Getting the facts on the lottery

With the housing lottery slated for Feb. 20, many questions, comments and concerns about housing options have arisen. We, the representatives of the Residence Hall Association, would like to address and clarify these issues for the student body.

In response to the statement “GW is one school and it should only have one set of policies” in a Feb. 1 op-ed (“Mount Vernon gets a raw deal,” p. 5), we would like to say we agree and that this currently stands to be true.

If a student refuses an available Foggy Bottom housing space, he or she may choose a Mount Vernon room space or be placed on the non-guaranteed waiting list. Students on this list may not receive housing depending on availability and when the guaranteed waiting list has been exhausted.

When all Foggy Bottom rooms have been chosen, a student may choose a Mount Vernon space or be placed on the guaranteed waiting list. This list is a promise that GW will provide a student a room – whether it be at Foggy Bottom or Mount Vernon.

When neither Foggy Bottom or Mount Vernon spaces are available, a student may choose to be on the guaranteed waiting list or receive a full deposit refund and not be on either list, the current policy for all GW students.

Students may not be aware of changes. Residents at Mount Vernon will have toilet paper and housekeeping. The Dakota will not have housekeeping, will not have ethernet wiring and will have off-campus phone lines. Residents of the Dakota will have a full kitchen, washer/dryer and sophomores and juniors do not have to be on a meal plan.

In addition to these changes, Crawford and Madison hall quads advertised as suites this year do have two separate rooms, but the four people who share the suite will be sharing one bathroom, as opposed to the double rooms that have their own bathrooms. We recommend students attend the open houses occurring at all the residence halls Feb. 16 and Feb. 17 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., so they are informed when going into the housing lottery.

Over the past couple of months, it has come to our attention that students have some common misconceptions about what the RHA is and can do. The Residence Hall Association is the only student organization with jurisdiction over housing concerns and acts as a liaison to the Community Living and Learning Center.

The RHA Constitution, Article II states that its purpose is: 1) to represent the needs and wants of students living in residence halls and to act on issues accordingly; and 2) to promote unity and community within. The RHA does not have the authority to decide policies, but it strives to change them if we feel they are not in the best interest of the residents. No student organization can make promises, we as representatives can only say we’ll try.

While it may appear to some residents that the RHA considers only the concerns of Foggy Bottom residents, we have spent the past year addressing the concerns of the entire GW community. Currently, the RHA’s representative voting body includes only the Foggy Bottom residence halls. If Mount Vernon residents have issues specifically with Mount Vernon residence halls and policies, they can contact the Student Development Center.

We’d also like to encourage and invite, not only Mount Vernon residents, but all GW residents to voice their opinions to the RHA. The RHA meets every Monday at 9 p.m. and can be contacted at gwrha@gwu.edu.-Cathy Resler, Maureen Benitz and Iris Trautmann are members of the Residence Hall Association.

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