Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Housing Lottery Isn't as Random as One Would Like to Think

Bsto and I frequently have discussions about how this University is run like a corporation. Sure, the goal of the school is to make money (while educating students), but many times, it feels as if the school is more in it for the money than anything else.

Case in point: here.

You can argue that there isn't anything wrong with raffles, and you'd be half-right. In this case, though, it greatly prefers the rich and is disadvantageous to less well-off students.

Housing is supposed to be a lottery. Sure, selling raffle tickets does not change this entirely, but only rich students can afford to buy a lot of tickets. Money should not play a part in a "random housing lottery". Unfortunately, though, it does.

It is one thing if this raffle money was going to be put towards a charity--but no mention of that is made anywhere. I am under the impression that it is going back to the housing department--who already price gouges its tenants as it is.

What are the larger implications? I understand that the world is a cold, unfair place and that there are poor people who are less well off and who have less opportunities.

But let's be fair here: we all pay $50,000 plus dollars. The housing system here seems to change every year. Let's keep it as a raffle--the rights to the number one and number two housing slots should be random and should not be sold. This is just another indication that anything at this school can be had--for the right place.

This brings up an idea brought up in my Asian Ethnographies class: people in China can buy the rights to move to cities and then purchase the right to pay rent in a certain building. In past times, Chinese people were not allowed to move from the places their parents were from, but now, with Chinese capitalist communism, they can move if they have enough money to purchase the right to move to a new city. Then, they can purchase the right to pay rent in an apartment.

Is that what this is coming to? We already pay application fees to get in. Are we going to have to pay for the right to pay tuition and pay for the right to pay for housing as well?

We pay enough. We are treated like patrons and not like degree-seeking students. Keep the housing draw completely random--don't let daddy's money rock the boat any more than it already does.