Frustrated Georgetown students are rarely a quiet group, and right now, there are a lot of frustrated Georgetown students because of the deliberate malice of the housing department.
The housing eligibility point system for the 2005-06 academic year purposefully discriminates against the class of 2006 and will harm the class of 2007 in the long run. It should be changed before it’s too late.
To be upfront, my agenda is somewhat personal. I am a junior living off campus by choice. My housemates and I made the decision to live off campus for many reasons, but a primary one was that we believed it would improve our housing selection for senior year.
A rising senior who lives off campus junior year is supposed to be untouchable in the housing selection process, a tradition that dates back as long as the university has had enough housing to house three-quarters of the student body.
So our first reaction last week was one of relief – we received our expected four points in the upcoming lottery. As I read further down page four of the housing selection handbook (available online at https://hous-ing.georgetown.edu/academic), however, I realized that the coveted four points, the Holy Grail of the housing lottery, is being given freely this year.
In fact, it is being given so freely that it is basically meaningless.
By allotting four points to every rising junior, housing has harmed both the class of 2006 and the class of 2007.
With some 1,500 rising juniors and at least 500 rising seniors who either live off campus or are abroad this semester, two-thirds of the students entering the lottery will have the highest possible ranking, meaning that the lottery will be hardly weighted at all.
Juniors will live in townhouses and seniors in Henle. How is this fair?
The point system, as currently assigned, means that I might as well throw out any notion of living with an ’06 friend of mine who lives on campus this year. He’s kryptonite in the lottery.
Even with a group of four rising seniors who are all living off campus this year, my odds are even of getting beaten out by a group of rising juniors who live in Village A this year.
But see, it’s not just my class that’s harmed in the long run. The class of ’07 is feeling pretty good right now, but the smart ones are already starting to realize the implications for next year. There is an ominous warning on the Web site that this year is “their one opportunity to get top picks in selection.”
What this means practically is that there will be nobody in the Class of ’07 with a four next year.
The warning for the rising juniors leads to one final question. If this is the “one opportunity” for the class of ’07 to get top picks, why didn’t the entire class of ’06 ever have that one opportunity?
A rising senior who lives on campus this year will graduate having never received top picks in selection. How does New South-Darnall-Henle-Off-Campus sound?
It sounds like somebody who never had a chance to me.
What’s the solution? Let students choose what year they want their four points.
Most people would rather live on campus senior year than junior. The new system basically makes the choice for the class of ’07, making it stupid to go off campus next year.
Some, if not all, would gladly trade that four for the knowledge that they could get one for senior year. This would also bring down the number of fours in the lottery and make them worth something.
The “eligibility” thing is ridiculous. It was reinstituted because of excessive demand two years ago, but that demand simply wasn’t there last year, and people were refused eligibility because everybody applied for it. Why wouldn’t we? I applied for it and got it, knowing I would live off campus.
If they’re going to do eligibility, it should be binding. That will give a realistic view of who actually wants to live on campus. People playing strategic games with housing ruin it for everybody anyway.
Most of all, housing should know that it’s not too late. Last year the point system was changed after it was announced. Jacqueline Rack, the director of housing and conference services, has the ability to effect positive change for the university.
Ultimately we, the students, are Georgetown. I’m asking a bureaucratic society to step away from bottom lines and empty beds and consider the whole person of each undergrad.
It’s what Georgetown was founded for.
Adam Giblin is a junior in the School of Foreign Service.