Group sign-ups and on-campus hours receive priority for Tom Brown-Pete Wright

Students currently living in the Tom Brown-Pete Wright apartments will not have preference to keep their rooms in the fall after policy changes made by Housing and Residence Life are implemented, a Housing and Residence Life official said.

Rony Die, Tom Brown-Pete Wright hall director, said last week at the Tom Brown-Pete Wright Town Hall Meeting that apartment assignments will be determined by the number of semesters students have lived on campus, not by how many credit hours they have. The minimum number of semesters spent in campus housing that a student needs to be eligible for Tom Brown-Pete Wright housing is four semesters, according to Housing and Residence Life.

“Your hours on campus will determine your weight in the lottery,” Die said. “So you go into the lottery, and then if you win the lottery, we say, ‘Hey, you can stay on campus next year.'”

Some students, like Chelsea Wilson, a sophomore musical theatre major, are still worried.

“(Hours are) the only reason I’m even in Tom Brown-Pete Wright,” Wilson said. “Even though technically this is my fourth semester on campus, I have enough hours to be considered a senior.”

Die said in addition to the lottery-like system, the policy known as “squatting,” where students have first choice to return to their room from the previous year, will be eliminated.

Mindy Hollan, assistant director of administration, said Tom Brown-Pete Wright and the other apartments on campus, such as the apartments on Sandage and McCart avenues, have historically been the first sections open for self-assignment.

“That may remain true this year,” Hollan said. “We are still finalizing the order that areas will be available for self-assignment.”

The Commons will be part of the self-assignment process as usual, Hollan said. Students must be able to fill quadruple or triple rooms in The Commons, or they will self-assign to spaces left after that process, she said.

Die said that once a student is approved to live on campus, the next step is to find three roommates and become a “roommate group.” The group will then be given priority in signing up for a unit.

Hannah Ernest, a junior ballet and modern dance major, said she thinks having four people sign up together will eliminate the confusion of scrambling for roommates at the last minute.

“That’s kind of chaotic, and it’s stressful for the people signing up, as well as the people doing housing, so I understand that part,” Ernest said.

Hollan said students who are able to fill a suite or an apartment unit are usually the first to sign up for housing. Following the footsteps of other schools, the university is implementing this policy because the group of four students who want to be roommates can fill an apartment as opposed to a single student signing up for a room in the apartment and living with three random roommates, Hollan said. Students who have a roommate leave in December will remain in the apartment and get the chance to choose a new spring roommate, as usual, or if not, have a random roommate assigned, Hollan said.

The decision to postpone Colby Hall renovations caused changes to the plans for housing designation in 2010-2011, Hollan said.

“This decision was not made for monetary reasons, but merely to accommodate as many incoming first-year students as possible,” she said.

Leaving Colby Hall open gives the university more flexibility in assigning housing for freshmen because that building holds more than 350 residents, so the university is able to designate other spaces for students as needed, Hollan said.

The new system will make the self-assignment process easier for students, adding that student input is utilized when possible and students are considered in all decisions, Hollan said.