Nearly a year after turnaround announcement, near-term future of Senior House is uncertain

Barnhart, dodging specific questions, only guarantees E2 will house ‘MIT students’

Administrators have still not given word on who will be allowed to live in Senior House this fall. The chancellor declined to dispel rumors that current residents might not be able to return to the dorm.

Freshmen will be able to rank Senior House in this year’s housing lottery; their ranking, however, may be ultimately disregarded. If a freshman ranks Senior House, they will see a message warning them that first-year housing in Senior House “is still under consideration,” chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 wrote in an email to The Tech.

Freshmen were also able to rank Senior House in last year’s housing lottery, which was held prior to the announcement last June that no freshmen would live in the dorm. MIT cited low graduation rates and concerns of illegal drug use in the dorm as reasons for the decision.

Senior House community members told The Tech that there are worries that some or all current residents might be prevented from returning to the dorm come fall.

Barnhart would not comment on whether these actions are being considered. When asked to confirm whether Senior House would house the current residents, or at least MIT undergraduates, Barnhart only confirmed that Senior House would house “MIT students.”

Barnhart says she has consulted with Senior House student leadership about community involvement in this year’s housing process and that her office is “working directly with current residents to handle this matter as privately and responsibly” as possible. However, Barnhart did not describe any specific agreements or arrangements come to by students and administration.

The Tech spoke with several Senior House residents and potential transfers. None would speak on the record, but most expressed uncertainty and worry about the future of housing in the dorm. Senior House student leadership has not yet responded to request for comment.

This May, administrators cancelled Steer Roast, an annual weekend-long music event at Senior House, due to “dangerous behavior” in the dorm.

Barnhart would not say what factors are being considered in any decisions about student housing in Senior House, and said that a timeline for a decision was announced to Senior House students.

Vivian Zhong contributed reporting.