SA Resolution on Housing Policy Passes
Cornell’s Student Assembly has officially passed a revision to the housing selection process that has been much maligned by the student population over the past several years. The Cornell Daily Sun reported yesterday that president David Skorton had signed Resolution 13, which aimed to correct several irregularities in the University’s housing selection process. The resolution was originally passed in October by the student assembly but was pending the president’s signature until this week.
The resolution was passed along with two other modifications on housing. Resolution 13 gave rising sophomores the first choice at dormitory rooms during the lottery, rather than juniors and seniors who had lucked out and drawn high lottery numbers. Resolution 12 aimed to create an in-house lottery system for the university’s collegetown dormitories, Cascadilla, Sheldon Court, and Edgemoore, thus giving residents of these dormitories an equal chance to obtain housing as juniors and seniors as their counterparts on West Campus. Resolution 14 requested the Campus Life organization to release more information regarding past years’ housing lottery results, providing a resource similar to the median grade report website, only for housing. Resolution 13 will go into effect during the spring of 2011 while resolutions 12 and 14 have already been enacted for the current academic year.
Student reaction to the new housing policy has generally been very favorable, especially amongst students who received the short end of the housing stick when they applied during their freshman year. The opinion amongst most students seems to be that the process of upper classmen leaving dormitories for off campus housing is a natural part of being a Cornell student. For this reason, the decision to limit the number of housing slots open to juniors and seniors in both west campus and collegetown houses has not left a bad taste in too many mouths. Indeed, even those upperclassmen who choose to live in university sponsored housing tend to live in the collegetown dorms to be closer to their classmates.
Cornell’s housing system showed signs of overload last spring, when a very large number of transfer students were admitted to the university. Many slots both West campus and Collegetown dormitories were occupied by transfer students, as well as upperclassmen, who, as mentioned earlier, were able to obtain rooms via in-house lotteries or the university wide lottery system. While students are guaranteed housing for sophomore year, many members of the class of 2012 were left on the waiting list last spring and chose to fend for themselves off campus rather than deal with the uncertainty of the housing system.
The SA hopes that correcting these glaring irregularities in the housing system will make room selection and housing a far less stressful process for students, and restore some faith in Cornell’s housing department. With room costs expected to rise above $4,000 for the upcoming academic year, the University must be careful to not lose too many students to off campus housing in the near future.