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The Student News Site of Saint Louis University

The University News

The Student News Site of Saint Louis University

The University News

Housing process hits snag; assignments remain unclear

Don’t put too much faith in those apartment assignments. At least that’s the advice of Nick Sarcone, chair of the Student Government Association’s Residential Concerns Committee.

After beginning the process nearly a month ago, students who received housing apartment assignments on Monday night may see changes to those assignments.

The automated program that churned out apartment assignments Monday evening had at least two glitches that have been discovered since the assignments were distributed. As a result, approximately 75 students were incorrectly placed or removed from the applicant pool.

One glitch caught early Tuesday affected approximately 40 students when the logic code failed to work correctly. That error was corrected and those students were assigned apartments that remained open. The other glitch was caught on Wednesday. It affected approximately 35 students who applied as a quad with the intention of splitting up if no quad was available. The error prevented the splitting and thus removed those students from the applicant pool. They are being contacted and given assignments.

SGA President-elect Mike Rozier said, “The fact that we went from a completely manual system to completely automated system in one year means you have to expect some glitches.”

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In all, the system saw approximately 1,550 applications for housing. The entire housing apartment system has only 1,335 spaces, including those allotted to groups including athletics and campus ministry.

Now, pending an evaluation by an SGA investigative committee, the entire system may be rerun with the corrections, thus placing the 75 disenfranchised students back into the system. As a result, current assignments would likely be changed.

Two solutions are being discussed rectify the situation:

 Rerunning the entire automated system with the corrections. Potentially, students who received assignments Monday could lose them. Students who received no apartment due to technical problems would be equally back into the system;

 Keep the data pool and assignments as they currently exist. This solution would include acknowledging the technical problems and working with those students to find apartment spaces for them.

Last night, Information Technology Services, creators of the system, ran the program with the corrections. That information will be compared to the current assignments to determine how many students will be affected.

Today, members of the SGA investigative committee will meet with Residence Life officials to examine the differences.

Both Sarcone and SGA President Mike Cappel seem to be leaning toward rerunning the system if the data shows more students who deserved apartments get them.

“If a lot more seniors and people with more credit hours get into the apartments, then we have no other choice but to rerun the system,” Sarcone said.

He said he would tell affected students that they were simply fixing the system the way it should have been the first time. “Allocation of apartments needs to be fair and just, based upon the criteria we have in place,” Sarcone added.

Cappel agreed, “I would rather see it run again and run correctly, so people get the apartments they deserved.”

Rozier, the third committee member, plans to choose the method that adversely affects the least number of students.

Sarcone is considering the option of allowing students to re-enter their preferences now that the system is more understood. The decision whether to rerun the system or make adjustments to what has already been assigned will likely be made today or tomorrow, said Sarcone. Much of the decision depends upon the timeline available to complete the process and begin residence hall signups, which were set to begin this morning but will likely be postponed.

Rozier noted that his opinion of the problems have changed over the past few days from placing a lot of blame on the system to realizing a lot of students did not enter enough preferences.

While technical complications existed, Argyle Wade, director of housing, said that of the 269 students who did not receive apartments, many did not give enough apartment choices for the system to match. A total of 44 options were available for ranking.

“The more (choices) you filled in, the more likely you got an apartment,” Wade said.

After the system processed the applications, 157 spaces were still available in the system. According to Wade, those spaces, generally in Marchetti, were not chosen by many students as a preference. That lack of selection made many students who did not get their preferences not get into any apartment, as they had not indicated they could live in those empty spaces as a last resort.

Wade noted that a great disparity appeared where students wanted to live and what was available. For example, a one bedroom apartment in Marchetti for two people was rarely selected as a preference, despite the fact that more than 100 existed in the system. On the other hand, only one two-bedroom, double-occupancy Marchetti Apartment was available, yet 30 people indicated they wanted that choice.

“If you put [Marchetti two-person, one bedroom] down, you probably got it,” Wade said.

On Tuesday, after the assignments had gone out the night before, more than 200 people visited the Department of Housing and Residence Life, with many more calling and e-mailing questions.

“I’ve encouraged people that if they think something is fishy to come in,” Wade said. “Sometimes we can’t explain it.”

He noted though that many people had the same question: Why they didn’t get into the apartments. For many, it was simply a matter of credit hours. The average credit hours required for getting into a Village quad was approximately 82 hours. For a Grand Forest double, 75 was the average credit hours for a group.

“Most of the people who came in didn’t have enough hours,” Wade said. “Many wished they had made more choices.”

Wade was unsure why students were not informed earlier that they did not receive an apartment, as the previous information provided to students said they would be notified mid-last week if they did not get an apartment. He believed they were being contacted, and thinks that in the future, more effort should be made to have a more personal approach to informing students who do not get apartments.

“We need to try to work better with people who got rejected,” Wade admitted. “There could be a smoother process.”

For students who did not get apartments, Residence Life has been seeing students in the groups in which they applied. At those appointments, the students are allowed to choose from any available apartments.

In the future, Wade hopes to communicate better with students about the system and what typical credit hours will be needed for each type of apartment.

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