Editor’s note: This letter is being reprinted due to several errors during its original run in our Feb. 3 issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
To the Editor:
As a 1953-55 alumnus of International House (I-House), I am shocked and grieved at the recent peremptory announcement of the University of Chicago administration that it will soon be shutting down its residential facilities for graduate and international students, as well as visitors, which have graced and enhanced the university and our community since I-House was founded in 1932 with a gift from John D. Rockefeller. This action, if carried out, will seriously violate the intent and purpose of the gift, and also do considerable harm to the reputation and programs of the university at home and abroad. Already, the current I-House residents are being told that they will have to get out and go elsewhere.
The university administration has acted irrationally by already closing its various hotel and small residential properties as residential facilities, well before its big, new 55th Street dormitory is completed. The university now has threatened a unique facility, treating it like a convenient piece of real estate to fill with undergrads. We who are long-time donors to both the university and I-House feel that we have been deceived, and wonder why anyone would want to donate to an institution that diverts specific gifts to diversionary purposes.
Actions such as this suggest that our revered alma mater is more and more operated like a big business. The community and programs created at I-House are needed to support the international research faculty, students, and explorations the university presumably stands for. Not that many years ago, the university, under a different president, proposed closing I-House for other purposes. Chicago and international alumni rose up to protest and saved this unique resource. What is happening now is a betrayal. We must rise up in protest and action to prevent the mission of I-House from being changed and undermined.
Charles G. Staples ‘61