An ad hoc Faculty committee has begun investigating the entire application and selection procedures by which freshmen are placed in the nine upper-class Houses.
Appointed earlier this Fall by Dean Ford, the committee was first requested by the Masters late last Spring. The group, which is chaired by J. Petersen Elder, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, will probably emphasize the practical problems created by the present application procedures.
Consider Concrete Issues
In addition to the clerical and administrative burdens created by the existing structure, the committee plans to consider the more concrete problems which beset a system permitting some degree of individual choice.
Specifically, the committee apparently intends to consider such problems as the disproportionate influence which a House's physical plant wields over the choices of many freshmen. The inevitable if long-delaying construction of the new tenth House has added even more importance to a problem which has become acute since the construction of Leverett Towers and new Quincy.
Possible solutions for equalizing facilities in the various Houses may also gain some attention from the Committee.
Committee Restricts Itself
Reportedly, however, the committee will restrict itself to these practical particulars and not attempt any broader investigation of the Houses themselves. One Faculty member, nevertheless, expressed the hope that Elder's group would eventually connect its present investigation with a re-evaluation of the House system itself.
Formation of the committee represents one more in a series of attempts by the Masters to rationalize and facilitate the application process. They obtained a long-sought simplification last Spring when the Corporation approved the principle of a uniform room rent for the Houses.
Yale Uses Computers
The present system has been in effect at least since the war and may well be archaic. Yale now uses IBM computers to distribute its freshman classes among the upperclass colleges.
But whether the Masters' desire for an investigation of the House application procedure indicates a preference for a solution similar to Yale's is uncertain. The Masters may, of course, simply want some of the kinks ironed out of the process and may hope to gain some suggestions for casing the strain on them.