MIT Libraries

Archives Home


MIT libraries MIT Libraries
Institute Archives & Special Collections

MIT Housing 1916-1997: A Chronology of
Events, Reports and Other Publications
January 1998

Prepared by:
Helen W. Samuels, Special Assistant to the Associate Provost
Liz Andrews, Reference Archivist, Institute Archives, MIT Libraries
Staff of the MIT Planning Office

Bold face indicates major housing reports.
*Date indicates that the item has been located, the citation or fact verified, and relevant materials have been placed in the "Chronology of MIT Housing Developments" vertical file in the Institute Archives.
For locations of buildings, see MIT Campus Map (may take some time to load).

The following chronology cannot hope to be a complete record of all housing related committees, studies, reports and activities. The aim has been to emphasize the major reports and indicate other known relevant information. Among the material that supplements the following are the reports of the Corporation Visiting Committee, periodic results of quality of life surveys of the students, and the internal correspondence and reports found in many administrative records housed in the Institute Archives and Special Collections of the MIT Libraries.


*1913 Construction of new Cambridge campus commences.
MIT Corporation Executive Committee, 10 March 1913, receives letter from the Alumni Association Committee on Student Housing with suggestions about dormitories planned for the new campus.
*1915 MIT Executive Committee of the Corporation accepts final plan for student dormitory (E2, E3 - now Senior House), 22 November 1915.
*1916 President Maclaurin offers space in two units of the dormitory under construction (E2, E3) to fraternities, January 1916.
*1916 MIT moves from Boston to the new Cambridge campus, June 1916.
*1916 Building E2, E3 initially occupied, July 1916.
*1923 Report of the Joint Dormitory Board, March 1923. President Samuel Stratton had appointed the Board, composed of students, alumni, administrators, and faculty and asked them to review the experiences of the past five years and make recommendations about future plans. The Board recommended that space no longer be given to fraternities and graduate students, and that the dormitories house a mix of undergraduates from each class.
*1923 9 June 1923, Class of 1893 pledges $100,000 toward the building of an additional student dormitory (Building 64) with construction to commence in September.
*1924 East Campus Class of 1893 dormitory (Building 64) occupied, April 1924
*1931 East Campus dormitory (Building 62) occupied, fall 1931.
*1933 Buildings E2, E3 become the "Graduate House" with Professor Ashdown as the Housemaster.
*1937 Institute purchases Riverbank Court Hotel (W1), on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Memorial Drive, for use as a graduate house (later called Ashdown House). Intended to alleviate the need to use E2, E3 for graduate housing.
*1939 Ashdown House (W1) initially occupied.
*1939 Bexley Hall (W13) purchased and then first occupied in September 1939.
*1945 Institute purchases 120 Bay State Road, in Boston, for use as a dormitory for women, summer 1945; occupied 5 November 1945 for the opening of the fall semester.
*1945 Decision to provide veterans housing for postwar student boom. Housing Bureau opened to help students find housing and 100 units of temporary housing for veterans and their families (Westgate) were planned.
*1946 First Westgate units occupied in spring; naval huts were brought from Rhode Island, rebuilt, and occupied as Westgate West.
*1946 During the academic year 1946-1947, the Institute converted The Barracks (Building 22 - a temporary war research laboratory) into housing for 600 students.
*1946 Executive Committee of the Corporation decides to build a new dormitory, to be designed by Alvar Aalto (Baker House).
*1948 100 Memorial Drive land leased to NE Mutual Life for 60 years to build apartments to encourage MIT faculty and staff to live near the campus.
*1949 Report of the Committee on Educational Survey, "Lewis Committee Report."

Reference: T171.M42k.C72 1949 Archives Reference and Barker Library

Major outcome: Addressed issues such as the role of faculty in non-curricular matters. Within their educational objectives, the Lewis Committee called for the provision of housing on or near campus for students, staff and faculty, and proposed the development of a physical plan which would consolidate residential life on the West Campus and academic and administrative activities on the East Campus. Housing was perceived as a way to support and encourage the values and goals of MIT's new residential academic community such as student individuality, diversity, and personal growth.

