It is interesting to imagine how the current debate over anchor housing would have proceeded if former director of housing Tom McEvoy had not departed to Union three years ago. McEvoy was clearly a good, knowledgable guy with the best interests of the students at heart. Previous EphBlog postings that mention him include here, here and here. I certainly think that the CUL would not have made so many egregious mistakes in its descriptions of Williams in decades past if McEvoy had been around to set the record straight.

But the most poignant part of that Record article is this:

“The best thing about Tom is that he can not only deal with people, but he really does care about them, and about the College as a whole,” [Eliot] Morrison [’04 and a house president] continued. “He, more than any of the house presidents themselves, felt that our position was one that needed to be strengthened as a critical part of the college community.”

Ah, where have you gone Tom McEvoy (and Eliot Morrison)? It is still hard for me to believe but, shortly after those words were written, house presidents ceased to exist. There is no longer a president (or vice president or treasurer or social chair) for Carter House.

[Could someone on campus please confirm this fact? I was told this by current students but still don’t really believe it.]

No one who remembers the vital role that house officers played back in the day would be surprised to discover that house unity has declined since 2002. House officers were always the glue that held houses together. House coordinators, even when well chosen and motivated, could never replace that.

It is malpractice of the highest order for CUL to decry the decrease in house unity after it ended participated in the demise of the institution of house government (elected house officers) that was most responsible for that very unity.

UPDATE: Thanks to comments below from Rory and Mike, I see that I was wrong to claim that the CUL, acting alone, ended the institution of elected house officers. There is no longer a president, vice president(s), treasurer or social chair in Carter House. They have been replaced by House Coordinators. More background can be found here.

But I stand by the rest of my comments. Although many people, in addition to CUL, were responsible for this change, it is a mistake. Whatever the failings of house officers — and there have always been failings among them — they were democratically elected by their houses and responsible to them. Back in the day, elections were held twice a year, so if someone didn’t do the job in the fall, he was voted out for the spring.

At a place like Williams, it is almost always a mistake to pay someone to do a job that volunteers compete with each other to do for free.

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