Adams Residents Protest Interhouse

Lunch at Adams House was a little noisier than usual yesterday, as non-residents of the House found themselves unwitting contestants on "The No Interhouse Gong Show."

The ceremony was inaugurated by angry Adamsians to protest apparent violations of dining hall restrictions.

Though the resident who organized the event said it was designed to promote "community feeling," some residents, and the dining hall checker, said the event embarrassed them.

Adams House restricts weekday lunch to its residents, although each is allowed up to two guests. Non-residents, however, flood the dining hall daily, "adopting" hosts as they wait in the long line.

Malka S. Resnicoff '00 and a group of other House residents loudly struck the dining hall's gong each time a non-resident approached the checker's desk during lunch yesterday. The protesters then added a mark to their tally of non-residents entering the dining hall.

Resnicoff said the protesters were opposed to interhouse [dining]... There is not enough room for Adams residents to sit, and our sense of community is jeopardized," Resnicoff said.

Jessamyn A.S. Conrad '00, who was seated in the dining hall, agreed. "It's quite obvious to all who have eaten in Adams that there are too many people eating there to maintain the comfort of all eating there, especially those that live there.... Something must be done."

Residents typically agreed that interHouse restrictions should be more strictly enforced. "The lines are ridiculous during rush hours," said one Adams House resident, Thomas C. Brown '99.

Rachel S. Barber '99 added that every day, "people ambush you outside and ask you to sponsor them for lunch."

Peter Atkenson, manager of the dining hall, said that between 450 and 500 people eat lunch in Adams House each day. But only about 450 undergraduates and graduate affiliates live in Adams House, and only about 70 percent of House residents regularly take meals there, he said.

Not all Adams residents supported Resnicoff's tactics. Claire Van Eenwyk '99 ofAdams House called the event "humiliating" andsaid that she is "embarrassed to be associatedwith a House that would do such a thing."

Lucy Medeiros, the House's daily dining hallchecker, said that "The Gong Show" "embarrassedthe people working here and it embarrassed thepeople eating here." She said that Adams Houseresidents could minimize interhouse lunchviolations by simply not vouching for studentsseeking admittance.

Resnicoff disagreed, saying that the protestgenerated spontaneous "support for communityfeeling." She said that some residents tried to"make [the event] playful" by expressing dismay atthe gong beatings.

Brown said the influx of non-residents hurtsHouse community. "Meal times should be communitytimes.... It's difficult to maintain even thesmallest sense of community."

He said the lack of community, which is aresult of "the negative impact of randomization,"makes people feel so disconnected from theirHouses that they do not feel compelled to go backthere to eat. "The administration has underminedthe ability of all Houses to have self-selectivecommunities...where people feel like they have astake in something," he said.

Roy Kosuge '99, a Crimson executive and MatherHouse resident who was gonged yesterday, said hehas eaten lunch in Adams House every day since hewas a sophomore. Asked whether "The No InterhouseGong Show" will influence his future behavior,Kosuge said, "Not at all.