The op-ed in the Record from the JA Advisory Board includes even more fun stuff.

It is our understanding from the CUL that the main (if not only) reason that the old system of random house affiliation failed was because students complained of being limited to just one house for their remaining three years.

Hmmm. Has CUL actually said this publicly? Moreover, don’t the members of the JA Advisory Board read the Record? Virtually everyone agrees that the affliation system never really failed. Students just started trading their spots like crazy. They did not trade because they had a desire to move each year. They traded, I think, because a tipping point was reached wherein most sophomores — even those with affliation to Greylock or the Row Houses — decided that they wanted to live in Mission. This led to an active market in swaps (what senior in Mission wouldn’t trade her pick for a Row House room?) that benefited all concered.

Free agency arose from the natural interactions of students seeking the best possible housing system. An emergent system, right there in Williamstown.

Once it became clear students wanted this — wanted a world in which sophomores congregated in Mission, juniors in Greylock and seniors in the Row Houses — it was obvious to all concerned that crazy trading was a stupid, inefficient and unfair method of running things. A campus wide lottery would clearly lead to the same outcome at lower hassle and more fairness for all concerned.

The missing piece of history in all of this is what happened in Mission from 1988 to 1993. Do we have any readers who know the story? How did Mission go from 30% sophomores to 90% sophomores in just a few years? How was the tipping point reached and when did it occur? There is a great story to be told on this . . .

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