Leaked link allows students to view staffing selection results

March 6, 2019, 6:58 p.m.

Some residence staff applicants speculated their 2019-20 staffing assignments had been revealed on Wednesday morning after a leaked URL allowed them to view their ranked preferences early. The selection results are scheduled for official release by Residential Education (ResED) tomorrow at 12:00 p.m.

The link was sent to the Sophomore Class Cabinet group chat at 10:04 a.m. on Wednesday. The matching process, conducted through the Stable Marriage algorithm, was completed prior to today, Student Affairs spokesperson Pat Harris told The Daily.

The link showed applicants their ranked preferences, minus one — which Noah Cortez ’21, who sent the link to the group, proposed was their designated staffing match.

Cortez declined to comment on the matter, adding that he does not know who originally discovered the link.

“Whatever is missing is apparently the one you got,” he wrote in a GroupMe message to the Sophomore Class Cabinet.

Harris declined to confirm whether the missing preference was an indication of the match the applicant received, but said the selection team is “gathering information on the situation.”

“The integrity of the algorithm has not been compromised,” Harris wrote in an email to The Daily.

While screenshots shared with The Daily showed the top-ranked residence removed from some students’ preferences lists, no changes had been made to other applicants’ existing preferences, to which some assumed meant they did not receive a match. Some students also reported being met with a “system error notice” upon accessing the link.

In the context of staff selection, the Stable Marriage problem — solved by the same algorithm used in the hugely popular Stanford Marriage Pact questionnaire — aims to make optimal matches between the preferences of particular houses and the preferences of students applying to staff. This algorithm involves a number of rounds wherein each residence “proposes” to the acceptor —the student applying to staff — whom they most prefer.

What the algorithm ultimately guarantees is that every student gets matched to a staffing house and that all of these matches are stable; however, in effect the algorithm also privileges the preferences of the house over the applicant. According to a video produced by ResEd, this configuration also allows each house to create the best team of staffers.


Contact Julia Ingram at jmingram ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Julia Ingram ’21 was The Daily's Volume 256 editor-in-chief. She is a New York City native majoring in English literature and working toward a career in news reporting. Contact her at jingram ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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