From the Managing Editor’s Desk: Housing fair game in new lottery

By Paul Mullin

When the subject of non-guaranteed housing first reared its ugly head, people did not take kindly to the notion that they might not get to live at the college they pay over $30,000 a year to go to.

And maybe things weren’t explained that well and many people were left clueless, mouths agape in confusion, as they struggled to grasp the components of the new housing lottery system.

But in all honesty, it looks like it turned out OK to me.

When it came time to gather in the Cavalla Room and wait with bated breath for our names to be called, the whole affair actually seemed pretty simple.

Every student who wanted to could apply for premium housing — that is, apartments, suites and pods — in groups of two, three, four or five people. Grab a few friends you can stand, get them in a room, sign a piece of paper. Not so hard, right?

Then, a few days later, everyone got a number, chosen completely at random. Freshmen got between zero and 900, sophomores between 1,300 and 1,999, and juniors between 2,500 and 2,999. When you add all of your group members’ numbers together, you get a total that will represent your group on lottery day.

And then, groups were called to select a room based on how high their total numbers were. No finagling with how many credits you have and whether or not that makes you a junior or a senior and how many points you get for all of that. Nope. Straight and to the point, random and fair.

Granted, it would have been nice to avoid the whole overcrowding thing and not have to start hyperventilating because we don’t know if we will still get to live here next year. But as far as making the best of the situation goes, I think whoever came up with this scheme deserves more credit than he or she may be getting right now.

And of course people will be upset or start complaining and wondering why in the name of Centennial Lake they didn’t get that awesome four-person apartment in the New Building, but that is really all they have to complain about. I just don’t see how you can fault Residence Life for the way the thing was run.

The one suggestion I would forward to those in charge is to not select groups for the nine-person pods (previously eight-person) the same way next year. Sticking two random groups of people together — one of four, one of five — seems to me like a one-way ticket to conflict-ville. It has come to my attention that there have already been numerous groups who have simply dropped out of the pod they were in because of how unappetizing the idea is.

And just in case you were discounting this column because, “Of course Paul is happy, he got his fancy apartment last Tuesday,” the truth of it is that I did not get what I wanted either. But hey, a standard double is much better than nothing.

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