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As the current academic year draws to a close, one of the most important bits of unfinished business, from the undergraduate point of view, is the matter of House admissions. The well-justified roar of protest against a condition which makes necessary more than three hundred disappointed applicants, has elicited from Dean Hanford a promise that future Freshman classes will be reduced; but the temporary expedient of associate House memberships was discarded, and for the next few years the problem, apparently, will remain unsolved.
It will be well to take another look at the case of the homeless three hundred. To them, the most important privilege which the associate membership plan would grant is the use of the House dining balls. Eating about the Square week after week, fruitlessly searching for variety in meals, frequently eating alone--these are perhaps the worst consequences of a refused application. President Conant has frequently referred to the value of education gained at the dinner table; three hundred men are now without this education. Moreover, extra-curricular activity is increasingly becoming centered about the seven Houses, and the closed gates of the House squash courts yearly look more and more forbidding to the inhabitants of Claverly, Dudley, and the other college dormitories.
On the other side of the ledger there appears to be only the vague objection that somehow twenty associate members would miraculously destroy a feeling of unity in the minds of two hundred and fifty colleagues. It is hard to understand the point of view which would attribute the these small groups the sweeping power of "turning the Houses into dormitories"; and when it is realized that the expedient is a temporary one, and that the benefit to the now homeless three hundred would far outweigh any possible inconvenience to the Houses, it seems very little to ask that the proposal for associate House members of reconsidered next year.
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