*1949 Baker House (W7) first occupied.
*1950 Riverside Apartment Hotel (420 Memorial Drive) purchased by MIT on 8 March 1950. Would become Burton-Connor (W51).
*1951 Rules and Regulations of the Faculty, September 1951. Contains first mention of the Committee on Student Environment.
The Committee "shall consist of the Dean of Students as Chairman, the Dean of Freshman, six elected members, and a non-voting member appointed annually by and from the Committee on Undergraduate Policy. It shall be concerned with student life, especially with non-academic features that have a direct bearing on the education of the student as a citizen and a member of the Institute community. At its discretion, the Committee may invite the participation of representatives of the student body."
*1951 Report of the Corporation Ad Hoc Committee on Fraternity Housing, "Carpenter Committee," spring 1951, (reproduced in Ryer Report)

Conclusions: Institute land should be made available to fraternities. MIT should provide no financial assistance. Supervision by the Institute should be limited to financial and architectural supervision, and actions which may be required to prevent the impairment of the good name and reputation of MIT.

*1953 Report of the Student Environment Committee to the Committee on Undergraduate Policy, July 1953. "As its first task, the Committee on Student Environment has attempted to formulate a brief statement of the objectives of education, mainly outside of the area covered by the curriculum, for its guidance in weighing proposals affecting student environment. These objectives [are] described as physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social, and civic."
*1954 The Scope of Activities of the Committee on Student Environment, December 1954. From CSE to CUP. Statements in this document are reaffirmed in Memorandum, March 1955.

Charge: Studied questions of the relative responsibilities and authority of faculty, administration and student body in environmental matters and the role of the Committee on Student Environment.

Recommendations: Reaffirmed the responsibility of the Faculty to participate in shaping policy on environmental programs, and the particular obligations of the Committee on Student Environment in these matters. The Committee concluded that their proper role included:
A continual review of the established environmental programs from the point of view of their effectiveness in relation to broad educational objectives.
Running discussions, including speculation and theorizing, and looking towards recommendations for innovations.
Acting as a board with which the Dean (as well as students, staff and others) might raise questions for discussion.
Performing these functions, the Committee would act as inspector, critic, sounding board and counsel, and would make recommendations and hoist danger signals, as they appear necessary.

*1955 Committee on Student Environment - Statement on the education considerations relative to student housing, June 1955.
*1955 Committee on Student Environment, November 29, 1955: "The Faculty has a stake in all decisions which affect [extra-class student life]....There is a widespread desire within the Faculty to participate directly in extra-class activities and to develop a more intimate rapport with the student body." Quoted in Ryer report, p. 22
*1956 Report of the Faculty Committee on Student Housing to the President, the Executive Committee of the Corporation and the Corporation, "Ryer Report." Page 16-18 of the report is a history of residential housing at MIT. Also includes a bibliography of previous reports, memos and speeches used by the Committee. Includes "Statement by the Faculty Committee on Student Environment," as App. I, 87-93.

Reference: T171.M4233.S78 1956 Archives Reference, Rotch Library and Library Storage Annex.

Charge: Committee charged by President Killian to make recommendations about how to, "develop a residential system which has as its primary function the furtherance of the education of our students."

Recommendations: Develop a graduate center east of the main educational buildings. (Utilize and add to existing East Campus housing.)
Initiate a major program to improve the West Campus houses. (Convert existing graduate to undergraduate housing; construct new dorm for 400 students as well as a student center.)
Continue the practice of having living groups legislate and administer their own rules.
Continue to study the question of adequate housing and facilities for women students.
Consolidate campus residential life on West campus, and academic activities on East campus.

Quotes: Responsibility of the Institute - The best performance today of the purposes for which the Institute was chartered by the Commonwealth in 1861 is facilitated by the provision of residence on campus for as many students as possible. The potentialities which such residence affords for mental stimulation, social development, and maturing responsibility among student, for closer relationship between students and Faculty, and for general participation in a widening range of intellectual, aesthetic, and recreational community affairs are increasingly being realized. Full achievement of all of them is a prime goal of the whole endeavor. This is the basic philosophical reason for a residential system.
Responsibility of the Faculty - As the residential system of the Institute is expanded and becomes further stabilized and consolidates as part of the non-curricular educational program, consideration should be given to increasing the number of Faculty Residents sufficiently to reduce the number of students per Resident.

