ResLife must increase transparency

University of Connecticut students ran into problems while picking housing for next year due to misunderstandings about the selection process. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Every year picking housing results in increased stress for students as they attempt to figure out who to live with, where to live and what type of room to live in. While ResLife cannot make these choices for students, they can ease the stress by being more transparent and upfront with students.

ResLife must be more forthright about how housing is chosen, as students were confused, thinking that precedence is given to those with more credits to their name. In reality, credits only help with gaining an earlier pick time – ResLife reserves all rooms, including singles, by gender.

Furthermore, ResLife has to increase its public accountability. The statistics on how many singles are saved for males and how many are kept for females should be made clear.

As the Daily Campus reported, one student wrote to Res Life in an email expressing a feeling of unfairness after attempting to select her housing.

“My roommate and I tried to pick a suite of singles for honors in South. By the time we were up, the female south singles were taken. However, we came to learn that at least three whole single suites for males were open,” the student wrote. “We really wanted to live in the honors community and really find it unfair that males with a much later pick time than us will get to live there…For honors housing I really feel merit should be emphasized, especially for singles.”

ResLife decides the amount of rooms for males and females before housing selection begins, but does not release this information to students. Due to a lack of transparency, it is unclear whether or not ResLife earmarks more singles for males than females. If that is in fact the case, such a practice is highly problematic and would need to be amended immediately. The issue with saving an equal amount of singles for both males and females is that this strategy may not proportionally represent respective dormitories.

And yet, the issue with trying to regulate living situations by merit is that the word “merit” is vague. Some students could have fewer credits but do more work outside of the classroom and in their communities. Furthermore, the inherent issue with the credit system is that it disadvantages students who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and may not have access to resources like AP classes.

With these facts in mind, it seems that ResLife has found an (un)happy medium with their guidelines for the selection process. ResLife is too insular – it needs to be clear with students about what their options are before pick times begin. If they increase their visibility, students would have a better idea of what to expect, and could examine the information (such as, are there more reserved male singles than female?) to see if there is a need to lobby for procedural changes.