ROAR server crashes while assigning housing

Because freshmen receive priority, upperclassmen scrambled for housing.
ROAR faced issues with the amount of traffic received on its website after opening to allow students to select room assignments. MU issued a public apology after several students had problems using ROAR and weren't able to select a room for the next school year.

The Department of Residential Life sent out a statement of apology through Facebook to students who encountered temporary problems while using ROAR to find room assignments in the last couple of weeks.

Residential Life Director Frankie Minor said the issue was with the amount of traffic the data server had while new students navigated through the system.

Minor said there are three priority groups students are placed into based on the date of application. The students who send their materials by Oct. 31 are part of the first priority group. Students who send their application by Dec. 31 are in the second priority group and those who send materials after December are in the third group.

"About 56 percent of the applicants qualified for that first group and we had higher traffic at that time," Minor said.

The department called the Division of Information Technology and the problem was resolved within 5 1/2 hours, Minor said.

DoIT Director Terry Robb said ROAR assigned more than 1,100 students with housing within the first 43 minutes, but there were two incidents that occurred after.

"During the first incident, we needed an increase of the number of processes on the database," Robb said. "In the second incident, (ROAR) stopped working with the database."

He said the issue was cleared once DoIT shut the server down for 20 minutes but they do not know why ROAR stopped functioning.

Minor said the department understands the frustration many students and parents felt when attempting to use the system.

"We were frustrated, too, because we saw it happen," he said. "But, we were powerless to control it because we were locked out of the system too."

Minor said freshmen are the only group of students who are guaranteed housing when enrollment has increased.

"We house close to 85 to 95 percent of the freshman class," Minor said. "If the enrollment of freshman goes up, then our demand for our spaces for those students go up."

Sophomore Christina Hendrix said she realizes freshmen need housing, but she does not think it is fair for them to have first priority.

"I understand they want freshman to get more active (on campus)," Hendrix said. "But, I thought, since I was older, I should've gotten a pick."

Minor said there has been a significant increase in the number of returning students requesting housing.

"I think students are satisfied with the physical facilities but also with the experience that they're getting," Minor said.

Hendrix said she decided last year she would live on campus this year for convenience and to improve her grades. A friend who lived in Mark Twain residence hall requested for Hendrix to stay with her.

"She got to get her contract and her room," Hendrix said.

ROAR e-mailed Hendrix and told her she was assigned to live on campus. She attempted to sign up for a room, but was unable to when she logged into ROAR.

"ROAR said I couldn't sign a contract on April 4," Hendrix said. "But it said (on the website) you could sign up between the dates April 4 and April 7."

She said she was disheartened when the department told her more than 7,000 freshmen were on the waiting list.

"It really screwed up my plan because I didn't have a plan B," Hendrix said. "I really wanted to live on campus."

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