Last week, The Herald reported that plans by the Office of Residential Life for future housing allocation have been slightly changed. Specifically, Hegeman Hall and Slater Hall will remain designated for upperclassmen, while sophomores will live in Perkins Hall doubles previously slotted to become upperclassmen singles. ResLife has made student housing a focus in the past few years, investing significant money in renovations and improvements. But we believe some of these changes have been misguided and ignore the foremost priority for non-freshman students — having a single room.
ResLife’s plans to standardize sophomore and junior living situations represent a positive improvement in housing allocation. For instance, though the Graduate Center is often unpopular because of its stark decor, it does make sense to place juniors in Grad Center’s suites, while sophomores will be in double rooms elsewhere. This change will take a few years to be fully accepted, as many students now consider Grad Center a sophomore domain.
But in the interim, it is more reasonable that all sophomores have doubles, while all juniors have singles. Currently, sophomores live in a mix of single and double living situations, which is unfair to both upperclassmen and sophomores. Sophomores should not be faced with wildly different living situations depending on their lottery number. The housing changes seem to promise increased uniformity in sophomore housing options, which is a positive improvement.
These changes promise to eliminate the summer assignment aspect of the housing lottery, a welcome and necessary development. If all students are guaranteed housing, why not reserve a few rooms, as opposed to hundreds of students forced into a waiting period? Additionally, why must students wait months to learn about their future housing? The elimination of summer assignment is a welcome change that will significantly reduce housing anxiety for rising sophomores.
As we are not involved with ResLife, we do not know if these changes could have been accomplished by any other means. But we are disappointed that single rooms, many newly renovated, are being converted into double rooms at additional expense and effort. This past year, highly desirable Andrews Hall singles were converted into freshman doubles, and the same change happened in Keeney Quadrangle. This past week, The Herald reported that the newly re-opened Miller and Metcalf Halls, whose renovations were highly praised by students, were being converted into freshman doubles this summer.
This seems counterintuitive. Though other priorities — creating communities of class years, and improving the lottery system — are certainly important in our experience the number one priority among students is having a single room. Thus, it is disheartening that perfectly good — indeed, very desirable — rooms are denied to upperclassmen for the sake of other priorities. In particular, the decision to remove senior rooms to accommodate first-year students is questionable.
We recognize that ResLife balances many priorities with a limited budget while looking to improve campus housing. The focus on student housing is necessary and appreciated. But we are disappointed that single rooms are being eliminated, particularly since current rising seniors have been faced with challenging housing situations as the system changes around them, and are now seeing their best options given to younger students. Though we are grateful for much-needed changes, we hope future improvements can incorporate the overarching desire of students for rooms of their own, which should be a more accessible option for upperclassmen.
Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board: its editor, Dan Jeon, and its members, Mintaka Angell, Samuel Choi, Nicholas Morley and Rachel Occhiogrosso. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.