RHA votes for sophomore priority in housing lottery

The Residence Hall Association passed a housing lottery proposal Monday to give rising sophomores first pick for rooms in selected resident halls. If the Community Living and Learning Center approves the plan, it will become the policy for the 2001-2002 housing lottery.

Under the plan, rising sophomores would choose from rooms in Aston, Crawford, Francis Scott Key, Fulbright, Madison, Riverside and Strong halls, the Schenley and West End. Rising juniors and seniors choose from the remaining rooms on campus.

RHA members Steve Sobel and Rosalyn Metz created the proposal to limit the number students pulled into upperclassman buildings – including The Dakota, JBKO and Gutheridge, Munson and New halls. According to the proposal, more students have been placed on waiting lists because underclassmen pair with older students to get preferred rooms.

Under the proposal, rising sophomores forfeit their eligibility to join the guaranteed waiting list for rooms if they wait to pair up with upperclassmen.

Another provision added before Monday’s vote requires students to sign a lease when they pick a room at the lottery. Anyone who does not want to sign the lease the day of the lottery will be moved to the end of the line.

RHA members said the requirement prevents students from pulling underclassmen into a room and then dropping out – leaving an empty slot. The provision would also prevent students who plan to live off campus from considering GW’s lottery as a safety net, they said.

The lottery proposal passed by a 28 to 19 vote with four abstentions.

Before the vote, some RHA members voiced opposition to the proposal, saying the University did not have enough beds to accommodate the plan and would be forced to buy more buildings. Others said rising juniors would not benefit from the plan.

Sophomore Jennie Roloff, who represents The Aston, said Aston residents who did not want to live in the building this year are concerned that they will be put at the end of the selection process or placed on the waiting list.

(Aston residents) said they got screwed last year and they don’t want to get screwed again, Roloff said.

Roloff said she and other RHA members who live in The Aston plan to educate prospective students about limited housing on campus to change their expectations. The crux of the problem is that prospective students are told they have the option of living on campus for four years, she said.

A good way to counteract this is if they come in knowing they will only have two years (of housing) and then they have to consider off-campus housing, Roloff said.

Associate Director of Housing Services Andrew Sonn said the current policy is in good shape but CLLC will take student feedback into consideration.

This puts forth a nice plan for housing, Sonn said. I think it’s a good proposal. I think it’s a solid proposal.

Sonn said CLLC will address student concerns that may arise from the plan and may amend the plan if necessary.

(CLLC) has been in a partnership (with RHA) all along, he said. We take student input very seriously.

Opinions over the RHA proposal varied by class.

From my point of view, it’s going to be excellent, freshman Brian Yudin said. I’ll get first dibs on (all the open halls).

Yudin said he understands why students may be wary about the plan.

Unfortunately, if they want to change the system, some (class) is going to have to get screwed along the way, he said.

Students who have been through the lottery process said rising sophomores should not be given priority in the lottery.

I don’t think it’s fair, sophomore Jonathan Hirsch said. The freshmen should go through the same thing we did.

Hirsch said his low lottery number last year, which gave him priority over most other rising sophomores, earned him a room in The Dakota.

Hirsch said GW will not be able to accommodate the growing student body even if the University reserves buildings for sophomores.

Any way GW goes, they always end up short-ended, he said. It’s going to happen this year, too.

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