One fun aspect of having the Record archives on-line is easy access to all sorts of historical gems, like this one from May 1998.

McEvoy said there are a number of strengths in the current housing process at Williams. One that he mentioned was the range of choices given to rising juniors and seniors as well as the fact that groups of friends can choose to live in a dorm together. He added, “Selection is entirely above board. Although the lottery system is arbitrary, students understand it and it is fair, in the sense that all members of a class have the same chance of being in group one or in, say, group 146.”

McEvoy said there are no plans to change the housing process in the future, stating that a survey done by the Dean’s Office a few years ago showed satisfaction with the current system.

And, yes, that would be Tom McEvoy, former director of housing and member of CUL.

Riddle me this: What happened between 1998 — when consensus opinion seemed to be that the housing system worked well (I can find no public statement from any College official to the contrary) — and 2000 — when the great freight train of anchor housing started rolling?

One possible answer is the arrival of a new administration. Payne/Murphy out; Schapiro/Roseman in. Perhaps. I think that this change was associated with the movement do anchor housing, but that it might very well have occured even if Payne/Murphy had stayed. The College, as an institution, has a real aversion to anything like theme housing. When theme housing arose, something was going to be done.

But this quote does put into question all the claims made by the supporters of anchor housing that there was or is something significantly wrong with free agency, that students were not as satisfied as they might be. Indeed, as best I can tell, the students at Williams around 1997 to 2001 were as satisfied with campus housing (and social life, for that matter) as any students anywhere.

No one has presented any evidence to the contrary.

Print  •  Email