ResEd Software Crashes During Housing Selection


Abe Frato

ResEd has suffered multiple software issues in the past couple of months.

Recently, the Office of Residential Education suffered a software error that led to miscalculated housing lottery times followed by a housing selection software crash. To address these errors, ResEd moved students’ housing selection times, removed students from their selected housing, and paused the selection process. These issues coincide with significant turnover within ResEd.

According to Assistant Vice President and Dean of Residential Education and Campus Life Auxiliary Services Mark Zeno, ResEd’s housing selection software had miscalculated several students’ projected semesters in residence, which is the primary determinant for students’ housing selection times. This error resulted in some students having housing selection lottery times earlier than what they would normally be assigned.

“You never want to have a first-year student getting into priority housing [instead] of a senior who’s been here for three years,” Zeno said.

Once ResEd realized this error, former Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Education Andy Sadouskas began individually verifying each student’s projected semesters in residence. ResEd then started postponing the housing selection times of students who were projected to have more semesters in residence than accurate but had not chosen housing yet.

College second-year Evie Samaha, who ResEd incorrectly determined to have six semesters in residence, received an email from ResEd April 20 notifying her that her housing selection appointment had been postponed until May 2 due to the error.

Other students affected by the same miscalculation who had already selected Village Housing received emails from ResEd Sunday evening notifying them that they had been removed from their selected housing and would need to reselect housing via the housing selection portal about 12 hours later, at 9 a.m. the next morning.

“I think [Sadouskas] was trying to speed up the process so that students could get back in as soon as possible to select their housing and that the timeline wouldn’t get disrupted,” Zeno said.

College second-year Neena Duphare expressed frustration with this short notice. According to Duphare, her housing group had chosen a Village House on April 19, almost two weeks prior to receiving this email.

“I feel very frustrated because … we were set on living in that house,” she said. “I think it was especially frustrating that the new selection time was less than 24 hours from the time they notified us.”

College second-year Nevaan Bawa, a member of Duphare’s housing group, echoed these sentiments.

“That was a really stressful 12 hours to me,” said Bawa. “I was debating different places to stay.”

ResEd sent another email on Monday, May 2 at 9:42 a.m. to notify students that the housing selection process would be paused temporarily due to a housing selection software crash. Samaha was one of the students that could not select housing on May 2 due to the crash.

“There was an email that [the website] crashed like an hour after I tried to do everything,” Samaha said. “My sister called the office twice and they didn’t pick up both times. They picked up on the third time, but it was a while before we knew what was happening.”

In an effort to continue the housing process, ResEd scheduled new housing selection times for students who could not choose housing due to this crash. While students with four or fewer projected semesters in residence were originally supposed to select housing via the online portal, these students will now have housing selection appointments on Zoom instead. According to Zeno, ResEd has only scheduled the next two weeks of housing selection appointments at this point.

“Students will still have their [housing selection appointment] time,” said Zeno. “It may be a day or two later, but they’re still in their same order.”

To prevent future software issues, ResEd has moved forward in adapting a new housing selection

software. Although ResEd has not chosen which software it will use yet, Zeno hopes that the new system will be ready for the 2023–24 academic year housing selection process in spring 2023.

While ResEd’s correction of the miscalculation of projected semesters in residence is an attempt to increase fairness in the housing selection process, some students expressed concerns with the way ResEd has handled the situation.

Samaha expressed that the situation caused stress for her and her friends.

“I think it definitely could have been handled better,” she said. “I think people needed to be informed immediately that [the crash] was happening. It caused a lot of anxiety for me and my friends when we were trying to log on and nothing was loading and we didn’t know why.”

Bawa also expressed frustration because they had emailed ResEd to confirm their projected semesters in residence earlier in the selection process.

“I have three email confirmations that I had six semesters in residence,” they said. “I wasn’t sure how [semesters in residence] were calculated, but after I got multiple emails confirming that number, I stopped questioning it because I thought it would be correct.”

Besides software issues, understaffing in ResEd has also strained current staff members.

Sadouskas, Assistant Director for Housing Administration Kris Caccamise, and Area Coordinator for Theme Living Heather Shadle have vacated their positions within the past two months.

According to Zeno, ResEd now has four vacant positions, including Director of Housing Operations, who usually runs the housing selection process. This position has been open for about three weeks. ResEd will not replace Sadouskas and will instead elevate some Assistant Directors of Housing roles into Director roles to absorb some of Sadouskas’ prior responsibilities.

Sadouskas did not respond to the Review’s request for comment.