GW’s first-ever online housing selection was hampered by computer problems Sunday. Rising juniors and seniors selecting after 11 a.m. were unable to track which rooms were taken because Housing Services chose to remove the “availability screen,” and some rooms were assigned to too many people.
The availability screen, which showed selection developments in real time, was taken down because housing officials were unsure whether or not the information was reliable.
“Providing accurate information is above all what we wanted to do,” Housing Services Director Andrew Sonn said.
Students who bookmarked the page on their internet browser were able to get updates on the selection all day and reported that the screen was accurate later in the day.
Sonn declined to offer any details about glitches but said his office would meet early Monday morning with the Residence Hall Association to discuss two main problems: the availability screen and a “small number” of students who were accidentally assigned to rooms already handed out.
Sonn refused to clarify what “a small number” means.
Sonn said he did not know how many rooms were assigned Sunday but said there was no waiting list as late as 11 p.m. The GWeb availability screen indicates that rooms in all but three upperclassman buildings were filled Sunday.
RHA members said they received more than 100 phone calls from complaining students who mostly called about the availability screen.
Junior Brad Friedlander, who held lottery number 204, said he was given a choice of three buildings when he requested a quad. He chose New Hall and was assigned to room 706, which had already been taken by a student who bought a lottery number in Martha’s Marathon the day before.
“I think an 06 is nice, but I don’t know about having eight people in there,” he said. Friedlander said there were no more New Hall rooms left when he found out about the problem, and GW had no immediate solutions Sunday.
“I guess they’re discussing it tomorrow morning. They said they would get back to me,” he said Sunday night.
Sonn confirmed that some rooms were double-booked and said Sunday that he had not decided on a solution.
Housing Services discontinued a link from GWeb at 11 a.m. after several students informed the office about inaccurate information, Sonn said.
The junior/senior housing selection began at 8 a.m. and finished at about 11 p.m., with 18 upperclassman rooms left open in Strong Hall, Mitchell Hall and the West End, according to GWeb. Sonn could not confirm those numbers.
All rising upperclassmen who registered Sunday have 48 hours to accept or decline their housing assignment.
“We’ve received some declines already via email and through the GWeb system,” Sonn said. “Housing selection won’t end until Tuesday.”
Students with numbers through 3,300 selected rooms Sunday. Sophomore numbers begin at 3,301.
“I think the fact that we’ve gotten so far in the numbers speaks levels of what we’ve done this year,” said Steve Sobel, vice chairman of housing for the Resident Hall Association. “Last year the wait list started at 1,020.”
Sobel said more people committed to live on campus this year than last year, and housing officials predict a smaller waiting list.
Student feedback was mixed on the new system.
“I thought last year was much better. Reason being, students got to choose floor and room as opposed to this year where the rooms were randomly assigned,” rising junior Sima Habash said. “Having a good number didn’t mean having a good room.”
Habash had number 62 and chose JBKO because of its location but was disappointed when she was assigned a room on the first floor.
Other students complained the internet limits communication.
“Yes, this year’s system was more convenient, but this system doesn’t facilitate communication with others,” Nayi said. “We can’t consult with people.”
Freshmen will make their picks online March 10.
This article appeared in the February 25, 2002 issue of the Hatchet.