Letters to the Editor

MIT’s Resources for Off Campus Housing

The January 6th edition had a wonderful opinion piece by Ethan Solomon on the subject of living off campus.

I wanted to connect with everyone thinking about moving off campus to let them know that there is an MIT Off Campus Housing Service that can guide people through the process of locating a rental in the area. With over 60 colleges in the greater Boston area, there are a few pitfalls that inexperienced renters can encounter and our job in Off Campus Housing is to try to prevent people from encountering those pitfalls. This service is available to all affiliates of MIT.

I encourage anyone considering a move off campus to review the detailed information on our web site: http://web.mit.edu/housing/och/ or visit our office in W59-200 for assistance.

Assistant Director

MIT Off Campus Housing Service

Room for Improvement at Student Support Services

While I was an undergraduate with undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at MIT, Student Support Services failed me, big time. I had a lot of contact with them through my fraternity pledge program, self-referral, and when I was on academic probation. Their response was always the same: a worthless, canned, and crappy time-management spiel and one-page weekly organizer. I could have presented their spiel and a copy of this “planner” is now available online. I guess PDAs and smartphones are too high-tech.

The best support I got at MIT came from pledging to the Kappa-Sigma fraternity. It gave me an immediate support system and links to some of the best guys I know, regardless of whatever stereotypes there are about fraternities.

In contrast, S^3 “supported” me by waiving their own academic performance rules and letting me stay an extra semester. They based this on my academic adviser’s comments that I was “capable of doing far better than my grades suggested.” If this sounds familiar, it’s because people with ADHD are used to hearing things like this. Only in my case, it cost me an extra semester of tuition that my family really could not afford. My level of self-esteem may have felt different at the time, but I wish they would have followed their own rules and kicked me out instead of letting me stay (and fail) another semester until I left on my own.

Now, the professionals in the business should know that MIT has no legally liability in this situation. In higher-education, identification and advocacy for students with disabilities is the student’s responsibility; the responsibility of the undiagnosed teenager with poor self-awareness and self-esteem who has not yet heard of ADHD or Ritalin. Would it really have been too much to expect more from MIT and S^3 than the same time-management lecture and a “not legally negligent” quality of service?