DCL aims to make the housing selection process transparent

March 8, 2019

The Department of Community Living (DCL) invited the Student Union Executive board and representatives from The Brandeis Hoot and the Justice to witness the housing selection randomization process on Wednesday afternoon. This is the second year DCL has invited students to view the housing lottery process in an effort to be more transparent and quell misinformation.

Dr. Timothy Touchette, assistant dean of student affairs, also announced some changes to the housing system. Juniors and seniors will have a chance to live in Skyline next year, and students who back out of their contract will be charged with higher monetary penalties.

Touchette explained the two main processes that take place to generate housing selection numbers. The first is rising-sophomores housing selection numbers. The second process is for upperclassmen.

Housing numbers one to 100 are reserved for students with various housing accommodations. This year both numbers 101 and 1200 were placed on hold for the potential SkyFactor survey winner, who gets to choose housing first. Numbers 102 through 1100 are for rising sophomores and this year there were 965 applicants for sophomore housing. According to Touchette, this number is consistent to trends from previous years.

Numbers 1201 through 2600 are saved for rising juniors and seniors, who are not guaranteed housing. This year there were 1388 applicants for upperclassmen housing, which is a significant rise in applicants. The number of applicants grew by around 200 to 330, according to Touchette.

During the actual selection process, the names and personal information of students were hidden in order to maintain student privacy. DCL uses an online system that randomly assigns a number to students. The process is done twice, once for rising sophomores and then a second time for upperclassmen. DCL takes the numbers and assigns time slots based on them.

Touchette and Paris Sanders, associate director of community living, explained that this year students can expect to see to see some changes. Because of a trend of students backing out of their housing agreement, there will be more severe monetary penalties for canceling. Now, depending on when a student drops out of the contract, they have to pay a percentage of the final cost based on the period in which a student cancels. Students have until May 1 to cancel their housing request without penalty, after which they begin to incur a fee. Because of students canceling their housing, the number of spaces for students studying abroad will be scaled back to reflect previous trends.

Another change for the upcoming housing selection is that singles in Massell and North Quads will no longer be available to rising sophomores, making the quads truly first-year dorms. Touchette explained that there is no longer a need to house sophomores in first-year quads and that those rooms will be held for older first years who may have taken a gap year.

Skyline Residence Hall will also see some changes. The north tower of Skyline will remain rising sophomore but the south tower will be available to rising juniors and seniors, giving upperclassmen a chance to live in Skyline. “It was a request we heard loud and clear this year,” said Touchette.

DCL will no longer be releasing statistics on what housing certain numbers can expect to get. Instead DCL will be releasing live availability online this year. “The stats have caused a problem every year I’ve been here,” said Touchette.Room selection numbers will be released on March 13, and housing selection will begin on March 25, which is when students studying abroad will choose their housing. Rising sophomore housing selection opens on March 27 and runs through March 29, while upperclassmen can select housing April 8 through April 12.

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