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Rising upperclassmen continue to face challenges as they attempt to secure on-campus housing for the 2024-2025 school year following Tuesday's housing website crash.

September 22, 2023

Ongoing Housing Selection Issues Leave Some Rising Juniors, Seniors With Limited Options

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The new housing selection process, with a September selection period as opposed to last year’s March date, was created to decrease anxiety and stress while searching for housing. Students, however, told The Sun that the accelerated process had the opposite effect, with many upperclassmen skipping their classes and waiting hours in attempts to obtain housing, only to be left with no options.

Following a website crash on Tuesday that resulted in the cancellation of some students’ room assignments and the inability of others to access the online portal, the 2024-2025 housing selection process was moved and divided into two time slots. Selection for students who wished to live on North Campus, South Campus or in the Townhouse Community would begin on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m., and West Campus selection would begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21. Selection closed entirely on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Despite efforts to decrease website traffic through two time slots as opposed to one, students still encountered difficulties with the Housing website. StarRez was unresponsive during Wednesday’s selection timeslot until approximately 10:47 a.m.

“StarRez located a flag in their system that caused these delays and disabled it on Wednesday,”  Karen Brown, senior director of Campus Life Marketing and Communications, wrote in an email to The Sun. “As this was our first use of this new process, we did learn a lot, and will use those learnings moving forward.”

Technical difficulties also occurred during Thursday’s West Campus selection timeslot. 

“I set my computer up at 9:50 a.m. and clicked on [StarRez] exactly at 10 a.m.,” Preston Garton ’26 said. “It buffered for five minutes.” 

Additionally, students reported that West Campus dorm availability was scarce and rooms went quickly. By 10:37 a.m. on Thursday, all singles in non-program houses had been selected.

“By the time it loaded, half the options were gone,” Garton continued. “I went back… repeated the process about four times, and finally got a [double] in Sheldon,” a dorm on South Campus.

Garton resided in Toni Morrison Hall this year but stated that he wanted to live in a single on West to be closer to his friends.

Ankitha Kasavaraju ’26 told The Sun that after waiting two and a half hours trying to access the housing portal on Tuesday, she was finally able to secure a lease, which was confirmed to her over email. The lease, however, was invalidated later in the day, and the room was put back on the availability report, Kasavaraju said.

“We believe a small number of students selected a bed this morning, but due to the glitches everyone faced, these housing contracts were not finalized, and these students will need to participate in the process again. We are communicating separately with those individuals,” Cornell Students and Campus Life said in a statement on Tuesday.

When asked by The Sun where she will live next year, Kasavaraju said she does not know.

David Martinez Lopez ’26 had also hoped to reserve a single on West Campus.

“I don’t want to live on North Campus next year,” Martinez Lopez said. “I feel like a lot of people in my class who stayed on North feel the same way.”

Martinez Lopez is a resident of Ganędagǫ: Hall, which is considered the only residence hall in the Sophomore Village on North Campus for the 2024-2025 academic year. Current residents of the Sophomore Village are ineligible for continued occupancy, meaning they were unable to remain in their current room next year. Residents of several West and South Campus housing residencies, North Campus program houses, Toni Morrison Hall, Clara Dickson Hall and the Townhouse Apartments could apply for continued occupancy between Sept. 5 and Sept. 13.

“[Ganędagǫ: Hall not offering continued occupancy] didn’t particularly upset me,” Martinez Lopez. “I figured that I’d live on North for one more year and figure out my housing situation later.” 

Ultimately, Martinez Lopez did not secure housing for the 2024-2025 school year. Cornell currently guarantees housing for first-year and sophomore students — a requirement implemented starting Fall 2022 — but not for upperclassmen.

By 10:58 a.m. on Thursday, all housing options were gone, leaving many students in the dark about their future housing options. Ithaca’s notoriously competitive and expensive housing market requires students to search for off-campus leases and sublets many months or even a year in advance. 

Cornell Housing and Residential Life emailed students who did not obtain housing for next year regarding an opportunity to enter a waitlist with the portal opening at 4 p.m. Thursday. 

“All available rooms for rising juniors and seniors have now been reserved for the 2024-2025 academic year and the Housing Portal is closed,” said Cornell Housing and Residential Life in an email obtained by The Sun. “The waitlist is an opportunity to apply for housing and indicate your building and room type preferences.”

Cornell Housing and Residential Life will contact students on the waitlist as space becomes available, according to the email.

“Assignment offers to those on the waitlist will be first-come, first-served based on the time and preferences provided in the application submission,” the email said. “We will begin to make offers to students on the waitlist starting in January 2024.”

Brown also told The Sun that sophomore and first-year students should be assured that there should be enough space for rising sophomores and first-year students.

“While there was a great deal of demand for upper-level student housing, we’re confident that there is an adequate supply of beds for rising sophomores and first-year students for the 2024-2025 academic year, as we work closely with management in enrollment and admissions,” Brown said.

Anushka Shorewala ’26 is a Sun contributor and can be reached at [email protected].