Campus housing makes changes to lottery system


As the school year winds down, it’s time for students to start thinking about where they want to live next fall. At Simpson College, a system is put into place that determines who makes that decision first-the housing lottery-but the familiar system is going through some significant changes.

The current lottery number system for housing is simple: all numbers are chosen randomly within the range assigned for students’ class and deductions are taken from the numbers according to individual grade point average and class standing. After around 10 years of this method, the system is going to undergo changes that will result in the loss of lottery number deductions.

Previously, GPA was a significant area of reduction.”It was first put in as incentive for students to strive for better GPA because they knew they would get points taken off their lottery number,” sophomore Joe Sorenson said.

After much discussion, however, many became aware that this might not be the best way to encourage students in their studies.

“I had some ethical concerns with including the GPA deductions because, say a student had to work a full-time job while going to college, they’re more likely to have a lower GPA,” Luke Behaunek, director of Residence Life, said. “I don’t think that students should be disadvantaged because their family might need them to work.”

At the same time, there was question as to whether it was really an incentive for students to improve their GPA.

“It kind of hurt more students than it helped,” Sorenson said.

Even students who would benefit from the GPA deduction are aware of how it could be unfair to their classmates.

“I feel that doing so only creates a caste system within the Simpson community that is not fair nor conducive to building community in the overall campus,” junior Steven Ramsey said.

The second area that allowed students to get deductions was in regard to class standing.

“Before, we used to classify students based on credits, and we felt that a lot of students had advantages in high school to get additional credits through colleges that were nearby,” Behaunek said. “We felt some students were disadvantaged by that.”

Because rising juniors and seniors have had the deductions in years past, they will receive that deduction still this year, but by next year, there will be none at all.

“So there’s really only one class that’s going to be affected that has had it before and that is next year’s rising seniors,” Behaunek said.

Behaunek sent a personal letter to students in the class of 2012 explaining the changes and that its goal is to remove privilege from the system. Current freshman will be unaffected and won’t have a deduction beginning this year.

“I think every student I have, while they may not agree that it’s best for them, I think they’ve agreed that it’s best for everybody as a whole,” Behaunek said.