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To the Editors of the Crimson:
I would like to know-and in this wish I am sure I am but one of hundreds-by what means the recent University decision to increase all room rents for the summer and ensuing terms was arrived at.
Granted that expenses of service and upkeep are higher now than before the war, the fact remains that the University for the next few years will be operating far above normal capacity. Not only will every room be occupied but present plans call for an extra man being quartered in every room in which it is possible. This increased number of men per room will add substantially to the University's rental income even if the basic rent level remained unchanged. This is to say nothing of the fact that the University will be receiving rent for three terms a year instead of the pre-war two.
The Official Register of Harvard College for the term lists the average rent at $115, but when I signed up for a room the cheapest one I could apply for as a non-scholarship student was $137.50. Thus my roommate and I pay $275 for four months leasage of a living room, two sleeping nooks, and a semi-private bath. That is about $69 a month rent-more than several married friends of mine pay for four room apartments in privately owned buildings much newer than the century old Yard dormitories. Yet the authorities of Harvard University have the nerve to announce a series of rent increases varying from ten to as high as fifty-two percent.
Civilian apartment owners have tried unsuccessfully for months to get the OPA to allow them to increase rents. And not only are their rents lower than current University ones, but they must also pay property taxes from which the University is free. And apartment upkeep expenses are higher than dormitory ones as the average apartment house is not large enough to employ its own staff or repair men but must pay more expensive outside help. Furthermore they must repair at no extra charge damages which, if they occurred in a College room, would invariably be passed on to the student occupant.
In view of all these facts, how can Harvard University obtain, or even have the gall to ask, leave to raise its rents? Can it be that Harvard-already one of the most expensive schools in the country-is trying to build up its reputation as a rich man's college and thus eliminate the average discharged G. I. who can't afford the luxury of a $75 a month suite? My roommate is far more eloquent on the subject than am I, but unfortunately I cannot quote him in writing for possible publication except in essence when his remarks translate very roughly to "that's too damn much rent."
How come, Dr. Conant, how come? W. J. Minton '45.
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