College tweaks housing policy

Students will not be able to pick into a double without identifying a roommate at this year’s housing draw, Dean Roseman said yesterday. The measure is considered by many a necessary step to avoid a housing crunch like the College faced this year.

In past years, some students have picked into doubles alone, hoping nobody else would pick into the rooms, so they would have large singles. This practice discouraged other students from picking into the half-open rooms, in some cases inviting hostility, and often limited the options available to students who actually want to live in doubles.

Earlier this year, many students became upset upon learning the College might have to convert some common rooms in Mission into rooms to house students returning from abroad due to a housing crunch. In an effort to avoid a similar situation in the future, Roseman said the College was looking at rooms that are currently listed as singles but could be converted into doubles.

The College is also planning on keeping the housing draw blind until students enter the lottery room, as was done last year. A “blind” room draw was part of the recommendations the Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL) made last year. The CUL believed a blind room draw would lead to greater diversity in student housing.

Roseman said the blind room draw was having this effect. “In years past, we often would get complaints about a floor or region of a house that was ‘taken over’ by a group of students,” Roseman said. “We have much, much fewer complaints of this kind of thing this year.”

In response to the adoption of the CUL recommendation by the Dean, Williams Students Online (WSO) collected over 600 signatures from students asking the administration to allow them to display rooming picks as they occurred. College Council (CC) also sent a letter to the administration endorsing this position.

Roseman said she took student reaction to the CUL report into account and staked out a “middle ground” by allowing student names to be posted inside the lottery room and WSO to post the gender and class year of students as they picked into rooms.

In addition to philosophically supporting the idea of a blind room draw, there have also been concerns expressed by the administration about the accuracy of the information posted on WSO. Ain said there have been errors in the past, but the inaccuracies occurred because of a “lack of cooperation on the part of the administration.”