Revision History
Oct. 6, 1999 * John Hollywood * 2nd draft
Oct. 7, 1999 * Jake Parrott * Copy-edit

2. Executive Summary

1. Objectives of the Residence System

We recognize three major objectives of the residential system.

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 experiences.

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. Existing academic regulations must be rigorously enforced, and departments should carefully consider the content and instruction quality of their subjects.

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 faculty-student activities.

4. Living groups should be responsible for at least one community-wide event per year, which would be funded by MIT.

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 skills.

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 of 2004.

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 MM

E. Renovations to Stratton Center: $2 MM

Total, Phase II: $123.5 MM

3. To be completed by the summer of 2009.

A. Second 500-bed graduate dormitory: $50 MM

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 MM

4. Governance and Management

We propose several new programs and policies that will help bring about successful oversight of the residential system.

1. The MIT senior administration, ODSUE, student governments, faculty committees, and housemasters should jointly hold a conference in Spring 1999. This conference should: (1) assign the responsibilities for oversight and management of the residential system to the conference parties, and (2) defines how the parties shall communicate with each other on pending issues and resolve disputes.

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 Dean 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 techniques.

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.

2. Orientation

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 educational mission.

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 membership.

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 selection process.

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 Lotteries

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 preference):

A. Provide incentives for students to move to residences that are under utilized, 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 undergraduates.

7. Support for Independent Living Groups

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 graduate students.

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 Residence Halls

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.