THE RESIDENTS IN Holden Green and Shaler Lane, two of Harvard's married student houses, are worried, and with good reason. If the Real Estate Department puts through its proposed draft for housing renovation and relocation, these tenants will be made to leave their apartments for extensive renovations many claim they don't need, and forced to pay higher rents after they return.
Russell E. Hill, the director of the Real Estate Department, should heed the remarks made to the council of deans last week by the Married Student Housing Tenants Council. The tenants council demands that justification for the renovations be shown before they are carried out. The council asks that the rent policy--one which threatens to price Harvard housing out of the married students' market with increases like the 35-per-cent hike of last year--be reconsidered. This high-rent policy discourages the poorer married students from coming to Harvard and is both wrong and unnecessary. The council also asks that the accounting procedures, which fix a huge housing deficit squarely on the shoulders of the tenants who did not incur the deficit, be changed.
The tenants should have the right to help determine University housing policy. Real estate director Hill's plans should be scrapped and another plan that has both the participation and approval of the tenants should replace it. As John McMahon, secretary of the married housing council, speaking for a majority of the Holden Green tenants, said last week, "We would be willing to trade off luxury living conditions in order to get low rents."