The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 37.0°F | Fair

Next September, Crowding May Return to Dormitories

By Kathy Lin

ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

Several fraternities report that most of their freshmen pledges are planning on moving into their fraternity houses next year, but some degree of crowding is anticipated in the dormitories next year.

Chancellor Phillip L. Clay and Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict previously vowed there would not be crowding next year. “Not if I’m going to work here,” Benedict said last November.

Assistant Dean and Director of Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups David N. Rogers anticipates that about 80 percent or more of the freshman pledges will move into their respective fraternities next year.

“It’s understood that living [at a fraternity] is a big part of being part of the community,” said Joshua S. Yardley ’04, the 2002 Interfraternity Council rush chair.

So far, 216 freshmen have decided to live off campus next year, and about 730 have confirmed that they will stay on campus, said Denise A. Vallay, assistant director of undergraduate housing. About 65 housing confirmations still have not been submitted.

Vallay said she “anticipate[s] that there probably will be a small degree of crowding next year,” but that it is hard to judge how much of a problem on-campus crowding will be.

A total of 785 people will be moving off campus next year, including graduating seniors. In addition, 107 rising seniors have applied for Senior Segue and could move out of the undergraduate dormitory system in graduate housing as well.

However, there is not enough space at the Sidney-Pacific graduate residence to accommodate all the rising seniors who applied to live there, so some students may not be able to participate, Vallay said.

There are currently 80 empty spaces in undergraduate dormitories on campus. Putting together the current vacancies and expected vacancies leaves 972 open spaces for next year’s freshmen class. That class is expected to number about 1,000, and the Senior Segue numbers are not final, so some crowding is likely.

Pledges move to fraternity houses

Some fraternities require that their pledges move into their houses. As long as there is room and barring special circumstances, pledges are expected to move in to Alpha Epsilon Pi’s house, said Jacob D. Beniflah ’03, a rush chair at AEPi.

The fraternities “have really encouraged freshmen to move in,” Rogers said, but fraternities do not require their pledges to move in.

Many fraternities have a few pledges who aren’t moving in. “Some people don’t move in because of family, academics, or other reasons,” Yardley said.

“We think it’s better for [the pledges] to live in the house,” said Timothy R. Kreider ’03, Sigma Nu president. However, “if it comes to having a brother on campus or not having a brother at all, if it’s someone we want, it’s okay to have them on campus,” he said.

MIT will continue offering the fraternities compensation for their empty beds for the next two years. The need for this compensation varies from fraternity to fraternity.

“A lot of guys who are graduating and staying for their [master’s degree] will still live in the house” at Zeta Psi, so there won’t be many empty beds, Yardley said. Zeta Psi is Yardley’s fraternity.

There will still be a few empty beds at Phi Sigma Kappa, but probably fewer than there currently are, said Mark A. Halsey ’04, a member of Phi Sigma Kappa.

“We will still have empty beds [at Sigma Nu]. We won’t be in immediate financial danger, but if there’s a trend of fewer [students] moving in, then it could get ugly,” Kreider said.

“I was excited to hear about the daytime SafeRide plans being approved because that makes it easier to live off campus,” Kreider added.

MIT is “encouraging fraternities to recruit all year round” to increase the number of pledges, Rogers said.

Jennifer Krishnan contributed to the reporting of this story.