Students Fight Randomization

Freshperson Committee Begins Dialogue With Jewett

A group of about 10 first-year students met last night to discuss ways to fight a plan that would randomize 50 percent of the spaces in the residential houses in the next housing lottery.

The Committee Against Randomization (CAR), founded two weeks ago in opposition to the proposal made by Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57, announced that it will sponsor a formal discussion of the randomization plan. CAR also announced that it will try to convince house masters and Undergraduate Council representatives to lend their opposition to Jewett's proposal.

James M. Harmon '93, CAR's founder, said he developed the strategy after Jewett informed him in a meeting on Friday that plans for the lottery would be finalized no later than December.

"Jewett said he was not surprised that freshmen had what he called a 'knee-jerk' reaction against randomization," said Harmon. "Our main goal now is to show him that we have had informed discussion about randomization and that we legitimately oppose it."

On Jewett's recommendation, CAR has begun to organize a panel discussion between those who oppose and those who favor randomization. If run as planned, the discussion will include Jewett, house masters opposing randomization, CAR members and anyone else who wishes to voice an opinion.


"Jewett will be much more impressed if people are still against randomization after he informs them of its benefits," Harmon said.

According to Harmon, mobilizing the support of the house masters will help convince Jewett to reverse his plans. Last year, the house masters proposed a similar randomization plan, but Jewett cancelled it after several masters withdrew their support.

Harmon, who won an Undergraduate Council seat on a platform opposing randomization, also said he hopes to "add legitimacy to the cause" by convincing the council to back his fight.

Harmon said CAR also would consider staging a protest against the plan and would secure the signatures of first-year students who have not yet signed a petition that began circulating last week.

As of Friday, according to Harmon, about 900 first-year students had signed the petition, which objects to the randomization plan.

"Speaking with Jewett on Friday made me realize that the petition is not what is going to change his mind," said Harmon. "But we ought to finish what we have already begun."