Someone should intervene before I start writing more about Anchor Housing. This is a cry for help.
In the mean time, I received an anonymous letter that has also been posted at WSO. Here it is, along with my comments.
President Schapiro, Dean Roseman, members of the CUL,
You ought to write to the Trustees as well. They are the only ones who are even remotely likely to do anything or change their minds about anchor housing. Not that they ever responded to our letter or anything . . .
I am the person who put up the posters around campus quoting members of the administration and of the CUL. I desire to remain anonymous because I am not sure that it is safe to speak up against anchors anymore. (In the interest of protecting the innocent, I should point out that I am not prominently involved in the anchor housing debate.)
Where are these posters? What do they say? EphBlog lives to preserve these tidbits of Williams history.
The posters are not really about anchor housing, however, but about the way you “grown-ups in Hopkins Hall” think of the student body. You don’t think that we are competent to choose what kind of housing plan Williams will have in the future.
You don’t feel that we are socially skilled enough to form into diverse, close-knit social groups without outside help.
No. The Administration knows that given free reign the students will self-segregate themselves to an unacceptable (to some) extent. Perhaps you don’t remember the days when all the Jamaicans lived in Prospect, or the African-Americans in Brooks or the hockey players in Tyler. The driving force behind anchor housing is a desire to prevent this sort of segregation. I think that there are much better ways of doing so, but it is important to have a clue about what the real motivations of the administration are.
You don’t worry yourselves much about the possibility of a student dying of alcohol poisoning, even though Williams obviously has a serious problem.
Of course they worry about this. What evidence do you have that they don’t? Also, the notion that Williams has a “serious” problem is also overblown. In fact, there is no evidence that alcohol is more of a problem today at Williams than it was 20 years ago, or at any other “similar” school.
Moreover, if you want to worry about students dying, then you ought to worry about bikes. A Williams student is much more likely to die on his bike than from alcohol poisoning. Perhaps we should ban bikes on campus.
The CUL has, however, worried enough about the name of the new system to change it twice.
EphBlog claims credit for this one! You’re welcome, Will Dudley! By the way, what is the new name?
It doesn’t matter what the plan calls for anymore. Do you remember when student involvement was considered essential for its success?
By whom? The Administration has never really considered student involvement and/or approval “essential” for success, although they may have told you a little white lie along those lines. Students come and students go. In a few years, there won’t be anyone around who even remembers what free agency was.
The plan is now so contaminated with disrespect for the student body that nothing can save it from its unpopularity. Hopefully, student discontent will tear it apart from the inside quickly, rather than allow it to die a slow, painful, death of apathy and cynicism.
Professor Dudley says, “We don’t plan to revisit the big picture issues.” In other words, it’s too late in the game to change the plan. We students can help work out the little issues. (Not coincidentally, we’re with the CUL on the little issues. Increasing the pick size, renovating the dorms that need it, picking our clusters. Having been allowed to participate, the students support these decisions.)
But there never was a right time for us to discuss the big picture issues. It was too late from the beginning. If student participation is so vital to success, why weren’t we given a chance to weigh in on the big picture at all?
Because the powers-that-be never really cared about your opinion. D’uh! The College was going to ensure that self-segregation ended. Period. The black students (and hockey players and Jamaicans and . . . ) are going to be nicely sprinkled all around our lovely campus.
I can only speculate, but my guess is that you were afraid that we wouldn’t like it. Well, you were right.
You (any of you) are invited to respond to this email address. The resulting dialog will be published on the WSO wiki.
Good luck getting a response. Unless College Council is recalled, anchor housing in inevitable. But I still hold out a bit of hope. Half a dozen committed students could do a lot in just a week or two . . .
By the way, where are the cool WSO forums? We need an Eph Living Room. Neither the WSO blogs or EphBlog are good forums for a discussion of these important topics. After all the pizza money I donated, you would think some progress has been made . . .