Georgetown Housing Crisis sign now

Dear Jacqueline Rack, Director for Housing and Conference Services, Georgetown University,

I write this letter to you to protest the Housing Eligibility Ranking Point System for the 2005-2006 academic year, released by your office last week. The point system represents deliberate malice towards the Class of 2006 and short-term bribery (with an agenda of long-term pain) toward the Class of 2007. Please know that frustrated Georgetown students are not a quiet group and that your office still has the ability to change the system for the better of all students.

To a certain extent my agenda is personal, something I shall be upfront about. I am a Junior living off-campus by choice. My housemates and I made the decision to live off-campus for many reasons, but a primary one was that we believed it would improve our housing selection for Senior year. A rising Senior who lives off-campus Junior year is supposed to be untouchable in the housing lottery, a tradition that dates back as long as the University has had enough housing to house 3/4 of the student body. So our first reaction last week was one of relief--we received our expected 4s in the upcoming lottery. However, as I read further down Page 4 of the Housing Selection Handbook (available online at http://housing.georgetown.edu/academic), I realized that the coveted 4, the Holy Grail of the housing lottery, is being freely given this year. In fact, it is being given so freely that it is basically meaningless.

By allotting four points to every rising Junior, you have harmed both of our classes, mine in the short run and the Class of '07 in the long run. WIth some 1,500 rising Juniors and at least 500 rising Seniors who either live off-campus or are abroad this semester, two-thirds of the students entering the lottery will have the highest possible ranking, meaning that the lottery is hardly weighted at all. Juniors will live in townhouses and Seniors in Henle. How is this fair, Ms. Rack?

The problem for the Class of '06 is that we messed you up last year. I know that you are new to the position and almost certainly not to blame, but we were forced to live in dorms as Sophomores, a tradition that has not carried on this year, something I'm reminded of every time I go to visit Sophomore friends in Village A. So what did we do? We ran. We got off campus; in my case, I got WAY off campus. Now we have nothing to barter with. You can pretty much do what you want to us--you want the rising Juniors to stay on campus so that you can fill all your beds. I can't say I blame you for looking out for the university's financial interest, but don't try to pull the wool over our eyes. Just admit that we hurt you this year, so you're going to hurt us next year because you can. The point system, as you've assigned it, means that I might as well throw out any notion of living with an '06 friend of mine who lives on campus this year; he's kryptonite in the lottery. Even with a group of four rising Seniors, all living off campus this year, my odds are even of getting beaten out by a group of rising Juniors who live in Village A this year. They won't even be 21--have fun explaining to Metro why you have four minors living in a university townhouse.

But see, it's not just my class that you're hurting in the long run. The Class of '07 is feeling pretty good right now, but the smart ones are already starting to realize the implications for next year. You provide an ominous warning on the website that this is "their one opportunity to get top picks in selection". What this means practically is that there will be nobody in the Class of '07 with a 4 next year. So what if my friend Jerry, a current Sophomore, wants to go abroad for half of his Junior year (after all, half of the class will leave for half the year)? He's going to miss half of his blessed year of housing and come back to be outranked by the Class of '08 (that's right, the current FRESHMEN), roaming the dangerous streets of West Georgetown or Burleith and wondering, "What happened to the days when Seniors had priority?"

The warning for the rising Juniors leads to one final question. If this is the "one opportunity" for the Class of '07 to get top picks, why didn't the entire Class of '06 ever have that one opportunity? A rising Senior who lives on campus this year will graduate having NEVER received top picks in selection. How does New South-Darnall-Henle-Off-Campus sound? It sounds like somebody who never had a chance to me.

What's the solution? Let students choose what year they want their 4. Most people would rather live on campus Senior year than Junior; your new system basically makes the choice for the Class of '07, making it stupid to go off campus next year. Some, if not all, would gladly trade that 4 for the knowledge that they could get one for Senior year. This would also cut down the number of 4s in the lottery and make it worth something. The "eligibility" thing is ridiculous. It was created because of excessive demand two years ago, but that demand simply wasn't there last year, and people were refused eligibility because EVERYBODY applied for it. Why wouldn't we? I applied for it and got it, knowing I would live off campus. If you're going to do eligibility, make it binding. That will give you a view of who actually wants to live on campus. People playing strategic games with housing ruin it for everybody anyway.

Most of all, please listen to me. Last year the point system was changed after it was announced; you have the ability to effect positive change for the university. Ultimately we, the students, are Georgetown. I'm asking you to step away from bottom lines and empty beds and consider the whole person of each undergrad. It's what Georgetown was founded for.

Sincerely,
Adam Giblin, SFS '06

*****

Those of us who sign here request a change in the housing selection point system for the 2005-2006 academic year. We form a united front against a bureaucratic nightmare.

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    Truth hurts, Jrack.
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  • 02 November 2015439. Sareeta Kc
    I agree whole heartedly with this petition. The class of 2006 and the class before us have been hit hard with the changes to the housing selection system occuring each year. I lived in Darnall my sophomore year, though nearly every member of the class of
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  • 31 October 2015436. Brittany T
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  • 28 October 2015435. Sarah H
    I am living off-campus now for the sole reason that I wanted a good housing pick for next year. Please don't change the system on us.
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  • 25 October 2015433. Michael D
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  • 13 October 2015432. Tricia D
    If the current housing selection process takes effect that will mean that I will have lived in an on campus apartment for ONE semester out of all four years at georgetown. Because I chose to take my eligibility this year, I'm not going to take it for seni
  • 12 October 2015431. Kevin B
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  • 01 August 2015427. Meghan G
    I am also incredibly upset about this current housing situation. I had to live in DARNELL as a sophomore, along with a few other poor souls. The only bonuses of living there were that I got to live close to a hospital that I never used, and I was also in
  • 30 July 2015426. Peter S
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Petra VillarrealBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Georgetown University

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