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Roompicks

    The Secretary logs from friday, June 5, 1931, "the Blacker House men assembled in room 201 T for the purpose of choosing their rooms. The Juniors were first to draw rooms, followed by the Sophomores, and Freshman last. The order of drawing of these three groups was determined by lot." The random devices was a shuffled deck of cards. Drawing was Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, ace down to 2, with 2 of spades higher than the ace of hearts. It is not written, but based on subsequent roompicks and roompick rule changes, it is likely that the four elected officers (Pres, VP, Secretary and Treasurer) picked at the top of house (ie above the seniors) in that ranked order.

    In a House meeting on May 28, 1935 there was discussion on room pick rules. At the time grad students picked after seniors. The rule was ammended so that grad students that had lived in Blacker as undergrads for 2 or more years would draw rooms after the present juniors.

    May 26, 1937: at a House meeting a motion was made (and passed) that people are not allowed to keep their current room for the next year. This means that all rooms were open for drawing.

    House Meeting 4/10/1939: Connecting Rooms will be picked as doubles (this is 8 and 9 in Pub/Upper Docs and 3 and 4 in Swamp/Lower Docs)

    House meeting 4/19/1939: The existing rule that transfers pick at the end of their class after two terms and with their class after five terms was applied to non-resident members. This was amended to allows terms of non-residents to count as credit for the 2 and 5 term sipulation. Passed by house vote.

    House meeting 5/31/1939: Discussion on adjoining rooms in Doc's alley. One defeated motion was that the 3 rooms be picked as a triple. In the end the motion that passed as that the UCC got to pick one room and the other two were open for picking.

    House meeting 4/8/1940: A question was raised of why does the Vice President pick before the seniors? The answer was that the rule was established by the Institute when the Houses were formed. (presumably the president picks before the Veep).

    House Meeting 5/20/1940: When picking for doubles, a motion was made that if the pairing is senior-junior (or similar pairing), then the person of the higher class draws with his class. If both are in the same class then both draw and the higher card wins. The motion was passed. A defeated motion revealed that if a pair draws a double and then decided against it, then the both pick at the bottom of their class. In this room pick, the two remaining of three adjoining rooms in Doc's Alley will be picked as a double.

    Roompick rules May 12, 1941:
    • All rooms are open for drawing.
    • Doubles are drawn for first. Those who refuse doubles after having drawn for them draw at the end of their class for singles.
    • If two men drawing for a double are of different class, the man in the higher class draws; if they are in the same class, both men draw, and use the higher card.
    • Men draw in groups, according to class and residence in the house. The highest card in each group chooses first.
    These rules were moved and passed.

    March 6, 1946 (Blacker re-opened March 5): It was decided that numbered cards would determine ones priority in his group (Sneiors, Juniors, etc)

    May 16, 1950: It seems that at this point in time UCCs picked rooms after elected officers, but before the rest of the House. Each alley must have a UCC and the UCCs are selected before room picks. Also to note is that rooms cost differment amounts based on daily fees, so there were expensive rooms and cheap rooms. A UCC meeting on this date wondered, does the treasurer, who chooses before UCCs, have the right to select a roomate who is a UCC, thus automatically selecting the alley for that UCC? The UCC commiteee decided that an officer did not have this right.

    May 26, 1953 House meeting: Motion to remove room picks for offices as of Sept 1, 1953. Defeted by large majority. A motion to make the Athletic Manager an elected officer failed. A motion to give the Atletic Manager a pick at the head of his class passed. A motion to give room picks to ASCIT officers failed.

    Mar 1, 1954 House meeting. A motion to remove picks for House offices was seconded and tabled for later discussion. The same topic was brought up in the April 29, 1954 House meeting. This motion was tabled again by a vote of 25 to 7.

    April 26, 1955 House meeting: Motion to give ASCIT offices picks after House officers was tabled. The issue was raised in the House meeting of May 18, 1955. The motion was admended to include class officers. It was also amended to include Chemical Engineering officers. The motion was defeated.

    Jan 5, 1956 ExCom Meeting: When an an incoming sophomore moves into Blacker, should he pick at bottom of house or bottom of class? A motion for bottom of class was passed.

    Feb 21, 1956, House Meeting: Moved that Keeper of the Cans not get a room pick. Passed. Moved that the Pope not get a room pick. Passed. Moved that the Librarian not get a room pick. Motion defeated. This implies that the Pope and KcC had a room pick starting before 1956.

    May 14, 1956 UCC Meeting: "Johnson said that Ricketts has enough vacancies to make doubles into singles. He also suggested that Blacker next year give room preferences (ie getting onto campus) to present non-residents rather than next year's frosh. Black pointed out that we have 22 places that must be reserved for frosh. After these are available other vacancies can be given to non-residents."

    May 16, 1956 ExCom: "Baer said that there are some house members who think that Social Chariman and Athletic Manager shoud get one room preference for each office instead of one for each man elected. Stern said that preference should be given to all officers or to none. Discussion. Baer moved that room preferenves be given to two social charmen and two athletic managers. For: 3; against 3. Hall then moved that room prefereces be given to all officers. For: 5; against; 1."

    May 21, 1956, ExCom: "Goff moved that the athletic managers be given room lredfernecve at the head of the house instead of the head of their class as at present. Their preferecnes would follow the social chairman." It was seconded and amended to give the librarian room preference behind the athletic managers. Seconded. Motion passed.

    Jan 25, 1963 ExCom: the possibility of moving officer picks to top of class instead of top of house was brought up, but no one was interested.

    May 27, 1963 ExCom: There had been many complaints on the excess numers of room picks for minor officers, especially each librarian getting a room pick. It was moved that the librarians pick at top of their class starting in 1963-4 academic year. Passed. Moved that both Athletic Chairmen pick after the Social Chairmen. Passed. Moved that each UCC can have a single in their alley if they want. Passed.

    April 1, 1964 ExCom: Some members of house feel that officers don't do enough to warrent full room preference (ie top of house). Some said that this should be decided by the House, but the ExCom decided that they were best to decide this. Motioned that Pres and VP be #1 and #2 in house. Passed. Motion that Sec, Tres and Soc Chairmen be in that order [3, 4, 5+ ] (with Soc Chairs determining order among themselves). Passed. Motioned that Ath Managers pick at top of class with this reviewed next year based on their performance. Passed. Motion for Librarians to pick at top of class, but behind Athletic Managers. Passed. Motion to review roompick system 1st term next year. Passed.

    Open Excom meeting on May 8, 1964: Some members of the house have a grievence about officers picking top of House. Some said that Blacker needs a Constitution to prevent these excesses. A House poll was scheduled for 2nd term 1964-5, but the Secretary Logs volume 4 is no longer existant to record the results of this poll.

    By 1970 all officers picked at the head of their class, not head of house. Though there still was rigid order of picks according to office. Cards may or may not have been used to randomly assign order among a class.

    Roompick rules as of 1989:
    • Roompicks are run by the secretary who has all power to resolve roompick disputes.
    • Picking order is all Seniors, then all Juniors, then all Sophomores, then all Frosh.
    • Random order will be determined by drawing a card from a shuffled standard deck of cards (with replacement so each person draws from 52 cards). The order is bridge order (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs) with ace high and two low and each full suit is higher then the lower suit. A two of hearts is higher then the ace of diamonds. If there is a tie, then the two draw a second card to break the tie
    • Certain offices of the House receive a room pick which places them in a catagory at the head of their class. Officers are ranked with the president first in class with the rest of the officers with picks drawing cards to see where they fall in their class.
    • Officers with one pick per office, per roompick are President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Librarian, Damage Control, Historian. If an office is jointly held then the two must decide among themselves who has the pick.
    • The Athletic Team and Social Team get two picks per team per room pick. The teams must choose among themselves who has a pick.
    • Superseniors pick as Seniors
    • Transfer students pick as frosh in their first term at Tech. After that they pick as a regular member of their intended graduating class.
    • In a fall room pick the person with the highest pick selects their, room, then the next highest, etc. When picking a double or triple, the person who picks it must name their roommates. The Hovse must set aside a certain number of rooms, N, for the incoming freshmen, so the drawing continues until N spaces remain. Anyone that does not get a room is "kicked off campus." This was first an issue in the fall 1989 room pick.
    • In a room pick that is not the fall room pick, most people have rooms, and there are a few vacancies. Typically only people who intend to enter the roompick will draw cards. When the roompick starts the secretary may offer up rooms one at at time or see who hast the highest pick that may want to pick a room. People who already have rooms may pick a better room, thus opening their current room. If a double or triple splits for any reason, then the remaining people in the room have first opportunity to reform the double or triple without picking the room. Picking will contiunue until all spaces are filled or no one else remains who wants a room.
    • Picks can not force a mixed-sex double. For example if there is a double and a single left and two men and a woman left to pick. Even if either man has a higher pick, the men get the double and the woman the single. People can willingly form mixed-sex doubles.
    • If it is known that there are more spaces available than people that want them, then they may be picked at under capacity (ie take a double as single) as long as there are no groups that want to pick them at capacity and that room has a vacancy.
    • House of the Munth has its own rules for filling vacancies. They'd invite people to move to month and used seniority in Munth to determine picking order.


