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Deconversion

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Deconversion of the Houses begins next month when 190 House residents graduate and depart. With the beginning of this trend, Housemasters are looking forward to the Houses returning to a more normal size. But with many qualified upperclassmen still waiting to be admitted to the Houses, the deconversion move appears premature.

The Administration offers two reasons for its action. The first is the claim that most rooms in the college are overcrowded. On these grounds, it was decided that the load should be cased for everyone; freshmen are to be moved into Wigglesworth, sophomores are to be moved from Wigglesworth into the outside dormitories (Dudley, Apley, Claverly), some students are to be admitted from these dormitories into the Houses, and many rooms in the Houses are to be deconverted. The exact proportions of these reductions have not been released.

The Administration's "overcrowding" argument greatly overestimates the hardship of the present expansion. Few rooms are too crowded to be comfortable. In fact, some Housemasters found themselves pressuring students into deconverting. Instead of allowing students in the Houses to deconvert but encouraging them to take in students from the outside dormitories, House authorities have done the exact opposite.

The second argument given for the current plan is the loss in rent revenue that would occur if every empty space in the Houses were filled and vacancies created in the outside dormitories. But the House system is theoretically a key part of a Harvard education. It is hard to deny the benefits of this system to qualified students because of these financial considerations.

Tonight the Housemasters meet to discuss the progress of deconversion. It is their last chance to reverse the current emphasis on depopulating the Houses. Naturally, they are looking forward to a reduction in House totals. But that will come in time as the College decreases in size. The primary consideration now should be to get as many upper-classmen as possible into the House system. This can only be done by encouraging House members to accept new roommates, instead of urging them to deconvert. Until almost all upperclassmen are in the Houses, deconversion is premature.

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