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HomeEducationQueen's University condemns financially motivated room swaps

Queen’s University condemns financially motivated room swaps

Last Updated on July 26, 2021 by

Amidst the residence placement process, the Residence Life and Services Team at Queen’s University has condemned students participating in financially motivated room swaps.

The University’s residence placement process has traditionally involved students ranking their preferences for room types, following which the Residence Life and Services Team would assign students based on residence capacity and demand. 

This year, the University introduced a room self-selection process, allowing students to choose from available rooms across 17 residence buildings. The order of selection was lottery-based, leaving students who were assigned later times with a smaller selection.

In an effort to prioritize student preferences, the University has simultaneously piloted a new room swap initiative, allowing students to make mutually agreeable room exchanges prior to the move-in date.

Students are now taking to social media platforms including CourseLnk, Facebook, Raftr, and Discord, offering peers money to facilitate room swaps.

In one instance, a student offered peers $4,000 in cash in exchange for a room on main campus.

A student offering a cash incentive for a room swap via Instagram direct messages

A student post in the Queen’s Class of 2025 Facebook group

While the majority of such offers were made by students placed on West campus, some students placed on main campus made offers as well, offering financial incentives in exchange for a room in a newer residence building.

Students inquiring about cash incentives for room swaps on Reddit

The news of financially motivated room swaps upset some students who were waitlisted for a spot in residence.

“If you are complaining about a certain building or room you got for res, either main or west, you need to just be grateful that you even got a spot. I have no sympathy for you,” one student wrote on Reddit. “The few hundred students INCLUDING MYSELF who didn’t get a spot went through countless days, if not weeks of stress trying to find a place to live. we were literally left homeless to fend for ourselves.”

David C. Smith House, pictured above, is one of the most sought-after residences at Queen’s University

On July 23, the University’s Residence Life and Services Team sent an email to all incoming residents, condemning the monetization of the room swap process.

According to the email, the Residence Life and Services Team was “disappointed to see several students offering cash to encourage a swap” and that the University had considered canceling the pilot initiative due to this misconduct, calling the offers “inappropriate and contrary to the University’s values.” 

The email further announced that if “undue influence” or compensation of any kind occurs during a room swap and comes to the University’s attention, the students involved will face eviction from residence and other potential penalties under the Queen’s University Student Code of Conduct.

“While we understand that some of you may be feeling unsure about your room assignment, we really encourage you to give your new community a chance!” the Residence Life and Services Team wrote. “The residence experience is far more about the people, the connections you’ll make and new friendships, than where your room is physically located.”

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