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

Students Discuss Recent Housing Debacle

One would think that the construction of a new dorm would be a benefit and a relief for any college campus. Well, this is Georgetown and nothing ever goes as smoothly as it should. While much has been made lately of the recent election problems, not so much has been said about this year’s housing selection. I was one of the lucky ones: Pick number 212 – not great – but good enough to avoid a third year in a dorm. A third year in a dorm? Before this year, that was inconceivable. But with the completion of the Southwest Quadrangle and the new housing procedures, every thing has changed.

In the fall, students received an e-mail from the Office of Housing stating that all students who wished to live on campus next year would be guaranteed housing. (Previously, students were only guaranteed three years.) This claim was made despite the fact that the Housing Advisory Council had warned the Office of Housing that if all were guaranteed housing, a shortage was very likely.

Fast forward to last Saturday, ICC 101. By the time I arrived for the apartment selection, the atmosphere in the room was chaotic: people frantically trying to re-prioritize their prospective apartments, roommates arguing, housing officials barking over a cheap PA system. By that point in time, something had gone horribly wrong. The apartments that remained were nothing like the selection in previous years. It was like showing up at a picked-over, 50-percent-off housing flea market. What went wrong? Who knows – but I have my theories.

First, there is the way that the picks were ranked. Rising seniors applying for their fourth year of housing were weighted heavier than rising juniors going for only their third year. While this didn’t directly affect the number of picks, it put the rising juniors in a worse position for getting “better” apartments. (In other words, those who got the best picks last year would still get better picks than students currently residing in dorms.) Second, there was the fact that 1,000 more students entered the lottery this year. The new dorm, however, has only 784 beds. The housing office should have noticed right then and there that problems were on the way. Still, the process continued.

Add to the above situation the fact that certain “privileged” Hoyas pick their apartments before the lottery even takes place. What does being able to toss or kick a ball have to do with housing? Is Nevils closer to the practice fields than I’m aware of? Certain students who work for housing also received such privileges. This week the housing office announced that some rising sophomores would lose such priority. I’m assuming that such apartments will be passed onto those who had picks too high to originally pick an apartment. So now there is also the fact that if another group higher on the list would have preferred one of those premium apartments but it wasn’t even available in the lottery, they’re out of luck. So now it goes to someone with a lesser pick? Not exactly fair. Not to mention the fact that upperclassmen athletes continue to receive preferential treatment.

Speaking of not fair, another announcement made by housing this week stated that only members of the class of 2006 would be eligible to apply for the upcoming dorm lottery. So all of you who didn’t get housing in the apartment lottery, you’re screwed for the time being. Which is not to say I know a huge number of people who want to live in dorms, but they were guaranteed something reminiscent of a roof over their head. All of these changes and announcements point to poor planning and a complete lack of foresight.

So what now? Certainly a new system needs to be put into place. any students based plans for the upcoming years on the assumption that they’d have guaranteed housing for four years. That no longer appears to be the case. As rumors of a second vote for the executive GUSA office start to circulate, it appears as though a second housing lottery may not be that bad an idea either. (I doubt either will actually take place.) At this point I thank my lucky stars that I got an apartment at all. Is it the one I would have hoped for? No. But it sure as hell beats another year in a dorm or the unexpected scramble to find off-campus housing this late in the game.

Rich Kaufman is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service.

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