Chancellor Barnhart announced Friday that no freshmen will be housed in Senior House this fall, citing a comparatively low four-year graduation rate and ongoing problems with illegal drug use.
An interview with Chancellor Barnhart
The Tech spoke again with Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 in order to address concerns about her data analysis, the ban on freshmen in Senior House, the future of GRTs in the dorm, and more.
Since the announcement on June 10 that Senior House will not house freshmen during the 2016-2017 school year, students have expressed a wide range of concerns.
Since her appointment as Chancellor in February 2014, Cynthia Barnhart, PhD ’88 has overseen a variety of changes for student life on campus. Recent actions regarding Senior Haus have proven unpopular with some of the student body. However, Chancellor Barnhart has taken, at her own risk, unprecedented steps towards including students in the decision-making process at MIT over the past three years.
I’m writing because many of the concerns people are bringing to me are based on inaccurate information and a misunderstanding of what brought us to this point. What I find most troubling are the accusations that this is somehow intended as an attack on vulnerable populations or on students’ ability to self-govern. This decision is about one thing: providing every MIT student with a safe environment.
We agree that it is appropriate to remove from Senior House anyone who has violated an MIT rule or actively, repeatedly, and affirmatively encouraged rule-breaking behavior. However, it would be entirely inappropriate to prevent any of the rest of us — the overwhelming majority of Senior House residents — from returning home.
The decision to turn Senior House into a graduate dormitory, announced last Friday by Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 to the Senior House community, has been met with condemnation from vocal MIT community members.
Students accuse administration of collective punishment — but numbers don't matter, Barnhart says, if “the end result is that students living in Senior House wouldn't have a good experience.”