Save Senior House

What happened?

In the summer of 2016 the MIT administration announced its intervention into the Senior House community, citing low graduation rates and concerns about illegal drug use. The administration barred freshmen from living in Senior House during school year 2016–2017 and appointed a turnaround committee in response.

At the end of the 2016–2017 school year, the administration decided that, due to “serious and unsafe” behaviors occurring in Senior House, all current residents were to be summarily ejected and replaced by a freshman program called Pilot 2021. See Chancellor Barnhart's email to residents here.

Students and alumni campus-wide were appalled at the actions of the administration, and we held a sit-in in front of Chancellor Barnhart's office where many attendees spoke how Senior House and dorm culture in general were such important parts of their lives. Right after this, we held a solidarity BBQ in the Senior House courtyard. Instead of listening to our critisms, the administration responded by tearing out our BBQ pit and cutting down our tire swing in the Senior House courtyard, surprise-evicting our ex-GRTs (Graduate Resident Tutors) with only 48 hours notice, suddenly disallowing any residents still living in Senior House to check-in guests, and fencing up the courtyard and having police detail up at all times.

UPDATE: On July 7th, 2017, in response to the pushback by students and alumni of the administrative actions against Senior House (or what Barnhart called "misinformation, denials, and responses" that "violate MIT values"), Cynthia Barnhart informed ex-residents of Senior House that no undergraduates would be permitted to live in the building, E2, and it would now be a completely white-washed graduate resident dorm, because "[administrators] no longer believe that first-year and continuing students living in Senior House next year will be able to define for themselves their own community values and living experience". Read the whole email to ex-residents here.

The official response from Senior House can be read here, where we said that "we are committed to building a community that promotes healthy, responsible choices; supports all residents; and welcomes differences. This commitment includes welcoming every Pilot 2021 freshman and New House transfer." Given this response, it is unclear why Barnhart claimed to believe that we would not be able to define our own community values.

In a letter from DormCon and the UA, it was further revealed that the "misinformation, denials, and responses" Cynthia was talking about was specifically a webpage created by one Senior House alumnus, which called out Mike Short for his slanderous Op-Ed on Senior House in the Tech, and current MIT students talking to incoming freshmen on the Class of 2021 facebook page about Pilot 2021 and Senior House.

How this hurts our community and damages the mission of MIT: