MIT Presidential Task Force
on Student Life and Learning
Section II: Residence
During the Winter & Spring
(A) Increase the Focus Placed on MIT Residential Options Earlier in the Year
The winter/spring Admissions Office mailings to
prospective students and their parents need to include information that
introduces MIT's unique array of residential options. All applicants/admittees
should be specifically invited to visit our campus not only to explore
the academic environment, but to get a feel for the residential system
as well. The advantages of expanding the Overnight Program are two-fold:
To ensure the Overnight Program maintains a high
level of quality for all participants, surveys should be filled by all
prefroshes following their visit. These surveys will be used to assess
each living group's hospitality.
- FSILGs have the resources and are motivated to ensure that a prefrosh has a meaningful experience and will want to return to MIT as a student.
- The most accurate impression of a residence
may also be obtained through a casual visit during the middle of the term.
During the Summer
(B) Revamp RCA Summer Mailings
(e.g., MIT Guide to First Year Residences) to increase the amount of objective
information about each residential option available to freshmen and their
parents. Each living group's entry in the Guide will include the
following four components:
The objective information published in this Guide
will provide incentives for FSILGs to compete along positive, constructive
lines as well.
- Fact sheet including house GPA, majors represented,
cost/year, meals provided, length of pledge period, hours per week commitment,
police incidents within the last 3 years (one-line summaries), faculty
advisor / graduate resident tutor, awards received (MIT or national organization
- Objective entry written by RCA covering a
house's surveyable qualities including, but not limited to, participation
in varsity/intramural athletics, campus organization officers, extracurricular
activities represented, etc.
- Subjective entry submitted by the FSILG recruitment
- FSILG members' parent contact information
(name & phone number). These parents of FSILG members will be individually
recruited by the FSILG, and accept the willingness to talk with any freshman
parents who may have concerns about a particular living group.
(C) Provide Temporary Room Assignment Location and Phone Number to Parents Before Freshmen Arrive on Campus
This will help parents maintain better contact with their sons/daughters during
their first few days on campus.
(D) A Comprehensive Residence Selection Primer
This workshop, hosted by RCA, will take place before the start of residence
selection each fall. Its purpose will be four-fold:
- Explain the residence selection system, the
schedule, the bid process, and key questions to ask members of a living
- Review IFC and DormCon residence selection
rules (i.e. Clearinghouse, no badmouthing, etc.) and how they help freshmen
make informed decisions.
- Inform freshmen of the resources (e.g., Rush
Central, JudCom, Rho Chis, etc.) available during residence selection so
they know where to direct their questions, and how to report complaints.
- Inform freshmen of the options they have available
to them after residence selection if they are unhappy with their choice
(e.g., roommate problems, hazing complaints, etc.)
(E) Residence Midway
(structured similar to the Activities Midway and includes all FSILGs and dormitory living groups
who are interested in participating). The Residence Midway will take place
at a specified time before the start of residence selection. Each living
group would maintain a booth where a freshmen could approach and talk with
members of the living group or request printed information. All upperclassmen-freshmen
contact at this event would be initiated by the freshmen. The event would
help freshmen (especially those who did not benefit from Summer Rush) get
a feel for the various houses in a non-"hectic" environment.
During Residence Selection
(F) Combine and Expand the Functions of R/O Central and Rush Central
Effective and well-publicized
resources must be made available to freshmen in one central location to
assist them during the residence selection process. Proposals to expand
the role and increase the effectiveness of a residence selection advisory
- Greater publicity of the advisory services before
and during residence selection.
- Mandate that it be staffed by one RCA/Orientation
administrator, one FSILG member, and one dormitory resident at all times.
- Point of contact for parents wanting to locate
their sons/daughters (universal utilization of Clearinghouse or alternative
- Provide freshmen with FSILG and dormitory contact
information, Rush event schedules, maps & directions, general advice
about residence selection, etc.
- Provide freshmen with information regarding non-residence-related
events and activities around MIT and in Boston/Cambridge.
- Point of contact for freshmen wanting to speak
or file complaints with the IFC Judicial Committee.
After Residence Selection
(G) Increase Level of Upperclassmen-Freshman Parent Interaction
The IFC commits itself to help alleviate parental
concerns immediately following Rush each year by meeting and speaking with
- RCA can improve the effectiveness of Greek
101 by mandating the participation of at least one representative from
each fraternity and sorority.
- The IFC will strongly urge all FSILGs to host
Freshmen Parents Receptions/Dinners at their residences during Parents
top of page)
Placing the interests of freshmen as the top priority, the IFC will aim
to tone down the intensity and hectic nature of FSILG Rush and will continue
to take measures to ensure that the residence selection process is as positive
an experience as possible for all parties involved.
(A) Expand Residence Selection by 2 Days
Lengthen the time that FSILGs may extend bids to Monday and the time that
a bid may be accepted to Wednesday. This would provide a freshman one more
full day to "shop around" and one more full day to seriously
consider a particular FSILG which has extended him/her an invitation to
join. Another argument for clear separation of "O" and "R"
activities is that Rush has traditionally ended at the point where "O"
activities start up again.
(B) IFC Commitment to Evaluate Spending Practices on Membership Recruitment
In order to effectively tone down the intensity
of Rush, the IFC realizes the need to evaluate current spending practices.
This initiative will be further examined by the IFC Rush Chairs Council.
(C) Eliminate Hard Flushing
IFC has taken significant measures over the years to ensure that individual FSILGs treat
each freshman with respect. Toward that end the IFC has implemented many
initiatives to curb the mostly archaic practice of "flushing."
These initiatives include the drafting of an IFC Policy on Referrals, the
yearly compilation of a Referrals Guide, and mandating that every FSILG
retain a Referral Chair during Rush whose sole responsibility is to match
freshmen up with more compatible houses. To continue to ensure that "flushing"
practices are effectively removed from our system, a post-residence selection
survey should be administered to all freshmen (within their advising seminars)
that specifically prompts for (1) the name of the house which practiced
questionable treatment of a freshman and (2) a detailed description of
top of page)
Even though there are less residence options available to females, women
have generally responded more favorably than men when asked about their
R/O experiences. 4 This statistic should not preclude the Institute, through
RCA, to facilitate the process of bringing more residential options for
females to campus in order to "level the playing field". These
options would be in the form of more co-ed living groups, all-female living
groups and dormitories, and residential sororities.
All FSILGs housing freshmen must be recognized as Institute-approved housing.
Redefining and expanding the criteria that a residential FSILG must pass
in order to attain Institute-approved housing status will help ensure the
safety of students living in FSILGs. The set of criteria should be publicized
to concerned parents and faculty members as well. Sample criteria would
The IFC is proud of its diversity among and within its affiliations. According
to the 1989 Potter Report, "diversity" is already present within
FSILGs. 6 In the eight years since this report was released, the
diversity profile of FSILGs along ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, and
religious backgrounds has only improved
- Obtaining annual lodging house license &
egress inspection certificates to ensure the safety of the physical plant
of residences (fire safety, etc.).
- Compliance with Massachusetts laws and MIT
and IFC policies forbidding hazing.
- Compliance with MIT and IFC risk management
policies, including the new policy mandating that all FSILG new member
activities will be alcohol-free. 5
To further address issues regarding diversity, however, the IFC urges the
faculty and administration to evaluate methods to promote mutual understanding
and social learning in the classroom environment and in the out-of-class
settings of extracurricular activities. Leave the good friendships, the
sense of community, and the willing and available upperclass student support
that are provided by our families away from homeour living groupsintact.