DSL lowers new dorm’s pricing after complaints about subpar living conditions

Most infrastructural problems have been addressed, though some concerns remain

8233 99 bay state
The former Lambda Chi Alpha chapter house now serves as housing for the displaced residents of New House.
Jose Martinez

The Division of Student Life dropped the pricing of the new undergraduate residence at 99 Bay State Road in Boston from a Tier 2 dorm to a Tier 3 dorm after facing overwhelming resident concerns about living conditions. The change will save residents $470 per semester.

At the start of fall semester, occupants of the new residence hall, which was allocated to previous members of New House 3 due to New House’s renovation, reported a number of issues with their new living space. Since then, the Division of Student Life has been working on improving the conditions, but the process is “slower than expected,” resident Jingxuan Fan ’20 wrote in an email to The Tech Wednesday.

Some international transfer students were also assigned housing at 99 Bay State Road. The residence previously housed MIT’s Lambda Chi Alpha chapter until it was suspended for five years in 2014.

A former resident and international student, who moved out of 99 Bay State Road due to the disappointing living conditions in the former, wrote in an email to The Tech Sept. 11 that when she emailed Jennifer Hapgood-White, associate director of housing assignments for DSL, about issues like the lack of light, electricity, hot water, and door locks, her concerns were met with a casual “we’ll look into that.”

“The walls and floor were really dirty and all the furnitures were aged and dusty. The whole building appears to be still under construction, with scaffolding and other raw construction materials lying around,” the former resident added. “The strong odor of paint and dust in the building had also triggered my allergic rhinitis, so I spent the first night in Boston sneezing and wasn't able to get a good rest at all.”

Unlike other MIT dorms, 99 Bay State did not have Athena clusters or printers, MedLinks, or graduate resident advisors (GRAs) to consult, The Tech observed during a Sept. 12 visit.

“Though it is a dorm opened this year, we still expected it to be well prepared before we moved in, but it was not the case,” Fan wrote.

Throughout September, residents argued for their rights by contacting maintenance and the MIT Housing Office, and the DSL made efforts to improve the situation. Hapgood-White wrote in an email to The Tech Wednesday that “Housing is grateful for 99 Bay State Road residents’ patience as work requests are completed and the living experience is brought up to student expectations.”

Regarding the unfinished maintenance work, Hapgood-White wrote that “with the exception of new carpeting on the stairways, all major work is done at this time ... The stairway carpeting will be replaced soon, and dust mitigation will take place during the installation.” 

She added that “jacks are being wired by IS&T today [Sept. 27] and the printer cluster should be operational this week ... The search for a graduate resident advisor is underway, and residents will be involved in the interview process. The position is expected to be filled by mid-October.”

Fan confirmed that for her room, door locks were renewed, and mouse traps were provided.

As yet unaddressed issues include poor kitchen conditions — “the refrigerators are basically made from the trays for baking cookies which looks really primitive,” Fan wrote.

“Facilities is working to add the residence to Atlas’s work order system,” Hapgood-White wrote. “In the meantime, residents can submit issues to”

Update 10/03/2017: The name and current residence of the former resident quoted in this article was removed due to the residents’ privacy concerns.