NU moves remaining housing selection to PAWS


File photo by Scotty Schenck

East Village, a high rise residence hall, opened in January 2015.

Charlie Wolfson, news staff

Northeastern announced Sunday that all students who were set to select Fall 2020 housing on Tuesday, the final selection day, will instead be put through the PAWS, or Placing Assistance With Staff, selection system and will be unable to choose their own housing through the group selection process. These students will be guaranteed housing of some kind.

The decision came during a tumultuous time on campus as students learned yesterday that they must vacate campus housing by Tuesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given these circumstances, we are cancelling the final day of group selection for Fall 2020, as we would like to make sure the focus is getting students home or to other accommodations,” read an email sent to affected students at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. “All students who have not yet selected housing will participate in the Housing Selection and Placement Process through Placement Assistance With Staff (PAWS). PAWS is a routine part of Northeastern’s Housing Selection & Placement Process, and you are still guaranteed university housing for Fall 2020.”

The PAWS process is normally used by students who don’t wish to independently form a group to fill a housing block, or who are dissatisfied with the remaining options at their selection time. Students fill out a questionnaire based on interests and preferences and are placed into an empty bed space accordingly. Groups that had planned on selecting housing together can indicate that on their PAWS form, and the housing department will try to keep groups together.

For a number of students who were set to select housing Tuesday, the chance to live with friends or acquaintances next year is in some degree of doubt, and the chance to choose specific buildings or rooms is off the table.

As Sunday’s email notes, the PAWS process is usually completed by the end of summer — while group selection housing is completed in March. This will leave these students without knowledge of their Fall 2020 housing situation for much longer than they expected. The email also indicates, though, that the process will be started earlier this year due to the circumstances.

The email was sent 30 minutes after the housing office and phone line closed at 3 p.m., making it hard for affected students to have questions answered and preventing The News from reaching the department for comment. The university has not responded to several requests for comment.

This is a developing story. Please email [email protected] with any further information.