Winter housing placement rate improves

Dec. 7, 2011, 2:30 a.m.

All 275 students returning from overseas for winter quarter have been assigned to housing – an improvement over previous years’ numerous last-minute assignments.

(SERENITY NGUYEN/The Stanford Daily)


Because the University offers fewer study-abroad programs winter quarter, more students require housing. In order to deal with the influx of housing applications, Student Housing has opened 114 additional undergraduate spaces – 26 in Escondido Village and 88 in Oak Creek. It leased additional apartments in Oak Creek and consolidated graduate students in Escondido Village to create these spaces.


This year, 40 percent of the students returning from overseas will be in Escondido Village or Oak Creek.


“By providing space in Oak Creek and Escondido Village, we are able to keep some groups together, which is an option we were unable to offer in the past,” said Rodger Whitney, executive director of Student Housing, in an email to The Daily.


At this time last year, over 50 students with guaranteed housing were still on the waiting list, compared with 36 this year. Housing said it expects to assign all students on the waiting list over winter break.


“Each year we receive late cancellations where these students can be assigned,” Whitney said. “If everything remains the same as last year, we will assign the guaranteed students over winter break.”


There are also 21 students who are not guaranteed housing and are still unassigned, compared to seven last year.


Students returning from abroad next quarter have, for the most part, been pleased with Housing’s efforts.


“Overall, the application process has been quite smooth and definitely simpler than I expected,” said Ruthie Arbeiter ’12, who is currently studying abroad at Oxford. “Housing told us from the onset that we would find out our winter quarter housing assignments on Nov. 19, so that was nice that we knew exactly when to expect them. They emailed us the results promptly at midnight on the 19th.”


Matei Daian ’12, currently in Florence, also found the application process easy.


“I have a friend who is wait-listed and doesn’t know yet where he will live,” Daian said. “But he is confident Stanford will eventually find him some on-campus housing.”


However, there remain kinks in the system. Jeffrey Gerson ’12, currently at Oxford, is seeking reassignment from west to east campus. While he experienced no problems with the original application process, he says that the reassignment process has been far less clear.


Gerson had questions about the reassignment process and was seeking to speak to a Housing representative in person. He submitted a request through the online HelpSU system and received a response from Housing Assignment Coordinator Mark Young, who, though he wrote in his email, “If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to ask,” did not provide his email address.


Gerson then turned in his reassignment form and was sent an automatically generated message saying Housing would respond to his request in two business days.


“That was on Nov. 23,” Gerson said. “I’ve yet to receive a response or confirmation of having received my reassignment request.”


When asked about Gerson’s situation, Whitney informed The Daily that Gerson was “welcome to email [email protected] or to email [Housing Assignments Specialist] Justin Akers directly.”


Gerson, however, was never directly given this information. The Housing website also does not have any of the staff’s individual contact information; it only lists the phone number of the general Housing Assignments office.


Director of Housing Assignments Susan Nunan said she believes that Gerson’s case is an anomaly.


“This is the first complaint I have received about our use of this system,” she said. “I’ve double checked with my Housing Assignments staff today, and they have confirmed that they respond to all emails, including reassignment requests, by telling the student that they received the request and the next steps that will occur in the process.”


“If this student did not receive such a response, it is definitely an anomaly and not indicative of our normal customer service standard,” she said.

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