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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Housing process sorely needs review

Published: March 9, 2007
Section: Opinions

As the housing lottery continues, it has become increasingly apparent that inconsistencies are prevalent in the on-campus housing selection system. Some who have never intended to participate in housing were given numbers while others who were confident that they checked their boxes on SAGE were disappointed to find no numbers in their mailboxes. The situation has angered many, and made numerous Brandeis students lose faith in the department of Residence Life.

It is incumbent upon the Residence Life department to review their system in order to make sure that these problems do not occur. It would also seem obvious that some sort of system of checks and balances should be set in place so that students can bring their complaints in front of members of the department. This will ensure that fairness will govern the grievance procedure and can give a just hearing to those who may have had wrongs committed against them.

Other suggestions can also create a more efficient system for selecting on-campus housing. The Department of Residence Life could publish information from year to year detailing when certain housing dried up in order to more efficiently allow students to select their housing. In addition, instead of the in-person system which includes proxy forms and a bureaucracy similar to the DMV, an online system similar to that which is used to enroll in classes may be established. Graduate Danny Silverman 06, for instance, created an online blog so that students could post their numbers and what housing they received. This is a good start, but can go a step further as the entire housing process can take place on line in order to facilitate faster selection of housing. Students, with an online system, can log onto their SAGE accounts to see available housing, updated floor plans of the quads, and later select their housing for the next year.

Of course, every year, Residence Life will have problems. But every year, around the middle of February, housing becomes the main topic of discussion and this conversation is almost always expressed in negative tone. In order to remedy this situation, the Department of Residence Life needs to publish past information and improve the housing selection process. This will make this time of the year much less stressful and allow students to better select their accommodations for future academic years.