If there is one thing that has exercised the ingenuity of the Registrar and the Steward, it must be the assignment of college rooms. All the plans that have been tried and have failed could not, for obvious reasons, be described here; but now their number, like Brummel's neckties, must be increased by one more "failure." The various systems that have been followed at different times have many supporters, and it is strange to notice that a student's estimation of them changes as regularly as he passes from a lower class in college to a higher. The favorite plan with the Seniors is that which allows the men to secure rooms by classes, the Seniors having first choice, the Juniors next, and so on; this plan shares, with one or two others, the support of the Juniors; and the Sophomores favor, to a man, any method that gives them a choice before the Freshmen. The Freshmen are rabid communists in the matter, firmly believing that it is the height of injustice to permit any one to secure a room before they themselves are served. Although there is no doubt that, if all the complaints and suggestions of the undergraduates were listened to by the Faculty, that honorable body would have little peace, yet I think any one who is unprejudiced will acknowledge that the present method of assignment fails in the first object of all these systems, namely, to secure perfect justice to all. The injustice lies in this: A man who wants certain rooms, and who is blessed with a great many acquaintances not living in the college buildings, gets all of these men to make application for the rooms he wishes to have; and, in case one of his friends is fortunate enough to get them, he, of course, has them immediately transferred to himself. Thus the man, who has application made for him in this way, though he may already have a very fair room, has many chances over a man who, unblessed with numerous friends, has perhaps no room at all, or, at most, a very uncomfortable one. That this is a real and not a fancied grievance, any one can see by recalling the number of his acquaintances who are at present roomless.
The present system has many advantages over all the others that have been tried, and, with this one exception, does not offer the slightest ground for complaint. This one fault, it seems to me, could be remedied by a very simple provision. It is generally acknowledged that the men are truthful, however much they may be wanting in other virtues, and, if this is really the case, the virtue might be utilized in this way: on each form used in the application for rooms, a line or two might be printed to the effect that the applicant desired, for his own occupation, the rooms named on the list. Each man should be required to sign this certificate as a necessary condition of being considered an applicant, and thus, at least, the "friend" system would be prevented.