Opinions, Editorials

If It’s Not Broken, Don’t Fix It: An Open Letter to ResLife

The Office of Residential Life should implement more effective methods of communication during the housing selection process, including timely use of social media platforms, consistent instructions for registration and selection, and increased clarity surrounding any changes being made to the process. 

Housing selection is a stressful time for Boston College students, and ResLife should play a key role in ensuring that the process is as smooth as possible. ResLife’s failure to properly communicate accurate information about available units and the process of confirming housing groups only compounds this stress. 

In years prior, students did not have to accept an invitation for housing registration, just provide their group leaders with their Eagle ID number. This year, however, students had to accept an invitation for their group to register for housing—a change which many students were not aware of. 

ResLife did not specify the change in the emails leading up to the first round of housing selection on March 15, nor did their website explain the adjustment. Especially for students studying abroad, clear communication from ResLife is crucial to ensuring that all students understand their role in the housing selection process. Due to subsequent IT server malfunctions, ResLife postponed six-man pick times and the entire housing selection process. 

The following day, ResLife announced that they would be switching four-person and two- and three-person selection days, but reversed this change less than 24 hours later after receiving complaints. Students received these updates over email, but they were not reflected on ResLife’s Twitter or other social media platforms, which in past years they have often used to track the progression of housing selection. 

Though it is commendable that ResLife listened to student concerns and adjusted their timeline relatively quickly, this confusion could have been avoided if ResLife had not changed the housing process or schedule in the first place. 

In addition to these delays, ResLife further complicated the housing process by failing to offer certain living arrangements at the correct time. They did not initially offer any of the coveted townhouses in Vouté and Gabelli halls during four-person housing selection, and some students with an early pick time were unable to secure their preferred housing as a result. 

In order to remedy the situation, ResLife had to call the students with earlier pick times—who had already settled for another housing accommodation—to offer them the townhouses while the selection process was still ongoing. This chaos trickled down to the rest of the student body. ResLife began rearranging student groups to the “appropriate” housing based on their original pick times. Even if a group of sophomores were unfairly able to secure senior housing, it is still frustrating to be moved from room to room—or even hall to hall—because of an organizational flaw. 

Still, the student body is not without agency. BC students can reduce the stress of the housing selection process by lessening the social weight placed on the hierarchy of residential halls and dorm rooms. Though living in an eight-man suite is undeniably a better housing arrangement than a College Road double, it does not solely govern one’s social life.  

During this year’s housing selection season, ResLife failed to properly do its job, leaving students confused, frustrated, and unsure of where they were going to live next year. In the future, ResLife should properly communicate with the student body when it makes changes and explain why they are being made. In the event of unintentional mistakes and miscommunication, ResLife must widely address these issues as quickly as possible and take responsibility for the job it has set out to do. 

March 28, 2022