to show “there is broad-based support” for an older-style rush and that it’s “not just EC and Senior House complaining.”

The end of the petition reads: “We feel that this campus wide community event [dormitory rush] should be brought back as an uninterrupted multiday event prior to the closing of the Orientation Lottery.”

Planning begins early

Williams said Dormcon was already working on a potential schedule for Orientation 2003. Last December, Dormcon tried to include the rush period in the 2002 Orientation schedule, but by then it was too late, he said.

During Orientation 2002, Williams said, the time allotted for dormitory rush consisted of the residence midway and “any time that hadn’t been scheduled” for something else.

“Freshmen who were studying for advanced standing exams or who actually cared about the [official] Orientation activities” did not participate in dormitory rush, he said.

Dormitory rushers “felt their time was being scheduled over without recourse,” Williams added.

Julie B. Norman, associate dean of academic resources and programming, who oversees the Orientation schedule, said that her office would not start working on the schedule until the Residence System Implementation Team releases its report on this year’s residence selections, scheduled for January.

However, “I don’t think the Institute is going to go backwards to the way we used to do housing rush,” Norman said, referring to four-day rush periods in years past. She said her goal was to “improve on last year’s” housing rush.

“The challenge we have [with advanced standing exams] is that we need to have those exams” completed and graded as soon as possible “so we can get those results to the freshman advisers,” she said.

Norman added that she was “not sure the conflict with advanced standing exams is as big as it appears to be on the surface,” pointing out that less that 125 students took the advanced standing chemistry exam.

Dorms take varied stances

MacGregor House President Tyler J. Bronder ’03 said the MacGregor House government supports the petition and signatures were “nearing about 50 percent of the dorm” yesterday evening.

Williams, who is the president of East Campus, said he was “willing to bet that a sizeable proportion of EC [residents would] sign the petition.”

“People here have a very firm belief” that where one chooses to live is “one of the most important decision you make at MIT, Williams said. “People [at EC] are rabid about” preserving old-fashioned dormitory rush.

Senior House President Daniel E. Mcanulty ’04 said Senior House had made “no organized endorsement.”

Joel C. Corbo ’04, president of Random Hall, said his house government “hadn’t really discussed” the petition. He said between 30 and 35 of Random’s 89 residents had signed the petition.

McCormick Hall President Marjan S. Bolouri ’04 said McCormick had not taken any stance on the issue.

Vikash Gilja ’03, president of Simmons Hall, said Simmons had not yet discussed the issue, but that they would be doing so at their next house meeting.

The petition was circulated this past weekend and was collected last night, Kessenich said, but anyone who wants to sign the petition still can. She said she did not know if there had been enough publicity for this petition.

Kessenich said she was collecting the petition last night so she would have the numbers available for today’s RSIT meeting.

So far, Kessenich said, RSIT has not taken a survey of upperclassmen, though they have interviewed teams from each dormitory. The teams include housemasters, graduate residence tutors, and members of house governments. A new survey will be released to freshmen sometime this week, she said.