UCD sorry for glitch in campus residence application process

Thousands of students sent emails seeking rooms but system failed to give ‘reliable ranking’

Students on the UCD campus in Belfield. The  college has apologised to students after  issues emerged with a system used to process applications for on campus accommodation.  Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times.

Students on the UCD campus in Belfield. The college has apologised to students after issues emerged with a system used to process applications for on campus accommodation. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times.

Wed, Jul 9, 2014, 19:50

University College Dublin has apologised to students affected by a technical glitch while applying for campus accommodation.

Hundreds of applicants attempted to use an email system for the allocation of rooms for existing students on a first-come, first-served basis which involved students sending an email.

More than 10,000 emails from about 2,500 students were logged in the first three minutes of the process but a UCD spokesman said “the system did not deliver a reliable ranking of emails as anticipated.”

He said the college also discovered that a number of emails from students were not included in the system.

The spokesman said considerable efforts had been made to correct the ranking “but the results are still inconsistent and we can not validate the outcome”.

He said the college had decided to “resort to a random allocation of 638 room offers” to the full list of names received before the deadline, which was at 5pm on June 13th.

“An email of this notice has been sent to all students on this list confirming that their application for accommodation was received and that they have been included within the list for the random allocation of places for accommodation.”

The Irish Times last month revealed that UCD was increasing the price of its campus accommodation by almost 13 per cent, the highest increase of all the Dublin colleges.

For example, yearly rent for accommodation at Belgrove, a block of apartments on campus, is set to rise from €4,470 to €5,050 while Roebuck Hall, another on-campus residence, is set to increase from €5,540 to €6,260.

The random allocation process for rooms will now take place tomorrow and students will be able to view the resulting ranking online on the same day. The room offers process will resume on Monday.

“In an attempt to make amends to affected students, the University has taken the decision to bring forward the allocation of an additional 144 rooms, which are currently under refurbishment and will become available in January 2015. These rooms, for semester two, will be offered on a random basis to this group of students once the allocation is complete,” added the spokesman.

In a statement on their Facebook page, UCD Student’s Union said it had pushed for a fair resolution but “there was no equitable way to allocate the rooms given the systematic failure of the application process.”