Here’s another comment that I would like to see a response to.

Noah claims

Majority might rule currently but that’s a facet of the current system. This problem seemed much diminished under the previous House System (according to most of the alumns I’ve had conversations with) and appears to be basically non-existent at other schools with residential college-like systems.

This is simply false.

1) The Odd Quad has had, more or less, the same status and function for the last 50 years. It has always been the place where those that were different — in all sorts of dimensions and for all sorts of reasons — came together and created a community that celebrated those differences. What is most striking about all the commentary from Odd Quaders that I have read recently is how perfectly in sync it is with what the Odd Quad was like in the 1980’s. (I was not in the Odd Quad but, as a non-drinker, I was far enough out of the mainstream to feel an affinity to those that were.) To whatever extent that you believe that the Odd Quad is today’s solution to a particular problem, this was exactly the solution 20 years ago.

2) If Noah is talking to such a weird subset of alums (any Odd Quaders among them?) that he isn’t getting accurate information on this score, I am deeply suspicious of the quality of other information that he is getting. Perhaps he could tell us what those other alums claimed the Odd Quad was like 10, 20 or 30 years ago.

3) It is nothing but the purest fantasy to assert that the problems of marginalization of minority cultures are “basically non-existent” at schools with residential college-like systems. Where is Noah getting his information on this? I don’t think that Noah is saying anything other than what he believes to be the truth. I just think that he is painfully misinformed. I lived in a Harvard house for 4 years in the mid 90’s. The problems of marginalization were significant. They are still so today. Does Noah really deny this?

I believe that certain types of students — say, those sorts of students who really like the Odd Quad the way it is now — are much happier at Williams than they would be at Harvard or Yale precisely because the Odd Quad provides a critical mass (and a dedicated dining hall) so that they can make a comfort zone within the larger community.

Perhaps the benefits of anchor housing outweigh the costs of destroying the Odd Quad. Yet it is deeply distressing to see the CUL act as if those costs don’t exist.

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