Ballot

Corpus’ JCR room balloting system has two fundamental features:

  • Your ballot position is completely random (within the course-based pot system).
  • You have a free choice of room.

There are three ballots: a group ballot, for groups who want to live in the same flat, an individual ballot and a 9-month-contract ballot. You will be given a ballot score n, which means you will be the nth person to choose a room. Any students can choose any available room. In the individual ballot, the available rooms will include any rooms in flats not taken in the group ballot and any rooms not taken by people seeking a 9-month contract.

Group ballot

The group ballot system was revamped in 2018 to encourage people to form groups with their friends, not just those with the lowest ballot scores. This thus ends Corpus’ infamous gladiatorial spectacle of friends snaking each other over and over, which, though fun, was not conducive to good welfare. It also should also shorten the whole process.

If you have any queries, email the Accommodation Officer.

Here’s a quick summary of the entire process:

  • Friday of 8th week MT: The Accommodation Officer sends out the application form for 9-month contracts, with a closing date of Saturday 0th week HT. Completed forms are to be sent to the college’s Academic Registrar.
  • c. 2nd week: A master ballot list containing all students will be created. College will then confirm the 9-month contract holders, and these students, along with any who are living out, will be removed from the master ballot list.
  • 3rd week: The main ballot list, with the ranked order of the remaining students will be released to the entire JCR, along with all the available group ballot options (Lampl, Liddell, etc.). At this point, a separate ballot list for 9-month contract holders will also be released (confidentially, only to those in question).
  • 4th week: After a week allowing for student deliberations, the formal group ballot application process will open.
  • 5th week: The group ballot will be completed and the individual ballot takes place, as normal. At the end of the week, the final list of all rooms is sent to the JCR.

Now, here’s an in-depth explanation of how the formal group ballot application process works.

First round

In 4th week of Hilary Term, the Accommodation Officer (hereafter AO) invites JCR members to submit confidential group applications. These are to be sent to the AO by direct email, copying in all members in the intended group.

These emails must include:

  • The names and emails of all group members, and their ballot scores (I’ll be checking so no cheating).
  • The intended place of residency (i.e. Liddell, Lampl); further specifics will be taken into account but not guaranteed (e.g. Staircase X, Flat X).
  • All group members copied (cc’d) in to the email.
  • Any specific medical requirements that affect which flat you are applying for (e.g. ground floor flat) for wheelchair access, disabled toilet, etc.
  • A group name (optional) – it will help the AO keep track of otherwise mundane and repetitive lists of people, but also makes the whole ordeal slightly more fun and thus more bearable for all involved.

However:

  • Groups must completely fill the place they are balloting for (e.g. there must 5 people in a group applying for a 5-room flat).
  • Each individual JCR members can only be in one group application at a time. If any JCR member appears to the AO in more than one group email, without specific explanation (and a good reason) from the person themselves, the latest application received will be ignored in favour of the first received. To make this clear, changes to members of a group are not permitted once your application has been submitted, except under specific circumstances. (NB: “I forgot to tell my friends I was changing groups” is not a good reason. ‘Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine’ —Bob Carter)
  • In cases where there is more than one flat available in the same complex for the same number of
    applicants (i.e. identical Lampl 5-beds and Liddell 4-beds), flats are not applied for by name; they
    are applied for at random.

When two groups apply for the same flat, the lowest score wins.

After all group applications have been received within the time frame provided by the AO, aiming to satisfy as many people as possible in one go (i.e. maximum number of flats filled), all groups, successful or unsuccessful, are confidentially notified of their respective outcomes. At this point, if any same-number same-complex flats (Liddell 3- & 4-rooms and Lampl 5-rooms) are all full, the AO emails successful groups in score order asking which flat they want. This takes place whenever all these flats are full, at the AO’s discretion.

This is the end of the first round.

Second round

After the first round ends, the unsuccessful groups only are informed (confidentially, via bcc email) of which flats remain unoccupied. Applicants are then permitted to form new groups of a new size or composition, based on this information. A new group must contain at least 50% of the same members as were present in a group’s first round. There are no exceptions to this rule; the AO will have email records, and can tell if applicants are lying. For the purposes of this system, 50% rounds up. This means:

  • A group of 3 must have at least 2 members the same
  • A group of 4 must have at least 2 members the same
  • A group of 5 must have at least 3 members the same

Note that it is entirely possible (and indeed likely) that you can continue to ballot in the second round with most or all of the members of your first group. The necessity of changing groups sometimes is understood (that is the nature of the group ballot, after all), but this rule aims to keep it to a minimum.

After all group applications have been received within the time frame provided by the AO, an email is then sent to only second round applicants, both successful and unsuccessful. This is the same procedure as the first round.

This the end of the second round.

Third round

The AO reserves the right to a third round, at their discretion, at this point, should there be a possibility to fill otherwise empty rooms. This is done to prevent unnecessary welfare issues caused by splitting people up. An example of this might be that a single group of 4 is left unsuccessful after 2 rounds, and a flat of 3 or 5 remains unoccupied – here, the AO would approach this group confidentially and ask them to apply again, with their group adjusted accordingly.

After as many flats are filled as possible (some rooms can be left free, and put into individual ballot), an email is sent to the whole JCR. It includes the full list of filled flats, along with details of their occupants. In addition to this, the updated ballot list for the individual ballot is sent out. At this point, all successful group ballot applicants must, in their respective groups, email the AO informing them who is living in which room.

This is the end of third round, and the end of the group ballot process.

Individual ballot

There are five pots, from highest to lowest priority: A1, A2, B1, B2, and D.

Students are placed into these pots according to the number of exams they have that year. Students with no exams, such as second year PPEists or third year Classicists, are placed in the D pot. Students who have second year exams, other than Classicists, are placed in the B2 pot. Students with third year exams who had exams in second year and classicists are placed in B2 and A2. Students who have their finals in one sitting in their third year are placed in the A1 pot.

Students may ask the AO to change pots: for example, a mathematician who will have the “B2, then A2” schedule may request to change to “D, then A1”, thus swapping a more desirable second-year room for a more desirable third-year room.

Accommodation for the next year is chosen students ordered first by their group and then their placement within that group.