Committee on House Assignments will not establish a standard definition substantial," Dean Monro said yesterday.
Monro added that the number of letters of preference sent in by freshman will not affect the interpretation of "substantial" by the Committee.
Previous statement by a member of the Committee had indicated that the number of letters received by Monro would affect the ultimate definition of substantial." It is the vagueness over this definition that has caused much of the confusion about the new selection system.
"We will not count letters," Monro said. The question of numbers is not important because the Committee will deal with each of the letters individually, he explained.
Under the new selection system, freshmen with "substantial" reasons for selecting a particular House have been encouraged to write letters to Dean Monro to explain these reasons.
If the Committee defined substantial, Monro said, the new system will probably turn into a "game." Freshmen will think that they only have to meet the definition of substantial to get into the House of their choice, but, Monro emphasized, the new system is not going to work this way.
Each of the letters will be read by more than one member of the Committee. If the Committee then finds that the reasons are substantial, the student with his roommates will probably be assigned to the House of his choice.
But Monro pointed out that not in every case will a student or a roommate group with substantial letters be assigned to their chosen House. In the distribution of students, Monro explained, there are certain quotas, that are filled so that each House will get its share of the strength of the freshman class.
By the beginning of next week, the Committee proposes to have between 30 and 40 per cent of the freshman class assigned to Houses. At this time the Committee will go to the Masters. The Masters will be given a list of those students who have written letters that the Committee regards as substantial and who have not been assigned to a House. From this list Masters will be allowed to ask for particular students.
Monro refused to say which Houses ranked highest in the letters of preference. This information will never be released, he said. If it is, he added, the selection system again will become a popularity contest, one evil the new system was designed to avoid.