This Record editorial from 2000 captures some of the important history in housing policy.

In an effort to increase the diversity of campus living situations, Tom McEvoy, director of housing, in coordination with the Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL), has amended this year’s room draw policy in two ways. First, upperclassmen can no longer squat. Second, the CUL is considering whether to recommend the removal of names from Williams Students Online’s (WSO) housing plans.

[S]tudents deserve a degree of effective latitude in making housing decisions and being aware of their implications. To suggest otherwise would be simply patronizing.

Quite true. Again, I think that this is evidence that the debate over anchor housing needs to be understood in the context of the rise of theme houses. The Meta Story is that the College has been on a five year mission to make theme housing impossible. Anchor Housing is the logical conclusion of that effort.

Again, I am sympathetic to that goal. I agree that theme housing is bad and that squatting is so dangerous that it should not be allowed.

The shame is that it did not need to be this way. It is possible to design a housing system that harnesses student choice rather than constricting it. Those who are against anchor housing need to come up with a counter-proposal that does just that while ensuring that no theme houses arise.

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