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.
Covino, who has experience working with LGBTQ groups, was unanimously endorsed by a committee that included Senior House student leadership, MIT administrators, and members of the Senior House house team.
The MIT Police Department informed Senior House last month that it would no longer be allowed to run live outdoor music events past 11:30 p.m.
Senior House’s turnaround that Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88 announced over the summer is well underway with committees tackling substantive issues, but the turnaround has not been a completely smooth process.
Angel De La Cruz, a student in Course 6 and a resident of Senior House, has been ordered held without bail for allegedly possessing firearms in his dorm room. His hearing is scheduled for Feb. 13.
Angel De La Cruz, a student in Course 6 and a resident of Senior House, was ordered held without bail Jan. 13 for allegedly possessing firearms in his dorm room.
The Chancellor’s office refused to comment on what dangerous behavior occurred, but the administration “has placed the Senior House community on probation.”
Current students and community members respond
Administration decides to resettle Senior House residents, citing “unhealthy behavior” during last year’s turnaround period
Senior House will be mostly depopulated, and will instead house students in Pilot 2021, a new program for freshmen focused on “academics, personal development, and wellbeing.” Current residents will need to go through a “selective” application process in order to live in the dorm next year.
Students protested MIT’s decision to “depopulate Senior House” Friday. The protest started with a sign-making session in Lobby 7, followed by a march to the chancellor’s office where various protesters spoke.
Several New House houses were offered the chance to move into Senior House last week – including iHouse, Desmond, and La Casa.
Senior House residents were informed April 20 of an impending “review process” which included voluntary interviews to investigate what the chancellor called “dangerous behavior.”
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.”
Given the high level of interest in facts surrounding the Senior House decision, I thought it might help to lay out the milestone events of the last year and share my thinking.
Chancellor Barnhart and President Reif should jointly apologize to the MIT community as a whole and HMS participants in particular for any pain or distress related to the study or actions informed by the study.
The punishment being implemented by the MIT Chancellor and President goes far beyond individual accountability, or the desire to eliminate drug use in the dorm. Allegations of widely tolerated drug use were made by the chancellor, but prior to the investigation, very few students were aware of the events that have now been punished by the COD.
“Since 1996, over 451 murals have been painted in Senior House...there are ones in rooms, in suites, in stairwells and in bathrooms. They’re really using the internal architecture of the building in this phenomenal way that I don’t see in other places.”
“The intent of this festival was to help the East Campus students explore and create an identity, especially now that new students from Senior House are a part of East Campus,” Maurizio Diaz ’20 explained in a phone interview with The Tech.