Students question fairness of new housing lottery

By Kelly Finlan
April 10, 2003

Alaina Robinson

The food court was the scene as a sea of residents stood in groups and lines amid crowded tables and the blended administrative staff. There was no line waiting for chicken finger wraps; the Widener Center Food Court was closed for the night, but hundreds of eager college students had a collective hunger that could not be satiated.

Angie Hodgeman, the coordinator of Residence Life and the resident director of the Cabrini Apartment Complex, armed with a microphone, could not calm the masses, her voice disappearing in the overpowering reverberation of the electric room.

Housing selection for the 2003-2004 academic year brought the food court to a din on Thursday, April 3 as new and returning residents awaited the calling of their lottery number to choose non-apartment living, starting with the rising senior class and moving through the ranks to rising sophomores.

The housing lottery system, different from the weighted first come first serve system of years past, involved the choosing of a random lottery number, based on one’s class, and this number determined the order of selection.

Woodcrest Resident Director Kymber Lovett said that the change was largely based on the fact that the majority of the Residence Life staff is new this year, and little concerning housing selection was left behind by their predecessors.

“It has been my experience that a housing lottery process is the optimal solution in assigning rooms,” Hodgeman said. “The lottery process is more labor intensive for the Residence Life staff, but it affords the students a more fair chance in selecting a room.”

Residents, however, had differing opinions on the efficiency and fairness of the proceedings.

“It’s like I was going into this whole housing thing blind,” sophomore Karen Bonin said. “We had the opportunity to live wherever we wanted and it was dependant on how dedicated we were to living there.”

“They’re ruining the residential experience. College is supposed to be a home away from home, and the lottery ruins the joy of living with people who are like family,” Amanda Brown, a sophomore, said.

Sophomore Michelle Ward, upon discovering all but Houses 1 and 3 were closed to women, said, ” This is ridiculous. No one is getting the housing they want.”

“We going to be juniors living in a dry house,” sophomore Jen Keller said, finishing Ward’s statement. “But I think you should make the best of everything. Be positive.”

posted by Alaina Robinson

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Kelly Finlan

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