On April 15, administrators held a meeting to address concerns about the year’s housing process, which some students alleged penalized rising seniors.
Representatives from Student Life, Facilities, and Public Safety spoke to a room of fifteen students. Led by Student Affairs Administration Assistant Dean Kate Deeb, the meeting was described in a student-wide email from the Student Government Association as “a space to address those questions, concerns, and the rumors that are out there.”
Deeb began by clearing up some misconceptions. “77 percent of suites are occupied by seniors,” she said. Some students alleged that 65 percent were occupied by rising juniors. She also revealed the gender breakup of rooms in Mandell, Pietz, and Mcullogh residence halls, which stand at 45 percent female and 55 percent male. This roughly matches the gender breakup of the College as a whole, countering rumors that suites are overwhelmingly male. Deeb also guaranteed the availability of housing on campus: “All the students that have applied for housing we are able to house,” she said.
These answers proved unsatisfactory for rising seniors, who focused on the quality, not quantity, of housing. Some proposed a housing process based on intended graduation date, or a return to a system of averages, in which groups of students are placed based on their average lottery number.
At times, the conversation turned emotional. Students expressed frustration at perceived injustices within the selection process, especially abuses of high lottery numbers. Some asked administration to better address situations in which a senior reserves a suite for juniors, then promptly moves out.
Midway through the meeting, a Facebook event created to protest the housing process, “Petition for Senior Housing,” was cancelled. Still, student attendees raised the possibility of a petition to effect change: “It’s a school for students; we should have a say.”
SGA Vice President of Communications Daniel Foltz was present. “SGA is looking to provide a forum for students and administration to maximize the effectiveness of our housing system and assist in resolving student concerns,” he said. Administrators maintained the possibility of working with SGA to tweak the housing process for future years and welcomed further student input.