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NYU Won't Let Incoming Freshmen Pick Their Own Roommates Anymore

By Andrea Swalec | February 5, 2013 6:37am

MANHATTAN — Incoming NYU freshmen hoping to avoid the roommate from hell by sticking with tried-and-true high school friends will be out of luck this fall.

Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, the Greenwich Village-based university will no longer allow first-year students to select their own roommates. Instead, NYU will pair people up to create "geographic diversity," aiming for no two people from the same place to live together.

Rather than taking potential compatibility into account, the school's new housing policy will match up classmates in the seven first-year residence halls based on their home countries and states, encouraging newcomers to branch out instead of sticking with friends from back home, student affairs administrator Tom Ellett said Monday.

"We're looking at only geographic diversity," he said, adding that nearly 17 percent of NYU students this year are international students.

NYU quietly decided on the change — which the student blog NYU Local first reported Friday — this summer as part of its Global Network University initiative, which encourages students to study at the university's 10 international campuses, including in London, Paris, Shanghai and Accra, Ghana.

"[The housing policy] is a natural extension of what we're trying to do here," Ellett said.

Exceptions to the housing policy will be made for students who request lower-cost housing or who opt to live in theme-based housing, which includes options focused on volunteerism, media and "the meaning of food."

Meanwhile, the New School and Columbia University still allow freshmen to make roommate requests, according to their websites.