Columbia Housing has announced today that last week’s housing lottery came reversed due to a technical mistake. The cause of the mishap was a miscommunication between the StarRez system algorithm to assign lottery numbers and Columbia’s housing selection system; in the former, higher lottery numbers take priority, in the latter, it is the opposite.
The department apologized for the mistake, but stated that it was the StarRez’s servers’ fault, since “their website was under heavy load every time we checked it to review their algorithms.” Given its imminent deadline and limited time to sort out the complex system, housing had to assume the systems were compatible. Since it didn’t work out, emergency measures are now being taken.
Housing is fixing the problem by reassigning everyone’s lottery number in reverse—to figure out yours, subtract your current one from 3000. Essentially, priority will be given to those with a higher lottery number. This change also applies to class-based priority numbers, where you need to subtract your number from 40; the best numbers are still the highest ones in this case. Housing said that this is how they meant to do it all along; seniors deserve lower priority because bad housing will allow them to “get used to the real world,” and sophomores get better rooms because they still need a little bit of “babysitting.”
However, to correct for the inconvenience housing is adding a third number to each person’s housing selection info. This third number can be any real number between 1 and 7,394.27285. This number exists to “give students a sense of comfort” and “adjust for the stress caused by the intricacies of the housing selection process.” It has been called the Individual Assuagement for Increased Trepidation due to Precipitous Residential Assignment Complexity Number, but can be more briefly addressed with the convenient acronym IAITPRACN. Housing has not yet explained its effect on the actual selection process, but plans to do so in the coming days with a series of e-mails and fliers, as well as a video contest.
Make sure to check the changes to your StarRez profile—for example, if you’re a sophomore your number may now be 930/30/2826.5782—as soon as the website allows you to. What are you supposed to do with that information? As it always goes with housing, you’re on your own.