Wanted: A Way to Fill 125 Spaces


Administrative solutions often seem to create as many problems as they solve. The new freshman dormitory, Canaday Hall, is a case in point.

Harvard is erecting Canaday to try to make life here easier: it will house some of the additional students admitted under the 2.5-to-1 plan. But ever since this summer, when construction began, administrators have gained nothing but new wrinkles attempting to decide how best to fill the beds added by Canaday.

University Hall had three alternatives: place all freshmen in the Yard, including those now living at Radcliffe; fill all extra beds in the Yard with sophomores; or, choose a compromise between the two.

The decision apparently has come primarily by default. For various reasons, the number of freshmen living at Radcliffe next year will be relatively small. Any decision to move many freshmen out of the Quad--that is, to select the first or third alternatives--would have met with opposition from Radcliffe.

So the virtually certain outcome was a decision to fill the newly created spaces--about 125--with sophomores.


With its course of action finally resolved, the administration moved this week to ferret out the 125 undergraduates. F. Skiddy von Stade '38, dean of freshmen, asked his charges to volunteer to live in freshman dormitories, "so that as few of you present freshmen as possible will have to be assigned to the Yard by some impersonal method."

To attract applicants, the dean is offering a variety of incentives. Von Stade said volunteers will "hopefully" receive single bedrooms, be entitled to remain in their present suites and be guaranteed one of their six choices for an upperclass House. By Friday morning ten students had expressed interest in the plan.

The remaining spaces will be filled with upperclass advisors, von Stade said, and subsequently with sophomores assigned to the Yard by lottery.

But administrators' worrying days are not over. Only the unexceptional resident of University Hall is betting these days that Canaday will be completed by September 1974, although the contractor still insists he is on schedule.

Von Stade, master of Mather House, should know: His house was completed one semester behind schedule several years ago. "Coming from Mather you cannot assume anything else" but a missed deadline, he said.