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Bait and Switch

Noah writes:

If the housing survey that we asked to be completed showed a very significant qualitative difference between various clusters (I expect it will show some difference), and if we were denied our requests for renovation, I would be hesitant to vote for the proposal.

I think that this single sentence is very important for several reasons.

  1. The fact that Noah, the most vocal of all student proponents of anchor housing, would be hesitant to vote for the proposal under some circumstances is big news. The 4 most important students in this debate are Noah and the other three students on CUL. The Anchors Away folks should be talking nicely to them, cajoling them and explaining things to them.
  2. What makes Noah think that the College will be denying or approving CUL’s request for renovations? I suspect that the College — note that neither the CUL nor, I suspect, Dean Roseman has control over the renovation priority list — will do no such thing. No one is going to guarantee CUL that any specific renovation will be done. No promises will be made. CUL needs to decide on a good and fair plan that does not depend on renovations that may or may not happen.
  3. Why rely on a survey when we have revealed preferences to go by? Just give me (or any other statistician) the data for room draw for the last year or two. All I need is pick number, class and house selected. I’ll tell you what students thought were desirable. (This would also make for a great class paper/project.) [Note that this is not a perfect measure. After all, some students picked Currier higher than they otherwise would have because they wanted to be in the Odd Quad because of the people/culture, not the buildings. But it is still as good a measure as a survey. After all, how much do first years know about housing?]

Noah and the other students on CUL should not allow the College to do a bait and switch, to promise to “consider” renovations that may or may not be completed.

As always, I congratulate Noah for the style and honesty that he brings to the debate. I have some harsher comments coming in the next few days. I hope that they don’t detract from my sense that Noah has conducted himself just as I hope my daughters would in a similar situation a decade or so from now.