Room for Thought

As a case of better late than never, the Harvard housing situation is a rather conclusive demonstration of, finally, a job well done. There is no doubt but that action to provide housing for married veteran students was tardy; in fact, it was nearly a year after V-J Day before couples were moving into their new quarters in any appreciable numbers. But now, less than two months after the greatest influx of students the University has ever known--and the consequent men--the situation is generally well in hand.

Figures tell the story. Last September, there were approximately 1,250 men on the housing Office waiting list; this week there are 330, some of whom are merely biding their time until actual marriage or until present leases have expired. Not all of the placements made by the housing Office have been completely satisfactory; in fact, no one lays claim to entirely comfortable accommodations during postwar school going. But, by placements, by cancellations (through refusal of University-approved accommodations, or because of suitable quarters found elsewhere) and by lapse of applications, a satisfactory showing has been made on what at one time threatened to be an almost insoluable problem.

Today, with only 10 or 15 applications coming in each week, a new applicant is immediately offered a choice of residence--the Brunswick Hotel, in Copley Square in Boston; or Harvardevens Village, 32 miles from Cambridge. It is these new housing projects that are bearing the brunt of the burden.

One sore spots remains; the price a veteran on an allowance has to pay has sometimes prevented him from accepting the University-sponsored projects and made him rely instead on less expensive, if less comfortable, accommodations. some students, in an effort to live somewhere within their $90 per month G.I. subsistence allowance, have felt obliged to turn down the Brunswick and Harvardevens Village for one-room or one-room-and-kitchen-privilege arrangements elsewhere.

Chief complaints of these students refusing Harvard housing are those of financial nature-rents range from 30 to 80 dollars; the desire for a kitchen, in the case of the Brunswick, whose suites do not provide cooking facilities; and an abhorrence of 65 miles of commuting per day, in the case of the Fort Dovens project.


Paradoxically, then, a waiting list still exists, while nearly 100 units at Harvardevens and 25 suites at the Brunswick remain vacant. The University has attempted to do its part leaving, perhaps, part of the blame on the shoulders of students themselves, who are shopping around for something better, hoping that the Housing office will find it for them. But more exactly, the blame may rest in the fact that a depreciated 90 per month goes only a certain, short distance in an inflationary postwar United States.