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Undergraduates here oppose the recommendation made Monday by the Task Force on College Life that students be assigned to their upperclass Houses before freshman year by an almost five to one margin, according to an informal Crimson survey.
Almost all the students polled felt that freshmen should have some choice of where they would be living for their next three years. Under the proposed system, they would have none.
One student said, "This is just one more example of Harvard paternalism."
Stephen Williams, Peabody Professor of American Archaeology and Ethnology, and chairman of the task force, declined to comment on the results of the poll.
Freshmen now choose their three-year house through a lottery in the spring.
The recommendation, and the rest of the task force report, will probably take several years to be put into effect if accepted by the faculty, and will not affect the present freshman class.
If the proposal is adopted, freshmen will continue to live in the Yard but will be affiliated with their House as soon as they enter Harvard. A similar system has been in effect at Yale for several years.
One of the arguments for the proposal is that it would eliminate current House stereotypes by forcing a more random mixture of students in each House. Several students surveyed felt this would be a significant advantage over the present system.
Other students disagreed. One summed up this opposing view by saying "You should be able to be with the people you want to be with."
The poll was conducted by random telephone calling of students in the Yard, the River Houses, and the Quad.
Thirty students were contacted. Twentyfour were against the proposal, five favored it and one had no opinion. Twenty of the students were freshmen, with 16 of these opposed to the proposal, three in favor of it, and one with no opinion.
A slightly higher percentage of freshmen than upper-classmen were opposed to the idea.
Most students contacted felt the present system should be changed--but not by adopting a pre-freshman no-choice house assignment system, as the task force recommends.
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