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Baker House
Baker House Policies

Rooming policy

Approved April 2012

Research has shown that the assignment of rooms in a dorm has a very significant impact on the friendship and culture of a dorm. Because of the impact of rooming, the rooming process is important to maintaining Baker culture. Because of the importance of this process, it is vital that the process operate well and reliably year after year according to the principles and process agreed up by Baker residents.

Guiding Principles

In designing the rooming policies, the following guiding principles were followed:

  • It's important for the process to be transparent and operate reliably from year to year.
  • Residents, including freshmen, are in the best position to preference their own roommates, neighbors, and room locations.
  • The rooming process should not be purely mechanical; instead the RAC may assign rooms through a discretionary, holistic process.
  • Rooms shall be assigned in an order based on seniority.
  • The RAC shall be selected by an objective, holistic process, not be by popular vote.

Transparency of Rooming Regulations

This document shall be posted on the Baker website.

The list of rooms available shall also be posted at all times of the year.

Room Assignment Committee (RAC) Makeup

Four members. One each from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes (the permanent members), plus the President ex officio.

RAC Member Selection

A new member is selected sophomore year, to serve on the rooming committee for the rest of their time in Baker. If no sophomore applies, any Baker resident may apply.

If there is a vacancy on the RAC due to a resignation, any Baker resident may apply for that spot. That member will fill out the term of the member they replaced.

The new members are selected before the Upperclassmen Selection Process.

Current RAC members issue an application and solicit responses. The RAC will decide on the criteria which they use to score applicants. These criteria may include:

  1. Understanding of Baker culture
  2. Work ethic
  3. Knowledge of Database systems

The RAC will publish these criteria before the application period opens. The RAC shall issue an application and solicit responses. The application shall be issued via the baker-general mailing list at least 5 days before it is due.

In order for an application to be submitted, an applicant must receive 100 signatures from Baker residents on a paper petition. The objective of this exercise is to have the applicants meet the residents of the dorm. A signature only indicated acknowledgement that an applicant is running. It does not indicate support of the applicant. Baker residents should not withhold their signatures to prevent an applicant from applying.

After applications are received, the RAC will consult with Baker Exec in a closed session of Baker Exec about the applications they received. The RAC will score applicants based on the criteria that they established. The entire RAC will then select a candidate. At the next Exec meeting, the RAC will present their selection for ratification by the residents present at the next Exec meeting.

Exec members may serve on the RAC.

Upperclassmen Assignment Process

Rooming Pools

The RAC conducts 3 separate rooming processes on separate days (the rooming days). On each day, the RAC rooms separate applicant pools. On the first rooming day, the RAC rooms rising seniors (current juniors and seniors who will be 9th term seniors); on the second rooming day, the RAC rooms rising juniors (current sophomores); and on the third rooming day, the RAC rooms rising sophomores (current freshmen). There shall be several calendar days between each rooming day.

On each rooming day, the rooming committee divides the applicant pool into 2 sub-pools: current Baker students and students transferring into Baker. On each rooming day, the RAC first rooms all current Baker students, and then rooms all incoming transfer students.

Order of Rooming Pool

For each sub-pool, the RAC randomly sorts the list of students in that sub-pool (the random ranking). The random ranking is an ordered list from 1 to N, where N is the number of students in that sub-pool.

The RAC assigns points to applicants based on their participation in dorm activities. Exec will decide the points schedule at its next meeting with input from the dorm.

These points are subtracted from that resident's position in the random ranking, to create an intermediate rank score. The list of students sorted by intermediate rank score is called the final ranking. Ties are resolved by an arbitrary method. For example, a student with a random ranking of 20, but earning 10 points for participating in Exec, would have a rank score of 10. If no other students received points, that student would have a final rank of 10, and all other students with an intermediate rank score >=10 are one position lower in the final ranking than in the random ranking.

If a student has a valid medical or other requirement, filed through the MIT Housing Office, those students are given special consideration.

Before the process

Before the rooming process, the House Manager will inform the RAC of all rooms which are unavailable for the upcoming semester and which are protected for reasons designated by the House Manager. The RAC shall post the list of rooms which are designated as unavailable by the House Manager, but may not necessarily post the reasons such rooms are unavailable.

Room Preference Sheet

Several days before the start of the rooming process, the RAC issues a room preference sheet. All students interested in living in Baker fill out a preference sheet and submit it to the RAC by the deadline indicated by the RAC.

The room preference sheet will contain a summary of the information presented herein, with a pointer to the full policy.