*1957 Demolition of Westgate and Westgate West begins in the fall of 1957 and was completed in 1959.
*1958 Report of the Committee on the Future of the Graduate School, "Morse Committee." February 1958

Reference: T171.M42h.R46 1958 Archives Reference

Charge: In November 1956 Chancellor Stratton asked an ad hoc committee chaired by Professor Philip Morse to study the future of the Graduate School. Although recommendations on certain specific topics related to housing were desired, it was agreed that these could be provided only in the context of a wider inquiry of graduate education.

Conclusions and recommendations relevant to housing: Establish a graduate center that will promote a sense of community among graduate students and scholars by providing residences for unmarried students, dining facilities, seminar and recreational facilities.

Major outcome: This report resulted in the establishment of the Bush-Brown Committee (1960) which made recommendations for a Graduate Student Center with a residential capacity of 600 students.

1959 Myrle, Dennis H. The Scholastic Problem in MIT Fraternities. S.B. thesis, School of Industrial Management, June 1959.
*1960 Annual Report of the President (pages 33- 35) included the following quote by Dr. Julius A. Stratton about the residential system:
"Undergraduate residence, to do its full share in education of students, must be planned, implemented, and operated in such fashion as to ensure its being both constructive and creative. If constructive, it assures the student of a comfortable establishment in which to live, where conditions are fit for the hard work of study, where time-consuming domestic chores are at a minimum, where, in short, his energies are set as free as possible for the work of education which brought him to the Institute. If creative, undergraduate residence gives the student an environment and associations which will evoke greater effort and better thinking on his part. It provides him with stimulating new ideas and points of view, it calls on him to accept responsibility for his and others' conduct and it sustains him with a sense of continuity and stability."
*1960 Burton Hall (W51) dining room added.
1960 A Graduate Center for MIT, 1960. "Bush- Brown Committee on Graduate Center". Proposed the construction of a graduate center and housing for 50% of graduate and married students. The Graduate Center was not constructed because of strains on the Institute's resources.
1960 Planning for MIT, 1960. Prepared by the MIT Planning Office for The Planning Committee. "The Long-Range Plan."

Background and recommendations: This report addresses facility and housing needs in anticipation of a steady population growth reaching nearly 16,000 students, faculty and staff by 1975. One of the recommendations for managing future growth and guiding development in this plan is for MIT to "develop a complete community on its campus to include academic, research, and residential and recreational areas." The housing component of this plan advocates making housing, "a vital part of an education at the Institute..." The authors of this plan addressed complex housing issues such as accommodating a growing number of married graduate students and providing a meaningful residential program where undergraduate and graduate students could benefit from a more comprehensive educational experience.

*1960 Sussmann, Leila. The Class of 1961: Freshman Morale at MIT. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1960.

Reference: T171.M424.S964 Archives Reference

*1961 MIT Planning Office.A Graduate College for MIT. 1961.

Reference: T171.M4234 1961 Rotch Library

*1961 Senior House (E2) renovated.
*1961 Units in Burton House (W51 - 410 Memorial Drive) renovated.
*1962 Stratton, Julius A.The Institute and Its Fraternities, a Progress Report. Reproduced in the 1963 Committee on Student Environment Interim Housing Report, App. A.
*1962 Report by Dean Fassett at the 19 December 1962 meeting of the Faculty on the developing residence system. "Dean Fassett spoke of improvements in physical facilities in many of the dormitories, and the growth of the system of Masters and Tutors in residence. There was still a need for more facilities for graduate as well as undergraduate students."
*1963 McCormick Hall (W4) west wing completed. Women undergraduate (and graduate students initially).
*1963 Committee on Student Environment Report. (Versions appear both as) Committee on Student Environment Interim Housing Report (and) An Interim Report on Housing for Undergraduate Men at MIT, November 1963. Robert Hansen and Samuel Mason, Chairmen. Also referred to as the "1965 Planning Office Report." Report was discussed at 19 February 1964 Faculty meeting.

Reference: T171.M424.K56 1963 Archives Reference.

Charge: As part of a major reexamination of undergraduate education initiated by the Committee on Education Policy during 1961-62, the Committee on Student Environment was asked to study the undergraduate residence system. The Committee limited itself to the examination of undergraduate housing for single men at MIT. (The academic study that paralleled this work was the Committee on Curriculum Content Planning chaired by Professor Jerrold Zacharias.)

