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To The Editors of The Crimson:
The housing issue may indeed have a long and boring history, as James Cramer says, but its end is not yet at hand. Dean Fox's proposal to house all freshmen in the Yard does not eliminate any of the perceived inequities of the housing system. It does, however, significantly worsen several of the long-standing problems.
Housing conditions for sophomores must inevitably worsen under the new plan. Canaday holds about the same number of sophomores as the Quad has freshmen--but to simply switch them would cause intolerable problems. Freshmen currently housed at the Quad are very crowded: last year's problems at Mather House will pale by comparison if sophomores are forced to live in one-room doubles at the Quad. North House alone, would have to lose 40 people to retain its current level of upperclass crowding. These 40 people must be picked up elsewhere--and that means the already overcrowded River Houses.
Under the new plan, the Quad loses the freshmen who eventually supply most of the people that want to live there. At the same time, if its present population is maintained, it will sink from having the best housing for sophomores to by far the worst. If the intent of the proposal is to solve the Quad's popularity problem, this is not the way to do that. If the number of people at the Quad is reduced, then the River Houses suffer.
Who then benefits by this plan? Not upperclassmen at the Quad--the House Committees of North and Currier Houses have already unanimously voted to oppose the plan. Not Quad Freshmen--they lose the very real advantages of rapid integration into a complex university, superior advising and Hilles Library, for the dubious benefit of "a unified freshman year," whatever that may be. Not sophomores who want to live at the Quad--they may no longer be able to live in the relatively uncrowded housing that has been a major attraction. Not sophomores who don't want to live at the Quad--more of them will be assigned to the Quad against their will (especially since most people who currently ask to live at the Quad either were freshmen there or know people who were). While the Quad will have more sophomores, the River Houses must also become more crowded--even those who wish to and are able to live at the River will suffer. The only conceivable benefit is that sophomores living in Canaday will be living in a House. But even this is a two-edged sword: many people have chosen to move out of the Quad into Canaday in order to eventually live at a River House. Now this option will no longer exist; housing conditions at the Quad will significantly worsen, and, with increased crowding at the River, it will be even harder to move down.
No, student opposition to the plan will not be bought off by permitting the Quad to retain its last few advantages. This year the Quad will not accept "solutions" that only worsen its problem. And this year, the "solution" hurts students throughout the housing system, not just at the Quad. It is difficult to understand how to fight manifestly unworkable proposals; it is especially difficult during reading period. Dan Greenwood '78
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