House Transfer Process Frustrates Some

Sophomores and juniors who applied to transfer from their current residence to a different House were notified of the outcome of their petitions last week. While some were assigned to their first-choice Houses or another of their top preferences, others were told that they will remain—at least until the next application cycle later this spring—in their current Houses.

Gina D. Burke, director of housing in the Office of Student Life, said that her office sets a cap on the number of students who can transfer into each House and the number who will be allowed to leave.

According to Lowell House Administrator Elizabeth G. Terry, these figures are based on the gender and class year breakdown in each House.

“It’s really frustrating that I can’t choose to live somewhere else,” said Naor E. Brown ’13, a Crimson business editor whose petition to transfer from Winthrop to Quincy was denied. “They say it’s a random process, but obviously it kind of sucks.”

Joshua R. Wortzel ’13, who sought unsuccessfully to move from Pforzheimer to Lowell, said that his application was denied because of “a disproportionate number of sophomores” currently living in Lowell.

“It’s not that bad to [commute],” said Wortzel, who had hoped to be closer to the Harvard Community Garden and the research laboratory where he spends much of his time each week. “It just would’ve been convenient.”

Some River Houses also had more would-be emigrants than they could accommodate.

Terry said that of the 11 students who wished to leave Lowell, only seven were approved.

Quincy House Administrator Larry J. Peterson estimated that 80 to 90 percent of the “around a dozen” students who wanted to exit Quincy were approved. Peterson said that approximately the same number wanted to move into the House, and the acceptance rate for entrants was the same.

Burke declined to provide the overall number of students who applied for interhouse transfers or the specific caps for each House.

Though the transfer application lets students select from a dozen reasons for desiring a change—including such unlikely options as “Do Not Want a Single” and “Be Closer to the Student Organization Center at Hilles”—administrators said that for most students, the cause is social.

“It’s more about where your friends are than what House it is,” Peterson said.

—Staff writer Bari C. Saltman can be reached at barisaltman@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Julie M. Zauzmer can be reached at jzauzmer@college.harvard.edu.

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