STAFF EDITORIAL: Student Housing Selection System Needs Review

OUR POINT THIS WEEK:

The housing selection process should be redone to assist students with a variety of mitigating circumstances | 23-0-6

 

Many Butler University students went through the housing selection process earlier this month, securing a room on campus for the 2014-2015 academic year.

From current freshmen to Butler President James Danko, community members know the university needs to improve its housing options.

Another concern on the housing agenda, however, should be the process by which housing is chosen.

Butler officials need to analyze the housing selection process between now and this time in 2015, with the aim of refining what we at the Collegian feel is a flawed concept.

This feeling applies especially to housing at Apartment Village and University Terrace.

Currently, a lottery system exists for on-campus housing.

Before the lottery is held, students log on to my.butler.edu and select their housing intention for the next school year. After a couple weeks, students will receive another email providing them with a random number.

These numbers represent the order that students will be able to select their housing options—with the lowest numbers being the first to choose.

The lottery system is a way to make students feel as though no one is being given preferential treatment when it comes to getting living space. At a university with a noted housing problem, the last thing the administration likely wants is to be seen as playing favorites.

However, Butler is preparing students for the real world. In the real world, a renter does not pick random numbers to decide which potential buyers get to live in their properties. Butler students are, in reality, renting their on-campus housing options each year.

One consideration is cost. AV costs approximately $4,400 per semester to live in, prior to furnishing and food costs, according to Butler’s website.

This could be a painful cost for students and parents who already have to stretch their budget to pay for school.

Allowing students in tighter financial situations to get an earlier choice at options can permit them to avoid that large price tag.

A certain level of competition should also be considered. Perhaps students who have clean legal slates and have achieved a high level of success in the classroom since arriving at Butler could receive earlier selection rights.

This would encourage students to push for their very best and create a stronger student body as well.

Another option is simply to order students based on how soon they respond to the initial email.

Beyond altering the process to something a little less random, the system has other issues.

Groups of students who plan to live together sometimes have to adjust to the needs of those who are choosing a place by themselves.

Pre-determined groups of students who want to live together should not have to worry about the needs of a person going into the selection process solo. It is easier to fill one-person openings than three-person openings in rooms.

Also, students in mixed groups—ones which contain men and women—should not be relegated only to specific housing options. This was reportedly the case for some such groups in AV this year.

Male and female students will mingle in rooms regardless of whether they all live together or not. Mixed groups should not be treated any differently than same-gender groups.

Lastly, students studying abroad for either of the next two upcoming semesters need to be appropriately accommodated and communicated with. Those students should have as much of a guarantee as others that they will have a room when they return to Butler, especially if they selected one prior to leaving.

We are not saying there is a sweeping option that can be employed at the drop of a dime to make all students happy with the housing selection process.

However, we do believe it is upon the university to address concerns students have about the housing selection system and to consider refining that system.

Students should ultimately want to be involved in these discussions as well, and university administrators should reach out to students if the system does undergo analysis.

While appropriate housing for future Butler students is ultimately very important, ensuring the majority of current students are satisfied with their housing selections is also a worthy goal.

 

*All questions and responses regarding staff editorials should be directed to EIC Colin Likas at clikas@butler.edu

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