College May Change Freshmen Housing Lottery for Next Year

Students and administrators are discussing alternatives to the freshmen housing lottery which would help create more diversity in the residential Houses.

The alternatives, described in a report authored by the residential committee of the Undergraduate Council, may go into effect as soon as next year, administrators said yesterday.

The report addresses both the issue of providing more diversity in the houses and bolstering students' trust in the impartiality of the lottery.

According to a "70 percent proposal" discussed yesterday by the Student-Faculty Committee on Housing, only 70 percent of a house's quota of rising sophomores would be drawn from the first choice round, with the remaining space in the House to be assigned at random.

An "advance knowledge" proposal suggests that rooming groups be notified of their lottery number before they turn in their housing selections.

"We hope to preserve a strong element of choice [in the lottery] but also to make more progress with the issue of diversity than we have," Dean of the College John B. Fox, Jr. '59 said yesterday, adding that the report offered some "good alternatives."

Members of the committee yesterday criticized the present housing system, saying that it placed too much emphasis on maximizing first choice and that it encouraged freshmen to "play the lottery game" instead of listing their true preferences.

Some committee members suggested that the College institute both the 70 percent ceiling on first-choice assignments and the advance notification of lottery numbers. This would solve the problem of diversity in the houses and convince students of the impartiality of the lottery system, they said.

Other committee members criticized the 70 percent proposal, saying that students do not feel comfortable with the idea of random assignments.

The Council will sponsor an open forum Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Emerson 305 to discuss the report's various proposals.