To the Editors of The Crimson:
The solution to the Radcliffe housing dilemma is so glaringly obvious that even the Harvard administration should think of it someday.
By now, everyone is aware of the problem: under the current system, Radcliffe simply does not attract enough students. Instead of forcing scores of rising sophomores to fill the empty "Twelfth Choice" houses, Harvard should follow Dartmouth's lead and establish a lower price for Radcliffe housing. North and South Houses, especially, are currently undesirable in the eyes of most freshmen, owing to the location, the central bathrooms, and the occasional "economy double."
The price reduction there would be matched by price increases for rooms in the most popular River Houses. A "grandfather clause" would exempt students already living there from the increase, of course. Scholarship students would be partially exempted, too, in the interests of equity. To maintain Radcliffe's four-year mix, incoming freshmen could be informed of the new rate structure before they sent in their rooming choice cards. To maintain Radcliffe's ratio near one-to-one, it's possible that one sex or the other would need an additional discount.
The most efficient price structure may require different rates everywhere. It would put an end to over-subscribed River Houses as well as undersubscribed 'Cliffe Houses. If prices were set conscientiously and were varied according to changes in students' desires each year, almost everyone would end up in one of his or her first-choice houses. Eleanor Marshall would become obsolete.
Unfortunately, this ideal price structure will never be attained. Yet even a small step toward a pricing dichotomy would be a substantial improvement over both the current system and the Fox proposal. Al Lewis '78