Ignoring Student Needs


COLLEGE ADMINISTRATORS this week finally got around to asking students what they thought about plans to limit summer storage for many undergraduates this year and possibly all students in the future. At yesterday's meeting of the moribund Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life, administrators discussed their decision to contract with a professional storage service because of the unavailability of ordinary storage space in Lowell. Leverett and Winthrop Houses--Houses they singled out because of planned renovations or summer school usage. The dialogue was long overdue. It and future discussions should raise serious questions about the viability of alternative storage schemes.

It's not the decision for this summer that is so troubling, though students should be consulted on pressing short-term is-sues. Rather, we are disturbed by the willingness shown by University Hall to examine the questions surrounding summer storage all year without any concern for those whose belongings would be affected.

Last week's statement by Associate Dean for Housing Thomas A. Dingman '67--that because this summer's arrangements are only temporary, they did not need to have been reviewed by students--shows a gross insensitivity. That lack of concern is also reflected in another suggestion by Dingman and others--that high maintenance costs and the "need" for more summer school rooms and even squash courts may eventually spell the end of on-campus storage altogether.

The College's storage fait accompli is especially upsetting in that the need to cut back on storage is by no means obvious. Even Martha Coburn, associate dean of the College, has said the only tangible costs involved in storage are those of paying a custodian to supervise storage in the spring and removal in the fall. That price certainly seems worth paying.

The other apparent justification for the storage cutback--that unclaimed belongings have often rendered squash courts and other rooms unusable--hardly seems a reason for scrapping storage. Rather, it may suggest the need for more binding in-House deadlines governing the removal of student items. And those who object to storage because they find grimy storage areas aesthetically undesirable--as some administrators have said they do--should look elsewhere for visual satisfaction.


Storage in a House, in short, is reasonable and necessary: its elimination could add new costs and inconveniences to undergraduates without any compelling justification. Ask any student.