By Trevor Hobler, Staff Columnist
I am not going to pretend that I know what the housing selection process has been like in the past. It might have even been a completely different experience just last year. What I can tell you with certainty, however, is that the way that first years were treated during the housing lottery of 2023 was absurd.
The College guarantees housing to all of its students. It is one of the promises they have to make, especially after saying they will prevent off-campus residency for those enrolled in the future. This means that while every student will receive housing, every student is also mandated to go through the school’s system and pay whatever fee the school asks them for the housing they are required to live in. Not only does this system limit students’ choices and budgets, but it actively removes the incentive for the College to make investments in more and better housing, as students are not allowed to shop from an alternative source. The decision to eradicate off-campus housing along with the closure of multiple housing units operated by the College results in what appears to be a rather significant housing shortage.
Upperclassmen get their first pick at housing, which I personally take no issue with. However, if you are going to select housing one at a time, you should ensure that there are enough options for everyone. That ideal was certainly not achieved this time around. My roommate and I were lucky enough to have a decent lottery number, roughly in the middle of the pack, which allowed us to choose from multiple rooms. Funnily enough, however, despite picking before about half of the class, we were limited to only rooms on the fourth floor of Musselman Hall. That might sound weird, as how could half the class possibly fit on the fourth floor of Musselman? The answer to that question is just as you thought it might be, it cannot. People choosing shortly after my roommate and I reported having literally no options for housing when their times came around, simply seeing a blank screen with a list of zero available rooms.
The people who received no housing for next year likely will hear from the College soon about what will be done for them, but as of the last Tuesday of classes, there has been no word. The timing is not ideal either, as on top of preparing for finals and getting all of their work in before classes end, these students now have to worry about if they’re going to receive housing for the next year. Despite being a little disappointed in my relegation to the top floor of Musselman, I can have some solace in knowing that I will have a room next year, which is something I never thought I would have to say.
It is not a few students whose arrangements can be made exceptionally either. I personally know a number of first-years whose lottery numbers were simply too high to get a room for next year, and at no fault of their own. Even before the first-years picked their rooms there was a pretty limited number of options outside of Musselman Hall, which were naturally snatched by the people with the lowest numbers, leaving those with randomly high numbers no choice at all.
The College needs to create more sustainable methods of housing students, as having no housing for the last two hours of the housing selection is not going to produce content for students year after year. Not only does half the rising sophomore body not appreciate having no options other than Musselman, but there is also a significant part that does not appreciate receiving any housing whatsoever.
There have been rumors that those who did not receive a choice of housing will be placed in Patrick Hall, which is a first-year dorm. Until the College addresses the issue of inadequate housing, students will suffer the consequences.