The Record published the second part of its series on alcohol at Williams. New editor-in-chief Bart Clareman ’05 is doing a great job. However, these articles and the recent selection of the JA’s for the class of 2008 raise an interesting question: How much should one’s alcohol consumption influence one’s chances of being a JA?

It seems that many people at Williams agree with the following claims. 1) There is too much heavy drinking, especially binge drinking leading to trips to the health center, among first years. 2) First years are influenced by the behavior of their JAs, for better or worse.

From these premises it would seem to follow that the College should have fewer heavy drinkers among its JAs. Of course, there are a lot of details that I am skimming over here, but the current mechanism of JA selection would allow for such a policy to be implemented. All Dean Roseman — or whichever administrator is most connected to the JA Selection Committee — would have to do is say: “JA applicants who drink heavily — who think that a fun week-end involves at getting difficult-to-walk drunk — should be turned down by the Selection Committee.”

I am not sure that I would be in favor of this because I am not sure that I agree with the premises of the argument. In fact, it would make for another great thesis project for one of David Zimmerman’s students to see whether or not JA alcohol consumption in fact influences first year alcohol consumption.

But given that abundance of strong JA applicants, the College does have these sorts of options.

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