Houses To Rethink Transfers

A committee made up of assistants to Harvard’s House masters is forming to reexamine interhouse transfer policies, according to a College housing official.

The group will focus on the rule that gives preference to students transferring to live with a specific person over those who have not secured a roommate, said David Woodberry, a housing officer for the College.

“[The rule] seems to be stumbling block for some students,” said Patricia G. Pepper, a member of the committee and assistant to the master of Currier House. “We need to look at [the policy] more seriously and be clear that the needs of everyone who has an interest in transferring are served.”

The rule in question treats two groups of transfer students—

“Category A” are those with roommates and “Category B” are those without roommates.

Suzanne Watts, another member of the committee and assistant to the master of Quincy House, said she envisions the panel simply “tweaking the policy” to make it more fair to all students who want to apply to transfer.

Watts said she has not had many complaints from Quincy residents about the process.

“I haven’t had many complaints, but we haven’t had a lot of Category B,” Watts said. “It’s more B’s that would think it’s unfair.”

Although Woodberry said he does not know what specific changes the committee will make to the transfer policy, he said he hopes they will have a revised policy approved in time for students who wish to transfer for the spring semester of 2003.

Woodberry has also invited one or two students to serve on the committee—which, in addition to Woodberry, Pepper and Watts, currently includes Karen J. Reiber, assistant to the master of Winthrop House.

Rohit Chopra ’04, chair of the Undergraduate Council’s Student Affairs Committee, sent out an e-mail last Thursday requesting names of students who are interested in serving on the transfer committee.

Chopra said he has always thought the current transfer policy was successful, but now perhaps the student presence on the committee will help clear up a process he calls “nebulous.”

The committee will meet for the first time in mid-May and aims to present its proposed changes to the College’s Committee on House Life next fall.

—Staff writer Anne K. Kofol can be reached at kofol@fas.harvard.edu