The announcement in today's CRIMSON that a Student Council Committee is preparing another of its perennial reports on the House Plan is of definite importance in relation to possible future developments along the Charles. In the past the Councils's reports on this subject has been one of the notable offsets to its otherwise rather lackadaisical existence; another thorough and sensibly opinionated report should be of definite value to the University authorities in shaping a course during 1933-34.
There are two points to which the Committee might profitably give special attention, both of them connected with the excessive cost of a Harvard education for the average students. Of these the possibility of using student waiters in the House dining rooms, instead of outside waitresses, is the most important. Last years, when the possibility first arose, it was avoided by the creation of special jobs about the University given to needy students who might otherwise have been called upon to wait on table in the Houses. There is no doubt that this plan has had considerable success, but it is equally true that the measure of aid afforded to students is still inadequate. In view of the fact that the University in hiring student waiters deducts part of their tuition charges instead of paying them directly, there is a double economy possible, since the salaries now paid the waitresses could be used for other University expenses. And the bad effects on the House Plan as a hole which squch a change might make can easily be overestimated, especially if the change is to be a purely temporary one.
More important perhaps, is the question of room rents. In spite of the concessions which the University has made in the teeth of its own restricted budget, room rents on the whole are still demonstrably too high. The possibility of a further revision, at least as great as that which was made last year, ought to be investigated carefully. One possible way of making such a revision would be to abandon the present arrangement by which tutors in the Houses are not charged for the rooms they occupy. Whether or not this would work too great a hardship financially on the tutorial staff is an undermined point, which the Committee should look into. Remembering that the last Council Report was particularly influential in regard to the employment of students and the reduction of room rents. It is to be hoped that the sequel this year will be made equally effective.