After seceding in 2013, Maseeh Hall and its Executive Council (MHEC) decided to formally rejoin MIT’s Dormitory Council (DormCon) this past December. This marks the first time in over forty years that DormCon represents every dorm at MIT.
The vote (61% in favor of rejoining) was conducted during MHEC’s normal election season after almost a year of negotiation. Because rejoining DormCon required an amendment to Maseeh’s own constitution, dorm policy necessitated a resident-wide vote.
“DormCon contacted our house government to let us know that they had undergone a number of changes,” MHEC President William S. Moses ’18 said. “After a semester or two of discussion between MHEC and DormCon, the decision to rejoin was presented to the residents. Doing so required a constitutional amendment [through a] vote, which is why we are rejoining DormCon at this time.”
MHEC originally left DormCon citing “budget-related concerns,” but an MHEC member said it was a rushed, “hasty” decision, according to a Tech article published after the vote in 2013.
“Since Maseeh was a new dorm, we didn’t have that many events like Baker’s signature piano drop or the infamous East Campus rollercoaster,” current MHEC Justice Alejandro Cabrales ’18 said. “We were still paying the DormCon fee of $5 per student, but not getting that much out of it, so we chose to leave.”
DormCon President Yonadav Shavit ’16 said, “Maseeh left DormCon a little under three years ago during a difficult period in DormCon’s history. Nearly all of their former concerns have since been addressed. Primarily, DormCon’s event funding policy, which was formerly a major point of contention, has since been overhauled.”
With the addition of the Maseeh Boat Cruise in the fall and the possibility of a Maseeh Hall Formal in the spring, the dorm now has events that require heavy funding, making DormCon membership a more appealing option for MHEC. Maseeh can now publicize orientation events in the DormCon REX booklet, and DormCon’s relationship with the MIT administration may give MHEC a better way to communicate with the school itself.
“The most beneficial aspect of this for Maseeh will be collective bargaining power,” Moses said.
In particular, Maseeh can now participate in various DormCon discussions such as new dorm construction, dining plan renegotiation, and dorm security. According to Moses, when Maseeh was separate from DormCon it had usually been underrepresented in any general body meeting.
Of course, this all comes at a significant cost. Because Maseeh is the most populous dorm, the DormCon student tax would be expensive for the house government. Cabrales asserted that MHEC would pay for the tax without raising fees for Maseeh residents. Based on DormCon’s budget for this past fall, Maseeh’s dues to DormCon for about 500 students would comprise approximately 15% of the taxes leveraged by DormCon in the fall semester.
Bexley, which did not have a house government, left DormCon in 2008; Maseeh left five years after. With the demolition of Bexley and the readdition of Maseeh, DormCon now represents all MIT dorms.