Roomatism

There was once a Freshman who lived in a triple in Wigglesworth. The following fall he and his three roommates were moved not to a House but to a double in another Wigglesworth entry. As the final crippling blow he discovered his rent had been raised. This man-and others in similar plights-concluded there was something wrong with the room rent system. They were right.

Before the war, singles were among the higher priced rooms in the college, rating above doubles by reason of privacy and greater floor area per man. The Housing Office is continuing a high rent on converted singles even though both prewar advantages have been swept away. It further believes that by adding $40 to the prewar rent for each new man and dividing by the total number of men, it has a sure-cure for injustice in the doubling process. Examination indicates both assumptions to be wrong.

To compare a Lowell House converted single with an Eliot House converted double and conclude that Lowell dwellers are more comfortable is sheer folly. The very size of Lowell single rooms makes them inferior to even the smallest double; yet, because of the poor rent policy, the men in minute singles are paying rents comparable to others in more spacious doubles and triples.

Far worse is the plight of the men who offered to redouble their rooms; their sacrificing spirit is costing them money as well as comfort. To take an example, the base rent of an average triple is $125 and of a double $175. Assuming both suite have four post-war occupants, and that $40 is added for each extra man, simple arithmetic shows the men in the doubled suite are paying five dollars more. In other words, it is more expensive for four men to live in a double suite than in a triple. Four hundred undergraduates are victims of this mathematical consistency.

The Housing Office frankly admits the injustice but does not propose to do anything about it. It is more concerned with getting a specified amount of money for college rooms than for seeing that the rents charged are just. Yet rents have been out of line for over two years, and prompt action by the Housing authorities can go a long way toward a fair readjustment.