DCL survey shows large opposition to changes
The Department of Community Living gauged the student body’s interest in changing the current housing system via a Feb. 9 poll, the details of which revealed that a majority of the voting students voted against any major changes to the current system. Still, DCL made some minor alterations to this year’s room selection timeline unrelated to the proposals listed in the poll. Specifically, “upperclass room selection will now choose different housing configurations on different days,” according to the Room Selection page of DCL’s website.
Their webpage states that “while we [DCL] thought the proposals put forth to the student body would have been beneficial, the students voted unanimously to make no changes to the room selection process.” According to statistics on the poll provided by Director of Community Living Timothy Touchette, while the vote was not unanimous, it was a moderate majority.
The poll asked students to respond to two proposals for potential changes to the housing selection process that were first released in an email to the student body on Feb. 5 by DCL and the Student Union collaboratively. According to a Justice article dated Feb. 8, the first proposal would allow for sophomores, juniors and seniors to all live together, termed “Pooled Upperclassmen Housing.” Massell and North Quad would be exclusively for first years, while upperclassmen would be able to live in East Quad, Rosenthal Quad, Usen Castle, the Charles River Apartments, Ziv Quad, 567 South Street, Ridgewood A and Village A. Seniors would have access to “senior only housing” in the Foster Mods, as well as Ridgewoods B and C. The second proposal, a “Housing Loyalty Program,” would prioritize students who have to lived on-campus throughout their time at Brandeis in the housing lottery. Students who apply for on-campus housing after living off campus would, in turn, receive lower numbers.
Of the 1,183 students who voted, only 38 percent voted in favor of the “Pooled Upperclassman Housing” proposal, and 37 percent voted in favor of the “Housing Loyalty Program” proposal. 56 percent of students voted against the first proposal and 53 percent of students voted against the second proposal. The remainder of votes, in both cases, fall into the neutral column.
In addition to asking students to vote on the two proposals, DCL asked students to provide any suggestions that they might have with regards to the housing selection process. The detailed report of the poll describes this section of the poll as “an open ended question to solicit feedback and general suggestion about the Housing Selection and Placement process.” The report goes on to state that “the themes of the reply messages were centered in the following 3 areas: building more housing, leaving the system alone, and creating a merit based (conduct/GPA) rating system.” Aside from the plans surrounding the future of Usen Castle, DCL currently has no plans to build more housing. According to Interim President Lisa Lynch’s statement to the Waltham Historical Commission on March 14, the University plans to demolish all but towers A and B of the Castle and erect a new dorm with an additional 60 beds in its place. In response to the suggestion for a merit-based housing structure, Touchette wrote in an email to the Justice that “DCL is not actively looking into any further options (including merit based housing) until we reconnect with the Union and look at the next steps for next year.”
The only change to the room selection process this year was attributed to remedying one challenge faced by students in the past, “adjusting their roommate group when one type of housing ran out,” according DCL’s website. By changing the timeline, DCL allows for students to reconfigure their roommate groups overnight if a certain type of configuration runs out. Consequently, selections for 6-person Ridgewoods and 6-person Foster Mods will take place on April 11, followed by selections for 4-person Ridgewoods and 4-person Foster Mods on April 12, 3 and 5-person Charles River apartments and efficiencies on April 13 and Ziv suites and 2-person Charles River apartments on April 14. “All selections will remain open until 5:00pm on April 15 or until there is no more housing available in that category,” according to the Room Selection page.
The report states that “DCL will continue to adjust schedules and communication with students to try and improve the process, and to work with the Student Union as [they] enter the Fall Semester to consider future changes,” and they encourage students to reach out with any feedback or suggestions they may have on the room selection process.