2. Executive Summary
1. Objectives of the Residence System
We recognize three major objectives of the
1. House. On the most fundamental
level, MIT must provide housing for its students. This housing must
be safe, clean, and affordable.
2. Home. The residence system
must support its students psychologically. Students must be able to
find the close friendships that will support them during their stay at
the Institute and beyond. On a larger scale, they must find
residential communities that support their well-being.
3. Community. We support the
recommendations of the Task Force and the Clay Committee in that the
residence system needs to be a pillar in MIT's efforts to encourage
community interaction and provide informal but invaluable educational
2. Community Interaction and Student Support
1. Faculty and staff must recognize the
value of participating in the residence system, and ensure that
students have enough time to do so. The faculty must rigorously
enforce existing academic regulations, and departments should
carefully consider the content and instruction quality of their
2. The recommendations of the Institute
Dining Review should be implemented and fully funded.
3. The Faculty fellows program should be
greatly expanded. $25,000 per year should be devoted to
4. Living groups should be responsible
for at least one community-wide event per year, which would be funded
5. A "Student Development
Program" should provide instruction and internships in
leadership, communications, and management skills. The program would
also find internships for students wishing to build leadership
6. MIT should support the creation of an
informal network of peer advisors throughout the living groups.
7. Graduate Residents should receive
substantial peer counseling and conflict-resolution training.
8. MIT should provide a variety of
rewards and recognition for people participating in the residence
system, including publicity in Technology Review.
9. As part of the tenure process, junior
faculty should be able to submit recommendations testifying to their
contributions to student life.
3. Capital Expenditures
We recommend completion of the following
capital projects beyond those currently given in MIT's Capital Plan.
These projects are staggered in three stages.
1. To be completed (or have
funding earmarked) by the summer of 2001.
A. Renovations to reopen dining halls and
create new community space: $15 MM
B. Funds to renovate FSILG's and buy or
rent bed spaces from FSILG's: $30 MM
C. Near-term renovations to Stratton
Center and Walker Memorial: $5.5 MM
Total, Phase I: $50.5 MM
2. To be completed by the summer
A. 500-bed graduate dormitory: $50 MM
B. 400-bed undergraduate / flexible
dormitory: $40 MM
C. Housing Renewal and Renovation Plan,
Phase 2: $6 MM
D. Renovations to East Campus: $25.5
E. Renovations to Stratton Center: $2 MM
Total, Phase II: $123.5 MM
3. To be completed by the summer of
A. Second 500-bed graduate dormitory: $50
B. Housing Renewal and Renovation Plan,
Phase 3: $18.5MM
C. Walker Memorial Renovations: $31 MM
Total, Phase II: $99.5 MM
Total, all phases: $273.5
4. Governance and Management
We propose several new programs and
policies that will help bring about successful oversight of the
1. The MIT senior administration, ODSUE,
student governments, faculty committees, and housemasters should
jointly hold a conference in Spring 2000. This conference should: (1)
assign the responsibilities for oversight and management of the
residential system to the conference parties, and (2) define how the
parties shall communicate with each other on pending issues and
2. A Student Life Council should be
responsible for strategic planning for the student life system,
monitoring student quality of life issues, and supervising
community-wide programming. The Council would include six students,
four faculty, and four administrators, including the Deans for Student
Life and Undergraduate Education.
3. The Student Life Council should be
responsible for monitoring the state of the residence system, and run
annual surveys, focus groups, and facilities inspections to do so.
4. All senior administrators responsible
for the welfare of the student life system should be eligible to
receive a bonus based on the status of the student life system, and
achievement of system goals The bonus regularly achievable would be
10-15% of the administrator's base salary, with greater bonuses being
awarded for exceptional performance. Bonuses would be decided by
committees established by the MIT Corporation.
5. Student life decision-making should be
done in accordance with modern project and process management
5. Orientation and Residence Selection
We believe that these recommendations would
best foster the goals of providing a supportive home for freshmen as
well as providing for community interaction.
1. Residence Hall Selection
A. Freshmen should receive information
about residence halls over the summer, and would pre-select a
residence hall or theme house.
B. During orientation, time should be set
aside for freshmen to tour the residence halls. Freshmen would then
confirm their summer choice of residence, or enter a lottery with a
new ranking of residence halls. In this new lottery, two freshmen may
staple their choices together.
C. Following this second lottery,
dormitories should do internal rooming assignments by a mechanism
determined by the dormitory governments and approved by the Student
Life Council. During rooming assignments, entries and suites may
request that particular freshmen to live with them, but may not
prevent a freshman from living with them. Information about which
freshmen have received positive requests shall be confidential.
A. Freshmen should not be required to pay
additional fees to participate in Pre-Orientation programs.
B. We recommend a variety of new
activities during Orientation (see report for details). Primary among
these are a Carnival, explorations of Boston, a joint picnic with
other colleges, and sessions that will discuss student resources that
every incoming student should know about. We also recommend that
Parents' Weekend be moved to the start of Orientation.
3. Theme Houses
A. A limited number of theme houses would
be a valuable addition to the MIT community. However, new houses must
contribute to the diversity of the system, and must reinforce MIT's
B. Houses should be given a choice of two
options for recruiting new members. Houses may recruit rising
sophomores, much as independent living groups do. Alternately, houses
may require incoming freshmen to meet with a house leader and sign a
form committing them to the house duties required for active
4. Recruitment and Selection for
Independent Living Groups
A. The Interfraternity Council, in
consultation with the Residential Life Office and the Student Life
Council, should set guidelines for the new member recruitment and
B. The Institute should make every effort
to encourage freshmen to consider their upper-class housing options
and to facilitate and support that process.
5. Fall and Spring Residence
A. MIT should actively support voluntary
moves within the residence system for all residents, not just
sophomores. Any undergraduate should be able to request a move
quickly and easily.
B. A dormitory lottery should be held in
November of the fall term and March of the spring term. These
lotteries should be mandatory for all dormitory residents, with one
option being the guaranteed confirmation of their current residence.
6. Housing Guarantee
Housing must be guaranteed for four years
to all undergraduates. In the event of short-term population
distortions due to the evolution of the FSILG system and dormitory
lotteries, we recommend the following measures be taken (in order of
A. Provide incentives for students to
move to residences that are underutilized, including FSILG's.
B. Crowd existing dormitory space and
spread such crowding as evenly as possible between residence halls.
C. Rent non-residence hall space for
7. Support for Independent Living
A. Starting in June 2001, MIT should
transfer funds to each FSILG equal to 25% of total house capacity
times the standard housebill. This subsidy should decline to zero
over six years.
B. Independent houses that are in
particular financial trouble may apply for special funding.
C. MIT should support any single-sex
fraternity which wishes to become coeducational. This support may
include the purchase of the current chapter house from the
fraternity's national organization.
D. FSILG's should have the option of
being listed as graduate housing options in MIT's publications for
E. MIT should provide logistical support
to FSILG's that wish to move closer to campus.
6. Special Notes
1. Requiring Freshmen to Live in
The Committee makes no claims about the
desirability of having freshmen living on campus. We did not consider
any options that had freshmen living in ILG's.
2. Graduate Students
The Committee recommends that a separate
community-based committee redesign the graduate housing system.
However, we are adamant that the $100 million-plus in capital for
graduate student housing be provided on schedule.