    The room housing crunch became more of an issue for the fall 1990 room pick. Blacker was loosing Slasher House as off campus housing. Also a rule change in off campus housing (where one one got a room the could "squat" in it for the rest of their time as an undergrad), to where these rooms were picked every year. In the old system, once one got a good room, you stayed in it until graduating. Thus there was not a lot of flux in people moving on and off campus and left on campus spaces. The new system meant that obscure off campus upper classmen had better chances for a good room living on campus than off. Everyone picked in the off campus lottery. Seniors just in case they got a good pick, Juniors and Sophomores in case they were going to get kicked off. This greatly reduced available spots in Blacker. The Hovse was facing kicking the entire Sophomore class off campus.

    A Hovse meeting was held in spring 1990 to see if a fairer picking system could be worked out. On issue to be worked on was House of the Munth. If two different groups of 10 people wanted to live in Munth which should get it? Did it matter that some lived in Munth the prior year? Why not have people pick at Munth like any other room? The current and former members of Munth argued that Munth had a unique culture and picking rooms could have dire social consequences. In the end the Hovse decided to let people pick rooms at Munth just like any other room. The meaty issue was sophomores. After discussion it was determined the keeping a few sophomores on campus was a good thing, even if that meant kicking off a few juniors. The minimum number was determined to be 4. A typical frosh class in Blacker at the time was around 27. The Hovse then determined that the President must live on campus. Other officers living off campus would be inconvienent, not fatal. To be fair the Hovse passed a rule such that with the exception of a sitting president, no person would be kicked off campus twice before every single member of their class had been kicked off. Those 4 "saved" sophomores were then the first to be kicked off the following year if juniors needed to be kicked off. As an added incentive superseniors (all Moles over 4 years) now picked in a class of themselves above seniors in off campus alleys such as Munth and Bonzai, but picked as seniors on campus. Living in an off-campus alley counted as a term off campus.

    Within a few years the Hovse had a rule change that anyone with an officer pick could not be kicked off campus. Frosh officer positions (such as Librarian, Social Team and Ath Team) became much desired jobs. It also meant that some people (those who were in effect less popular) got kicked off campus twice. This caused some bitter feelings.

    In the mid 1990s Secretaries substituted various other randomizing devices to replace the bridge deck. One secretary couldn't shuffle cards, so everyone rolled 3d6 (generting numbers of 111 to 666). Another Secretary used a tarot deck.

    In 1992 there was some discussion at a Hovse meeting to determine if ASCIT officers should be given picks (as other Houses did). It was pointed out that since the IHC Chairman was currently a Mole the vote was in effect to give him a pick or not. He suggested that they make the rule take effect the following year. The rule of giving picks to ASCIT officers was not passed.

Page last modified 31 January 2007 FAQ author: Benjamin Smith (fr: 1989, grad 1994).
version: 2.1
Last modified: 19 January 2017, Copyright 2015
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