Eliot Could Break From Tradition With Lottery for Student Housing

Eliot House officials may soon change the house's system of room assignment for rising juniors and seniors.

In previous years, under former Master Alan E. Heimert, groups submitted their rooming choices to house officials, who then assigned rooms.

But a committee of four tutors and five students in Eliot met for the first time last week to consider changing the system of room assignment--one option being to adopt a lottery system similar to those used by other houses.

"I think we're pretty set on [the lottery]," said Marcy B. Kanstoroom, a tutor on the committee. "We've had a lot of discussion and there are a lot of problems with the old system that Eliot has."

Kanstoroom said that the current system is extremely time consuming for house officials responsible for assigning rooms.


In addition, some students have said that a lottery would represent a shift towards a fairer, less subjective system.

"I think it makes a lot more sense," said Judith A. Li '94. "It will improve the system a lot."

Jeremy S. Hay '94 said he would welcome a lottery because it would eliminate favoritism in room assignments.

"It sounds fairer than the old system," Hay said. "It prevents playing favorites and gives everyone an equal chance for good rooms."

However, some Eliot students said they were concerned by the reduced human involvement in the new system.

"Many people considered the old system fair," said Charles K. Lee '93. "If you had a bad room one year, they would make up for it the next year. You would never have a situation where a person would have a bad room three years in a row."

However, Lee said he could see the advantage of a lottery, specifically one that was computerized. "Some people complained of favoritism in the old system," he said. "If the new system is random, it should eliminate that."

Kanstorom said that she expects that the committee will make a final decision "within the month."