Unified Proposal for an MIT Residential System

Frequently Asked Questions File

Who are you?

We are the Strategic Advisory Commitee to the Chancellor (SAC) - a group of students officially recognized by MIT to serve in an advisory role to Chancellor Larry Bacow. Our group was formed in order to assist the Chancellor in implementing the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Student Life and Learning. We also provide student input to the senior administration, through the Chancellor, on general student life issues, as they arise. SAC's membership is open to all MIT students.

What is happening with the MIT residence system?

In August 1998, President Vest declared that starting in the fall of 2001, all undergraduate freshmen will live in MIT residence halls. In response to this decision, the PTFSLL report, and a number of other pressures, MIT is conducting a comprehensive of its entire residence system. This review process will lead to significant reforms, which will in turn have a major impact on student life.

The Residence System Steering Committee, composed of students, faculty, administration, and alumni, was commissioned by MIT to manage the review process, and to propose a model under which the new system will operate. Phase I of the review process involved a community-based residence system design contest over IAP 1999. In April, the RSSC produced a "Phase II" report which represented the committee's preliminary synthesis of the best ideas from the design contest as well as from previous MIT committee reports and other studies.

April and May were spent gathering community feedback on the Phase II proposal, and the committee continued deliberations over the summer. On September 7, the RSSC released its "final" (Phase III) report for community feedback. The committee is currently taking community feedback on this report, for possible amendment before presentation to the Chancellor on or about October 1.

The results of all phases of the RSSC process so far are available on the web. The site also lists dates, times, and locations for the feedback fora, to which all members of the MIT community are invited.

What is this project?

Our group believes that depsite the best efforts of RSSC and a tremendous amount of work by its members, the final report does not describe the best overall residence system MIT could offer its students.

Instead of commenting on the final RSSC report by proposing amendments, we have chosen to undertake the formidable task of creating our own report within the next three weeks. We wish to present a clear, complete, and consistent model of the best residence system possible that satifies the goals of the PTSFLL report, the practical constraints that face the Institute, and, most importantly, the needs of the student body.

We believe we can accomplish this ambitious goal only because we have a large number of highly motiviated student members, many of whom have been intimately involved in the reform process for the past two years.

What is the timeline of this project?

Tues., Sept. 14 At its first meeting of the term, SAC commits itself to producing an alternative residence system design, and creates teams to work on specific pieces of the report. SAC also approves a working outline, which covers an appropriately broader range of recommendations than RSSC's final report.
Wed., Sept. 15
- Wed. Oct. 6
Drafts are created by teams and gain committee approval. Meeting minutes and dreafts are posted to the web for immediate community feedback.
Fri. Oct 1

Press release sent to local media and community, advertising that drafts for all sections have been posted to the web.

Tues., Oct. 5 RSSC presents amended Phase III report to Chancellor Bacow.
Thurs., Oct. 7

Official release of Version 1.0.

SAC presentation to Chancellor Bacow.

Tues., Oct. 12 Continuation of SAC presentation to Chancellor Bacow.
Fri., Oct. 15 Scheduled release of Version 1.4.
Mon., Oct. 18 Open Feedback Forum, 5pm-6:30pm, 6-120
Fri., Oct. 22 Scheduled release date of Version 2.0
Mon., Oct. 25 Formal presentation of Version 2.0 (3:30-5pm, 4-237) and on-campus distribution.

See our homepage to get the latest version of our report. Community input is encouraged at all points of the process from our Feedback section.

Will the Unified Proposal reflect what the student body really wants?

Yes, dammit.

To construct this report, we are starting by assembling a list of all the housing-related needs that students have expressed in the countless surveys and focus groups that have been conducted over the past decade, and in particular, in the past two years. Our recommendations are being specifically engineered from the bottom up to meet those specific needs, not to force "top-down" solutions created in a theoretical landscape.

We are also actively soliciting continuous community input on our design. Our most important goal is to find a credible solution that satisfies as many of the "end users" of the "product" as possible - namely, the faculty, staff, administration, and most importantly, the students of MIT.

How can I influence the report?

  1. Get the latest on our proposal. (Updated frequently!)
  2. Send us feedback!

Will my feedback matter?


Our primary responsibility is to give the students of MIT and the great Institute community the best residence system possible, as defined by the people who will be using it.

We will read all feedback and take your comments into account in the design process. We will make substantive responses to questions and objections as quickly as humanly possible. We will make every effort to justify any points you may care to call into question, and we are willing adjust our recommendations as necessary. Throughout the process, we will try to illuminate as much of our reasoning as is possible in the time we have.

Is this project officially commissioned by MIT or any of the student governments?

While SAC is officially recognized by the Institute, we are entirely student-run, and this project is not being done at the request of the administration. The decision-making process has been designed to include significant input from groups such as the Undergraduate Association, the Graduate Student Council, the Dormitory Council, the InterFraternity Council, the Living Group Council, and the Association of Student Activities, and ILTFP as well as members at large of the MIT community. Our membership includes representatives (some official, some unofficial) from all of these groups.

We actively encourage feedback, criticisms, and endorsements from student governments, or indeed, any interested individuals or organizations in the MIT community.

How can I participate further in the reform effort and/or stay informed about future developments?

Join a mailing list!

On Athena, you can use the mailmaint command to add yourself to the following, or send e-mail to talk-request@mit.edu. Please do not send subscription requests to these lists, but only to talk-request@mit.edu. Subscription status changes can be made at any time, but will take effect only after the next mail server update. This happens once a day, sometime between midnight and 2am.

If you'd like to be even more involved, join SAC! We are an open committee for MIT students. If you would like to join us, e-mail advise-feedback@mit.edu, and we'll be in touch with you shortly.