This is the first year UD has used the eRezLife (eRez) system, which is programmed to distribute rooms on a first-come, first-serve basis.
This is a departure from the old system where the housing department evaluated applicants by credits and GPA to determine who received the most desirable rooms.
Room selection in Clark Hall for the Fall 2019 Rome class was scheduled to open on November 11th at 12:01 a.m. CST. Students who woke up to register in rooms learned almost eight hours later that housing had been delayed and were promised an email when it opened.
The email announcing the launch was sent at 9 a.m. CST, but myself and fellow Romers found that registration had been opened at least 45 minutes prior to this. Additionally, students were notified during classes, removing any sense of fairness from the selection. By the time the email had been sent out, all open triples, arguably the most desired room type, had been filled.
When even their backup plans fell through, some students had no choice but to select random triples or even doubles. Some 2019 Fromers were left without a bed in Clark at all, as they had all been filled with either new or continuing residents.
Due to these unfair and confusing circumstances in which housing selection had been opened, the housing department then removed all students from their previously selected rooms and reopened selection on eRez the following day, at a time when students were not in class.
Though this selection did open as scheduled, many of those who had actually found themselves in their desired rooms after the first selection were not as lucky as they were before.
The general sentiment on the Rome campus that day was one of indignation and pity, even among those who placed themselves in their desired rooms, as they saw their friends were justly disappointed with their living situations.
Even after the housing department reset the whole system, some students still have no beds in Clark, which is filled to capacity, and must live in Madonna Hall, a traditionally freshman residence hall. Philip Ashton III, a junior member of the class of 2020, is one such student.
Several other sophomore men have also been placed in Madonna for the upcoming semester.
However, the difficulty encountered by the Rome students points to a greater problem than simply an unexpected launch or an unfair system, but a widespread housing crisis at UD. Because juniors and those under 21 are required to live on campus and exemptions are difficult to receive, Clark Hall houses a number of juniors, leading to a lack of space for the sophomore class, especially those returning from Rome.
To this problem there seems to be only two possible solutions: build another residence hall as soon as possible and allow juniors to live off campus until it is completed, or allow all juniors who wish to live off campus to do so.
Juniors and sophomores should not be forced to live in halls intended for freshmen. Not only are the facilities in these freshman halls less than desirable, but the inclusion of upperclassmen and sophomores in a freshman environment would break down the community development of the freshmen in the hall, which is arguably the whole point of having traditional residence halls in the first place.
Because of the unprecedented growth in class sizes in the past few years, this is a problem that the university will have to face for many years.
It is imperative that we, as a community, find a solution that allows us to not cause our students anxiety over whether there will be a bed on campus for them.