Sophomores and juniors will reapply for housing lottery numbers starting Wednesday, officials announced Friday, in the latest development of what has become the 2003 housing debacle.
While GW is currently reissuing rising-sophomore housing selection numbers after discovering a technical glitch, Housing Services noticed rising junior and senior numbers were not random last week and announced they would be redistributed as well.
Sophomores and juniors, who received numbers with freshmen the week of March 24, will have until Saturday night to reapply for numbers. Rising-sophomores have until Tuesday to reselect their numbers.
“It wasn’t truly random,” said Brian Selinsky, director of Banner Applications, referring to the junior and senior number allotment.
A group of juniors came to Housing Services Director Andrew Sonn early last week because they received numbers close to each other when submitting online Intent to Return forms at the same time.
Lower junior numbers tended to appear later in the selection, but the lower half of the range of numbers was not assigned. Seniors seemed to receive better numbers earlier in the process, with the first thousand being distributed in the first few days.
Students receive their number for the housing lottery, set for April 26 for freshmen and 27 for sophomores and juniors, after submitting an ITR to Housing Services online. Rising sophomores, students with fewer than 60 credits, should have received numbers 4,500 to 7,699.
When freshmen submitted ITRs the week of March 24, a problem arose when numbers below 6,145 were not assigned. Housing officials are now reissuing all rising sophomore numbers, though they said the process was still random, so all students knew it was fair.
Sonn said no problems have appeared with the reissue of sophomore ITRs this week.
Officials said Information Systems and Services used the same process to assign housing numbers last year with no problems. While ISS had been using an algorithm, a multi-step mathematical formula, to ensure randomness, the staff will now use software to randomize numbers before distributing them through the system. Selinsky said his software requires a more robust system, which ISS did not have when the housing number process was developed.
Sonn and Selinsky met with several student leaders Thursday evening for input on how to make the process fair.
“We did want to make it fair,” Selinsky said. “I was hoping when we went into that meeting that they would want us to redo it.”
SA President Phil Robinson, who attended the meeting along with RHA members and President Emily Naden, said officials handled the situation well.
“They identified they had a problem and immediately called student representatives,” he said. “They really solicited our opinion to solve the problem.”
Robinson said the group discussed options and their effect on students, especially those who were happy with their current housing number, but concluded reissuing numbers was the “only fair way.”
“We all walked out happy,” he said. “My vice president of undergraduate policy, Charles Baxter, didn’t even have anything to do because it was solved in one day.”
“Either way you’re going to get people upset, and I think sometimes taking the high ground is the only way to go,” Sonn said. “Students, deep down, if they know it’s a fair process they’ll feel a little bit better about it. I’ll get my share of parent phone calls coming in, I know.”
Some students agreed that reissuing the numbers is fair, but were happy or upset based on how good their numbers are now.
Junior Lem Robinson, who holds number 440 and hopes to continue living in City Hall next year, is afraid he will get a higher number.
“I’d be pissed if I got (the Hall on Virginia Avenue) or the Aston,” he said, adding he would move off campus if his options were limited.
Lem Robinson said he and his roommate, who submitted his ITR late the first day, received numbers close to each other.
Junior Alison Newman holds number 893.
“All my roommates got crappy numbers because we registered early in the day (March 24),” she said. “I was thinking about buying a nice van and living in that and showering at Hell Well.”
Sophomores and juniors can resubmit ITRs during certain times this week, so online course registration through ISS is not disrupted. The hours are as follows: Wednesday, noon- 11 p.m., Thursday, noon- 11 p.m., Friday, noon- 11 p.m., Saturday, 6 a.m.- 11 p.m.
This article appeared in the April 7, 2003 issue of the Hatchet.