Representatives from Maseeh appeared at a recent Dormitory Council (DormCon) meeting for the first time since Maseeh seceded from the council in 2013, but Maseeh executives claim that they are not actively seeking to rejoin.
DormCon, MIT’s governing body for undergraduate residences, serves as an advocacy group as well as a pool of resources for campus-wide events such as Baker’s Piano Drop and Campus Preview Weekend. The presidents of each dorm serve as the organization’s voting members.
Maseeh Vice President Sydney E. Hodges ’15, who was present at the DormCon meeting, sought only to familiarize herself with DormCon and what Maseeh could gain from it. “It was more of an educational experience rather than a ‘We’re really thinking about rejoining,’” she said.
The Maseeh Hall Executive Council (MHEC) currently has no timeline for initiating a large movement to rejoin DormCon. Maseeh president Austin D. Fathman ’14 pointed out that, with elections for Maseeh’s student government coming up in November, the decision will be passed on to the next administration. The process itself, however, would be fairly simple — only a majority vote is needed within DormCon for Maseeh to regain standing.
Maseeh seceded from DormCon in the spring of 2013 citing “budget-related and representation concerns,” according to a Tech article written at the time. Fathman, who was a voting member at large in the 4-3 decision and voted in favor of secession, said he has not changed his stance. “We want to be a part of the rest of the dorms and have support and give support; however, there’s two sides to DormCon — there’s the advocacy, and then there’s the large event funding, and that’s the side we didn’t feel was apportioned correctly.”
DormCon collects a tax of five dollars per student per semester, which means that Maseeh, with almost 500 residents, would be paying nearly $5,000 a year to DormCon — about a sixth of their budget. Only a fraction of Maseeh’s dues returned to the dorm in the form of event funding from DormCon during its membership. Fathman said, “One year, we got… $2,000 back.”
According to the DormCon meeting minutes, members said that DormCon provides benefits for each residence because of its powerful position as a voice for all dorms. In addition, they underscored that DormCon members can receive connections to administrators and advance warning of things going on in other dorms, among other benefits. However, members also mentioned that it makes it hard for DormCon to coordinate without the representation of Maseeh.
Until Maseeh’s secession, former MIT dorm Bexley had been the only dorm to not to participate in Dormcon.
Maseeh will continue to send representatives to the biweekly meetings, breaking a one-and-a-half year long hiatus. Hodges said that their current plan is to “join our voice with theirs without the more financial obligations.”
“Right now, we’re very content,” she added.