Recommendations: The study reconfirmed that MIT's "undergraduate residential system is a strong instrument with which we may pursue important educational goals," and supported the present flexibility provided to students through the Institute-owned, fraternity, and independent living groups. The study also reconfirmed the Institute's policy of requiring all single male freshman to live in an Institute- owned house, a recognized fraternity house, or at home.
The study articulated the following shortcomings and needs:
The quality and character of the residential system are not consistent with those of the academic programs.
Significant need to accommodate an additional 600 students and renovate existing dormitory space.
Encourage programs that will involve more faculty members in the residential system. Expand the Housemaster-Tutor program and establish non-resident "Faculty Fellows" of each house. The Housemaster-Tutor program should be funded as an academic expense--not as part of the students' residential charges.
Each house--new or old--should be developed as a complete residential unit with common lounges, dining rooms, libraries, and recreation space.

*1963 Westgate (W85) completed and first occupied in August 1963. Replacement for temporary married student housing.
1964 Graduate Residence Report, Planning Office.
*1964 Burton House (W51 - 420 Memorial Drive) renovated.
*1965 MIT Planning Office. Housing for Undergraduate Men: A Program. Issued in 1965 and revised in 1969.

Reference: T171.M4234.H6 1969 Rotch Library

*1967 Committee on Student Environment. Update report presented at the 15 February 1967 Faculty meeting. Discussion of their current priorities: Renovation of Burton and East Campus, and student participation in decision-making.
1967 Cohen, Karen. Graduate Student Housing at MIT. Master's thesis, August 1967.
1967 Taylor, James W. A Comparison of Academic and Non- academic Variables in Three MIT Living Groups. Master's thesis, Sloan, February 1967.
*1967 Eastgate (E55) completed and first occupied in August 1967. Married student and staff housing.
1968 Outline of a Program to Meet the Housing Needs of the MIT Community, 1968-1970, Planning Office, "1968 Long Range Plan." (April 1968)

Background and recommendations: This report was written as the nucleus of a plan of action to meet MIT's housing needs. It focuses on recognized groups within the MIT community who need housing such as undergraduate men and women in Institute and independent housing, as well as graduate students, married students, faculty and staff.

*1968 Update report on residential program and problems in the area of sexual behavior, alcohol, narcotics and student activism. 17 January 1968 Faculty Meeting. Dean Wadleigh stated the "conviction that whatever improvements are made in the curriculum, the full potential of students cannot be developed until a better environment is provided for their out of class hours." He depicted off-campus housing as increasingly unsatisfactory and dormitory housing as woefully inadequate except in the case of the female students. The Dean also, "invited faculty participation in handling...the use of alcohol where it is possible to have a wet campus in the face of partially prohibitory legislation...."
*1968 McCormick Hall II - East Wing completed and occupied. Undergraduate and Graduate housing.
*1968 Random Hall (NW61) opened. Undergraduate and graduate housing.
*1969 Parietal rules were abolished by a vote of the Executive Committee of the Corporation (6 March 1969) upon joint recommendation by the CSE and the Dean's Office. This step paved the way for developing co-ed living plans.
*1969 Statement of Goals and Objectives for MIT Housing. MIT Planning Office. Excerpts from various Institute reports, December 1969.

Reference: T171.M4234 1969 Rotch Library

*1970 MacGregor House (W61) first occupied in September 1970. Undergraduate housing.
1970 Cook, Nathan, et al. Status and Evaluation of the Faculty/Tutorial Residence Program at MacGregor House. December 1970.
1970 Survey of faculty, staff and graduate student housing needs.
1970 Dowds, R. Philip. Relationships between Physical and Social Structure in Baker House. Term paper for 11.34, Psychology of the Environment, 18 December 1970.
1970 Lambrinides, Margaret. The Organizational and Psychological Effects of Student Housing on Students. Master's thesis, Sloan, June 1970.
1971 MIT housing program survey: faculty, staff and graduate students, 1971. MIT Planning Office.

Background and recommendations: This survey identifies and describes housing needs and markets for faculty, staff and graduate students in order to better inform the housing planning process. The results of this work served as the foundation for the Institute's goal of housing 50% of the graduate student community in Institute sponsored housing.

*1971 Sommerkorn, Ingrid N. Education and Student Residence: MIT's Undergraduate Residential Program Re-considered. Report for the Committee on Student Environment. Sommerkorn was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology, working within the Program for Educational and Social Psychiatry of the Education Research Center. It is not clear if this report was requested by or just submitted to the Committee on Student Environment. However, the 1973 CSE report reveals that the Committee used Sommerkorn's work.

