How it's Supposed to Work
In normal years, all students receive random numbers in the housing lottery. This indicates their place in line to choose from available housing. While housing is guaranteed for freshmen and rising sophomores, it is not guaranteed for upperclassmen. If an upperclassman’s number is too high, they do not receive housing.
Typically, disabled students submit requests for housing accommodations and, once approved, receive an email with two housing offers that meet their accommodations, skipping the standard housing selection process entirely.
What Happened This Year
All students whose housing accommodations were approved received an email from DCL indicating that they would be offered housing that met their accommodations. However, on March 29th, almost thirty disabled students were told via email that, due to their housing lottery numbers, they would not be receiving housing.
Over the next following weeks, disabled students would experience one of the following three options:
DCL would reach out saying they had found housing matching their accommodations.
They would form roommate groups that met at least some of their accommodations, but usually not all of them. These people did not receive emails from DCL to the best of our knowledge.
They would remain stuck on the waitlist, unsure whether they’d be able to attend classes next year due to their disability.
Disabled Housing Organization
Over the next month, students began to organize and protest the school’s treatment of disabled students. Organizers make a list of three demands for better housing. A petition was created and signed by over 350 Brandesians—over 10% of the student population at the time—and delivered to DCL. A protest was held at an admitted students’ day on April 21st at which students handed out flyers to prospective students and their families.
General Housing Crisis
On April 24th, the general housing selection for Upperclassmen opened at 9:00 am. In normal years, housing would last for multiple days. This year, the last available bed was taken by 2:00 pm on the first day. We estimate that over 1200 students were unable to select housing due to the scarcity of available beds.
Second Protest and Results
On May 1st, after much negotiation, the Department of Student Living sent out an email acquiescing to many of the organizers’ requests. This was coïncidentally when the second protest for general housing was planned, and students unaffiliated with the organizers went into President Ron Liebowitz’s presidential address, holding signs and asking questions when appropriate. He walked away.
Since then, emergency housing has been made available at Lasell College, but the wider housing crisis still persists.