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Saturday, Dec 2, 2023


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Housing Equality in a Time of Expansion

The Commons Administration Team has proposed a restructured room draw system that aims to streamline the process and ensure greater equality in the distribution of rooms within each commons. If passed by the Community Council, it will allow Middlebury to deal with the current inequality of housing within the commons while the College continues to expand according to its Master Plan.

The proposal states "the current Block Draw is an antiquated and complicated system." Realizing the inadequacy of the current system is an important first step in resolving confusion and anxiety that have historically accompanied room draw, which took two weeks to complete. Informational meetings to explain the new system will be held for each commons and also for students interested in substance free housing to explain the revised schedule and the new intricacies of the system. Students must take advantage of these sessions to learn about the revised process.

Consolidating the various draws into a single week simplifies the system for students and those administering the draws. Instead of having room draws on separate nights for substance free housing, block draw and open draws for each class, all three will occur on the same night for the rising sophomore, junior and senior classes. Blocks will be drawn first by the senior class and those remaining will be opened up to the junior class and then the sophomore class if they are still available, with students then moving on to either open draw or substance free draw if they do not attain a block.

Putting substance free housing within the open draw system is an excellent step towards ensuring that all students who choose to live on substance free halls will adhere to the stipulations set forth and not take those rooms solely to attain better housing. By eliminating the previous loopholes in the system, the hope is that only those who truly want substance free housing will participate in substance free draw.

Creating an equal number of beds for each of the commons, specifically for senior housing, is another critical feature of the new system. As La Force Hall, the newest senior residence hall to be completed in the fall of 2002, will be placed in Ross Commons, the proposed plan would evenly redistribute all blocks and houses among the commons to be drawn randomly. By reallocating the number of beds, the discrepancies of the current system will be mitigated dramatically.

In assigning junior counselors (JCs) their priority number only in open draw and giving them the number they would have received had they not been JCs for block draw, the new plan makes sure that they are given some preferential treatment but not to a degree where their friends, who they could draw into blocks, will also benefit.

As a whole, the proposal from the Commons Administration Team represents a solid move towards making the room draw process easier and more equitable. There is no way that each commons can simultaneously be equal relative to one another in terms of housing infrastructure, but the steps that this plan outlines are certainly a step in the right direction.