Now that the CUL Report is out, the ball is firmly in Anchors Away’s court. Here is an update to my previous advice, most of which still applies.

Note that the next few weeks are key. The danger is that Roseman/Schapiro will make the decision to accept the proposal soon, before you have had a chance to organize further. Once they have made that call, you’re done. What to do now?

  1. Recognize that you are still in trouble. Without a great deal of work on your part, anchor housing is inevitable.
  2. Recognize that the Administration is not necessarily against you. They want students to be satisfied. You want students to be satisfied. There is plenty of common ground. I believe that a key concern for them is theme housing and/or other sorts of self-segregation. They like anchor housing because it makes this problem disappear forever. You should be sure to address theme housing directly. You need to be against it, I think.
  3. Determine when the decision will be made. You need to see if the Administration agrees that X weeks of conversations need to be allowed for before they decide. You can’t force their time table, but they should be willing to tell you what it is.
  4. Politely suggest that the decision should not be made before, say, end of April. Surely, the College community needs 6 weeks to digest the CUL’s report. The reason that you want that delay is, obviously, that it allows time for you to demonstrate your strength in the CC election to come. In the end, you can ask to know when the decision will be made, but you can’t demand that it be made on a schedule that suits your needs.
  5. Do well in the CC election. Did you really fail to even find an AA person from Prospect and other houses to run? That’s too bad. You need to demonstrate your support among the broader student body by winning most/all of the races you contest.
  6. Forget CUL for now. All that matters, for most practical purposes, are the opinions of Dean Roseman and President Schapiro. They are your new best friends.
  7. Focus on the evidence. The key opening that the CUL report has left for you is in its total failure to provide any evidence that anchor housing will actually improve student life. I have outlined this issue at length previously. Your central claim to the administration and trustees should be that the CUL failed to even try to make the case that its policies would achieve its goals. Your argument should not be: Tell the CUL “No”. Your argument should be: Tell the CUL to provide evidence which backs up its argument.
  8. Divide up into teams, each with 5 or so members. You want to have at least 3 or 4 of these, each headed by one of your organizers. (The other members of each team don’t need to do much.) Each team should focus on a single aspect of the debate (the destruction of the Odd Quad; the experience at places like Bowdoin and Middlebury; the effect on JAs/entries; the unavoidable inequities of housing quality among the clusters and so on). Each team leader should become the absolute expert in this particular aspect of the debate.
  9. Start contacting important alumni. Now is the time to make some calls. Break up the list of 30 or so key alums (trustees and society of alumni board members) and have a single person contact each one. That is, you don’t want 10 people to e-mail each alum, you want one person to contact 3 or so alums individually.
  10. Schedule separate appointments with Roseman and Schapiro. Each team should schedule its own appointments. This is a bit of a ruse since you are, after all, working together. But it is also fair to say that many members of AA are driven by specific concerns. Some care just about the Odd Quad. It is reasonable for them to ask (politely) to meet with Dean Roseman just to discuss that issue. Someone who cares about JAs might just want to speak on that. Roseman/Schapiro would much prefer to have just one meeting, but it is not rude of you to avoid that.
  11. Fix up the web page. The time for serving as an impartial arbiter is over. This becomes one of the two key documents that you show to important alumni. It should load as a single page and provide an overview of your vision for Williams housing. You can no longer focus on simple opposition. You need to be for something. Drop the listing of supporters. It is too short to highlight on the main page. You can keep all the links that you have, but these should mostly be placed on a background page. Goal is that an alum could spend 2 minutes in the site and get a fair sense of what you stand for.
  12. Keep in mind that the central goal of the next 6 weeks is not to stop anchor housing cold. That isn’t possible. The central goal is to convince Roseman/Schapiro and/or important alums that the CUL has not done its jobs, that it has not made the case that anchor housing will improve student social life, that a great many topics that should have been examined and reported on were not. You just want the Administration to send the report back to CUL with a request for more info. Who could be against that?

Again, this is just the short term goal. If you can achieve this, you will then have months more to fight on. But, later in the spring and this fall, you should be in a much more powerful position. You will control College Council. You will appoint the student members of the CUL. You should have some comrades on Gargoyle. At that point, you can start to make the positive case for your vision of College housing.

In the meantime, the watchword for the next few weeks is, once more, delay.

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