Yale's Random Housing Offers Student Diversity

Ten days after Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 announced changes to the freshman lottery system, some administrators, house masters and students said they would support a completely random system similar to the one used by Yale University.

Harvard's new plan was a compromise between those advocating a completely random system and those supporting the former system, which they said maximized student choice.

Under the new system, at least 25 percent of the slots in eight of the 12 residential houses will be filled randomly. Four houses--Adams, Eliot, Lowell and Winthrop--will not participate. Spaces in these houses will be assigned through the normal lottery process.


While 10 to 15 percent of the freshman class is normally assigned randomly, Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 said this week that he expected an additional 10 percent or more might find themselves in houses they did not request this year.

Most Harvard administrators say a move to asystem resembling Yale's is not likely in the nearfuture. But some, including Jewett and Dean ofFreshmen Henry C. Moses, have voiced support for acompletely random process.


"I would support that," said North House MasterJ. Woodland Hastings.

At Yale, incoming freshmen are randomlyaffiliated with one of the twelve residentialcolleges--the equivalent of Harvard'shouses--before they even enter. Most freshmenreside in the Old Campus, similar to the Yard. Butstudents live in dormitories with other freshmenmembers of their college.

"The fact that there are all sorts of people inevery college really made a difference for me,"said Debbie L. Kartiganer, who added that shechose Yale in part because of its housing system.

"At Harvard, they can get reputations likebeing artsy or being the jock house," she said.

Yale freshman Anna S. Clark, whose brotherattends Harvard, said her school's system preventsthe forming of niches. "We aren't allowed tofactionalize ourselves."

Another advantage of Yale's system, studentsthere said, is a sense of group spirit.

"You have an automatic identity when you arriveon campus because you are immediately associatedwith a residential college," said Clark.

During their first year, freshmen "acclimate tothe college environment" through activities suchas intramural sports, weekly get-togethers, studybreaks and seasonal formals, all organized withineach college, said Clark.

But campus controversy over Harvard's housingsystem has not hurt recruitment efforts yet,although it may in the future, an admissionsofficer said.

Doreen M. Kelly '85 said the lottery "may beginto be a consideration" when pre-freshmen hearabout it. About 400 Early Action "pre-frosh" willstay with freshman hosts during a three-day visitnext week.