Students in Quincy Petition to Change Lottery

In the social hierarchy of Harvard housing, rising seniors are supposed to have better rooms than rising juniors. But such is not always the case with Quincy House residents.

Because of housing lottery rules that allow rising juniors to declare senior status and thus receive Old Quincy status--which would give them priority to the better rooms--many rising juniors have received precedence over their peers in the rooming selection process.

As a result, Eli W. Bolotin '98 and other rising seniors began a petition Tuesday night and amassed 140 signatures. They then presented the petition to House Committee President Jason S. Cassidy '98 in an effort to change the housing lottery rules.

House Committee rules mandate that if a petition comprises at least 20 percent of the house residents' signatures, an emergency meeting must be called. According to Cassidy, the signatures amassed constituted more than 20 percent of the estimated 450-500 resident population in Quincy.

Because the housing lottery had already started, Cassidy said he was unable to call a house meeting to change the rules but will call one on Sunday. However, Cassidy said that any changes made at that meeting will not take effect until the year 2000.


Steven F. Sakis '98, secretary of the House Committee, said the current system allows rising juniors to be put ahead of rising seniors in the lottery.

"I dislike the fact that they can take [Old Quincy status] in the first place, but the fact that they can take it and get status over seniors makes it even worse," he said.

He said his rooming group received the 20th pick while various sophomore rooming groups received single-digit rooming choices.

L. James Parsons '98, publicity chair of the House Committee, said that he plans to lobby against this policy, which was ratified by the 1991 House Committee.

"If it was made by Ho-Co, it can be changed by Ho-Co," he said.

Kent B. McNellie '99, whose rooming group is taking senior status this year, said he thinks many Quincy residents are taking their senior status now because they have a better chance of getting a good room than they will next year, regardless of their status.

"The class of '98 is smaller than the class of '99, so there are a limited number of good rooms and no possibility of getting a good one [next year]," said McNellie.

Their rooming group received the third pick and ended up with a quad--the most coveted rooming arrangement because it consists of four single bedrooms and a large common room--in New Quincy.

However, the coveted patio room went to Joshua B. Ramsey '99 and his blockmates. Ramsey's rooming group is a mixture of rising seniors and rising juniors. Only part of the rising juniors took their senior status this year.

"Next year, we'll still have a group of guys who have senior standing, and hopefully they'll get something nice for the rest of us," Ramsey said.

Assistant to the House Masters Suzanne Watts declined to comment

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