The only sophomores living in New Hall next year are those with disabilities or who bought their way in, Housing Services said. GW told 40 Honors Program students Tuesday night they may not live in New Hall rooms.
Officials disagree why the students, all sophomores, are being moved across campus to the Dakota.
Housing Services Director Andrew Sonn said the Honors Program failed to provide his department with the class standing of students who applied for the New Hall Honors Living and Learning Community.
But Honors Program Director Peter Rollberg said, “The Honors Program did everything we were supposed to in this housing lottery. It is certainly not the Honors Program that is to blame for this sudden crisis.
“Whoever is responsible for this has hurt a lot of students very deeply,” Rollberg added.
All 50 students who signed up for the living program received notification in January from CLLC and the Honors Program that they would have New Hall rooms if they signed up by February. They were notified in a Feb. 8 e-mail that they were approved, and the list of students went to Housing Services.
Sonn said the move resulted from “miscommunication” between Housing Services and the Honors Program. He said sophomores are prohibited from living in New Hall under CLLC policy. He declined to comment on the exemption available to sophomores who purchase lottery numbers to select New Hall rooms at Martha’s Marathon.
Both Housing Services and the Residence Hall Association refused to disclose how many freshmen who purchased housing selection numbers at the Martha’s Marathon auction last Friday chose rooms in New Hall.
Admitting that a computer glitch caused students to be double-booked to New Hall rooms, Sonn also refused to release the number of students who are currently assigned to already full rooms. He said there were a
“small number” of people assigned to rooms already chosen by students who hand-picked rooms before Sunday’s auction.
Sonn said there is no connection between GW’s decision to move the Honors Program sophomores and other room conflicts. The students who were double-booked in New Hall rooms were told Tuesday that they are guaranteed rooms in the residence hall, although all rooms in the building were booked Sunday.
Sonn estimated that 80 percent of the honors living and learning community are sophomores. The rest can stay in New Hall or move to a room in the Dakota, he said.
“All the students in the community have been contacted by housing staff and by the end of this week will be placed in a comparable room to the one they previously selected,” Sonn said.
Sonn said the honors community will still be “clustered” in both the Dakota and New Hall.
“The community is fractured no matter what,” Rollberg said. “It is too late to preserve unity.”
Rollberg called the situation painful and embarrassing, adding that he will exercise caution in establishing next year’s Honors Program housing community.
Michael Ziccardi, a rising sophomore, planned to live on the New Hall honors floor until he received e-mail notification Tuesday that he would be moved to the Dakota. Ziccardi said he will voice his concern at a meeting that Housing Services has promised for the honors sophomores.
“I feel stabbed in the back and taken advantage of,” he said Ziccardi said he will consider living in a CLLC community his junior year but has lost his trust in the housing system.
Freshman Sherri Weinstein pointed out that since the decision to move the students was announced after the junior and senior housing selection, students with upperclassmen numbers, like her roommate, could not choose other housing.
“In general I don’t think they’ve been handling it well,” Weinstein said. She also said she was placed on a housing waiting list before the move to the Dakota and has yet to receive housing for next year.
Other students outside the Honors Program said they are frustrated by CLLC’s slow response time to other problems.
Sophomore Justin Cohen, who was assigned already-purchased New Hall 406, said he was disappointed at Housing Services’ delayed response to his situation. He said the student who purchased his room for $4,400 at Martha’s Marathon told him about the problem.
“I called Housing (Services) Monday and was told the matter was confidential, so I sent a frustrated e-mail to Andy Sonn,” Cohen said. “(Housing Services associate) Anna Cenatiempo got back to me Tuesday, apologizing for not getting back earlier.”
Cohen and his roommates expect to be assigned a new quad by the end of the week, although he does not know how he will be notified.
“There is nothing I can do right now other than wait,” he said.
Sonn also said CLLC is working to repair a computer error in the real-time availability screen that was supposed to allow students to track occupied rooms Sunday. He said the problem will be repaired in time for rising sophomore selection March 10, and that the University currently has no back-up plan.