The Freshman Fishwrap / IHTFP Hack Gallery

Innovative Housing Assignments

Location: email to freshmen
Date: 8/30/94

In 1994, for the first time ever, dormitory assignments were done on the Athena computer system. Freshmen selected their dormitory preferences using a program on the Athena system. When all the data were in, another program was run assigning the freshmen to their dormitories, and sending them an email message informing them of their assignment.

Before the final assignments were made, hack letters were emailed to many of the freshmen:

Dear Freshperson:

We are pleased to inform you of your new MIT Institute Housing Assignment for the coming Fall term of 1994. You have been assigned to room:

(room number of specific assignment appeared here)

In many dormitories, this room assignment is merely a temporary arrangement until the dorm housing authorities can coordinate a more permanent assignment within said dormitory.

You should carefully consult a map of the campus found within your "Hitchhiker's Guide" to locate the aforementioned room. Some of you at this point may notice that you have been given a less traditional housing assignment. Please read the rest of this message carefully for an explanation of your housing situation.

Each year, far more freshpersons are admitted to the Institute than we have facilities to house. In the past, we have been occasionally compelled by circumstances to "crowd" some number of students into large dormitory rooms designed for 2 or 3 fewer people. To compensate, a generous 25% reduction in rent was offered to these students in accordance with Commonwealth of Massachusetts health and fire safety codes. Alternatively, we have resorted to placing some number of students together in a large barracks-like area in one of the campus athletic facilities or in the spacious basement of one of the graduate dormitories.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, a handful of those few hundred students who have been assigned to these living arrangements found them to be somewhat undesirable.

You will be happy to know that this year we have given more careful thought to the needs and desires of the students most affected by these arrangements. We have hired several specialists in undergraduate housing psychology and, at great expense to the Institute, we have devised some very exciting new options for several students. You are one of the lucky few randomly chosen to have their requests withdrawn from the normal housing lottery to allow you to participate in this innovative new housing experiment. We are confident you will find this to be a delightful educational experience and a pleasurable way to start your student career here at MIT.

[description of specific assignment appeared here]

Please be sure to go to your new housing assignment as soon as possible to check in with the housing personnel awaiting your arrival. Assignments within rooms will be done on a first-come, first-serve basis. We will do everything we can to make this an enjoyable first term for you and your roommates. Arrangements are already being made in the event that you may choose to extend this experiment into the second term.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this arrangement please do not hesitate to directly contact our offices. You can arrange to meet with the housing consultants who helped devise this housing program so that you may thank them in person. They are:

Dr. James Tetazoo, Ph.D.
Phone: 9-936-4225

Dr. Jaqueline Rann, D.o.M.
Phone: 9-637-3761 ext.#9

Enjoy your new housing assignment and have an exciting first term here at Tech!

Jack Florey, B.S.
Dean of Freshperson Housing Assignments

P.S. The following digital signature tracking sequence is automatically appended to the end of all official Institute e-mails so that you need not worry about being deceived by fraudulent messages from un-authorized sources. If you receive any apparently official Institute e-mails which lack this exact verification signature, you can be sure they are in fact not authentically originated.

Version: 5.0



The real dormitory assignment letter, which was mailed later, acknowledged the hack.

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Last modified: $Date: 1998/03/28 06:26:39 $