Tenth MacGregor entry under consideration

Residents have expressed concerns on disruptive nature of proposed change

MacGregor residents are deliberating whether to add a tenth entry, with a final decision to be made by the second week of February, according to MacGregor President Eleanor Wintersteen ’19 and Head of House Prof. Lawrence Sass.

A new apartment was built on the fourth floor of MacGregor’s H entry to accommodate the GRT for the students from La Casa who have been displaced by New House renovations and hosted in MacGregor for the past year. However, the renovations moved faster than expected, and the La Casa students will move out at the end of this academic year, instead of in 2019 as originally planned, Wintersteen said in an interview with The Tech Saturday.

To utilize the extra apartment space, the Heads and Associate Heads of House (the “House Team”) proposed a new, tenth entry, which would absorb students from the F, G, and H entries.

Several arguments in favor of a tenth entry were outlined in a Dec. 10 proposal by the House Team that was attached in an email to H entry residents and forwarded to The Tech. Most prominent were lowering and more equitably distributing the student-to-GRT ratios, as the three listed entries are currently the largest in MacGregor, with at least forty students in each.

Initially, this change was decided by the House Team and announced to MacGregor Exec, who then informed entry chairs and the general MacGregor population, Wintersteen said. “The Heads of House are very set on this and we don’t have much of a choice,” according to minutes from a Dec. 6 House Committee (HouseComm) discussion meeting forwarded to The Tech.

However, students raised concerns about the entry at the meeting, which included skepticism that lowering the ratios would necessarily improve student support, as well as issues regarding the disruptive nature of breaking up current entries and the difficulties of building culture in a new entry.

“There was a lot of pushback, and so the Heads of House said, ‘Okay, we’ll take a step back,’ ” Wintersteen explained. “They decided to let us decide whether we want to make a tenth entry or whether to pursue a different option.”

The details of this student-based decision-making process have not yet been finalized, Wintersteen said. “It will likely be a vote by HouseComm, where every entry gets a vote. Potentially, HouseComm could also decide to give the voting power to some other group,” such as the low rise entries (that is, F through J, with no I) only.

A few alternatives to adding an entry have also been discussed, such as having an in-dorm S3 dean, “which is not the most feasible thing because we would need a lot of buy-in from S3 as well,” Wintersteen said, or a non-traditional GRT focused on peer mentor and other leadership programs, similar to what Baker currently has.

“We’re getting a lot of student feedback right now from our residents,” Wintersteen said. Students were invited to complete a survey, sent Dec. 28 and set to close mid-January, about their thoughts on the various potential uses of the extra apartment and different layouts for a new entry, should one be created.

If students decide against a tenth entry, “it will not happen under the supervision of the current house team,” Sass wrote in an email to The Tech. But future decisions on what to do with the apartment would be in the hands of MIT Housing rather than the students, Sass continued.

“The students of MacGregor know the limitations of their choices,” Sass wrote. “We are positive the students will make a choice that will work best for them.”