Reference: T171.M4234.S6 Archives Reference

1971 Hemmelstein, Joel. M. The Effect of Residence on the Socialization of the MIT Undergraduate. Master's thesis, Sloan, February 1971.
*1971 Burton House (W51) renovation completed in September 1971. Undergraduate housing.
*1973 Tang Hall (W84) first occupied in 1973. Single graduate housing.
*1973 Undergraduate Housing in the '70's, Committee on Student Environment second interim report on Undergraduate Housing. March 1963. Summary circulated for discussion at May 1973 Faculty meeting.

Reference: T171.M4234 1973 Archives Reference and Rotch Library

Charge: By the late 1960's the Committee on Student Environment recognized that the rapid changes in social mores during the 1960's and "the concurrent changes in the character, interests, and expectations of the undergraduate body have led to increasing doubts as to whether the 1963 recommendations are still appropriate, or are now out of date. Accordingly, in November 1969, the CSE agreed to begin preparing a new housing report. The Committee confined itself to a reexamination of the undergraduate house system.

Recommendations: The main social goals of a residential system are to give each student the maximum opportunity to find an individual life style that is best suited to his/her own temperament, needs and goals, and to encourage maximum interaction among diverse students.
The potential of the residential system to play a significant role in the educational life of MIT undergraduates is hampered by the character of both the formal and the hidden curriculum, and such features as the emphasis on competitiveness, grades, and the accumulation of credits. However, the report encourages educational activities (seminars, experimental programs, etc.) within the houses.
Strong support is given to any efforts that would increase the number and effectiveness of non-resident faculty associates for the living groups.
A new and more flexible housing policy was recommended that would encourage the notion that changing from one house to another with a different physical and social style is perfectly natural and appropriate.
The belief that it is desirable for freshman and upperclassmen to live together was reaffirmed. But freshman should no longer be required to live on campus, but should be strongly encouraged to do so.
Highest priority must be given to the construction of new student residences.
While the Institute should try to encourage the mixing of different races, ethnic groups and life styles, this integration should not be enforced or required.
Coeducational living should continue to develop, but the community should address the question of whether the same environmental features are equally appropriate for male and female students.

Major outcome: The recommendations made in this report resulted in the construction of New House in 1975. The aim was to produce housing units that functioned independently and within a larger residence.

*1976 New West Campus Houses (W78 - 471-476 Memorial Drive) completed and first occupied in 1976. Undergraduate housing includes Spanish, Russian, German and French Houses.
*1976 Committee on Student Environment. Membership of committee and process altered. Discussed at 19 May 1976 Faculty meeting increasing student participation to three undergraduate and three graduate students.
*1978 Graduate Student Life at MIT 1978: Recommendations for Improvements. "Dober Report." Ad Hoc Study Committee, 15 October 1978. In the area of physical space the report called for a graduate center that would "support graduate student life and foster contacts." Though the study did not specifically address housing issues it did include the comment that, "the quality and availability of housing for graduate students has worsened in recent years and that this aspect of graduate student life deserves early attention."
*1979 Report of the Committee on Campus Dining, October 1979 (John G. Kassakian, Chairman)

Charge: In response to frequently voiced dissatisfaction with various aspects of the meal plans, costs and quality of the food, Chancellor Paul Gray asked the Committee to assess the current system, assess university's responsibilities and explore alternatives.

Recommendations: The report reaffirmed the need to preserve diversity in the residence/dining options, but acknowledged that not every House can provide all dining options.
Steps should be taken to improve the flexibility, convenience, and financial equity of the dining plan offerings.
Students who do their own cooking must reside in Houses with properly maintained and regularly updated kitchen facilities (Burton House, New House, Senior House, Bexley Hall, Random Hall).
Students in Houses associated with dining rooms would be required to subscribe to one of several contract meal-plans which would provide about half or more of students' weekly meals, and the dining room would become an important focal point for the residential program.

*1979 Dober and Associates. Next House: A Report from the MIT Program Planning Group, 1979.

