A proposal to consult student preference concerning the balance between overcrowding and increased rents received support yesterday from several Masters, Deans, and students.
Most University officials, as well as the Masters, concede that the Houses are crowded beyond the desirable point, several officials said. But the problem arises--is total deconversion to the "normal" capacity of each suite a desideratum? John H. Finley, Jr. '25, Master of Eliot House, contended yesterday that it is. "It may be assumed as a simple rule," he said, "that everyone needs a room by himself."
Finley stated that he would oppose any effort to assess student opinion on the crowding-rent problem. He stated that undergraduates "lack the experience to know anything about money." Other Masters and Deans, however, questioned the advisability of complete deconversion without first determining how far students will tolerate crowding as long as it keeps down room rents.
David E. Owen, Master of Winthrop House, said that the Masters know the problem exists, but so far "we have not had enough elbow room to try deconversion. From the evidence we have," Owen stated, "there is more room for deconversion." But if a poll can be put in specific terms, he said, "it will be a very useful thing to do."
The crowding-rent situation does not affect freshman rents, which are uniform throughout the Yard, but freshmen should be able to speak out on the problem during the Spring, commented F. Skiddy von Stade, Dean of Freshmen. Their choice should be made in a more thorough fashion than the maximum and minimum rent preference of the House applications, he added: