In the section devoted to room rents, the Student Council's report on the House Plan presents in admirable fashion the case for narrowing the range of rents. While the larger aspects of the rent problem are not treated thoroughly, the discussion of this particular phase is able and convincing. It has become very evident that the men who can afford the most expensive rooms will not take them when other men obtain rooms only slightly less desirable for half the price. The most pressing need in the Houses has not been for the very cheap rooms but for more rooms of moderate price.
The solution is clearly to wipe out the highest brackets in the scale of rents and bring more rooms within the $240-$260 class. Part of the reduction in income which this entails will automatically be made up by renting, even though at lower prices, rooms which on the present scale remain vacant. The balance may be recouped, as the Council suggests, through a uniform tax of a few dollars on each of the rooms. As a half measure, this suggestion is an excellent one, and little need be added except a warning that such a readjustment should not be carried too far. There are many in the College who can afford to pay no more than a bare minimum, and these should not be forced out of the Houses by a wholesale elimination of the very cheap rooms.
The Council's proposals, however, do not go far enough, nor does its investigations of the matter. The report apparently assumes throughout that the total income from the room rentals should remain the same. In spite of the reduction of the rents which was put into effect last year, however, it is by no means certain that another decrease is not advisable. The rise in prices generally has done something to place the present charges at a fitting level, or at the least on a level more nearly comparable with the sums charged by other landlords. The privileges of House membership, too, justify a certain margin of increase over the rent of an ordinary boarding house room. But the price of rooms is unquestionably a weight on many a mind; no change at present is possible, but the University should weigh carefully the economic needs of the students before arranging a rent scale for the next academic year.