Residential Life botches housing lottery number assignment for 2021–22

The outside of the Office of Residential Life and Learning is pictured on Mar. 4, 2019. Mengqi Irina Wang / The Tufts Daily

The Office of Residential Life and Learning (ORLL) assigned incorrect lottery numbers to some students applying for 202122 on-campus housing earlier this month. Many of the numbers assigned incorrectly were not even compatible with students’ class years

Students in all class years were affected by the issue, according to David Watts, assistant director for housing services. Rising seniors were the most impacted.

Tharina Messeroux, a rising senior, received a lottery number between 500 and 2000, which is the range of lottery numbers designated for rising juniors. 

“I received 1038 … a bunch of my friends that are also rising seniors got rising junior numbers, which was very weird,” Messeroux said.

Andres Antonio, a sophomore, said he knew of people in Messeroux’s position.

“A lot of my rising senior friends all got rising junior numbers,” Antonio said.

According to Antonio, some students who did not even complete on-campus housing applications also received lottery numbers. 

“My suitemates who are living off campus next year still got numbers, even though they didn’t apply,” Antonio said

Some current seniors may have also received lottery numbers, despite anticipating graduation at the end of the semester. Messeroux posted in the Tufts Class of 2022 Facebook group inquiring if any students in her year received numbers within the rising senior range as they should have.

“Did anyone actually get a senior lottery number?” Messeroux said in her post.

Though current juniors did not say they received senior numbers as Messeroux was asking, two current seniors replied to the post indicating that they received lottery numbers from ORLL.

However, not all lottery numbers were assigned incorrectly. Antonio said he received a lottery number within the correct range for his class year. 

“I was one of the people who wasn’t really affected by it that much,” he said.

The technical difficulties stemmed from incorrect information within the Student Information System, according to Angelic Sosa, associate director for residential operations.

“The system that randomly generates lottery numbers bases those numbers on specific ranges dependent on a student’s SIS classification. Unfortunately, some of the information in the system was incorrect,” she wrote in an email to the Daily.

Watts confirmed that ORLL is correcting the issues and that students who received incorrect numbers are being reassigned new numbers.

“Impacted students are being reassigned lottery numbers within the corrected number range pertaining to their class year,” he wrote in an email to the Daily.

After Messeroux received the wrong number, she emailed ORLL and was given a new number within the corrected rising senior range. The email, which Messeroux shared with the Daily, said that Messeroux’s new number was assigned relative to her position in the previous lottery number range.

“If you had a low/good lottery number previously, now you will have a comparable number, based on what was available, in your new number range,” the email from ORLL to Messeroux said.

Some of Messeroux’s friends who received incorrect lottery numbers assumed that ORLL would assign new numbers automatically since so many students had incorrect numbers. Messeroux, however, said that in her and her friends’ experiences, they had to email ORLL to get a new number instead of there being an automatic process in place.

“So now [my friends are] emailing them, so I think it’s if you reach out, they fix it,” she said. 

The next step in the student housing and selection process begins on March 15, when rising juniors and rising seniors may begin forming groups on the housing portal.

Watts asserted that the number assignment issues will not cause delays in the forthcoming group formation and housing selection process.

“All corrections will take place prior to the group formation days, so no delays will occur,” he said.

Sosa added that ORLL apologizes for the issues and any trouble they have caused for students.

“We’re aware that the housing selection process can be stressful for students and apologize for any added stress as a result of this error,” she said. “We’re happy to say that this issue has been resolved and students have been appropriately updated.”