Senior House President's story - goo.gl/77X2Mk
On the value of Senior House - goo.gl/oNRrb8
Senior House has been closed to undergraduates. All residents have been evicted, everything is gone and our murals (goo.gl/hvfcYr) will be painted over. It will reopen in the fall as graduate housing - goo.gl/sc84sN
We believe that current students can work with the administration to appreciate and preserve the uniqueness of Senior House, a living group that has long been a haven for LGBT students, low income students, minorities, and others who proudly identify as being “different.” We are concerned that our cherished MIT values of openness, community, and collaborative problem solving are not being upheld. Evicting and displacing all students at Senior House is a colossal disruption to these students' educations. Their home has been dismantled and their support network has been uprooted. This decision is destructive to their undergraduate experience and mental health, and has also alienated thousands of valued alumni.
We believe that Senior House is an invaluable undergraduate residence, and should continue in that capacity. The individuals who violated MIT rules should be disciplined accordingly, but collective punishment of all Senior House residents is unwarranted. Many of these students put in a tremendous amount of effort to sincerely comply and assist with the administration’s turnaround process, and now they are devastated that they have lost their home.
We are also concerned that Senior House culture has been misrepresented throughout this process. The many positive aspects of Senior House provide something important to certain categories of students. In many ways, Senior House statistics are impressive. Thousands of Senior House alumni now have successful careers, and have ascended to the top ranks of science, engineering, and other fields. There have been no suicides at Senior House in over 25 years, during a time when the suicide rate in the rest of the Institute was a cause of concern. Senior House culture is extremely heterogeneous, and it has evolved continuously over its long history. Students have always led the way in defining their own community values and living experience, and alumni simply offer their support. The only constant of Senior House is that the dormitory celebrates the independent spirit and uniqueness that makes MIT so special to all of us.
Supporting Senior House can be done in a way that reflects well on the students, the administration, MIT values, and the outside world -- championing the transparency, good faith, community input, fairness, and open debate that all of us value.
We urge you to restore Senior House as an undergraduate dormitory, and to continue to demonstrate your commitment to student diversity and community engagement. We urge you to actively support all of the unique living groups at MIT, including the recently displaced Senior House community, and to work in collaboration with the students whom you serve.
Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this urgent matter.