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Letter to the Editor: An Unfair Charge

To the Editor:

In the April 27 op-ed entitled “The Case for Housing Reform,” the author asserts that for those students assigned to Quad housing, “[t]he housing experience is far more negative” than for those on the River. As a solution to this alleged problem, he proposes that all sophomores should suffer equally in the Quad before moving on to the promised banks of the Charles.

Not only does Levene offer no evidence to back up his claim, the evidence that does exist seems to point to the contrary: Though it is true that freshmen prefer River housing, the housing satisfaction levels of seniors graduating in recent years have been generally similar across all Houses. Despite the popular sentiment that the Quad is far away and undesirable, those who actually live there seem no less happy with their lot. Levene is proposing a solution to a problem that he can’t prove exists.

That being said, we do not disagree with Levene that the Housing Lottery is not one whose “benefits are distributed equally among the students.” It is truly unjust that no River House has its own student-run cafe or enormous lawn, and that most lack open social spaces akin to the Currier Treehouse, Pfoho Igloo, or Cabot Aquarium. It is a crying shame that not every Harvard undergraduate can enjoy a single room with square footage in the triple digits. That some students can graduate from Harvard having never learned how to make sense of a shuttle schedule (or even a shuttle-tracking app) really breaks our hearts.

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We agree that “[i]t is fundamentally unfair that significantly worse housing options cost the same as significantly better ones.” In light of these inequities, we hope Harvard might refund what Levene has apparently been overcharged.

Jack W. Deschler ’19 is a Computer Science and Government concentrator in Cabot House. He is a co-chair of the Cabot House Committee. Megan M. Ross ’18, a former Crimson Multimedia Chair, is a Computer Science concentrator in Pforzheimer House. She is a former resident of Mather House.

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