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Transfer Students Forced to Live in North Campus Lounges

Transfer Students Forced to Live in North Campus Lounges

According to the article titled “Transfer Students Forced to Live in North Campus Lounges”, published by The Cornell Daily Sun, 30 transfer students were forced to live in student lounges of  two of the dorms, converted into temporary housing. This was due to ‘an exceptionally high demand for housing among incoming residents.’ At the time when the article was published, there were still 10 transfer students living in freshman lounges and one of the student reported that he was placed in a dorm that was not of his choice. Furthermore he told The Cornell Daily Sun that there are empty dorms for students.

Matching students to dorm rooms can be seen as matching markets, where students are matched with dorm rooms, taking their preference into consideration. The condition where all students are matched with a dorm room is called perfect matching, and optimal assignment can be achieved through maximizing the total valuation of assigned dorm room. At Cornell, freshmen and transfer students are guaranteed housing and they are to give top 3 preferences (single, double, triple, quads, program house, etc.). The students’ top 3 preferences can be seen as valuations of the dorm room and prices for the rooms are set by the university before students are matched to the dorm room, meaning the price are likely not to be optimal Market-Clearing Price (also, it is impossible to obtain as students do not input the their own valuation for each dorm room). So setting prices aside, all students are matched with their dorm rooms through a computer algorithm that tries to be as close to the market clearing state as possible (some students are matched to rooms that they are not put in their top 3 preferences showing that marketing clearing state is likely not to be achieved).

In the article, it is stated that there are ’empty dorm rooms’ but 30 of the transfer students were forced to live in student lounges temporary. One of the speculation that can be made in perspective of  matching market (even though it is unlikely) is that the algorithm that matches students to dorm rooms, dumped 30 transfer students as taking their preferences into account, the algorithm was too far from achieving market clearing state (freshmen got higher priority than transfer students). As their preferences could not be accommodated they have been put into temporary housing and possibly have been manually assigned to the available dorm room, trying to accomodate their preference in human judgement.

The article does not say much about the reason to why they were forced to live in student lounges, expect that there was ‘exceptionally high demand’, it is also likely that simply freshmen got priority in room assignment, and with some room in reserve for other reasons, there were simply no rooms left for 30 transfer students. Whatever the reason is, I personally hope the last 10 transfer students were assigned to a proper dorm room.


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