Housing dates still uncertain

University administrators are no longer resolute about when students will choose housing for next year because of the recent federal appeals court decision reaffirming city zoning requirements on GW.

Officials said Friday they have yet to confirm dates when students can fill out their Intent-to-Return forms and participate in the housing lottery.

Director of Housing Services Andrew Sonn said that in light of the recent U.S. Court of Appeals order regarding GW’s undergraduate housing requirements, officials are still discussing the ITR release dates. He said in a Jan. 23 Hatchet article that the University had pushed back the lottery to March 30 and April 6.

Students receive housing lottery numbers after completing ITR forms online, which informs the University how many students will be living on campus for the upcoming year. Student filled out ITRs in early February last year and chose housing the last week of February.

“Since the court order touches on many elements of campus housing, the ramifications of the decision are still being analyzed by the University,” Sonn said. “As soon as we can confirm these dates, we will advertise them via the Housing Services Web site.”

The court decided Feb. 4 that the University must comply with a Board of Zoning Adjustment order requiring GW to house 70 percent of its undergraduate students, including all freshmen and sophomores, within campus boundaries or outside Foggy Bottom.

Under the conditions, the University is not able to count the more than 1,400 beds in City Hall, Pennsylvania House, the Hall on Virginia Avenue and the Aston as on-campus housing. The University would house about 69 percent of students within campus boundaries if the city counted the four residence halls.

GW could now either appeal to the full U.S. Court of Appeals or to the U.S. Supreme Court.

GW officials originally postponed the ITR release date and housing selection so it could search for an additional 500 beds to accommodate a burgeoning undergraduate population, which has increased by 46 percent from 1996 to 2002, according to the GW Office of Institutional Research.

Senior Vice President for Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak said the University is still looking at different housing options and has yet to make any acquisitions.

In a Jan. 23 Hatchet article, Chernak said the University is looking for housing facilities outside Foggy Bottom in the District and Virginia.

Sonn said that while his department is not involved in the process of securing additional housing, housing services has procured an additional eight beds in Building JJ and another 37 beds on the Mount Vernon Campus.

Sonn also said 204 beds will be added next year when fraternities and sororities move into Townhouse Row.

Emily Naden, president of the Residence Hall Association, said officials told her they have tentatively scheduled the ITR release date for March 3 and Martha’s Marathon for March 7.

Naden said she doesn’t expect Martha’s Marathon, an auction in which students can purchase the top five lottery numbers in a housing scholarship fundraiser, or the ITR release date to be postponed.

“I asked (the University) if RHA should think about postponing Martha’s Marathon and they said, ‘no,'” Naden said. “I don’t think either event will be postponed. They’re just finalizing some things.”

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