Dave, we’re not exactly on the same page in terms of terminology. Technically the house affiliation system lasted until 1996, though most discussions at Williams focus on 1980 as the year the house affiliation system broke down with the elimination of house dining recommended as a cost-saving measure by an ad hoc committee on residential life chaired by Don Gifford. More importantly, as I understand it, by 1980 a change made in 1976 that allowed students to request a housing transfer had more or less created the situation that we have today.

Quoting from the Record in 1980:

The exodus of students – predominately sophomores – from Mission Park and the Berkshire Quad lends credence to the ‘typical’ housing scenario: sophomore year Mission Park or Berkshire Quad; junior-senior years: Greylock or Row Houses.

This is certainly what the situation is today, and it is the one that I am advocating we move away from.

As far as I’m concerned, at the end of freshman year you get assigned a house and you live in that house until you graduate. Transferring, which apparently became the norm by 1980, would only be an option in the most extreme of cases — maybe a handful a year.

Dave, I don’t know what your situation was. If you lived in Carter for all three years then that is certainly what I’m proposing. As I understand it, transferring had become very common by 1980. Even if you didn’t transfer — even if not one person who lived with you in Carter transferred — I still think the prevalence of moving from house to house attacks the very premise of the system that existed from the end of frats until 1980, which is that house affiliation be a major, defining aspect of residential life.

Incidentally, I’m also in favor of bringing back house dining a few times a week, but that’s apparently too expensive for the College nowadays and is completely out of the question.

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