Unequal Student Living Assignments Create Varying Conditions in Houses
Because of a financial deficit in the House system and an unequal distribution of students among the Houses, Lowell House this year contains 25 to 30 students more than its assigned quota, while Kirkland has filled, four extra rooms with graduate students.
The Houses have a $400,000 deficit which has accumulated over a two-year period. For that reason, Archie Epps, dean of Students, said yesterday each House must occupy all vacancies and discourage off-campus living.
Some Houses have been overcrowded for 25 years. Although most Houses were occupied by the military during World War H, Lowell and Dunster were not. After the war, most students applied to these Houses, and they have remained overcrowded since then.
Last year, after Mather House opened, an equal distribution of students in the Houses might have been achieved. It wasn't primarily because the office of the dean of Students unevenly assigned sophomores to the Houses.
In addition, unpredictable numbers of returning students and incorrect figures provided by some Houses contributed to the unequal overcrowding.
As a result, in some Houses- such as Eliot, Dunster, and Lowell- juniors as well as sophomores can expect to share bedrooms, while in others- Kirkland and Quincy, for example- almost all juniors have single bedrooms.
The low off-campus living quota- cut this year from 25 to 15 for each House because of the deficit- aggravates the situation.
As a result of the fiscal problem, Epps said, eight graduate students live in Kirkland House and two others will probably move into Mather House.
The Kirkland House graduate students, who occupy four suites, each pay $800 for the academic year, as opposed to the $670 that undergraduates pay.
According to Master Arthur Smithies, the pairs of graduate students occupy suites originally intended for three sophomores. While Kirkland upperclassmen also live in single-bedroom suites, their rooms are smaller, Smithies said.
Explaining the difference in cost, Epps discussed the system Harvard used six years ago, which charged varying fees depending on the size and location of a room. Besides mentioning the reason offered by Smithies, Epps said he considered comparable rents in Cambridge housing when fixing the fees for Harvard rooms.
"The primary problem at the moment is the financial problems," Epps said. "Graduate students don't have a right to the subsidies in housing that are given to undergraduates."