Dude, where’s my room?

Not many campus events attract the attention of over 1,000 normally apathetic University of Calgary students, but the race to get into Residence next year has done just that. Students currently living on campus received their room assignments for the Fall/Winter semesters on March 31, just as Residence Services was closing.

There is a lot of speculation as to why the letters were placed in the mailboxes late on a Saturday evening. Maybe there was a delay with the computer system. Maybe Residence Services was running behind schedule. Or maybe, just maybe, they wanted to barricade their doors before the drunken masses realized what they already knew: the system is screwed up.

The new point system recommended by the Residence Students’ Association and adopted by Residence Services was designed to give priority to students who participate in campus activities, travel a great distance to attend the University of Calgary, or who are entering advanced years of study. Instead it proved a disaster. Apparently, when all was said and done, most students fell into the same point range leaving the selection committee with very little to distinguish between applicants.

I’m not saying that it’s Rez Services’ fault that the system performed so abysmally. The point system was discussed and proposed by students. What I am questioning is the wisdom behind handing out assignments that fail to meet students’ needs and satisfy almost no one.

Rumours are running rampant on campus. Apparently, grad students have been moved out of Glacier and placed with second and third-years in Cascade. Community Assistants and Student Representatives had their assignment letters withheld over matters as trivial as a 16 cent phone bill. And to add to the confusion, instead of notifying students that their applications were rejected, Rez Services decided simply to place nothing in these students’ mailboxes and to let them draw their own conclusions. As a result, many were left wondering if their assignments were detained because they had an outstanding balance on their account or if they are still eligible for placement on a waiting list.

What exactly has Rez Services done to rectify the situation? Precious little. The letter received with the room assignments clearly states that no waiting lists will be created for students who are hoping to exchange their current assignment. Also, if an assignment is refused because of location, no future assignments will be considered.
Basically, students are left with two viable options: join the rat race in search of an off-campus apartment or meekly accept whatever bone they were tossed.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention the message board. A board was created in the hallway of the Dining Centre where unsatisfied students can post a note to see if anyone wants to make a room trade. Unfortunately, because most of the messages read "Have nothing, looking for something," this is unlikely to solve more than a few complaints.

There is one last means of recourse. Appointments can be made with Amber Stewart to discuss the situation and hopefully she will be able to come up with a solution to satisfy all parties involved. I’m sure Stewart is doing her best to help as many students as she can. However, the waiting list for an appointment is over one week long. Granted, the staff at Rez Services performs numerous tasks just to keep the buildings operational, but I would hope that assigning students to Rez next year would top their list of priorities. It might even require calling in a little extra help at this stressful time of year.

Ironic isn’t it? Students spend eight months complaining about their phone bills, the broken vacuums, the late night/early morning fire alarms and the rampant promiscuity in Rez, but come September, the biggest complaint is that they want back in.

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