Room selection woes a problem

Imagine going to room selection in the residence halls and having Residence Life tell you that single rooms are no longer available or that you and your friends have to split up because the room that you want is not available. That was the situation that many resident students faced earlier this month.

This year there were many changes to the room selection process, with the main one being that current resident students were allowed to choose from only three of the five buildings. Rising juniors and seniors could only choose from two of these three. The reason for this change is that two buildings were reserved for incoming freshmen. Another major change was that current double rooms will be triples next year. The double rooms leave just enough room for two people. I feel really bad for any incoming freshman who will have to live in the triples, especially since one of the three desks will be out in the common area.

I am really disappointed in the way room selection was handled. Residence Life could have chosen a better way for students to select rooms and be happy in the end. This year, residents were told to form groups to fill up a suite. According to the packet Residence Life handed out, “Residents must form groups that fill the capacity of the desired suite/room before another suite/room can be opened. Those that can fill suites will have priority.”

My friends and I rushed around to get enough people to fill up a suite so we would not have any problems. However, when we arrived on Tuesday, April 3, we found that one person had taken the single and opened the suite we wanted. We were forced to split up and choose another suite. Two of my friends cannot live here next year because there were not enough single rooms available to accommodate returning residents.

I don’t understand why Residence Life made such a big deal about having residents form groups to fill suites and then gave people who want single rooms priority. The packet that Residence Life handed out was vague and contradictory regarding selection of rooms. One of the lines in the packet says, “A new suite may be opened only if you are selecting the single room in that suite.” That line to me means that people who want singles get priority. However, it was stated that groups that can fill a suite would get priority. Why is it that my friends and I, who are upperclassmen and have lived here for the past two years, could only chose from four floors to live on? But in reality, after we were forced to become a partial group, we could only choose from the suites that had been opened. In my case that was a total of three suites. I found the whole process confusing and was dissatisfied with the way Residence Life went about running room selection.

I understand that the residence halls are new and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find a room selection process that will appease everyone. Residence Life should consider a different way of selecting rooms. One suggestion could be that people who live in a room have the option to choose that room for the following year. This is the way that James Madison University handles it.

I don’t understand why St. John’s had so many problems this year. Residence Life was unfair to current residents and upperclassmen. Its main concern this year was obviously incoming freshmen. However, its main concern really should be keeping the current residents happy, because we are the ones who can recommend whether living on campus is really worth it.