Housing lottery benefits those not ‘naturally intelligent’

by Peter Kaspari

As this year’s room selection process for the fall of 2011 begins, students who plan to live on campus will notice a change in this year’s process.

 While the overall process is mostly the same, there is one key difference that has been changed from previous years.

 “The only difference is that for this year’s rising seniors, grade point average (GPA) deductions were available last year, and this year there will be no GPA influence on any of the classes’ lottery numbers,” said Luke Behaunek, director of Residence Life.

According to Behaunek, besides the GPA deduction not being a factor, the process itself remains the same.

“We break current residential students into rising sophomores, rising juniors and rising seniors,” Behaunek said. “Within each of those classes, we have a range of 500 numbers that we have a lottery within. Each student has a randomly generated lottery number within their class range. We use that average of a student’s on an application to determine who gets first choice during the housing process.”

Behaunek said the change came about due to potential inequalities that were present in the old system.

“The GPA advantages given to students who had higher-standing academically were removed in order to remove the disadvantages in the system that were present to students who may have to work off-campus, may not be able to study as much due to extra-curricular activities, and who just may not be as naturally intelligent as some other people,” Behaunek said. “And we felt that they didn’t necessarily deserve to be disadvantaged in the lottery system.”

Junior Joe Sorensen, a former member of Residence Hall Association (RHA), said the decision was made collectively by several groups, and echoed Behaunek’s belief that the old system was not fair.

“Many different components go into a student’s GPA that are somewhat uncontrollable,” Sorensen said. “While they are still very productive in different areas and really good students, their GPA may not reflect. RHA and Residence Life wanted to get rid of the incentive to level out the playing field for students.”

Behaunek said there may be confusion regarding the numbers and how they’re assigned.

“We’re going to be very clear about how those numbers are generated and how they’re received, so students have a better understanding that it’s truly random,” Behaunek said. “But we’ve talked about it with our different student groups with Residence Life to get feedback, and it’s usually a point of interest on our survey we send out every year.”

Sophomore Aspa Papa said the GPA added incentive to the process.

“I like the GPA because people can work more at getting a better chance,” Papa said.

Sophomore Erin Weber is indifferent about the changes.

“I was never affected by it, so I don’t really care,” Weber said. “I know a lot of juniors don’t like it.”

Behaunek said that if any students have questions, they should not be afraid to ask him.

“I urge students, if they have questions about the process, to let their student staff member know, their professional staff member know, or if for some reason they can’t answer their questions, I’m certainly available to answer anything,” Behaunek said.