(Note: The following is a description of the plan to modify the selection process for the eating clubs that was approved by eight of the 10 clubs by the end of December. In early January, it was decided to postpone any changes for a year to refine and test the system and to allow additional time for the remaining two clubs – Ivy and Charter – to consider their participation in the plan.)
By no later than Sunday, Jan. 30, each sophomore interested in joining a selective club registers with that club for bicker and submits a list of the participating open clubs in ranked order of preference with the understanding that the list will be utilized only if he or she is not invited to join the club at which he or she bickers. [As of Dec. 24, 2010, all open clubs except Charter are participating, so the maximum number of open clubs would be four.] Students would be permitted to list any number of open clubs from zero to four, but would be encouraged to list all four.
At the same time, all other sophomores interested in joining a club submit a list of the participating open clubs in ranked order of preference. These students will be able to indicate a group affiliation if they wish, and if so they will be placed as a group.
Each open club determines its maximum section size. The maximum size can be set at a specific number, but it also could be set at the number of students who rank the club first if it wishes to do so.
Each selective club operates a bicker process of its own choosing and determines which students it wishes to invite to join the club.
By a specified time [probably 8 a.m. Friday morning] each selective club informs the computer which sophomores who bickered at that club are not being invited to join the club and the computer activates the ranked lists of these students. The selective clubs defer notification of invited members until an agreed-upon common notification time.
Shortly after registration closes on Sunday, each open club can learn which students under step #2 have ranked that club first. The open clubs may host events during the week to which they invite these students. It is understood that if a club is oversubscribed, not every student who ranked it first will be able to be placed at that club unless the club elects to increase its maximum size, which it would be free to do.
On Friday morning a computer program places all students for whom it has ranked lists in their highest ranked club in which spaces are available. Since students who bickered are considered to have designated the club at which they bickered their first choice, their lists of open clubs are considered by the computer to rank them beginning with 2. In the matching process described below, they are placed beginning in the second round.
In the first round, an open club may submit a ranked order preference list if it wishes to do so, in which case the first students assigned to that club will be students who ranked it first and are on the club list. If spaces remain in that club after the preference list is applied, and in all open clubs in which preference lists are not submitted, spaces will first be filled by students who ranked the club first, up to the club’s maximum section size. If the number of students ranking a club first exceeds this maximum, random selection is used to reduce the number to the maximum.
Any students not placed in their first-choice club in the first round would move to a second round, joining students who were unsuccessful in bicker. In this round students are placed in their second-ranked choice, with random selection again used in cases where the number of second-ranked choices pushes a club beyond its maximum size.
Students not placed in the second round are then carried over into a third round and subsequent rounds if necessary.
All students whose ranked order of preference included all of the open clubs are guaranteed that they will be placed in their highest-ranking club where spaces were available. Students who submitted partial lists will be placed in their highest-ranking club if placement occurred during one of the rounds for which they listed a club. At the end of the process, the computer will place all students who could not be placed earlier because they did not submit full lists and all students who elected not to list any of the open clubs. This final round of placements will be done by random distribution among any open clubs in which spaces remain available.
When the process is completed, the computer has lists of students for each of the participating open clubs. These provisional lists are sent to the officers of the clubs so they can check for discrepancies or errors.
At an agreed-upon time (ideally no later than noon), notifications go out to all students from the club to which they have been admitted. It is critical to the process that all notifications go out at the same time, and that every student has a placement. Except for the students placed in the final round, all students will have been placed in their highest-ranking club with spaces available.
When students are notified of their placements, there should be a procedure by which they can indicate whether they accept their placement and intend to join the club. This could be done via a response form that accompanies the notification from the club.
The clubs should agree on a policy regarding appeals, which probably should be limited to cases involving real error (e.g., information was coded incorrectly). This proposed process does not preclude fall bicker nor does it prohibit individual requests from students to move from one club to another in cases where clubs are willing to accommodate such requests.