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Fewer wait for grad housing

By Lakshmana Rao

Incoming graduate students had a much easier time finding on-campus housing this year than in previous years.

According to Queen Zena, an administrative assistant at the housing office, new graduate students were asked if they would prefer to be housed on campus. Dormitory space was given to almost all of those who asked for it, Zena said. "Currently, the maximum waiting list number for fresh applicants for admission to any graduate housing complex is 40," she added.

This is a sharp decline from last year, when the waiting list was over 150 names long.

This year marks the completion of the first year of a new graduate housing policy. According to this policy, new graduate students are given one-year untenured housing on campus, after which they have to apply for tenured housing spots.

Many of this year's new graduate students agree that they did not have much difficulty in finding on-campus housing. "I was assured of a spot at Ashdown House in early summer this year," said Ethan McKinney, a new graduate student in political science.

Ravi Sundaram G, a new student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, was not given a housing assignment, but was told to apply as soon as he arrived on campus. Only one day after doing so, he was given a permanent housing assignment in Tang Hall.

Housing scare is unrealistic

"The realities of the housing situation are far different from the impression that we were given before our arrival," said Manoj Keshavan G, who will be studying in the Department of Ocean Engineering.

"I was told by the housing office that on-campus housing was almost impossible [to get] when I contacted them on [the] 19th of August, but was allocated housing a day after my arrival here on [the] 25th [of] August," he added.

"The basic information supplied by the housing office regarding the details of facilities available in each house are insufficient to make a proper choice of housing," Mckinney said. "I could have come in better prepared for my accommodation if the proper details of kitchen availability and the bed sizes had been available to me beforehand," he explained.

All new graduate students must check in with the housing office before receiving their assignment. "There are long queues waiting outside the office these days. The housing office may serve the new graduate students better if they increase their staff during these peak periods," Keshavan suggested.

New graduate students who arrive early on campus are temporarily accommodated in the Ashdown House barracks. "The barracks are fairly comfortable, but lack the facilities to shave or shower," Sundaram said.

"There should be greater care given to the condition of the rooms before they are offered to new students," Mckinney said.

"The rooms are well cleaned and vacuumed before they are occupied by a new person in [the] University of California, Berkeley, where I did my undergraduate education. Also, information about the layout of the house should be handed to students immediately on arrival so as to facilitate their movement in the house," he added.