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Letter regarding draft report on graduate student housing

The following email was sent today to the MIT faculty by Provost Martin Schmidt. A similar letter was subsequently sent to the graduate student community by Christine Ortiz, dean for graduate education.

To Members of the Faculty:

I am writing to share the draft report of the Graduate Student Housing Working Group.

In March 2013, former Provost Chris Kaiser and Chancellor Eric Grimson established the Graduate Student Housing Working Group — a key recommendation that emerged from the October 2012 report of the Task Force on Community Engagement in 2030 Planning. Led by Tom Kochan, the Task Force reviewed MIT’s proposal to redevelop Institute properties in the East Campus and Kendall Square areas. Its recommendations included proceeding with the Kendall Square rezoning process (approved by the City of Cambridge in April 2013), launching an urban planning study of the East Campus/Kendall gateway area (underway), and examining the housing needs of graduate students.

The Graduate Student Housing Working Group was asked to:

  • Evaluate the ways in which the graduate student housing needs are currently met, and identify strengths and weaknesses in our current approach in the context of graduate student recruiting and satisfaction.
  • Recommend ways by which the graduate student housing needs might be best served into the future in order to maintain competitiveness. Any recommendations which require new resources should be weighed against the need for other resources to support the graduate student population.

Chaired by former Chancellor and Department of Urban Studies and Planning Professor Phillip Clay, the Working Group included faculty members Stephen Bell, Melissa Nobles, John Ochsendorf, Christine Ortiz, Jaime Peraire and Ezra Zuckerman Sivan, as well graduate students Kevin Cedrone, Andrea Dubin, Nathaniel Schafheimer, and Charlotte Seid. Staff support was provided by Lydia Snover and Jagruti Patel of Institutional Research, and Peter Cummings of the Office of the Dean for Student Life. Christopher Cotter, Housing Director for the City of Cambridge, served as a resource and liaison.

Many dynamic factors and pressures influence the topic of graduate student housing and serve to make this a complex matter. I greatly appreciate the thoroughness that is evident in this analysis and would like to express my gratitude to each individual who served on, or supported, the Working Group.

We are sharing this draft report in order to give the community an opportunity to offer feedback before the Working Group issues its final report. Comments may be sent to Once the final report is issued in the mid-spring, I will work with Chancellor Barnhart and Executive Vice President Ruiz to provide a formal response to the recommendations of the Working Group.

Marty Schmidt

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