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Students should pay attention to rushed housing proposals

By The Brandeis Hoot

Section: Editorials

February 5, 2016

The Department of Community Living and the Student Union released two proposals today regarding changes to the housing lottery, as The Brandeis Hoot reported in a news article this week.

Though The Hoot editorial board recognizes that it is time to make changes to the system, we are unsure whether these proposals adequately address student need.

The Brandeis Hoot editorial board strongly opposes Proposal 2, which would enact a policy in which students who move off campus would receive worse lottery numbers in subsequent years. The proposal would create a system where “loyal” on-campus residents receive the first numbers, and off-campus students are put at the end.

If a student receives a bad lottery number when they are a rising junior and is forced to move off-campus, then even if they wanted to live on campus as a senior this would prove difficult as they would be entered in the “off-campus” lottery. Even if a student moves off campus for their sophomore year and returns to campus for their junior year, they will still be placed in the “off-campus” pool when selecting senior housing.

This proposal seems spiteful and an unnecessary punishment for students who move off campus, even in cases when it is not their first choice. If a student receives a bad lottery number just one year, this system disincentivizes them from ever returning to campus, which seems to run counter-intuitive to the stated goal of fostering loyalty and inclusion.

Proposal 1 removes class distinctions from several housing options and would take effect immediately, in the upcoming selection process.

There are pros and cons to this plan. The ability for sophomores, juniors and seniors to live with friends of different years will allow stronger community ties between class years, rather than stratifying friend groups by age. Additionally, the housing currently available to juniors and seniors is more expensive than that available to sophomores, allowing students to choose their housing from a wider range of living styles and price ranges could present a benefit to those who struggle to afford the more expensive housing. This benefit is especially relevant since those who choose to live in the more expensive dorms with kitchens no longer have the option to save money by foregoing a meal plan.

However, rising juniors and seniors, but especially juniors, may get pushed out of the more traditionally appealing housing options like Ridgewood by sophomores who are guaranteed housing. Additionally, losing large sophomore-exclusive housing may be a loss to some students who prefer the community aspect of living within class years.

While we understand the need to change the housing lottery due to the lack of availability in the Castle, Proposal 1 comes too late in the year for students to adequately prepare. Particularly rising juniors and seniors who may not be able to find on-campus housing need time to search for off campus options. These changes would be confusing and stressful to students even if they were proposed in September. To try to enact ideas for the current housing lottery in February, when available off-campus leases are already beginning to disappear, leaves many students uneasy.

The Hoot editorial board strongly encourages students to provide feedback on the proposals. Any changes to the housing lottery would have a large effect on students, and so it is important that DCL hear everyone’s comments and concerns regarding the proposals before implementing a new policy.

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