The Office of Residential Life had its hands full with last spring?s room draw as dissatisfied students threatened to protest, on-campus housing demand skyrocketed, 150 were not assigned rooms and de facto class housing loomed on the horizon.
Forced to undergo major changes in anticipation of freshman housing, this year?s lottery was originally designed to prevent class housing. The Freshman Housing Implementation Committee had recommended 30 percent class integration.
So that Susan B. Anthony Halls would not end up a ?sophomore? dorm, Residential Life reserved suites in the more desirable Towers for sophomores.
?Freshman housing is an educational and philosophical concept the university is working toward,? Hazen said. ?Part of that concept is to prevent class housing. The result is that some juniors will have a lower priority than they might have had in an open-competition lottery.?
Nine groups of juniors who subsequently did not receive suites in the six-person lottery planned to protest in early April.
To stop the protest, Residential Life gave to these students the five Towers suites that were reserved for sophomores and four suites intended for the singles lottery.
?I tried to address a legitimate student concern,? Dean of the College William Green said. I got plenty of cooperation from Res Life.?
Sophomore Arielle Zibrak, who was to lead the protest, was satisfied with the negotiations.
?The overwhelming number of you who backed this movement to make the housing draw system fairer this year was enough to convince the administration to bargain with us,? Zibrak wrote in an e-mail to fellow sophomores. ?It was not in their interest to have a dissatisfied student body or a messy press situation.?
Fox Rochester and the Democrat and Chronicle were scheduled to cover the protest.
?It?s not going to be separate camps,? Hazen said. ?It?s not pure class separation. We?ll work real hard to make sure that the classes aren?t isolated.?
Because four suites reserved for the singles lottery were given to the junior groups, 24 less singles were available. Residential Life had designated these suites, along with 60 suites in Hill Court, ?random-room? suites to make up for the many singles that will be lost to freshmen living in Burton and Crosby Halls.
About 150 incoming sophomores were not assigned housing in the Class of 2004 lottery April 24.
Two of those were Brian Jones and Makedo Wisseh, who drew number 288 in the lottery.
?We thought by at least when we left we?d have a room,? Jones said. ?Now we might not even be roommates.?
The problem stems from the fact that demand for on-campus housing is rising. This year, 70 more juniors chose on-campus housing than predicted.
?It?s good students want to stay, but after a point, it becomes a problem,? Hazen said.
In addition, the large Class of 2003 stands at about 1,100 ? 160 more than the target number.
Hazen is exploring ways to be able to meet Residential Life?s guarantee to house every student who signed a housing contract on time.
?The combination of attrition and finding new space will cover that easily,? Hazen said.
Hazen expects that 50 rooms will open up in the fall when students studying abroad cancel their housing contracts. Students leaving or transferring should provide 45 to 50 more spaces.
In addition, Residential Life plans to release a small number of upperclassmen from their housing contracts on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sophomores who did not receive rooms are being placed in the order of their numbers from the housing lottery.
Eric Rosenthal contributed to this report