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Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024

Editorial: Every Right

Let’s all take a deep breath — it’s been a rocky few weeks, but let’s collectively remember that, come September, we will all have a bed to sleep on and a roof over our heads. In the grand scheme of things, we’re all lucky.

But putting challenges in perspective rarely makes them any less frustrating. Right now, it feels more therapeutic to throw a little grievance at this administration that has so badly screwed up a process that they know, and have always known, is of paramount importance to the student body.

Where to start? A complete mishandling of the super block process seems appropriate. At the risk of treading over material from our March 18 editorial, it seems pertinent to discuss the first in the comedy of errors in this year’s housing selection process. Students who were initially given a place in super block housing have since had to stow their relief and wait as they were told the process would be completed over spring break. Those students are still waiting.

It seems that all any of us have been able to do throughout this process is wait. And it hasn’t been easy, watching the administration botch the process by which our year-long living situation is determined. But we’ve also waited mainly because there hasn’t been much else to do.

It’s hard not to wonder what happened — and what is happening now. First, in light of the competition between two super blocks over a single house, why did the administration grant more super block opportunities than appeared to be readily available? More importantly, how can Old Chapel attempt to placate students by postponing resolution of the issue to a later date, and then fail to meet its own deadline? And what is more, to put the process on hold again without offering students a third date by which they can expect results?

These and other mix-ups have not inspired confidence for the future. True — in the past, the housing process has been just as stressful, just as out of our control, and followed by just as many complaints as it was this year. But the difference is that this time, we’ve watched in disbelief as seemingly simple tasks, like accurately apportioning super block housing and randomly assigning numbers to names, have been conducted with a frustrating neglect to detail. Is it really so complicated? Put the people who want to throw parties with alcohol in Ridgeline housing, and people who want to have potlucks in houses closer to town — that’s town/gown 101. And Microsoft Excel can assign random numbers (it may not be as swanky as an in-house algorithm, but it’s probably a lot simpler and requires no secrets). In theory, this is the job of common sense and basic computer programs. Yet, layers of staff — whose responsibility it is to avoid the very pitfalls we fell into this spring — have fallen short of their duties.

It’s disappointing and frustrating to be put through such a run-around, and there’s almost no process the administration could have screwed up that would have upset us more. What has historically been a sensitive issue was, to put it lightly, handled with the poorest performance. It affects all students, regardless of seniority, athletic status, or social preference, in a very real way, and we reserve every right to bemoan the unfortunate circumstances and to call for a more explicit explanation than the ambiguous platitude that somebody forgot to uncheck a box.