Mather House will be the first order of business for the Committee on Houses next Fall.
The Committee will be confronted by three broad alternatives for filling the tenth House -- deconvert most House suites and at the same time raise rooms rents, end off-campus living, or admit more students to Harvard College.
To help the Committee sort out these alternatives, Dean Ford has proposed a sub-committee, composed of three or four Masters and an administration member, most likely Arthur D. Trottenberg '48, assistant dean of the Faculty.
Ford has also proposed that "responsible discussion with student groups," such as the Harvard Undergraduate Council, be included in the study.
The issue in question is of major importance to the College. If about 200 ...students, as now, continue to live off-campus, then the opening of Mather House in the Fall, 1969 would permit deconversion of most House suites.
But because Mather House will add about $150,000 to the annual budget of the Houses, that decision would also require some increase in room rents.
If off-campus is restricted only to special cases, such as married students, returned veterans, and students with health problems, then the running costs of Mather would be made up in additional rents and there would be no deconversion.
Finally, Harvard could simply expand its classes to fill Mather House and thus rule out both deconversion and an end to off-campus living.
Ford said last night that he doubted the Committee on Houses -- which includes the Masters -- would recommend expansion of the classes, because that would probably mean either increasing the number of off-campus students affiliated with each House, or else creating "a Dudley House so large it would become a separate administrative unit of the College."
Various compromises among the three broad alternatives are also possible, Ford indicated. Final decision on the Committee on Houses' recommendations must come from the Corporation.