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Student Groups May Not Receive Early Housing

Activities Fair Precedes House Move-In

By Georgia N. Alexakis

College administrators will meet today to discuss whether representatives of certain student groups will receive temporary housing during freshman week.

A conflict arose when the fall move-in date for the 1997-98 school year was scheduled for Sept. 10, while the freshman week activities fair was set for Sept. 8.

Without undergraduates on campus to table at the fair, student groups fear low attendance at the fair unless a solution is found.

Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III said that "the matter is still under review."

"What used to happen is that you had people who had a role to play in the college during that week," said Epps, who will meet today with Associate Dean of Harvard College for Human Resources and the House System Thomas A. Dingman '67 to discuss plans for next fall..

However, since the upperclass houses opened at the beginning of freshmen week, many sophomores, juniors and seniors moved into the houses as well, to get a head start on unloading or to relax through a week of no classes.

But Epps said that allowing students a week of relaxation, with no academic responsibilities, was not the original intent of opening the houses early.

"We have not made that decision to extend that housing privilege to all groups."

Typically, groups like the Crimson Key Society, The Harvard Crimson, choral groups that perform during the week or peer groups that are trained during that time are temporarily housed.

"We intend to house all the students that need to be here," Dingman said.

However, with houses next year officially closed until mid-week, the administrators are forced today to begin deciding which groups deserve special temporary housing.

"It continues to be a problem because we need to determine which groups will play an important role during the week," Dingman said.

Epps promised as fair a resolution as possible.

"We are going to try to find a way to respond," Epps said. "In the interim, we have been telling students to ask students who live locally to cover the freshman registration and we will go on to decide whether to accommodate other student groups."

Lamelle D. Rawlins '99, under-graduate council president, met with Epps yesterday and said she felt confident that student groups would be 1accommodated.

"The situation next [fall] is not going to be ideal, but I'm hopeful that the University will give temporary housing to all student groups that need to be here in the beginning of the year," Rawlins said.

Epps said that a change in the fall move-in date caused the conflict.

"My understanding is that there was too much time for students to come back to the houses without anything to do so the date was moved back," Epps said.

Dingman said that the dates for the opening are determined by the Dean of the College in consultation with the house masters, senior tutors, and house office staffs.

Assistant Dean of Students Sarah E. Flatley said that the conflict in dates is not unprecedented.

"The opening of the houses later than last year is the same as it was three or four years ago," she said. "This is not a new thing."

Rawlins said she is confident that after meeting extensively with Epps and Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 yesterday, the conflict will not re-occur in the future.

"The Committee on House Life has already agreed to reconsider the issue for next year," Rawlins said. "I'm optimistic that this will be changed."

Epps' proposed solution of encouraging students who live locally to operate the activities fair, did not meet the needs of all student groups, especially smaller or regional groups.

"It's going to be quite a challenge to make a vivid impression on the freshmen," said Geoffrey C. Rapp '98, an executive board member of Holoimua o Hawai'i. "Unless we show them that there is a supportive community from Hawaii here, it is unlikely that they will want to be a part of our club."

Rawlins said that temporary housing for some student groups was not the answer either.

"If you're a small student group or a regional group, it makes it really impossible for those groups to fully participate," she said. "It's not a matter of having one person there; it's a matter of having a team there to facilitate freshman outreach."

Rapp, also the Institute of Politics' (IOP) student advisory committee chair, said that the problems presented by the conflict are a little different for organizations as large as the IOP.

"The bigger problem for the IOP is that our programming starts during freshman week," Rapp said. "It's important for veteran members of the IOP to be there to bring freshmen down to our events."

Rapp added that the problem will not be solved, even if groups do find area members to table.

"There will be people here but that doesn't give students a sense of the diversity of the students involved in the groups," he said. "It'll just be a couple of kids from Massachusetts representing an organization like the IOP that is much more diverse than they are."

Flatley said that even if the student-group turnout is low at the fair, first-years still have many opportunities to find out about different organizations.

"There are no changes in the first week's meetings, which is announced in the calendar of events that freshman receive during the summer," Flatley said. "If they are reading their calendar and material they get over the summer, they'll know what groups are there."

But Rawlins said it was crucial that student groups get the same opportunity to reach out to incoming students in their own ways.

"The extracurricular fair is one of the highlights during freshman week," Rawlins said. "I would hate to see the fair diminished to the point where it would be easy to get through the tent.

"The situation next [fall] is not going to be ideal, but I'm hopeful that the University will give temporary housing to all student groups that need to be here in the beginning of the year," Rawlins said.

Epps said that a change in the fall move-in date caused the conflict.

"My understanding is that there was too much time for students to come back to the houses without anything to do so the date was moved back," Epps said.

Dingman said that the dates for the opening are determined by the Dean of the College in consultation with the house masters, senior tutors, and house office staffs.

Assistant Dean of Students Sarah E. Flatley said that the conflict in dates is not unprecedented.

"The opening of the houses later than last year is the same as it was three or four years ago," she said. "This is not a new thing."

Rawlins said she is confident that after meeting extensively with Epps and Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 yesterday, the conflict will not re-occur in the future.

"The Committee on House Life has already agreed to reconsider the issue for next year," Rawlins said. "I'm optimistic that this will be changed."

Epps' proposed solution of encouraging students who live locally to operate the activities fair, did not meet the needs of all student groups, especially smaller or regional groups.

"It's going to be quite a challenge to make a vivid impression on the freshmen," said Geoffrey C. Rapp '98, an executive board member of Holoimua o Hawai'i. "Unless we show them that there is a supportive community from Hawaii here, it is unlikely that they will want to be a part of our club."

Rawlins said that temporary housing for some student groups was not the answer either.

"If you're a small student group or a regional group, it makes it really impossible for those groups to fully participate," she said. "It's not a matter of having one person there; it's a matter of having a team there to facilitate freshman outreach."

Rapp, also the Institute of Politics' (IOP) student advisory committee chair, said that the problems presented by the conflict are a little different for organizations as large as the IOP.

"The bigger problem for the IOP is that our programming starts during freshman week," Rapp said. "It's important for veteran members of the IOP to be there to bring freshmen down to our events."

Rapp added that the problem will not be solved, even if groups do find area members to table.

"There will be people here but that doesn't give students a sense of the diversity of the students involved in the groups," he said. "It'll just be a couple of kids from Massachusetts representing an organization like the IOP that is much more diverse than they are."

Flatley said that even if the student-group turnout is low at the fair, first-years still have many opportunities to find out about different organizations.

"There are no changes in the first week's meetings, which is announced in the calendar of events that freshman receive during the summer," Flatley said. "If they are reading their calendar and material they get over the summer, they'll know what groups are there."

But Rawlins said it was crucial that student groups get the same opportunity to reach out to incoming students in their own ways.

"The extracurricular fair is one of the highlights during freshman week," Rawlins said. "I would hate to see the fair diminished to the point where it would be easy to get through the tent.

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