Slow-moving lottery lasts 12 hours

After months of policy revisions, weeks of publicity and a day of pandemonium, the annual on-campus housing lottery ended Saturday in the Marvin Center’s Columbian Square at 11 p.m.

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About 1,500 students who turned in their intent-to-return forms chose their future rooms at the lottery, said Mark Levine, assistant dean of students.

Levine said he estimates between 150 and 200 students will choose the guaranteed waiting list because rooms were no longer available when their lottery number was called, or they did not want their last choice residence hall to be Strong Hall or Pelham Hall on the Mount Vernon campus.

Levine said a handful of students faced with the prospect of a waiting list, a shortage of housing or a room in Strong Hall decided to take back their $300 deposit and search for off-campus housing.

With the addition of Crawford and Madison halls and the Dakota at Foggy Bottom and Pelham at Mount Vernon, 171 additional spaces were available this year, 71 specifically for women.

Nearly 2,400 students ran the housing lottery gauntlet, which took 12 hours to complete.

Most juniors and seniors clamored for Guthridge, Kennedy Onassis, Munson and New halls, and the Dakota.

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Although many students said they appreciated having extra time to choose their rooms after their numbers were called, most said the lottery process was too slow, already hours behind schedule at the midway point.

“We tried to set a three-minute time limit, but we certainly understood that this was an important choice students were making,” Levine said.

Freshman Andrew Holland sat for four hours before he realized that nearly all rooms were likely to be closed before his number was called. Male students whose numbers had not been called before coed residence halls were filled moved ahead of women in the same situation to get on the guaranteed waiting list or get refunds.

All men were encouraged to place their names on the Pelham Hall “interest list.”

CLLC and RHA told women whose last choice was Strong they could opt to be placed on the guaranteed waiting list. Under the earlier policy, female students would have had to accept Strong or be placed on the non-guaranteed wait list.

“If the women would have been forced to take Strong or the non-guaranteed list, the University would have ended up promising to house far more men than women,” Residence Hall Association President Justin Lavella said.

Levine said the decision had more to do with wanting “to leave Strong open for freshmen who for religious or cultural reasons cannot live with men.”

“We put out a lot of information, we’re always available to answer questions and we did the best we could,” Lavella said. “The students really need to meet us halfway.”

Levine said CLLC has convened a committee to investigate smoothing out wrinkles in the lottery next year, when housing will be guaranteed for only freshmen.

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