The sheet asks students for their preferences in a number of categories, including floor, wing, neighbors, room type/size. The room preference sheet has a section where residents can indicate the relative preference for each category. Students may also list a rank order of specific rooms. The 2011 Roof Preference Sheet is attached to this document.

The sheet also has a phone number field. During the rooming meeting, residents should remain accessible by phone.

The Rooming Meeting

On each rooming day, the RAC enters into a closed meeting (the rooming meeting) to conduct the rooming process. The RAC reads each form in the order of the final ranking of each sub-pool.

The RAC than evaluates each application holistically, taking into account the preferences listed on the sheet, the balance and makeup of the dorm, preferences expressed by the House Masters, GRAs, House Manager, and Exec. If the RAC has additional questions, they will call the resident.

If someone lists a preference for a roommate, they will be placed together, no matter the roommates place in the ranking. The roommate may be in a different pool or sub-pool.

The RAC will attempt to room friends near each other.

At the end of each rooming day, the RAC posts the assignment of rooms and the list of rooms still available.

Preferences regarding Current Room/Floor

Current residents of a particular room have no automatic right towards their current room for either themselves (ie. squatting) or others (ie. willing), nor to their current floor. Though due to the seniority ordering, a resident is almost always able to keep his or her current room next year.

Transfer Assignment Process

Transfers are students who are moving into Baker House at a time other than the REX Assignment period, or the period before the Upperclassmen Assignment period.

MIT Housing notifies the RAC and the House Manager that a student is moving into Baker. The RAC will issue the student a room preference sheet. Upon request, the RAC provides the new resident with a list of available rooms. The House Manager and RAC work to will pick the best available room which matches the new resident's preferences and works logistically.

Work should be done to smooth the logistical burden of the process, while maintaining flexibility for students.

Summer Freshmen Temp Room Assignment Process

MIT Housing sends the RAC a list of students that have been assigned Baker in the Summer Housing Lottery. MIT Housing also sends information about the student's preferences, as collected during the summer housing lottery, to the RAC (the summer preferences).

The rooming committee shall assign freshmen randomly to temporary rooms, while avoiding clear conflicts of compatibility from the student's summer preference sheet. Students have an opportunity to remain with their roommates or find new ones during the post-REX Freshmen Assignment Process.

If a student requests a specific roommate, they will be matched with that roommate.

Post-REX Freshmen Room Assignment Process

During REX, the RAC advises freshmen to look for compatible roommates.

After REX, all incoming Baker freshmen (including those assigned to Baker in the Summer Housing Lottery and those assigned to Baker in the REX Lottery) gather in front of Baker House at a designated time. At that time, Exec and the RAC introduce themselves and the rooming process. Exec and the RAC will hold an ice-breaker event (to be defined by the Exec and the RAC) before the freshmen are handed the rooming sheet. The goal of this event is to introduce the students to Baker and to each other. The event should be somewhat structured to make sure that every (including shy) new Bakerite meets each other. Freshmen are encouraged to pick roommates with similar sleep schedules, and who share their expectations about partying.

Exec and the RAC will help students mingle to find a roommate. Exec and the RAC will make it clear that freshmen should take their time to find the right roommates. As the process winds down, Exec and the RAC will be more involved in helping students meet each other. The goal is for every first year to select at least one other first year that they would be interested in rooming with.

Freshmen fill out the same Room Preference Sheet, as described above. If freshmen want to live together, they staple their sheets together to form a group. Freshmen must only fill out only one preference sheet for their group.

The RAC then enters into a Rooming Meeting, as described before. The RAC first assigns freshmen with valid medical or other requirements, filed through the MIT Housing Office. The RAC then assigns 4-person groups to quads. The RAC then assigns other students according to a holistic process. Unlike the Upperclassmen process, the applications are not reviewed in a specified order. Groups are not broken up, but other freshmen may be added to a group. For example, a two person group may be assigned a triple with a third person.

The RAC then posts the room assignments that night.

Gender

Baker House is a co-ed dorm. Students shall not be segregated by gender by either floor, or section of the floor. Instead, effort should be made to intersperse males and female rooms.

Only students of the same gender may be assigned to share a room.

Switching

If students work out a mutual switch, the RAC will honor the switch.

Exec Meetings

From time to time, the RAC shall come to Exec Meetings to keep Exec informed about the rooming process. In particular, the RAC should come to the meeting before the opening of the Upperclassmen Selection Process.

Appendix

Figure 1 Room Sub-Pools

Figure 2 2011 RAC Application

Figure 3 2011 Upperclassmen Room Preference Sheet

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