Opinion letter to the editor

Nomads of New House

New House seniors currently living in Houses 3–6 are being forced to move Tuesday, May 30 from their current rooms into rooms in House 1 and 2. Normally, seniors are allowed to stay in their on-campus housing until the day after graduation — Saturday, June 10 this year. Instead, due to the impending renovation of the dorm, around 40 New House seniors will be forced to move out twice. This places a heavy and unnecessary burden on those affected seniors.

The current renovation plan allows a small number of students to continue living in New House as it’s being renovated. The fully renovated dorm should be open by Fall 2018.

According to a powerpoint released to New House presidents by Jagruti Patel ’97 in December, Houses 3–6 must be emptied before the Monday after finals. This is obviously not still the case, as our current move-out date is now Tuesday. If the date wasn’t nonnegotiable then, why should it be nonnegotiable now? In a recent email from Jennifer Hapgood-White, the associate director of housing assignments, I was told that construction needs to start on June 11. So why can’t we stay until June 10?

What is so pressing that the administration can’t accommodate us for eleven more days, when the timeline for this project is over two years? Even assuming a 24-hour workday, distributing the time lost while seniors continued to live in their rooms would only add an extra half hour to the daily work schedule. It’s hard to believe that MIT can’t afford this monetarily. Instead, students get brushed aside for the sake of convenience to the administration, with no consideration given to the student’s time and effort involved in moving from their current living environments.

Requiring students to move in this manner is not a reasonable scenario. It’s not uncommon for seniors to use the time between finals and senior week to travel, but under this current moving schedule, that’s no longer an option for New House seniors. It’s not like we can move our belongings beforehand either, since students are currently living in the rooms we have to move into.

Additionally, New House is singularly unsuited for this move. We don’t have elevators and there are only five first floor rooms that seniors can move into. Lugging all of our possessions down multiple flights of stairs — and then back up several more — for only a matter of days is absurd, not to mention a labor intensive hardship for the student.

After four long, stressful years at this school, the time before graduation is supposed to be a time when we can finally relax and celebrate. Instead, we will be forced to pack during our finals and move during senior week. We agreed to the same housing contract as every other senior on campus, with the expectation that we would be in the same room the entire semester. It is only fair that we receive the same treatment as other students who signed the same contract.

If there’s one thing that MIT has taught me, it’s how to fit 25 hours into a 24-hour day. It’s difficult to believe that nothing can be done in this situation to get rid of this extra moving scenario. I therefore respectfully request the administration to reconsider their position on this issue and allow the affected seniors to remain in their existing rooms up until after graduation.

If you agree that the New House seniors, like every other senior in campus housing, should be allowed to stay in their rooms until the day after graduation, please contact Jennifer Hapgood-White at hapgood@mit.edu and tell her you support the New House seniors.

Colleen Madlinger ’17
Senior Editor, The Tech