Collier and Mather Square Off


The crowding brouhaha increased in intensity last week as a group of Mather students produced statistics in support of their previously unsubstantiated claim that the University's crowding formula is biased against Mather.

The Mather group revised the ideal capacity figures used by Bruce Collier, assistant dean of the College, to support his contention that Mather is "relatively less crowded" than any other House. Instead of counting only the number of bedrooms in a House to obtain its ideal capacity, they also added in the number of living rooms.

This revision resulted in a complete flip-flop of Mather's ranking in what has become the House crowding standings. According to the new adjusted figures, Mather appears to be the most crowded House.

Whether the Mather figures provide a more accurate representation of the crowding situation than Collier's numbers is a highly debat able point.

At the crux of the problem is the wide discrepancy between Mather's bedroom-living room ratio and that of the other River Houses.


The 7:1 ratio at Mather causes Collier's system to penalize Mather for its large number of bedrooms.

The Mather system, on the other hand, overadjusts by counting all living room space the same as bedroom space, with the result that all the River Houses, because their ratios fall between 3:1 and 1:1, appear to be uncrowded.

Mather might still be the most crowded House, but not even the students who compiled the data proving this are ready to claim that no crowding problem exists in other Houses. A visit to any of those Houses would quickly dissuade any defenders of that notion.

The answer, if one even exists, to the question of which House is the most crowded will probably be found somewhere between the two extremes. However, it is doubtful if any statistical system can be devised that would mix the disparate ratios so that an accurate and fair ideal capacity figure can be determined.

Eighty-five per cent of Mather seniors who pledged to donate within the next four years to the Harvard-Radcliffe College Fund have signed a petition indicating they will withhold payment of their pledge until significant steps are taken to solve the crowding problem.

Mather students met with Dean Whitlock and Francis M. Pipkin, associate dean of the Faculty for the Colleges, and asked them to move 30 students out of Mather "to make life bearable next year."

Unfortunately for the residents of Mather those hopes may have disappeared last Wednesday when the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life (CHUL) voted to continue its freeze on transfers between Houses among rising sophomores until February 1977.

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