In a different WSO thread, AB ’07 writes

Greylock is attractive to Juniors because most of the junior class lives there. Ditto for Mission and the sophomore class. The row houses still do have a monopoly on the good rooms on campus but the number of people they hold in total is much smaller than the populations of Mission, Greylock or even Prospect. That’s what the CUL is trying to do — break the class year identity that is so ingrained in Williams.

Why would you want to break the class year identity that is so ingrained at Williams? Again, I can understand why the College does not like theme or special interest housing. I do not want all students of type X (and only students of type X) to live in Tyler. This is, I think, bad for both the X’s and non-X’s. (Others might disagree.)

But if 70% of the sophomores at Williams want to live together in Mission and 70% of the juniors want to do the same in Greylock, why is that a bad thing? As long as all the X’s and non-X’s are mixed up together — and with a majority of the class there it would be hard for them not to be — I think that this is a fine idea.

Note that I do not think that this is CUL’s primary motivation, although some of the language they use about creating more intra-class connections would be consistent with it.

I think that the thing that AB and folks like him have failed to come to grips with is that there are only so many hours in the day, so many meals in the dining hall. Cluster housing will not, I think, increase the number of people that a typical Eph meets, shares a meal with or gets to know. (I would actually predict that cluster housing will decrease this, but ignore that for now.) Cluster housing will at best simply change who those folks are.

Now, AB may believe that, on the margin, he would rather meet a senior instead of another sophomore. Well, bully for him. He should choose to live someplace other than Mission. But he has no business telling the other sophomores at Williams that they should not be allowed to live together if they choose to.

Williams has a legitimate interest in mixing (by force of necessary) students of different types (where “type” is race, wealth, major, activity, politics, gender, sexuality, whatever). Williams has no interest in forced mixing along academic class lines.

The juniors who choose Greylock have demonstrated, by that choice, that, whatever Will Dudley might think, they do not need to meet anymore sophomores or seniors beyond the ones that they already meet in class and during extra-curriculars.

Does anyone disagree with this? Now, if even the sophomores who wanted to live with seniors were prevented from doing so, then AB might have a case. But, as far as I can tell, free agency provides a menu of class diversity for students to choose from.

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