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The Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life (CHUL) is expected to decide today whether to impose a penalty on students who fail to inform the College by August 20--the date when the first term bill is due--of their plan to take a leave of absence.
The proposal under consideration would fine students one-quarter of one semester's room rent--approximately $150--if they have not indicated to the College their intention to take a leave before that deadline. Students would also pay the fine if they take a leave of absence after the deadline.
The penalty is intended to reduce the level of crowding in the Houses by providing the College in the spring with information on the number of students who will return to school in the fall, Dean Fox said yesterday.
Housing assignments are presently made without accurate data on the number of students taking leaves, Fox said. "If we knew ahead of time how many people were going to come back in the fall, we could distribute crowding more evenly," he said.
A CHUL subcommittee that examined the crowding situation in the Houses during the summer originally proposed a $300 penalty, but the Administrative Board reviewed the proposal at CHUL's request and reduced the fine to $150, Fox said. He added that the Ad Board felt it could "achieve the same end with a smaller fine."
Lee Bains '77, CHUL representative from Kirkland House, said yesterday the proposal would "limit student freedom." He added that this limitation "overrides any advantage gained by having a head count a little earlier."
Fox said the number of students affected by the penalty is "likely to be extremely small." This year fewer than ten students registered for classes and then decided to take leaves of absence, he said.
He added that "a couple of hundred" students were "expected to return but never showed up," and the penalty is aimed at forcing the latter group to inform the College of their plans.
David J. Herlihy, master of Mather House, said yesterday the crowding problems his House faced last fall might have been avoided if the proposed penalty had been in effect. "The proposal will make for easier planning and greater satisfaction for students," he said.
CHUL also will spend an hour of tomorrow's meeting conducting an informal discussion on the educational role of the House system. Katherine Fulton, CHUL representative from Winthrop House, will chair the discussion instead of Dean Rosovsky
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