Lottery changes reverse process

GW accepted a housing proposal this week that opens new options to all students in on-campus housing and aims to close loopholes that made the previous system unfair, Residence Hall Association officials said.

Sponsors of the proposal said the rule changes will also shorten the waiting list for sophomores by giving sophomores first pick.

Under the new lottery system, the list of residence halls reserved only for rising sophomores expands to the Aston, Munson, Fulbright and Strong halls. Sophomores will choose their rooms March 11.

The list reserved for juniors and seniors now includes The West End and rooms at two new buildings in the lottery – Columbia Plaza and a building at 2109 F St. Upperclassmen choose rooms March 31.

Francis Scott Key Hall, which currently houses juniors and seniors, will be reserved for law school students. Crawford Hall, which now houses mostly sophomores, will become a freshman residence hall.

“The main strength (of the plan) is that it gives a variety of housing options to each of the classes,” said Andrew Sonn, director of Housing Services. “It gives individual living for upper-division students and additional support and resources for sophomore students.”

The RHA proposal, originally drafted in November, aimed to reduce the amount of underclassmen on the waiting list by designating certain halls for rising sophomores. It also placed rising juniors and seniors at the end of the selection process to discourage upperclassmen from pulling underclassmen into rooms and then leaving the room.

Freshman Steve Sobel, who helped write the proposal, said it addresses a provision in GW’s campus plan that requires all sophomores live in University housing by 2003. The campus plan is pending approval by the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment.

“The proposal this year is in response to the campus plan, to make sure (the University has) the number of beds they told the city they’d have,” Sobel said. “It’s a progressive move to put more sophomores on campus.”

Sonn said the University has a total of about 2,450 total beds, a number comparable to last year’s total.

“We used some creative thinking about which building is offered to which class,” he said.

Under the new proposal upperclassmen can choose to live in a University-owned building at 2109 F St., which currently houses mostly graduate students. Students currently living in the building received notices last Thursday to leave their rooms by May 31.

Rising juniors and seniors who choose Columbia Plaza rooms in the lottery will not live with a community facilitator or sign visitors in with community hosts like students in residence halls. University Police will not monitor the building and students will pay the same rent rates as other tenants, Sonn said.

“Juniors and seniors are transitioning to independent living and looking for life after the University,” Sonn said.

Under the new rules, students must sign a housing agreement when they select their rooms at the lottery. Sponsors of the bill said the provision will prevent students from selecting a room as a back-up option and dropping out later when they find off-campus housing. The new requirement will also restrict upperclassmen with no intention of living on campus from giving their lottery number to underclassmen.

“This seems like something people feel good about,’ said RHA President Kelly Snyder. Snyder said similar systems have produced favorable results at other universities, including Boston and New York universities.

Sonn said the policy would embody the University’s attempt to provide fair housing options to all classes of students.

“We try to have a fair system and one that covers the philosophy at hand,” he said.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.