Student Housing worked with students and representatives from many parts of the university to help plan the process. Administrators have been planning to overhaul the current draw system for years in favor of an application process that takes class year into account when determining housing. Christopher Collinson, Undergraduate Housing Assignment Supervisor, noted that the ASSU nominated four students to serve on the Draw Review Task Force. The task force said that it attempted to hear from all affected people and tried to remain transparent throughout the changes.
Shirley Everett, Senior Associate Vice Provost of Residential and Dining Enterprises, presented the committee with many goals in overhauling the current Draw system. In particular, Ms. Everett wanted to simplify the process and ensure the desirability of living accommodations for upperclassman. President Hennessy, while speaking to a group of freshmen, echoed this desire and commented that he did not want seniors being stuck in lower level housing while spending their last months at Stanford. The completed construction of the Munger Graduate Residence jumpstarted the housing change. When graduate students moved into their new home, they left Crothers Memorial Hall ready for renovations to prepare for nearly 400 undergraduates next year.
The tier system(1), pre-assignment to Special Program Houses (2), and residence reconfiguration (3) are the three major changes to the Draw System for 2009-2010:
- Three tiers will replace the previous preferred/un-preferred system. Tier One includes numbers 1-1,000, Tier Two numbers 1,001-2,000 and Tier Three 2,001-3,000. Tier One can be used at most once while Tier Three must be used at least once. A student does not have to choose Tier One, perhaps in order to draw with a group of friends, but must choose Tier Three at least one year. Further, sophomores must choose Tier Two or Tier Three.
Although many rising sophomores complain that draw reforms prevent them from living in some of the best housing into which they could have previously drawn, freshman Muthu Alagappan countered, “I think that the new system gives every student a chance to experience premier Stanford housing at least once. I don’t have to worry about getting stuck in bad dorms for the next three years.”
The new tier system ensures that current freshman cannot draw into highly selective houses for their sophomore year. Juniors and seniors, however, are able to draw into the first tier, thus ensuring desirable housing. The lowest number goes first in the Draw and all members of a draw groups must have the same draw number. Students in the Greek system agree to give up Tier One and Tier Two when they pledged. Students who are pre-assigned use Tier One or Tier Two depending on their assignment’s location. All un-preferred year usage translates into Tier Three usage, while the first preferred year is considered a Tier Two use and the second preferred year uses Tier One. When applying, students rank all 78 possible residences and find out their draw number later.
The application process for applying to Special Program Houses, residences with different themes and management methods, is also undergoing changes. Students must have applied by April 22 for pre-assignment into these academic-focused, language-required, cultural-themed, or cooperative houses (co-ops). For example, part of Branner will become public service focused while houses such as Muwekma will remain for the Native American/Alaskan/Hawaiian community and the Enchanted Broccoli Forest is still a co-op. These houses are allowed to pre-assign a core group of students, replacing the previous priority system. This change has generated some controversy because co-op members said they were not consulted about the changes. Also new this year, all houses will also use the same in house draw system that takes year and chosen tier into account.
Several construction projects are underway in an effort to de-crowd dorms and return all houses to their original size plans. The current work in Crothers will provide singles and one room doubles. Stern and Wilbur Hall will become all freshman dorms expect for Casa Zapata and Okada. Next year, two thirds of freshman will call Escondido Road home. Lagunita’s “mini-doubles” will be replaced by one room doubles or triples. Mirrielees will ensure a room for each occupant and Toyon will remain a sophomore dorm with two room doubles.
In addition, the task force also recommended standardizing in-house draw across residences, bolstering gender-neutral housing options, and having students rank every residence possibility, which they argue eliminates the need to wait for a draw number to rank housing. According to Rodger Whitney, Executive Director of Student Housing, all of the committee’s recommendations “have received universal and near-unanimous support since they have been announced and begun to be implemented.”
Further, the billing plan will be simplified. All undergraduates will now pay the same housing rate per quarter. Student Financial Services will operate the bills for self-operated and co-op houses. Mirrielees residents will have the option to purchase a meal plan and Stanford Dining will manage the Toyon Eating Clubs.
The deadline for submitting the 2009-2010 housing application through Axess is Sunday, May 10 at 6:00 p.m. Students will receive numbers 3,001 to 3,500 for unguaranteed housing if they miss the deadline. Students can get more information by visiting http://draw2009.stanford.edu, the new web page written as part of Housing’s website to help facilitate the new Draw. “We are very happy to answer student questions about the Draw process,” said Sue Nunan, director of Housing Operations, who added that in addition to holding draw forums, Student Housing has even attended house meetings when asked by house staffs.
Not all students are happy with draw reform. Student Housing has been criticized for intervening too greatly in the process, with rigid rules for pre-assignment, in-house draws, and the impact on student groups, particularly Greeks, during the house crunch. Others have bemoaned disorganization in this year’s process. One Stanford junior, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed that Housing changed Branner’s tier status from Tier Three to Tier One in pre-assignments one day before the application was due. “This broke up my draw group because we all had been planning on pre-assignment,” she said. “Ultimately, I had to decide to draw alone and fill out the pre-assignment application to another house in the course of a couple hours. I think a lot of people that pre-assigned into Branner still think it will be Tier Three. If they are accepted then they will be giving up their first tier year without knowing it.”
“Changing the Draw is not an easy feat, but the committee was willing to tackle very thorny issues, gather as much student input as possible, and reach remarkable agreements that, as a package, will bring greater equity and fairness into the Draw,” Whitney said. “We hope students will give this modified system a solid chance for success and work with us in a process model of continuous improvement over the next year or two as we learn from the results of the first implementation of the changes in this quarter’s Draw.”
News Editor Tim Ford contributed to the reporting of this article