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Fight the Power V

Readers uninterested in more anchor housing ranting should stop now. (New readers who want to know more should check out our anchor housing round up.) I had hoped to publish this as an op-ed in today’s Record, but it didn’t work out.

Is anchor housing inevitable at Williams? Perhaps not. Although the Administration is united it its belief that students are too stupid to accurately evaluate housing policy, there is a still a 1 in 10 chance to stop the plan. How? Follow these easy steps.

First, revive Anchors Away (AA), the undergraduate group that fought valiantly against anchor housing last year. Many of its key members are either gone or unavailable. New blood is needed, especially from the class of 2009. No one has more to lose from the end of free agency then they.

Second, demand answers. The Administration has done a suberb job of conducting the debate on its own terms, of refusing to answer the questions posed to it by students and alumni. Consider the 27 page “Questions on Anchor Housing” report sent to the Board of Trustees by AA. The Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL) and Administration did not bother to even acknowledge the existence of this work, much less to address any of the issues raised by it. A revived AA, with help from the supporters of AA now on CUL, should demand a response.

Third, recall College Council (CC). If this does not happen, then anchor housing is inevitable. Fortunately, the CC constitution requires only 400 signatures to initiate a vote of no confidence. Win that vote and new elections are required. Since about 2/3 of current students would like to retain free agency, it should not be hard for a committed few to gather the necessary signatures and win the resulting election. Indeed, I would wager that 6 students could get this many signatures over a single dinner by covering all the dining halls and moving from table to table. This effort should start now so that it might finish before Columbus Day.

[Side note: Anyone who takes this one should certainly contact Jonathan Landsman ’05 who knows more about the details of CC governance that just about anyone. CC is even more disoganized this year than in the past, so you may not get much good guidance from them.]

Fourth, take the issue directly to the Trustees. After campaigning against anchor housing, the current CC Co-Presidents rolled over in a more pathetic fashion than any student “leaders” in recent memory. But, from the point of view of the Trustees, if CC is now in favor of anchor housing, then all the polls and election results can’t be that important. Once CC has been recalled, however, the Trustees will be impressed. They would be willing to listen to student concerns. And, once you get in the same room as the Trustees, anything is possible.

Again, this plan has only about a 10\% chance of success. Yet generations of Williams students to come will thank you for making the effort.