As GW closes in on a northern Virginia housing option for next year, students faced major technical difficulties when receiving housing lottery numbers this week.
The University plans to allow rising sophomores to reapply for new Intent to Return numbers next week after a programming flaw caused freshmen to only receive the upper portion of housing lottery numbers.
GW may be considering a luxury apartment building in Rosslyn, Va., for upperclassmen next year that includes amenities such as fireplaces, a swimming pool and a putting green.
Housing selection snafu
Rising sophomores signing on to the GWeb Banner system should have received a random number between 4,500 and 7,699 but instead received numbers 6,135 and higher.
“For a reason we can’t figure out, the numbers 4,500 through 6,134 did not get assigned,” said Brian Selinsky, director of Banner Applications, who noted that the problem was limited to rising sophomores.
Information Systems and Services is investigating the problem and will be ready to redo the process next week, he said. Students faced no problems with ITR selection last year, when the system went online for the first time.
Director of Housing Services Andrew Sonn said the University decided to allow rising sophomores to resubmit ITRs because of the “perception that the process was not random.”
While he said that numbers 6,135 and 7,699 were allotted randomly, he said he believes it is important for students to feel confident about the process and fix the problem quickly.
“We want to make sure students are sure it’s random generation … our hope is to not have students waiting around too long,” Sonn said.
Selinsky said ISS officials will test the system before next week and pre-shuffle the range of numbers to ensure students receive random assignments.
Another change to this year’s housing process, adding 12 credit hours to student class standing, is also drawing protest from freshmen.
While the Community Living and Learning Center has used accumulated credits as well as credits students are currently taking to determine class standing in past years, GW decided to add a projected 12 credits to each student this year.
Freshmen who arrived at GW with at least 18 credit hours from Advanced Placement tests or other sources and took 30 hours this year will be considered rising juniors because they will have 60 credit hours. The change makes it more difficult for freshmen to choose roommates because housing regulations currently prohibit sophomores from pulling in juniors.
“Its our formula for figuring out class standing in response to the (Board of Zoning and Adjustment) rulings,” Sonn said.
University Senior Counsel Charles Barber called the BZA ruling, which requires the University to house 70 percent of undergraduate students within campus boundaries or outside Foggy Bottom and freshmen and sophomores within campus boundaries, “very general.”
“It’s a matter of proper interpretation of BZA requirements … it’s up to the University to interpret it,” Barber said, noting he believes the addition of 12 credit hours falls within the ruling. The change could potentially make dozens of second-year students “juniors” according to housing rules.
Sonn said the University is considering allowing pull-ins but is wary because of the chance that many sophomores will pull upperclassmen in and prevent sophomores, who are required to live on campus, from finding housing.
He said students can stay updated with housing changes by going to the housing Web site, http://gwired.gwu.edu/cllc/housing.
Some freshmen said they are critical of the change and are disappointed they will be unable to live with fellow second-year students.
“If I’m going to be here another three years, then I don’t understand why I’m considered a junior,” Melissa Horowitz said. “Arbitrarily adding twelve credits for the sole purpose of housing selection just doesn’t make sense.”
“We’re paying a lot of money for housing, so you’d think there would be a fair lottery and reasonable rules for housing selection,” said John Van Name.
Virginia housing option
An official familiar with the campus housing issue said GW is looking at a building called The Gallery in Rosslyn, Va.
The Gallery is located at 1800 N. Oak St. and is within walking distance of the Rosslyn Metro stop.
It includes rooms with views of Georgetown and the National Cathedral and has a number of amenities including fireplaces and washers and dryers in rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, a putting green and a parking garage. It also allows dogs and cats and is across the street from a Safeway, according to the building’s Web site.
Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, could not confirm any specific buildings but noted GW has been pursuing options outside Foggy Bottom, including three or four facilities in Rosslyn alone.
Chernak said the University “does not have anything finalized” but hopes to announce a new housing option for more than 500 upperclassmen by April 15.
“I want students to know the name of the building and get tours of it before the lottery,” Chernak said. The sophomore housing lottery is scheduled for April 26, with juniors and seniors set for April 27.
Building officials in northern Virginia confirmed they have been in touch with GW administrators regarding housing for next year.
Chris Lee, a property manager for a building also called The Gallery in Arlington, Va., said the University approached the luxury apartment building in January. He said the building is about 78 percent leased and GW looked into leasing about 10 to 20 rooms, but he has not heard of any developments in the last month.
Chernak said the University has to discuss regulations with county officials if the University acquires housing in Virginia.
-Michael Barnett contributed to this report.