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Unexpectedly Large Class of '83 Causes Overcrowding in Freshman Dormitories

By Nancy F. Bauer and The CRIMSON Staff

More than 50 per cent of this year's freshmen living on campus are housed in overcrowded facilities, Ann B. Spence, associate dean of the College, said yesterday.

Harvard's definition of overcrowding is "having one more student than the number of rooms in a suite," she said, adding that last year about 50 per cent of freshmen living on campus were overcrowded.

The Freshman Dean's Office (FDO) had to assign people to "some rooms that we thought could be crowded that had not been crowded" because the Class of '83 has about 50 more residents than the Class of '82, Henry C. Moses, dean of freshmen, said yesterday.

He added that three or four of the Yard dormitories, including Canaday, now house more freshmen than in previous years. Moses refused to disclose the names of the other overcrowded dormitories.

In addition, several proctors were "moved to less spacious living quarters," and "gigantic closets" on each floor of Hurlbut were renovated into common rooms for the suites bordering on them, Moses said.

"We have been aware of the problem for a number of years and if we can, our first choice is to make some architectural changes such as the ones in Hurlbut to remedy it," Spence said.

She added that the possibility of building new facilities to accomodate freshmen is slim, mainly because of the high energy costs of running new buildings.


Moses said he knows of no plans to build new dormitories on University property. "To my knowledge there are no plans to house students in the Gulf Station the University owns across from the Union," he said.

Students in Hurlbut contacted yesterday said they are satisfied with their living arrangements. "I think we're doing great," Jeff Srinivasan '83 said.

Some freshmen who are classified as non-residents are living in Apley Court, the Holyoke St. building affiliated with Dudley House, William A. Fitzsimmons '67, director of admissions for the Colleges, said yesterday.

He said that although several hundred students--the customary number of waitlisted applicants--were on this year's waiting list, the admissions office admitted none as residents because of the overcrowding problem. "This was a very unusual year--something like this hasn't happened for at least seven years," he added.

Commuter Lane

Fitzsimmons said students who indicate on their preliminary applications that they wish to be commuters and decide later they want housing often have problems. "One thing we tried to get across very clearly is that we cannot guarantee that commuters will be housed at all in their four years," he said.

A freshman resident of Apley Court said yesterday nine freshmen now live in the building.

Several freshmen who requested resident status and who are on the admissions wait list now have non-resident status and live at 8 Plympton St., a freshman resident of the building said yesterday. The resident, who asked not to be identified, said admissions officials gave him and several other students the option of finding off-campus housing and joining the Class of '83, or waiting until next year and joining the Class of '84 as "regular students."

Canaday Hall, which was overcrowded last year on the top floor, now has extra freshmen in some of the first floor suites, James A. Klein, senior advisor for Canaday, said yesterday.

"A severe problem at Harvard is that the buildings were designed for luxurious living--with a private bath, bedroom and living room for each student. We and students just can't afford that now," said Spence.

No Change

Spence said that 92 per cent of upperclassmen usually live in the houses each year. That figure has not changed this year despite the slight increase in the size of the Class of 1981 to the Class of 1982, she said, adding that there is no significant increase in the crowding situation at the Houses.

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