This spells trouble.

Signs at the Log announced that the CUL will officially start soliciting suggestions for cluster names after spring break. Proposed names will be due on April 10 to the CUL governance subcommittee and CC, members of which will compile lists of appropriate names for each cluster. At each cluster election, students will vote for their cluster’s name.

I realize that our friendly Neighborhood social engineers want to build neighborhood community and that a good name might be a means to that end. Part of me likes this idea. See here for previous historical musings on the topic. But be careful what you wish for! Will the students at the cluster election be allowed to select any name that they choose or only one of the official names? How could the CUL prevent them from picking a different name, whether offensive or not?

My favorite historical names are Philologian and Philotechnian, the two parts of the Adelphic Union. (Side note: How are these pronounced?) Yet they are probably too old fashioned and similar to be workable. Baxter is now available and Sawyer could be removed from the new library, but you would need two other presidents to use. Who?

I talked this problem over with History Professor Fred Rudolph ’42 and he felt that almost all the meaningful historical names were already taken up by prominent buildings. He suggested names based on the local mountains or rivers.

I would advise CUL to set up a committee, including Rudolph, to come up with the names. This was how the Greylock and Mission houses were christened.

The central dilemma here, as always, is that student community can only thrive with student autonomy. The CUL wants community but is, to some extent, distrustful of the students. The students, moreover, are extremely disgruntled with CUL in particular and the Administration in general. They will be sorely tempted to give a big purple raspberry to the forces that ended free agency.

Side note: The Record is still using the term “cluster” because, presumably, the Administration remains undecided on the appropriate terminology. Unbelievable! Pick a term and stick with it. Dean Roseman was still soliciting suggestions on WCFM a few weeks ago. Anchor/cluster/neighborhood housing is doomed, but settling on a name for the scheme would at least allow the Administration to make it a tragedy rather than a farce.

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