Home Sweet Housing

Housing is a notoriously stressful process. Juniors rush for roommates and scurry for stacks. Lower and Uppers pray for pull-ins to get into their desired dorms. What exactly is the source of all the stress concerning housing? One of the main issues with the housing system is the high priority given to intra-cluster movement. Even though students rarely show cluster loyalty, intra-cluster dorm changes have a higher rooming priority than All-School Lottery draws. The high priority of intra-cluster movement is the root of several problems within the housing system. First, Juniors and new Lowers in the Abbot cluster have few options to move into large dorms. New students in Abbot are automatically at a disadvantage in the housing process when it comes to finding a large upperclassmen dorm compared to Juniors in Rockwell South or new Lowers in Bartlet. Why should students within cluster have priority in room selection over outside students, when few, if any, students feel a meaningful connection to their cluster? A second problem caused by the high priority of intra-cluster movement is the issue of students trying to get into a certain cluster only with the motive of switching to a more desirable dorm in the same cluster the next year. Such students view their dorms almost as halfway homes on the way to their favorite dorm. This instability only makes these already less desirable dorms only more unsavory than their popular cluster counterparts, exacerbating the entire situation. Finally, inter-cluster movement happens after intra-cluster movement, which means that prefects effectively have priority only among Seniors in their own cluster, because if they try to leave their cluster, the other clusters will have already established new rooming situations by the intra-cluster system. Some dorms also have quotas on different classes, saving rooms for new underclassmen or postgraduates. A simple solution to these problems, short of abolishing the entire cluster system, is to give intra-cluster movement the same priority as inter-cluster movement, while maintaining squatting rights within dorms. This would allow Juniors in Abbot the same opportunity as Juniors in the Quads to get into large upperclassmen dorms. It would also give prefects a chance to exercise their housing priority among other rising Seniors. No housing system is going to be perfect. Not everyone can get into a dorm right next to Commons with all of their friends. However, the current system is unnecessarily unfair. It penalizes students simply for being in a particular cluster, generates instability in certain dorms and prevents many Seniors, particularly former prefects, from freely moving to their favorite dorm. Clusters are fine, but does a new Lower moving form Bartlet to Foxcroft really deserve higher priority than a prefect from Abbot trying to make it to Foxcroft for his Senior year? This editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXIIII.