He emphasized in an interview yesterday that new Houses could relieve the current undergraduate housing crunch and allow for an expanded student body.
“It would introduce a community of students into Allston who would doubtless invigorate the expanded campus,” Summers wrote in the letter.
Faculty at the schools of public health and education have favored a move because both face space crunches in their current homes.
Ed School Dean Ellen Condliffe Lagemann said the school needs room for everything from community meetings to more classrooms.
“We have classes where some students must sit on the floor,” Lagemann wrote in an e-mail. “The list is long.”
Summers wrote in the letter that both schools will see major physical and academic benefits by moving and that the space they vacate will “open up new long-term opportunities for schools nearby.”
The next phase of Allston planning will be handled by four task forces. Provost Steven E. Hyman will chair a group charged with planning the move of science and technology. Harvard Business School Dean Kim Clark will chair a group on the move of the professional schools.
Special Adviser to the President Dennis F. Thompson, who chaired the original lead Allston planning committee, will chair the task force on “culture, [graduate] housing, and urban life.”
According to the letter, Kirby will name at a later date the head of the group that will investigate undergraduate life.
In his letter, Summers said that faculty will make up the majority of the task forces and that the administration would consult broadly in refining its direction.
But yesterday, Summers was criticized for insufficient consultation to date.
Fisher said that efforts by faculty over the past year to suggest ideas for the short-term future of science in Cambridge had been “denigrated” by Summers and Hyman and noted that the provost’s previous committee on science in Allston had met infrequently.
After the meeting yesterday, Fisher added that the fact that the announcement came just hours before the Faculty meeting prevented a full vetting of the issues.
—Staff writer Stephen M. Marks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Elisabeth S. Theodore can be reached at email@example.com.