The University is treating its graduate student housing office like a stepchild. In most large-city schools, students who wish to live off campus patronize a well-staffed househunting headquarters, conspicuously placed in the main administration building. But the University's has been shunted off to the second floor of Phillips Brooks House. Understaffed and ill-located, the office can offer students only token help in the tedious but important job of finding a house to live in.
The story of how the Housing Office came to roost in PBH shows how easily a favor can develop into an obligation. Thirteen years ago, members of the service center voluntarily undertook an inspection of living conditions and rental rates in Cambridge apartments, and compiled a list of rooms that met their standards. In 1945, when the University decided to take its own housing office out of Straus Hall, it referred all student househunters to the PBH lists. As the number of apartments and rentors rose, what was a mere listing turned into a minor real estate establishment. Devoted to graduates only, it now uses space PBH needs for broader University services.
There is no better locale for a Graduate School housing office than Farlow House, administrative center of the Graduate School itself. Established there and staffed with a couple more secretaries, the office could cope with both its rentors and landladies. After thirteen years, the office could once more inspect Cambridge rooms, keeping a watchful eye on landladies who discriminate against colored and foreign students. In these and other ways, a better-placed, better staffed housing office could make the job of finding a home more personalized and efficient.