The University's decision to open another cooperative house for commuters is a commendable expedient. The new residence will offer sixteen places for commuting students; together with quarters in the cooperative residence concerted last year and new places in Wiggles worth, 77 commuters will be enabled to participate more in University living.
Commuters are, at least for a while, a fact of life. As long as the University feels it worthwhile to admit local students for whom there are no House facilities, or who cannot afford residence a commuting problem will exist. While not an ideal solution, cooperative houses do offer a chance for students to avoid the inconvenience of daily MTA travel and the distractions of living at home.
Cooperative houses should not be regarded as the "ultimate" solution of the commuter problem. In its features, a cooperative dorm falls far short of a Harvard House. A cooperative residence will lake tutorial staff, library, and that minimum of gracious living designed to remove the chores of cooking and maintenance which interfere with the proper pursuit of undergraduate learning. Perhaps most important, the Houses possess a heterogeneous grouping of students the cooperative houses cannot offer. The idea of a cooperative house is, to a great degree, a compromise with the goals of Harvard education.
Realizing this, the University should attempt to duplicate House advantages as much as possible. The problem of a homogeneous Boston group might be relieved if some students in the Houses who wished to experiment with low-cost cooperative living were to be included in the residence. Some geographic sprinkling could thus be achieved. Furthermore, as many graduate student tutors as possible should be attracted into the cooperative houses. The variety of fields represented by the senior common room of the Houses could not, of course, be achieved; but some approximation of the intellectual tone tutors provide might be attained.
Cooperative houses should not be used by the Administration as an excuse for postponding the final settlement of the commuter problem. When the new Houses are built, commuters can be moved into them even if they must be especially subsidized. Until then, cooperative housing represents a healthy reconciliation with the realities of the commuting situation.