RHA proposes lottery changes

A new Residence Hall Association proposal recommends that GW change its housing lottery to allow rising sophomores to pick their on-campus housing first. The RHA will vote on the proposal after it receives student input.

The proposal, drafted by freshman Steve Sobel and junior Rosalyn Metz, recommends that GW reserve upperclassman residence halls for junior and seniors, who would pick on the second day of the lottery rather than going first as they do under the current system.

The plan aims to smooth GW’s transition to mandatory sophomore on-campus housing by 2002 – a policy included in GW’s campus plan yet to be passed by the Board of Zoning Adjustment – and prevent sophomores from purchasing upperclassman lottery numbers, Sobel said.

Under the proposed change, sophomores would choose rooms from Aston, Crawford, Francis Scott Key, Fulbright, Madison and Riverside halls, The Schenley and The West End. On the second day of the lottery, upperclassmen would choose from rooms in The Dakota and Guthridge, JBKO, Munson, and New halls, and singles in Crawford, FSK and Riverside. Upperclassmen would also choose from 16 single rooms in Mitchell Hall.

Basically, it allows for the plan to have all sophomores live on campus, Metz said. So, people next year won’t be in total shock when there aren’t enough beds. By pushing juniors and seniors off campus, it may sound mean, but it saves the campus money by keeping them from having to buy new buildings.

There will be a town hall meeting to discuss and amend the proposal will take place at 8 p.m. Nov. 20 in Marvin Center room 310, before the RHA votes on the proposal and recommends changes to the Community Living and Learning Center, RHA President Kelly Snyder said.

We have it and we kind of agree it’s a good plan, Snyder said, during an RHA meeting held last week to discuss the proposal. There’s nothing we’ve looked at and said, `this is a major problem.’ Now we need to get the students to see it.

Some students said housing shortages will still exist even under a revised lottery system.

There’s no way everyone who wants to live on campus is going to get it, junior Catherine Price said.

Under the proposal, sophomores unable to find housing on the first day of the lottery would be placed on the guaranteed waiting list.

The Housing Lottery Committee does not expect to deny housing to students on the guaranteed waiting list, Metz said. But some students will opt for off-campus housing if they do not get their desired room, she said.

Last year everyone on the guaranteed waiting list received housing.

Under the new plan, juniors and seniors could still pull sophomores into upperclassman residence halls. But students who choose to live with upperclassmen would forfeit their lottery number and enter a non-guaranteed waiting list if they were not pulled up in the lottery. If neither option is available, sophomores could still choose to drop out of the system all together.

This risk should deter sophomores from getting rooms in New Hall, which houses about 40 percent sophomores this year, Sobel said.

It should be based on seniority, if they’ve been here the longest, they’ve waited for the more desirable housing, they deserve it, Sobel said.

Some freshmen said juniors and seniors should have priority selection for more desirable residence halls.

I do think juniors and seniors should get nicer housing, freshman Alexis Confer said. It’s all rank and status.

Sobel and Metz considered the number of beds used by students in each class last year and the number of beds in residence halls to come up with the proposal, Sobel said.

The plan was drafted based on the number of beds. It benefits all classes, Sobel said. Clearly, it benefits the sophomores because it allots them guaranteed housing. But, at the same time, juniors and seniors are getting the more desirable housing.

Sobel said he believes one point of contention will be FSK, which is popular among upperclassmen, but reserved for sophomores under the proposal because more sophomores will need the beds.

Metz said she will wait until the town hall meeting to let students decide whether GW should require students to sign a binding lease – something officials at Housing Services want to implement, Metz said. By binding students to on-campus housing, Housing Services can expedite the placement process of students on the waiting list, she said.

If the majority of the people at the (town hall meeting Nov. 20) want to sign the lease, we’ll add it to the proposal, Metz said.

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