The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News March 10, 2006

Housing Lottery Sees Change
New Procedure for Housing Selection

Last week, students began completing their online housing applications for the 2006-2007 school year. Changes in both the application process and the housing policy itself resulted in a new ResEd system, facing its first test this year.

The most important change in housing policy is that priority will be given to students based on semesters in residence rather than on academic credits or class rank. This is meant to make the process more fair for juniors and seniors who have lived on campus for several years.

“It makes the system more equitable because it doesn’t disadvantage those students who did not have the opportunity or who could not afford to take college credit [extraneous or prior to attending Oberlin],” said Director of ResEd Molly Tyson.

She said that under the old system, “Seniors didn’t have the opportunities they should have.”

Michele Gross, director of business operations for ResEd, emphasized the student satisfaction with the new policy.

“I have almost without exception heard from students ‘That’s much fairer, I understand,’” said Gross.

Rena Maeda, college junior, agreed.

“For me, I think it’s fair,” she said. “Before, if you had [Advanced Placement] credits, you had priority. For people who had the opportunity to take AP credits it’s fair, but I didn’t have that option because I come from Japan. I started college here and I feel I should have the same opportunity.”

Other students do not feel as positive about the new policy.

“Somebody’s going to have to get the short end of the stick, so I don’t really see a difference,” said Claudio Guler, college sophomore.

Another change that affects student housing is the new online application. This supposedly makes the process more efficient for both students and administrators.

“We have had more students applying online at this time than we ever had with paper applications,” she said. “I think that students are utilizing the system and seem to not have many problems.”

There was, however, one small problem with the new system that needed to be addressed.

“This is the first time we’re using the system,” said Tyson. “Students who had studied away were not recognized for that semester, but that was fixed.”

One new development that students take issue with is the reduction of the number of students eligible to live off-campus, from 775 to 640. Some believe that the College has its sights on forcing students to live in more expensive, college-owned housing at a time of financial struggles.

“I’ve heard from students that it’s cheaper to live on campus,” Tyson said, responding to the above claim. “There’s a myth out there that it is cheaper to live off-campus, but once they get out there, that’s not the reality.”

Gross suggested that students do not take into consideration the costs of gas and other utilities when comparing living costs. She also believed that students were confused about the exact definition of “off-campus housing.”

“Village housing is on-campus housing [for upperclassmen]; off-campus means [students live under] a town landlord,” said Gross. “Students get these terms confused because we own apartments and houses. Village housing includes Firelands, 137 Elm, Union Street, 32 houses [and Woodland Street].”

Students must now live on campus for six semesters before being eligible for the off-campus housing lottery.

In addition to the application and policy changes, ResEd will be offering a new housing option called the Recovery House, which will cater to the needs of students recovering from drug or alcohol abuse.

Information about housing, including the locations of rooms and pictures and floor plans of houses, is available in the ResEd office in Stevenson-Griswold.


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