Op-ed: Seniority should dictate room sign-up times instead of roommate group size
By Julie Kakish
March 9, 2023 8:48 p.m.
As room sign-ups continue to open, Bruins often anxiously await the chance to obtain housing – only to find out there are no rooms remaining.
Students who form roommate groups of at least two people have up to a three-day advantage in picking a room for the upcoming school year over students who do not form a roommate group. This means that preferential treatment is given to students who have a wider social circle and punishes those who are unable to find roommates.
On the first day of early RSU, most apartment options this year were full. Many students who didn’t have an early sign-up time were forced to choose either a four-bedroom apartment for eight people, a one-bedroom for four people or whatever was left on the Hill. The overcrowding of the former two options makes them nearly impossible to comfortably live in.
On the second day of early RSU by around noon, there were mostly triples available on the Hill and very limited spots left in apartments. One apartment building that may have had a couple of spots left was Westwood Chateau, which is notorious for its unsafe conditions, including roaches and mold – two problems that UCLA has neither fully addressed nor proposed a solution to.
As main RSU proceeds, which is for students without a roommate group, we can assume these students won’t have many options. Students, including upperclassmen, are going to be forced to choose between triples, which are seemingly intended for freshmen, or plazas and suites that come with a very expensive price tag.
It is disappointing that so many returning students are left with minimal options for housing and that students in roommate groups are the only ones with a fighting chance at something decent.
If UCLA is going to pride itself on its housing guarantee, then it should ensure that the options it is giving its students aren’t between paying for the most expensive rooms on the Hill or a university apartment that stuffs eight students into a single unit.
Perhaps UCLA can make RSU a more equitable experience and offer rooms according to seniority instead of giving preferential treatment to larger roommate groups. Understandably, roommate groups want to stick together, but incoming seniors without a roommate group deserve a chance to live somewhere other than in a triple or with seven other roommates.
A system that gives senior roommate groups first pick, then seniors not in a roommate group, and so on until we reach returning sophomores who are not in a roommate group will ensure each student eventually gets one of their top picks at some point in their UCLA career.
Assigning sign-up times based on seniority as opposed to roommate groups will ensure students who have failed to find roommates are not penalized.
Julie Kakish is a third-year sociology student at UCLA.