House Selection Stirs Chaos and Rumors

Janie Feldmann ’15, Staff Writer

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Due to minor technological difficulties as well as reported rumors of students attempting to cheat the lottery system, the housing selection process encountered some difficulties this year.

Dean of Students Leonard Brown ’92 sent several e-mails to students explaining the incidents.

“As we were monitoring available rooms during the first night of selection, we noticed that excluded rooms regularly held for Fulbrights and other visiting scholars were available to be chosen,” explained Assistant Director of Campus Life Dan Confer ’02. “This was our first indicator that the system wasn’t performing as tested and expected.  We immediately notified LIS [Library and Information Services] staff.”

Robert Renaud,vice president of LIS, explained the ways Library and Information Services helped to alleviate difficulties.

“Every year LIS works with Campus Life to manage the housing selection process.  This is a complex process that involves several computer systems, including [Gateway] Banner.  In order to ensure that the process goes smoothly, we conduct extensive testing using a variety of scenarios,” he said.  “This year we overlooked a specific scenario in our planning, resulting in an error in the housing selection process that affected approximately 20 students.  The error was caught early in the process and LIS and Campus Life rectified it.  We have noted the condition that caused this issue and will work to make sure that it does not occur in the future.”

“Disability-related requests require significant documentation and consultation with both on and off campus partners,” explained Confer.  “This process is very thoroughly reviewed and all requests are considered on a case by case basis.  We work very closely with our Student Senate to ensure that the room selection process is as fair as possible.  Campus Life will share feedback from students with partners in Student Senate for future discussion/debate during the annual review of housing policies.”

On April 22, Dean Brown reported in an e-mail to students that all difficulties had been resolved and the housing process would go on with new scheduled times. Not all complaints about the housing process were about the system failure. At a special Senate meeting on April 30 to talk about the housing system, many students turned out to voice their displeasure with the removal of the housing penalty for underclassmen.

According to the information presented during the meeting, the percent of seniors in apartment-style housing increased from 60 to 69 percent this year. While seniors had a high demand for apartment-style housing, there is not enough physical space to accommodate the seniors’ requests. Many upperclassmen who were present were upset by the overall lack of preferable housing available.

No penalty for ‘gaming the system’ was identified by Senate at the meeting, but measures preventing further loopholes have been discussed.

 

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