Dudley May Offer Answer to Crowding
Committee Considers Nonresident Housing Options
In the wake of unprecedented overcrowding in the residential Houses, the College has begun considering a variety of way to make off-campus housing a more attractive option for undergraduates.
Most of the proposals are aimed at boosting the allure of Dudley House, the campus center for the advising and counseling of students who either decline or fail to qualify for rooms in the 12 traditional Houses.
Dudley House has become a particular concern for officials besieged with complaints from students who transfer to Harvard from other colleges and often find themselves lacking the support provided within the residential House system.
Transfer students can only move into the residential Houses when space becomes available--through student leaves or others moving off-campus--and are left without assurances as to when they may get rooms.
Discussion of transfer student concerns, as well as methods to encourage more students to live off campus was a focus of attention yesterday for the student-faculty Committee on Housing, which is expected to continue deliberations on the issue over the next several months.
The committee's new discussions come nearly two years after it passed a series of proposals attempting to ease overcrowding by diminishing the role Dudley House played in the lives of nonresident undergraduates. Believing that more students would opt to move off campus if they could retain affiliation with their original House, then-members of the committee acted to relax rules that forced nonresidents to become Dudley affiliates.
Since then, predictions that Dudley House would diminish in size have proved correct, with some estimates putting the current size of the House at half the level it was two years ago. Now, with overcrowding and transfer student worries still major concerns, officials are looking to Dudley House as a possible solution to and no longer a cause of the difficulties.
The committee yesterday heard the recommendations of several of its members who have looked into the problems of nonresidential life and the related issue of alleviating on-campus crowding. Policy changes they suggested included.
*requiring that all transfer students, now given the option of moving into a residential House as space allows, be affiliated with Dudley House for at least one year;
*reserving University-owned area apartments for use by transfer students waiting for on-campus spaces;
*providing financial incentives, in particular reducing facilities fees, for students moving off campus and
*holding more comprehensive orientation programs, skin to Freshman Week activities, for transfer students.
Committee members made no decisions on any of these options, deferring judgment indefinitely. College observers and several Undergraduate Council members are understood to believe, however, that sentiment is growing for some solution to the related issues of overcrowding, off-campus life and Dudley House.
"An attractive Dudley House may be the solution to the housing problem," committee member Mark Nielsen '86 said yesterday.
Officials from within the House said that a mandatory first year for transfer students at Dudley House would have general positive effects.
"A mandatory first year would help Dudley and the students," said Dudley resident tutor Hans Van der Ven. "It would give transfer students a lot of clarity about their housing situation," he added Van der Ven said that a Dudley House affiliation was seen by many transfer students as merely a ace to wait for other housing.
Dudley House Master Arthur L. Loeb advocated many of the proposals. "I would favor a period where transfer students didn't have to second-guess the unfavorable rooming statistics at Harvard," Loeb said.
He added that the Dudley House committee has been looking for ways to make Lehman Hall more private to Dudley House members Loeb cited the recent decision to allow House affiliates to take their board contract mealt at Lehman, and summer orientation programs for transfer students, as ways in which the contracts for has tried to give Dudley House more of a residential House atmosphere.
"We need more programs for transfer students," said Van der Ven, "especially when they just arrive, which can be a time of frustration for them."
"I think we are becoming more aware of transfer students," he added, citing orientation programs and tutor-student get-togethers as programs which helped to case the transition for transfer students.
He added that the increasing presence of graduate students within the House, brought about by several new College affiliation policies, has added to the quality of house life