Reference: T171.M4234.D6 1979 Archives Reference and Rotch Library

*1981 Faculty meeting, 18 March 1981. President Gray announced that MIT will move to full implementation by 1985 of its housing policy that calls for guaranteed housing for undergraduates.
*1981 500 Memorial Drive (W71) Next House completed and first occupied in August 1981. Undergraduate housing.
*1982 Green Hall (W5) was the MIT Infirmary until February 1982, then renovated to serve as undergraduate dormitory.
*1982 MIT Graduate Student Housing: Tenure and Access Policy. Prepared by the Administrative Housing Group in the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs. Explores policy options for effective use of existing graduate housing by controlling length of stay of residents (tenure) and eligibility of certain categories of students (access). This report emphasized MIT's "significant unmet demand for on- campus or close-to-campus housing.

Major outcome: MIT established a revolving housing fund to finance future graduate student housing. The revolving fund was financed through the gradual increase of MIT's rents to approximately 90% of their market value and the equalization of these rents across campus housing.

*1983 Exit Interview of Graduating Seniors, 1983. Results of interviews to ascertain aspects of "quality of life issues" including resident life, student services and race relations.
*1984 The Quality of Student Life Survey: A Questionnaire to Examine the Physical and Social Environment at MIT. Prepared by the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs, 1984.

Reference: T171.M2424.Q35 1984 Archives Reference

*1986 Report to the Faculty on graduate housing issues (Housing subgroup of FPC). Discussed at 21 May 1986 Faculty meeting. Urged MIT administration to define long-range plan for graduate housing that, ideally would provide housing for at least 40-50% of the graduate students, and be coupled to the expected future size of graduate enrollments.
1987 Housing Site Inventory: A Physical Planning Context for the Analysis of Housing Options, January 1987. David Dixon and Associates, MIT Planning Office.

Background and recommendations: This report was prepared in response to MIT's "clear need for significant expansion of the supply of new housing available to serve graduate students, faculty and staff," and details possible housing options to meet MIT's future housing needs on Institute owned or controlled property. This report identifies 13 potential sites for new housing including 11 off-campus and 2 on-campus parcels.

Major outcome: This report inventoried the developmental capacity of MIT owned or controlled sites and matched them with MIT's housing goals. The analysis indicated that the Institute could meet its housing obligation for students, faculty and staff specifically to accommodate 50% of the graduate student body in Institute sponsored housing. Since that time the zoning has changed, and the developmental capability of the property has been reduced approximately 50% and further analysis is required to understand the impact of this rezoning in MIT's development capability.

1987 Report on the 1986 Graduate Student Survey, March 1987. Graduate Student Council, The Academics Projects and Policies Committee. The members of the GSC conducted a survey of graduate students to measure their satisfaction with MIT's academic and social experience. The report identified key graduate student concerns including: lack of sufficient on-campus housing; no clear recourse to express grievances; limited time to spend with advisors; higher cost of off-campus housing for single graduate students as compared to on-campus housing.
*1987 Report of the Housemaster-Tutor Review Committee, Toward a Sense of Community, 1987. Chaired by Professor Julian Beinart.

Reference: T171.M42k.H68 1987 Archives Reference

Charge: Acknowledging the view that there is little or no sense of community across the Institute, the Committee was asked to consider how the residential system, and particularly the Housemaster - Tutor Program could address these issues.

Recommendations: A Faculty Fellows Program and a Faculty/Student Pair Program were proposed as ways to involve more faculty in the residential system, as well as allocating more space within the dorms for faculty/student interaction. The report also addressed the roles and responsibilities of the Housemasters, Associate Housemasters and Graduate Residents.

*1988 How Freshman Experience Residence/Orientation Week at MIT: Results of Surveys Given at the Beginning and End of R/O Week 1986, by Robin Wagner and Susan Zarzeczny, September 6, 1988.

Reference: T171.M424.Z37 1988 Archives Reference

1988 Report of the Independent Living Group Review Committee: Toward Residential Housing of Quality and Choice for All Undergraduates, December 1988
*1989 Report of the Freshman Housing Committee, "Potter Committee." Discussed at the 15 November 1989 Faculty meeting.

Charge: The Freshman Housing Committee was asked "to study the impact that R/O has on the quality of life and character of the MIT community, with special reference to the freshman class."

Recommendations: For the freshman year, it is recommended that all students be housed on campus in dormitories.
Freshman would be assigned to dormitories and would be distributed through the dormitories so that they would live with upper-class students.
Rush for ILG's would be deferred from R/O period to the spring term, with students who join ILG's moving into them at the beginning of their sophomore year.
Freshman who plan to remain on campus for the sophomore year would rank- order their choices for dormitory space, and a lottery would resolve competing choices. The system should be designed to encourage students to change dormitories (allowing them to move with one or several friends/roommates).
R/O would become Orientation.

