Housing Policy

Contact the rooming assignment chairs (simmons-rooming@mit.edu) for more information.

I. Temporary Freshmen Assignments

The Rooming Assignment Chairs (RACs) will receive the list of freshmen assigned to Simmons for REX in late June, along with the responses to a questionnaire they have all filled out listing some basic facts about themselves. Using this information, the RACs are charged with appropriately positioning these freshmen around the building as they see fit. No input from other upperclassmen is solicited or allowed, and special requests are only forwarded to the RACs from the Housing Department after proper vetting. Any roommate requests that are included from Housing must be honored. The RACs are also responsible for maintaining an up-to-date Welcome Letter to pass on to Housing. This assignment has no connection with or bearing on Final Freshmen Assignments.

II. Final Freshmen Assignments

After REX and FYRE, Housing will send an updated roster of freshmen who will be assigned to Simmons for the school year. After a tour of the building and mingling with the various groups within Simmons, these freshmen will be given a preference sheet to fill out. Using the mindset that the collective happiness of the overall class is much more important than that of any individual freshman, final assignments are left to the discretion of the RACs and the results of the preference sheets. Requests for specific roommates are honored with the caveat that this is only true if the number of requested pairings is less than the number of doubles available. Any special requests (medical, religious, counseling, etc.) must be made through the Housing Department; no night-of special requests will be honored. Any verbal agreements with the RACs should be confirmed in writing (via an email to simmons-rooming@mit.edu) prior to this process. Temporary Assignment has no bearing on Final Assignment - please do not ask for exceptions to this policy. The RACs try their best to account for all aspects of the preference sheet, but remember that they are only human. If there is a particular issue that a freshman feels particularly strongly about, it is highly recommended that they talk to the RACs in person about the issue, and use the flexibility of the preference sheet to denote such an issue. Any student that has been assigned to a room through this process may not squat their room during the internal spring lottery.

III. Internal Lotteries

Each semester after Registration Day, the RACs can elect to hold a Semester Readjustment Lottery. This lottery reallocates any rooms that have become vacant during the previous semester. Whether or not the lottery happens for a given semester is left at the discretion of the RACs based on available rooms and demand from the community. This lottery is open to all residents, but each student interested in entering the lottery must do so by emailing simmons-rooming@mit.edu after the lottery has been announced.

The order with which new room selection will take place will be done via one of two methods: a manual drawing, or a random number generation using the Spring Lottery script. Which method is used is left up to the RACs to decide based on the number of people entering. Priority within the lottery matches that of the Spring Lottery Policies. Freshmen who enter this lottery are not eligible to squat the room for the Spring Lottery.

No sooner than the day after the order has been determined, the room selection process shall begin. On each student's turn, they can select an open room, or leave the lottery. If they select an open room, they are done, and their current room is added to the available rooms unless it is now a singly occupied double. Once available rooms or people run out, the lottery is over.

IV. Spring Lottery Policies

The Spring Lottery is conducted to allow residents to select their rooms for the upcoming school year. Once the final housing list is sent from the Housing Department, the RACs should prepare the spreadsheet, DB, and script for usage. Additionally, it is their job to inform residents with at least two weeks notice that the lottery will be taking place.

After the announcement email from the RACs, residents can begin placing requests for blocking as well as room squats. RACs encourage residents to make these two requests as early as possible. Blocking and Squatting are defined in the Appendix. The last possible time to declare a block is midnight the day before the selection order lottery. Once this deadline passes, all blocks are final. The last possible time to declare a squat is before your room is chosen by another person. Obviously the RACs recommend doing so ahead of time to alleviate day-of stress for everyone, but it is not required.

