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Scholarships and Student Porters


Criticism of the new student porter plan has come fast and furious. Many students fell that it is unfair to raise room rents by 15 percent and at the same time reduce the amount of service. Others oppose the plan because they fear a stigma will be attached to such student workers.

Despite these criticisms, the student porter plan is the only sensible approach to a difficult problem. In the past the University has depended on a heavy scholarship program to attract good students, who otherwise could not afford a college education. But in his report to the Overseers, President Conant noted that five million dollars more would have to be raised for scholarship use in order to meet rising costs and the growing needs of incoming students.

Already harassed alumni cannot provide this. University officials hence have decided to economize where it will hurt least--in room maintenance. This would make the replaced maids' wages available to students willing to spend two hours in cleaning House suites. The plan serves the double purpose of alleviating the load on the scholarship found, and at the same time makes available a job for the student unable to earn a scholarship.

Student porter jobs are unlike most work offered by the Student Employment Office; they are flexible. A student may fit his working hours around classes and labs. The mere availability of a great number of such jobs will make the University more attractive to prospective students who need assurance of a steady income.

The student porters will provide reasonable service, cleaning rooms every day and changing sheets once a week. They will be trained and under the supervision of student captains.

Belying the fears of social stigma is the success of student porters at many colleges, including the University of Massachusetts and M.I.T. These schools report no sign of student antagonism. Furthermore, the 170 applicants who have expressed interest in the plan presumably do not feel that they will be stigmatized. Unquestionably, the plan, to be successful, requires some sacrifice, but the increased financial aid to students should be well worth it.

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