Major outcome: The Committee's recommendations were not implemented out of concern both for the economic viability of the ILGs and for the tradition of the students' right to select his/her housing.

*1989 Undergraduate Student Position Sstatement on the MIT Housing System. The Undergraduate Student Housing Committee (an ad hoc committee of the Undergraduate Association), March 1989

Reference: T171.M4234.U53 1989 Archives reference

Charge/rationale: In response to the Report of the Freshman Housing Committee, an ad hoc student group was formed, chaired by Stacy A. Segal, '90, to discuss the goals of the housing systems and propose some specific, practical and well developed solutions.

Recommendations: All MIT undergraduates should be guaranteed four years of housing.
The ability to choose one's living group at the start of freshman year must be preserved; this includes the option to live in the ILG System.
To solve the perceived problem of de facto segregation at MIT, the level of cultural understanding and awareness will have to increase on campus through educational, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities, and special events to broaden the community.
MIT needs to respond to the increased number of women at MIT by increasing the number of housing options for women.
The R/O Committee needs to provide more extensive programs during R/O to increase the educational and social benefits of choosing a living group.
The method and perception of moving from one living group to another must be made easier.
Specific programs must be devised so that living groups will foster the academic and personal success of freshman.
The student Committee believes that the present housing system has many needs, and a multi-purpose dormitory would satisfy many of these problems.

*1991 Starr, Mimi. Building community: learning from a pilot project targeting freshman at MIT, 1991.

Reference: Thesis, Urban Studies, 1991 Archives Reference and Rotch Library

1993 Capital Development Program: 1993-2008, March 1993.
This publication is a guide for MIT's anticipated capital needs and is, "designed to provide information on the purpose, scope, cost and scheduling of proposed capital projects so that their current status and their development priority can be determined." Targets for improvement are the academic plant, housing, and athletic facilities.
1994 General Evaluation of Undergraduate Housing and R/O at MIT: Final Report 1993-1994 School Year, October 1994. Undertaken by the Undergraduate Association Committee (chaired by John Hollywood, G) this study describes and documents student opinion about the quality of MIT's undergraduate student housing. The Committee found that most undergraduates are "quite satisfied with MIT housing, but that there are problems that need to be remedied."
*1995 Report of the Strategic Housing Planning Committee. Robert M. Randolph, Chair. (December 1994) Covering memo from Arthur Smith, Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs, 9 January 1995. Memo from Dean Smith to students and administration summarizing decisions, 2 February 1995. Discussed at Faculty meeting, 15 March 1995.

Charge: While the charge to the Committee focused specifically on the question of whether and how to renovate Senior House, the Committee broadened its scope recognizing that they could not look at Senior House in isolation.

Recommendations: Renovate Senior House and maintain as undergraduate dormitory.
Use graduate housing (Ashdown) to respond to temporary undergraduate overcrowding.
Create additional graduate housing.

*1997 Senior House (E2) renovated.
*1997 Discussion of alcohol-related issues at MIT. As part of this discussion at the 15 October 1997 Faculty meeting, President Vest said that MIT would begin a planning process to increase the on-campus housing capacity for MIT undergraduates.
*1997 Vote on the "Sense of the Faculty" motion at the 19 November 1997 meeting of the Faculty: MIT should move immediately to begin a comprehensive, deliberate examination of its residential system, including the suitability of undergraduate residences as freshman housing, with the goal of bringing the system into fuller alignment with MIT's educational mission.
*1997 Summary of Discussion from the Task Force Junior Faculty Workshop. Report of the MIT Presidential Task Force of Student Life and Learning. 21 January 1997.
*1997 Preliminary Report of the Student Advisory Committee to the Task Force on Student Life and Learning. 19 May 1997.
*1997 Final Report of the MIT Advisory Group on Orientation and Residence. 5 December 1997.
*1997 Draft Report of the Subgroup on Student Life of the Task Force on Student Life and Learning, May 1997. Pages 9-17 presents a discussion of the physical infrastructure, including an extensive discussion of undergraduate and graduate housing issues.



MIT MIT mithistory@mit.eduMIT Libraries