One week prior to the selection lottery, RACs will hold the selection order generation. This involves randomizing the order of each subsection of residents. The means by which the sections are randomized (script, papers drawn from a hat, etc.) is at the discretion of the rooming chairs. However, all information about the process used must be public and take place at a public meeting announced to the dorm. The ranked subsections are:

  1. Resident Seniors
  2. Transferring Seniors
  3. Resident 9th/10th Term
  4. Transferring 9th/10th Term
  5. Resident Juniors
  6. Transferring Juniors
  7. Resident Sophomores
  8. Transferring Sophomores
  9. Resident Freshmen
  10. Transferring Freshmen

RACs are responsible for publishing this official order in a method that they see fit (DB, Google Spreadsheet, Posters in Dining, etc). Prior to and immediately after the script has been run, a record of the workspace and output should be created, and kept until the culmination of this overall process.

On the room selection weekend, the RACs will proceed in order of the published rankings. Each student will be given one minute to select their room. If a student does not select a room in the period, or is not present at all, they will be dropped to the bottom of their group (i.e. Resident Seniors or Transferring Sophomores) and the RACs will move on to the next name on the list. At the end of each group, the RACs will announce the absent students. If the student again misses their turn, they will be dropped to the end of the lottery (i.e. after the transferring freshmen).

The list of residents will be broken into blocks of fifty students, with one hour allocated to each block of fifty. A block of fifty may start after the allocated hour, but will not begin before that time.

When a student's turn comes, he/she may pick any open room he/she wishes. A roomate must be designated if selecting a double.

If a resident is unable to attend the physical selection period, he may designate a proxy to choose instead. This proxy may be another student, who is given the power to choose a room for the resident, or the RACs. If the RACs are chosen to act as a proxy, the resident should submit a preference sheet, indicating the rooms/characteristics he would prefer. Anyone who declares a proxy must abide by the proxy's decision. Notification of intent to use a proxy must be emailed to the RACs simmons-rooming@mit.edu no later than midnight the day before the room selection process.

The RACs take no responsibility for maintaining or verifying bathroom gender preferences. If a resident has a strong aversion to sharing a bathroom with a given gender, it is that resident's responsibility to pick an appropriate room.

In special circumstances, it may become necessary for RACs to assign a student to a specific room. These requests must come from counseling or medical and have been approved by the Simmons House Team. These requests do not need to be made public and are not open for discussion. Resolution of specific situations is left to the RACs and house team.

V. Special Circumstances

If students have conflicts or extenuating circumstances and need to move into a single or another room, the request must come from MIT Medical, MIT Counseling, or the Simmons House Team, comprised of the Simmons Housemasters, Associate Housemasters, and RLAD. No personal requests will be considered. Resolution of these issues is left to the house team and the RACs. Any student assigned to a room in this manner may not squat that room in the house-wide spring lottery.

VI. Miscellaneous

Any situation not covered by this policy should be resolved at the discretion of the RACs, who are encouraged to amend the policy if this should happen.

With the concurrence of the house team, any provision of this policy may be set aside at the discretion of the RACs. If possible, the RACs should identify and explain any such cases to the House Committee.

Claiming early sophomore standing will not change one's class year for the purposes of housing preferences.

Appendix I

Blocking is the declaration that a group of people would like to be grouped together. The ranking of each member of a block is averaged, and the block is given that as their position. In the case of ties, a random number is generated for each tied individual or block and the larger number goes first. When it becomes a block's turn, they pick in the order of their original rankings. All blocks must be declared by midnight the day before the script is run to randomize the lottery order. Once this script is run, a block is final.

Squatting is the declaration that a person will be keeping their current assignment. There are a number of restrictions on who can squat, so residents should be sure to read through all portions of the document that pertain to them. If a resident squats, they are ineligible to block. Squatting removes the squatter from the lottery, and immediately assigns the squatter their current assignment - once a squat is declared it cannot be undone. Squats can be declared up to the moment that another resident has selected the room in question, although it is encouraged to declare them as soon as possible to alleviate stress. Students assigned to their rooms by RACs are ineligible to squat - this includes all freshmen, transfer students, and residents who have been redistributed by the building waitlist. Any official lottery-based room changes are eligible for squatting.