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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Room draw; A Resident Advisor’s point of view

<me is Rob Bradley, and I’m junior on HSAC. Yes, I am an RA. I’ve been one for two years, and will be one next year. I’m writing this to correct the false statements printed last week on the fairness of room draw, and HSAC as an entity. My thoughts will be very scrambled, but this needs to be put out on the table so that people know facts and not false assertions.

First off, calling yourself an ethicist is a really bold statement to make. Would a true ethicist critique a process that they have never gone through themselves? That doesn’t seem very ethical to me. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.

Is the system fair?

Rising seniors should have priority. They’ve lived on campus for 3 years already and they only have one year left on campus, how is that not deserving of having priority? Also, that means that each year (from sophomore to senior), your number will get you a better room every time. Would you really want it a different way? When you’re a rising senior, you’ll agree with me completely.


While HSAC does not necessarily “actively present proposals to ResLife,” the members thoroughly read through room draw policy, housing policy, and any other relevant documents, and revise them to fit public opinion. Part of why HSAC is comprised of an RA from every RA staff on campus to do a better job of gauging public opinion and to diffuse information regarding room draw quickly and to those who need it most. Also, if a member of HSAC or a member of the Carleton community has an idea for how to improve the system, the committee and the Director of ResLife are more than happy to hear it.

Lottery Numbers:

For the record, lottery numbers are completely random. “The draw numbers are obtained from ITS who uses a program to generate random numbers from us. They are not done in Residential Life.” – Steve Wisener, Director of Residential Life. He also added that a few years ago ResLife “did a study about the randomness of room draw numbers and consulted a math professor” to ensure randomness, though random doesn’t necessarily mean fair. But what is a fair way to give people rooms? GPA? Athletic ability? Digits of pi they can recite from memory? Randomness is the most fair way, period.

A point (or 2) of clarification:

RAs do not pick the room in which they live. They get a choice of a single, or a double (or triple, depending on the building), but they do not get to go through the hall and hand pick their living space. SWAs get to pick their rooms. RAs do not.

Also, the assertion that RAs get better draw numbers is just plain wrong. First, we’ve established that numbers are generated randomly. Secondly, if ResLife chose numbers, they wouldn’t give good numbers to RAs, otherwise not as many would return the following year because they would have a better chance to draw a sweet living space.

Northfield Option:

In response to the fact that Northfield Option numbers will be dropping in the future: yes, they will. It’s because Carleton is building 2 giant buildings over by Watson which will house a lot of people which should be completed by Fall of 2009. These plans have been up in Sayles, and are by no means a secret. So, if a school is going to build 2 new dorms, it would be fair to cut back the number who get Northfield Option, otherwise there will be a lot of empty rooms, making the project not very economically viable.

Fact: The last 3 years in a row, the last room drawn on campus was a single. Please go to the Hub and check the Order of the Draw to verify that what I’m saying is true.

Fact: The person who critiqued room draw’s fairness was number 3520, the last person to draw.

Fact: Asteroid 16561 Rawls is named in John Rawls honor.

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