Residential Life Announces Housing Changes
Issue   |   Wed, 02/22/2017 - 02:09
Photo courtesy of Faith Wen '20
Housing selection for the 2017-2018 academic year will feature changes that include time group formations, gender-specific rooms and earlier theme house admissions.

The Residential Life Department has recently announced several changes to the housing selection and room draw process for the 2017-2018 academic year. Application forms and sign-ups for on-campus housing began on Monday, Feb. 13, and room draw this year will start on April 5.

The most significant change to the general room draw process is the redefinition of the groups that students form to enter the room draw process. In previous years, students were only able to form room groups, but the 2017 room draw will also offer the option to form “time groups.”

“This [is] to prevent some mishaps last year, when one person would enter a suite or double by themselves and block out other people from being able to take the suite or double,” Student Housing Advisory Committee member Justin Lee ’19 said.

Time groups, which can include up to six students, will all receive the same time slot to pick rooms, like room groups in previous years, but will be required to select rooms with occupancies matching the number of students in their group.

“For example, let’s say in a [time] group of six, two people were trying to live in a double and the other four were trying to live in a four-[person] suite,” Lee said. “They would have to break into two room groups of size two and size four and then enter the room[s that] they would like.”

Residential Life has also designated 75 percent of dorm rooms as single-gender in order to create a more balanced gender ratio in the dormitories. All of these rooms will be assigned as either for women or for men. When students choose their rooms during room draw, they will only be able to choose from the rooms that are designated for their gender.

Because some students are gender-nonconforming or transgender, about 25 percent of the rooms will be coed and can be occupied by any student.

As with housing selection processes in previous years, students with housing accommodations and students over 25 years old will be placed into their rooms for next year prior to room draw.

“This way, we take everyone out who is not participating in the general room draw process so we can focus on the general group of students,” said Colonna.

Residential Life is also adding an extra night for room selection, making the room draw process four nights long, instead of three.

The first two nights of room draw will take place on April 5 and 6, and then the last two nights will take place a week later, on April 11 and 12. This will “[give Residential Life] the ability to spread people out more when choosing rooms and allows more time for assistance,” said Colonna.

Colonna said that last year’s housing selection data demonstrated a widespread demand for substance-free and quiet housing. In response, Residential Life has designated Morrow, Valentine Hall, Chapman, Seligman, Tyler and Wieland as “quiet halls.” Morrow and Valentine will also be substance-free dormitories.

“Quiet does not mean silent,” said Colonna. “We are creating spaces where there would not be the ability to register a party on a weekend and that overall the people who are there are agreeing to keeping noise and disruption to a minimum for the community.”

Update: Chief Student Affairs Officer Suzanne Coffey sent an email to the community at 4:14 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23 stating that the college has withdrawn proposed changes to the housing selection that would have designated rooms by sex. “Gender inclusive housing will remain our policy in all upper-class residence halls,” she wrote. “We recognize and apologize for the impact the proposals described in The Amherst Student have had on our community.” The Residential Life website has been updated to reflect these changes. This article was updated at 9:55 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Will Savino (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 21:43

So... if you don't identify as either male or female, you only have 25% of the campus to choose from? That seems pretty blatantly discriminatory.

Amanda W. (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:17

The college shouldn't allocate rooms to only gender binary conforming people.

Kali (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:08

This is discriminatory, effectively barring gender non conforming folks from 75% of the rooms in the dorm. Not to mention the other 25% co-ed, which are still gendered and effect another of exclusion.

Connor McGann (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:09

I am very disheartened to learn that ResLife will be engaging in transphobic & discriminatory practices.

Students who are openly trans or who face unanswered questions about their own gender identities should not be forced to deal with yet more discriminatory policy, erasure and invalidation.

Siraj Sindhu (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:23

Yes, it is blatantly discriminatory, Will, and not even for a good reason. To borrow the words of the legendary Swizz Beatz, "this shit is fuckin ridickaliss."

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:31

Wait, so this discriminates against men who want to live on the same floor together? Good going Amherst

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:33

So basically Amherst is screwing over same sex friend groups. Love it. #amherstfollows

BBQ (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/23/2017 - 01:20

I don't get your comment - why is this screwing over same sex friend groups?

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:34

So same sex friendgroups are not allowed to live together. Well that's just great. #amherstfollows

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:44

This school actually sucks

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:45

This is the worst idea in the history of the universe

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:54

What is the purpose of this policy exactly? What is the point of enforcing gender ratio on a room-by-room basis?

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 22:58

As a worried student I feel that allocating dorm rooms based on gender is completely discriminatory. In fact, you are basically telling people what they can and cannot do because of their gender/ gender conformity. That is a violation of human rights and should not be legal or enforced on this "inclusive campus".
U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21 -- Civil Rights (FindLaw)
Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code prohibits discrimination against persons based on age, disability, gender, race, national origin, and religion (among other things) in a number of settings -- including education, housing, employment, access to businesses and buildings, federal services, and more. Chapter 21 is where a number of federal acts related to civil rights have been codified -- including the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.
I fear for my LGBTQ students and their rights to pick where they live on this campus that prides itself on being inclusive in all facets of life.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 23:01

This is laughable

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 23:02


Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 23:04

If you're upset about this, as you should be, make sure to email someone rather than just commenting here-- res life, a dean, Biddy, someone.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 23:41

This is a horrible idea. Pre-setting the gender of 75% of the rooms?? Sometimes it feels like the people who run this school are not in touch with the student body...

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 23:43

This is a horrible idea. Pre-setting the gender of 75% of the rooms?? How can this be considered room selection, more like we're given rooms. Sometimes it seems like the people running the school are not in touch with the students...

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 23:46

This is largely in response to not wanting male athletes to room together (specifically because of issues that arose around football in Hitchcock this year). Pretty terrible plan. #ripsocials

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/23/2017 - 04:22

This is another joke of a reslife policy clearly intended to prevent anything close to a party from happenening. If Amherst administrators want a campus where no one has fun and everyone hates themselves they should go administrate a boarding school - this is college. Not to mention this is blatantly discriminatory against teams students

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/23/2017 - 05:56

The less restrictions on our already-limited housing options, the better. Your effort to organize housing has become discriminatory and isolating. If you were in touch with Amherst's student body for once, you'd know that we did not ask for this. Pay more attention.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/23/2017 - 09:26

So because the football team trashed Hitchcock they're making trans and nonbinary students pay the price?

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/23/2017 - 09:33

im sorry wtf

question about ... (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/23/2017 - 11:18

can students get around this policy by just claiming a gender identity they don't actually have? can't a quarter of a sports team just claim to be nonbinary?

Concerned student (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/23/2017 - 16:18

We're finally starting to make progress trying to be more inclusive and supportive of trans/non-binary students - and then Reslife decides to gender the entire housing system and roomdraw experience on an individual basis? What if trans/non-binary students can't live in the dorm/suite their friend group was planning on? Are trans students restricted to rooms based on their identity or birth sex, or are they restricted to the neutral rooms? What's to prevent cis students from manipulating roomdraw by lying about their gender identity? And on the day Trump announces rollbacks for trans protections in schools? How does Corry Colona still have a job??

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Thu, 02/23/2017 - 16:39

This is all because they didn't want to update their fancy (yet infuriating to use) housing website to be able to maintain gender ratios in dorms. Unbelievable.