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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Reslife lottery errors frustrate students

Published: March 3, 2006
Section: News

The Department of Residence Life has encountered several problems in this years housing selection process that extend beyond students frustration over poor numbers.

Several students found an empty mailbox on Feb. 17, when letters from residence life containing lottery numbers were expected to be delivered. Other students who received their numbers via email experienced some confusion as their initial housing lottery numbers were incorrect. Students with documented disabilities and students studying abroad have also experienced confusion.

One student who didnt receive a number went directly to the department for his number. I just went to Residence Life on my own. They said that they did not know why I did not get a number, so they just printed my housing number and gave it to me, said Josh Weinstein 08.

Bryan Deutsch 08 also had a similar problem. I checked my mailbox Friday after 5 pm, and it was completely empty. There was no letter and my mailbox was taped shut from the other side for some reason, which it had not been that same morning, said Deutsch. Deutsch also maintains that he never got an answer as to why his box had been taped shut.

I'm not sure exactly what might have prevent [sic] us from delivering the letters to those two students. There are multiple reasons this could have happened — but it was not intentional that these students did not receive their numbers, said Jeremy Leiferman, the Associate Director for Campus Living regarding the missing numbers.
The Department of Residence Life also experienced technological problems, as many students who are currently studying abroad received the wrong numbers. After sending the numbers out via email, we soon realized a technological error had occurred with the data merge that generated the emails to the students. The error resulted in the students receiving an incorrect lottery number. These students we contacted by Feb. 22 and informed of their correct number. In most cases the numbers differed by only a few numbers, and in all cases the numbers differed by no more than 15, Leiferman said.

Another problem that has concerned several students is the process of determining housing for need-based students and students with documented disabilities.

Students with documented disabilities need to fill out a form beforehand. These requests are then analyzed by staff at the University Health Center or the Psychological Counseling Center. Leiferman commented that the decisions required members of the University staff to meet on a number of occasions to review students requests in detail. This often involved consultation with the students themselves, their medical providers or other individuals.

A very small number of students with specific and extreme needs are provided with housing assignments prior to room selection. An additional group of students will participate in a system that allows them to select rooms at room selection that will meet their needs (such as having A/C or a carpetless room), Leiferman explained. However, many of these students are still unsure of whether they will even get any accommodation at all and remain uncertain about their housing situations.

Leiferman also commented, I will bring up the concerns over timing with our committee as we evaluate the process for the coming year.

Formal housing selection appointments are scheduled between Mar. 8 and Mar. 12.