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Housing Lottery Update

11/17/2009

As Vincent’s previous post mentioned, President Skorton asked the Student Assembly to reconsider the resolution passed earlier in the year that put sophomores at the beginning of the general room selection (housing lottery) process. To recap, in October, the SA passed three resolutions-one asking for better information about past lottery results (I expect this to be implemented this year), one calling for in-house lotteries in Collegetown residences by 2011 (I also expect this to be implemented soon), and one putting sophomores first in the housing lottery. This last resolution was the result of an 8 month effort thru the SA’s ResLife Committee, with consultation and collaboration from the RSC and Campus Life Department.

Skorton’s hesitation had two parts to it. The first was reasonable-he wanted the SA to clarify that the change would be in effect for the Spring 2011 housing lottery. Because of the work needed to implement this properly, this sounds entirely reasonable to me-which is why there was no timeline put on it in the first place. But, if specificity is desired, we can certainly clarify.

The second point made in Skorton’s rationale was that the SA needed to more carefully consider the implications of this resolution.

This has already been done.

Again, this resolution was crafted after a semester’s work and discussion with the SA’s ResLife Committee, which includes freshmen and seniors, on-campus and off-campus residents, SA and non-SA members, and RSC, PanHel, IFC, and Program House reps. It was the topic of discussion for two SA meetings last semester and two this semester. Campus Life, to their credit, was very open and receptive to our proposed changes and did not raise opposition to the resolution when it was brought up this year. And, to top it all off, the SA passed the resolution 19-0…do you know how difficult that is to do?! Anybody who has been to an SA meeting knows that they can get contentious. The fact that the elected student representatives, after thorough discussion, were unanimously in support of this common-sense change means that they made the judgment that the benefits outweighed the potential drawbacks.

After the SA passed the resolution, students agreed with the SA’s decision. Andrew Brokman, on his blog “OneCornell,” called it one of  “the most important resolutions the Student Assembly has ever seen (no exaggeration)” (10/26). The Cornell Review, which historically has not been the biggest fan of mine, called it a “worthwhile initiative” that was an example of  “efficacious and efficient governance” (November 2009). And at yesterday’s Campus Life Student Advisory Committee’s meeting, all the students that spoke were in support of the principle of “sophomores first.”

So at this Thursday’s SA meeting, I intend to re-introduce resolution 13 with an added clarification that changes shall be implemented a year from now. I expect this, once again, to pass with overwhelming support. Students are strongly behind the idea of putting sophomores at the beginning of the housing lottery and we look forward to working with Campus Life soon to implement that change.

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