Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Three-Year Housing Guarantee Proposed

GUSA Assembly members voted unanimously to pass a resolution that supports proposed revisions to the university housing and eligibility policies in a meeting on March 29.

Eamonn G. Carr (COL `06), secretary of housing and facilities, submitted a new proposal to university administrators earlier that month that overhauls the current housing system and provides for “greater levels of predictability, simplicity and reliability in the selection process.”

Under the new proposal, students would be guaranteed housing during their first three years at Georgetown, and juniors would no longer need to apply for housing eligibility. On or off-campus residence status during junior year will no longer affect eligibility status as a senior, and seniors deemed eligible for on-campus housing will receive the highest picks in the housing lottery, according to the proposed policy.

“This is a win-win situation for students, universities and neighbors,” Carr said. “It will ensure that we have a consistent housing policy in years to come.”

GUSA has drafted the policy in the interests of providing preferred on-campus housing to seniors who receive eligibility. Under the proposal, eligibility would be granted to seniors after housing is given to all freshmen, sophomores and juniors living on campus.

“This system provides an incentive for students of every year to explore on-campus housing, greatly increasing the likelihood that Georgetown will be able to fill every bed in a residence hall and university-owned apartment or townhouse,” Carr said.

Carr added that filling beds would result in greater revenue for the university in both housing and on-campus dining, because the number of students enrolled in a meal plan increases with more students residing on campus.

“If more students are living off campus, then the university is losing revenue in beds and resident dining,” he said.

Seniors who receive eligibility would have a slight advantage over juniors in the housing selection process so that they are provided with incentives to live on campus during their senior year. GUSA predicts that if every member of the junior class were to reside on-campus for both semesters, as many as 963 seniors would have to live off campus, meaning that approximately 36 percent of seniors will still be able to reside on campus.

Carr also added an enforcement mechanism to the proposed policy, thereby preventing students from “manipulating the on-campus housing system for their own advantage or that of a fellow student at the expense of the university.”

Under the new proposal, a $200 fee would be applied to junior or senior student accounts if students keep their names on the eligibility list with intentions of living off campus, causing students to make a genuine commitment when choosing to live on campus.

Carr also outlined some of the key problems that would be alleviated by the new policy.

By guaranteeing on-campus housing for three years, GUSA hopes to solve the problems created when students who move off-campus junior year do not choose to live on-campus their senior year.

“We cannot have a system that depends on students living on campus after having moved off campus,” Carr said. “This poses great risks because students are unlikely to return after having furnished off-campus residences and perhaps signed two-year leases to avoid raised rental rates.”

The situation of two-year leases for off-campus housing also creates further complications for other juniors who may be searching for off-campus housing, according to Carr.

Students who have the right to hold over their lease usually have up to the following summer to decide whether or not they want to keep it, and this creates problems for other students looking for potential off-campus housing.

In response to the university’s decision to move on-campus housing selection to the fall semester for rising juniors and seniors, the new proposal would move the selection period back to the spring semester because of the problems created by students who choose to study abroad.

“It is hard to conduct an accurate housing lottery so early in the year with students who are studying abroad,” Carr said.

The new policy, if approved by university administrators, would by implemented as early as the housing lottery for the 2006-07 academic year, and would be retroactive for the class of 2008. The class of 2009 would be the first to receive three years of guaranteed housing.

In order to account for members of the class of 2007 who have chosen to live off-campus next year to improve their housing status for senior year, students wanting to live on campus will apply for eligibility. Juniors living off-campus the entire year will receive highest priority, followed by students living off-campus one semester and finally by students residing on campus for both semesters.

GUSA has submitted the proposal to university administrators including Senior Vice President Spiros Dimolitsas, Vice President for Facilities and Housing Karen Frank and Director of Off-Campus Student Life Charles VanSant.

VanSant has presented the housing proposal to several off-campus committees, and believes that a general consensus on the new policy is favorable.

“We need to create a system that is more reliable,” he said.

Frank has not yet reviewed or replied to the GUSA proposal.

GUSA is currently involved in the process of meeting with administrators for further discussion where possible alternative decisions to the policy would be offered.

During the class of 2008 housing selection period last week, 32 freshmen were unable to choose residences as a result of classmates who went into housing selection alone and took their own rooms.

“There are plenty of empty beds still available, but not pairs of empty beds,” Frank said. “In the future we will better manage students who do not enter into housing selection with a roommate.”

In order to alleviate the problem, Frank said that the housing office is engaged in the process of consolidating vacancies by placing two people who entered into selection alone into one room. This procedure will allow pairs of rising sophomores to occupy residences together.

“In the future we will have to cut off empty rooms in order to ensure that all students receive their guaranteed housing,” she said.

Frank said that the housing office will also take empty apartments and residences that became available from students who are studying abroad next year and will give these to students currently without housing.

The housing office has contacted all students who do not yet have housing, ensuring them that they will be guaranteed a residence for their sophomore year.

“We know that we’ll have the space,” Frank said. “Until we can identify where that space is, we can’t tell [students] exactly where they will be.”

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