Monday, June 19, 2017

Sport Death Coming to an End at MIT's Senior House...,


qz |  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%. More than a fifth of students had not graduated after their sixth year, nearly double the rate of the next worst-performing dorm, called Random.

MIT initially proposed overhauling the house, based on the graduation data and concerns over illegal drug use. It halted 2016-2017 freshman from moving in, appointed a turnaround committee, and added more mental health resources to the house. But the administration ultimately concluded that revamping it wasn’t worth the bother. Senior House was filled with “serious and unsafe behaviors” which undermine the university’s goals for the health, safety and academic success of the students, the letter stated. The university declined to elaborate on the nature of the serious and unsafe behaviors.