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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Undergraduate Association records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AC-0147

Scope and Contents

Records received in 1986, boxes 1-9, include correspondence, minutes, financial records, president's reports, and topical reports which document student government and student sponsored activities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Records received in 1989, boxes 10-11, contain administrative files including correspondence about student conferences, the Leadership Conference, and the organization Students for Struik; subject files pertaining to disarmament, the MX missile, and registration for the draft; and minutes of the General Assembly.

Records received in 1993, box 12, 1917-1957, include reports of the Institute Committee, membership lists, correspondence, Undergraduate Association president's report, and a Ways and Means Committee report on the Undergraduate Association's finances.

Records received in 1994, box 13, 1955-1967, include correspondence pertaining to activities in which the Undergraduate Association was involved; as well as administrative material, such as organizational charts and constitutions of groups under the Undergraduate Association, minutes of meetings, and memoranda.

Records received in 2002, boxes 14-15, contain budgets and financial reports for the Institute Committee’s Budget Committee and Treasurer, covering the period 1917-1928. Also included are records of the Institute Committee and the Open House/Parent Weekend Committee for years 1964-1968.

During the 1950s and 1960s there was an International Program Committee whose purpose was to promote understanding of international culture and global events. One activity was the MIT International Week. Box 17 contains audio of one event of the 1961 International Week program, recordings of a panel disucssion titled "Cuba Today" discussing the Cuban revolution.


  • 1914 - 2007


Access note

All materials in this collection are restricted for 20 years from their date of creation. The contents of folders that are more than 20 years old are open.

Digital Access Note

Some parts of this collection are available online: see the link under the "Digital Material" heading below or the links to specific online digital items found within their entries in this finding aid.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical Note

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Undergraduate Association (UA) is the undergraduate student governing body at the Institute. The goals of the UA include articulating students' concerns, communicating student opinion to the Institute administration, and organizing undergraduate events and activities.

The precursor to the UA was the Institute Committee (later called Inscomm), which first met on February 11, 1893. The object of the committee was to promote the welfare of the Institute at home and abroad and to form a responsible body through which communication could be made directly between students and faculty. Albert Farwell Bemis (class of 1893) organized the plan and submitted it in 1893 to the undergraduate classes. The plan was endorsed by the faculty in the same year. The committee met bi-weekly and was made up of ten members during the first term and twelve during the second, including four class presidents and two members of each class. Honorary members included the president and secretary of the Institute plus one member of the faculty. Senior and junior class presidents were president and vice president, respectively, of the committee.

The committee prepared an exhibit to represent MIT student life at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and decided upon the official pin and colors of the Institute.

In 1909 representation on the committee was increased by the inclusion of one delegate from each of the student professional societies, as well as one from other major activities including the Tech Show, The Tech, Technique, the Athletic Association, and the Technology Christian Association. As the number of extracurricular activities increased at the Institute, the need for a central governing body became evident. In 1913 an “Association of Undergraduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology” was established to provide a larger forum for undergraduates. Each undergraduate automatically became a member. The first meeting was held on April 9, 1914. Inscomm became the legislative and executive body of the Undergraduate Association (UA). The meetings of Inscomm remained open to all students, and its decisions were submitted to a vote of the student body upon petition.

By 1940 the functions of Inscomm had undergone significant changes. It was the charge of the committee to approve all elections, appointments, budgets, and programs relating to the conduct of business of undergraduate activities. Important committees of the UA during this period included the Budget Committee, the Election Committee, the Executive Committee, the Student Faculty Committee, and the Walker Memorial Committee.

In 1969 a new constitution for the undergraduate body, called the Unified University Proposal, was approved by a vote of the students. The proposal was intended to create a better organized presentation of student opinion to the rest of the Institute. With the acceptance of the new constitution, Inscomm ceased to exist and in its place was a General Assembly with an Executive Committee.

By the early 1970s the General Assembly was renamed the Undergraduate Association, and its governing body, the UA Council (UAC). The UAC is both the legislative and the judicial arm of the UA. It is composed of an apportioned number of students elected from different living groups. The president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer of the UA are automatically members. The UAC discusses issues, makes proposals, and has final say over UA policies and practices.

The UA committees include the Course Evaluation Guide Committee (CEG); the Judicial Review Board (JudBoard), which interprets the UA constitution and adjudicates conflicts caused by legislation of the council; the Association of Student Activities (ASA); the Student Committee on Education Policy (SCEP); the Nominations Committee (NomComm), and the Finance Board (FinBoard), which allocates funds for student activities.


12 Cubic Feet (10 record cartons, 4 manuscript boxes, 2 half manuscript boxes, 1 volume)

2.26 Gigabytes (7,215 digital files; including 3 disk images)

Language of Materials



Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Preliminary Inventory to the Records of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Undergraduate Association
Preliminary Inventory
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US