Wheaton Wire, April 1993
Room lottery at Wheaton was especially confusing this year. Numbers were posted, and then nullified by the Office of Residential Life, who replaced all upperclassmen numbers with different ones. First-year students' numbers remained the same. Many students received numbers that were significantly higher or lower than their previous ones, so as expected, reaction was mixed. Those who received higher numbers were generally angry at the Office of Residential Life, and it's director in particular. Said one student, who refused to be identified, "Kooky Claire and the Funky Bunch up there should be shot." Sean Fretthold '94 opted against capital punishment, but stated that he "wants Claire Ramsbottom's resignation... she has shown once again that she can't manage Residential Life in an effective manner."
In response to these negative comments, Ramsbottom said she takes a "certain sense of responsibility" and knows that "many are angry, but we had to be fair about it." She added that "anyone with specific concerns can come to Residential Life and address them... I have open office hours."
Jennifer Dryfoos, assistant Director of Residential Life and coordinator of the room selection process, thoroughly explained the situation from the view of Residential Life. Stressing that the office was "sorry things worked out this way," she maintained that the most important thing was for "the process to remain totally fair." The reason the numbers were re-run, she said was that the computer program used for the last three years was "basically running pretty much the same numbers... bottom 20 was fairly consistent, as was the top 20. It just didn't seem fair to leave it at that... the easier decision would have been to keep the numbers the same, but it wouldn't have been fair." Commenting on negative student reaction, she said a negative response "was anticipated, but it came from those who had consistently high numbers."
Some agreed that the system did need to be corrected after the errors were found. Kristen Sunni '94 said, "I wish they hadn't posted numbers first, but it was a technical difficulty. They had to fix it to be fair... I don't know what other answer there was."
Dryfoos also said that it can be hard to understand what a difficult process room selection can be. "I've been working on it since January," she said "and juggling all the options is overwhelming. It's just huge." Housing, she maintained, is one of the top concerns of Wheaton students. "People can be very demanding... they want to live on a certain section of campus, have a hall and even a room already picked out at times... it's tough to satisfy everyone's needs."
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