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On Sunday, the Undergraduate Council (UC) continued its tradition of funding Dudley House at half the level it funds the other 12 House Committees (HoCos). But this year is not like other years: the HoCo funding has rightfully grown from $1,000 per House per semester as little as four years ago to $4,500 today. When UC allocations to HoCos were smaller, it made more sense to fund Dudley House at half the level of the other Houses. But now that HoCos’ funding is no longer supplemented by House dues—and their UC allocations are so much higher—the tradition of granting Dudley House half of the other Houses’ share ought to end. The UC’s decision to grant Dudley House $2,250—half of what other undergraduate houses are given—is financially irresponsible and logically nonsensical.
Dudley’s grant is intended to HoCo-type events for the House, such as special dinners and parties. However, given that only 57 undergraduates are affiliated with Dudley (and only 32 live in the Dudley Cooperative House), the amount allocated per Dudley student is wildly out of proportion to the amount allocated per student in the residential Houses. It should receive an amount of money roughly proportionate to the amount allocated per student to other Houses, multiplied by the number of students affiliated with Dudley. Since the 12 Houses receive about $11 per student per semester, Dudley should receive $600 to $700 per term starting next semester.
Although Dudley should not receive as much UC funding as the other houses, it is certainly free to spend its allocation however it chooses. It has proposed hosting block parties in order to improve relations between Co-op residents and their neighbors (who are not Harvard affiliates). Money received by HoCos should be used to build House community, and if Dudley’s conception of House community is neighborhood community, that’s fine. But if Dudley requires more than its fair share of UC funding to build these neighborhood relationships—and the Co-op’s president suggested that the “full” $2,250 was necessary—it should apply for grants to cover the difference. Other community-oriented student groups already apply for, and receive, this sort of funding from the Council.
While this term’s Dudley House allocation was far too high, the allocation system the UC already uses for the rest of the College’s Houses could also use a bit of tweaking. Currently, it grants every HoCo $4,500 per semester for expenses related to house life. This money goes towards funding social events, such as stein clubs, that benefit the community of students residing in the House. Nevertheless, since some Houses have more residents than others, students in larger Houses are already receiving less money per student than students in houses with smaller populations. The UC should amend its formula to give each House a baseline grant amount, plus an additional small amount per student, to compensate for differences in House populations. We believe that this is the most effective way for students across the House system to receive equal value from their HoCo’s dollars.
The College already goes to great lengths to provide support and resources to those students who choose not to affiliate with a residential House. But the UC’s decision to give them vastly more money than the rest of the College’s students is simply wrong.
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