IHC and HARC are worth saving

By Letter to the Editor

The Maroon’s recently published editorial, (“Time To Scrap IHC And HARC,” 10/26), lacks a basic understanding of IHC and HARC. The editorial states, “IHC ostensibly serves as a governing body for the housing system.” This is false; Inter-House Council is an advisory body to the Office of Undergraduate Student Housing (OUSH) that gathers opinions on important issues such as gender-neutral housing and advises OUSH based on those opinions.

IHC is set up in several ways to facilitate this goal. The council has one representative from every house on campus, ensuring that the full range of opinions is heard. In addition, IHC members are “representatives” in the most literal sense of the word; they are expected to reflect the views of their house. Resolutions passed by IHC are often general statements of support that are intended to jump-start further inquiry by OUSH. The resolution passed on gender-neutral housing is an excellent example.

Student Government (S.G.), however, is a governing body for the entire University. Representatives do not necessarily represent the views of every house nor do they have to. Student government also deals with many issues above and beyond housing. Issues dealt with by S.G. also tend to be more concrete than those dealt with by IHC. To demonstrate these points, we need look no further than the minutes of an S.G. meeting. The October 24 meeting of that body had on its agenda the budget appeal for the Chicago Men’s A Cappella winter concert and a report on the Coalition of Chicago Schools. Matters involving housing cannot possibly receive the same kind of attention that they receive in a dedicated advisory body like IHC.

The editorial labels HARC as being “questionable in theory and inefficient in practice.” The only evidence offered for this claim is that on multi-house trips, “students tend to stick with their house friends.” Leaving aside the fact that this claim is extremely vague as written, it does not take into account any bonding that may occur. Whenever two students from different houses strike up a conversation while on a HARC trip, the existence of HARC is justified. As to the supposed inefficiency of HARC, trips that are sponsored by that body are trips that house members wanted to undertake in the first place.

The Maroon editorial was correct in one regard: IHC presently is a “little-known” body. The editorial board has amply demonstrated this point by writing an editorial calling for the body’s scrapping while clearly having no idea of its purpose or function. Perhaps it would be more constructive for the Maroon to publicize the positive work done by IHC so that this image problem might be solved.

This message was endorsed by the Executive Board, Committee, and Slate of HARC, IHC, and S.G., respectively.

Dana Lutenegger

Vice President, IHC

Class of 2009