June 15, 2017
Senior House, a dorm beloved by many underrepresented minority groups at MIT, has been described many ways: free-wheeling, experimental, diverse, inclusive—and, in the words of one former student, in constant violation of “campus policy on smoking, pets, drugs, alcohol, public sex, (insert flavor-of-the-month form of rebellion here).”
The dorm is about to be dismantled. MIT has decided to kick everyone out, allowing its current members to reapply for residence in the space for the fall, but insisting it will repopulate it. “You will see that we are seeking individuals who are committed to contributing to a residential environment that supports residents’ academic and personal development,” chancellor Cynthia Barnhart wrote in a letter to current and former student members, obtained by Quartz and confirmed by the university.
MIT, which prides itself on exalting data, says data drove the decision: 59.7% of students who start off (pdf) living in Senior House graduate in four years. That compares to a university-wide average of 83.7%. …
To many students, the announcement amounts to cultural sterilization, an effort to turn the most interesting, diverse, and accepting dorm into another haven for aspiring doctors and engineers.
House member Sabrina M., class of 2019, was devastated by the changes. On a blog on MIT’s admissions page, she described Senior House (lovingly nicknamed Haus, motto: “Sport Death, Only Life Can Kill You” ) as:
…a dorm for a disproportionately high amount of LGBT students, students of color, and first generation students, people who are already statistically more likely to deal with mental issues and struggle in school. …
On the same admissions blog, Michelle G., class of 2018, questioned whether the graduation data cited by the university ignored that “students of certain demographic backgrounds are significantly more likely to take longer than four years to graduate.” Senior House, she wrote, is one of the most inexpensive dorms to live in, and attracts a disproportionately high share of low-income students. According to her post, the three most expensive dorms have the highest graduation rates vs. the cheapest ones, which have the lowest. She also noted that, according to the chancellor’s office, 40% of Senior House students are LGBT.
How often do gay staffers take over admissions departments and let in marginal gay applicants? A high percentage of undergrad admissions part time staffers who conduct campus tours for high school students are effeminate gay theater majors and the like. I’d hardly be surprised if a lot of colleges have heavily gay admissions departments that let in more gay applicants than they should.