In my constant efforts to make life easier for the Record, I have reached out to some of the members of the 2002 Committe on Undergraduate Life. One of the recurrent claims made by the current CUL is that this has been under discussion for 5 years, that the College is not rushing into anything by ending campus-wide room draw.

Whether or not this is true depends on the meaning of “this.” If by “this,” we mean just the institution of anchor housing, then it is true. As the 2002 CUL report makes clear, the idea of anchor housing has been around for 5 years. But if by “this”, we mean the end of a campus-wide room draw, then it is not true (at least according to the only 2002 CUL member who I have been able to contact so far; see below). That is, the 2002 CUL designed their entire anchor housing proposal around the assumption that room draw would be unaffected.

Of course, just because one member of the 2002 CUL asserts something, does not make it true. But his testimony is consistent with the language of the report. As other former CUL members reply, I will post their comments. But, as far as I know now, it is dishonest for current members of the CUL to pretend that previous CUL’s looked in any serious way at ending campus-wide room draw. This addition to the anchor housing proposal is new. Something as important as this to the life of the College requires more than a few months of study.

Here is what John Phillps ’02 had to say:

There was some brief mention of it [ending campus wide room draw], particularly when Tom McEvoy, the then housing director, was still around. He wasn’t a big fan of the room draw. However, because the students wouldn’t entertain the idea, it was dropped very quickly and never further discussed. The housing draw is kind of an institution.

The big question was potentially reducing the number of people able to pick together so as to help foster a limited amount of diversity. This was a huge fight, basically splitting CUL down the middle. The faculty were for it. The students with a couple of exceptions were against. This fight was part of a more general fight between those who wanted to allow students to create housing communities based on shared interests and those who wanted to break whatever such communities had formed in order to foster things like diversity and uncomfortable learning. Really, it seemed like the latter vision was being forced down the students’ throat by an administration that must have picked up the idea in some trendy conference on diversity.

I hold a very dim view of CUL in general. It seems to be a vehicle for the administration to pretend to listen to student concerns and then do what it wants, having established a pretense of consultation. I’m sure the administration has had such a plan for years. The problem has always been selling it to students.

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