With the students returning to college, the scramble to get convenient schedules or to sweet-talk the professor into adding a late registrant, or to upgrade a dorm assignment, unofficial markets emerge.  Here's how the social justice warriors at tony Kenyon College reacted.  (Yes, more from the archives.  I had other topics to deal with in the spring of 2008.)
It's not exactly cheating. More like crafty dealing, says Alicia Dugas, Kenyon College's assistant dean of students for housing and residential life. Whatever you call paying money for a desirable residence hall lottery number, Dugas and many students at Kenyon College want the practice to end.

Legislation introduced by Kenyon students and passed this week by the student body disallows beginning-of-the-term room switches that are often necessary to complete such transactions. Dugas said the vote is a sign of the widespread concern about an underground market that demands as much as $500 for a favorable housing number.

“It sets up a dichotomy between haves and have nots," she said. "Students are paying a lot of money to get into the nicest housing units, and some are feeling a lot of pressure to sell their numbers to afford tuition and things for the year."
All of which prompted Professor Munger to ask, "say WHAAAAAT?"
Denying poor students a chance to sell their number for cash reduces the pressure? They get tuition discounts? No. They still have to pay. All Kenyon is considering doing is preventing students from being able to make some money to pay their bills.
Kenyon administrators have control over the initial endowments (think of them as Red Cross parcels in a Stalag Luft) but there's still a separating hyperplane.  And as the one commenter at Inside Higher Ed noted, perhaps it's better for the less wealthy students to traffic in their dorm endowments rather than to traffic on their natural endowments.

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