Thanks to Professor Eiko Maruko Siniawer for giving me permission to post Appendix D (pdf) from the NRC Interim Report.

Thanks to Director of Campus Life Doug Schiazza for passing along this file of exact housing details. (This data will soon appear at the Campus Life webpage as well.)

Comments below:

Both Eiko and Doug are members of the Neighborhood Review Committee and have kindly answered my questions in the past. Kudos to both! Because of the role that Ephblog in general — and I in particular — play in the Williams Conversation, it can be awkward for us to work collaboratively with College faculty and staff. After all, from a certain point of view, all we do is make trouble! But, fortunately, many Williams folks, like Siniawer and Schiazza (I hope!), recognize that, for all our snark, we provide a valuable viewpoint in debates over various topics and that, therefore, it is appropriate to answer our questions and provide us with information that will lead to more productive discussion. Many thanks to both, and to all the other Williams faculty/staff/students that have helped us out over the years.

The housing data makes it clear that my initial proposal to expand senior/co-op housing this year is not as straightforward as it might appear because several of these houses have lots of doubles. Here are all (?) the plausible candidates and their current configurations.

House     Total     Singles     Doubles
Wood         30  	22  	4
Perry        28  	16  	6
Spencer      25  	13  	6
Agard        32  	6  	13
Hubbell      22  	16  	3
Brooks       28  	4  	12
West         54  	36  	9

Does anyone have any idea about how rising seniors would think about the trade-offs between living in singles versus living in a house with their closest friends? I don’t have a good sense for this and, no doubt, it varies widely amongst the class. Given the housing crunch, it is hard to imagine that the College would be willing to turn many of these doubles into singles.

One solution might be to give each co-op some doubles. This would a) Help with the housing overflow (Williams needs to find 15 to 20 new beds somewhere), b) Make all the senior houses more comparable and c) Allow for more space in co-op senior housing.

How might we equalize the size of these new senior/co-op houses, giving each 28 beds? Like this:

House     Total     Singles     Doubles
Wood         28  	24  	2
West         56  	34  	11
Perry        28  	16  	6
Spencer      28  	10  	9
Agard        28  	10  	9
Hubbell      28  	10  	9
Brooks       28  	4  	10

Comments:

1) West can be considered either as an entire unit, with the Student Housing Committee inviting groups of 28 to combine their applications, if they want to, or as two separate houses of 28 students each.

2) I have sorted the houses by number of doubles (per student). I suspect that avoiding doubles would be one of the key factors in senior groups deciding among these houses. Are there so many doubles that the typical senior would rather just pick into Greylock? Perhaps. But lots of seniors really want to live with a group of their closest friends. Opinions? I doubt that any senior group of 28 would pick Brooks. Why not just split into four groups of 7 and try your luck among the smaller houses? I like to think that Wood, West and Perry would still be highly desirable. In other words, there are at least four groups of 28 seniors each who would rather live together in one of these houses then live spread out all over campus, even if it means a chance of doubles. Wishful thinking on my part?

3) This increases the number of beds by 5.

4) We would like senior groups to be relatively indifferent between creating a group of 28 and having three smaller groups. So, we want the smaller houses to be about as desirable as the bigger ones. Long term, the way to do that is to get rid of the doubles in the larger houses. In the short term, we might turn some of the singles in the co-ops into doubles. Among the large houses, 98 out of 224 seniors will have singles (94 out of 196 if we ignore Brooks). That ratio would suggest that each of the smaller co-ops should have 4 or 5 doubles, thereby generating many additional rooms. Yet, that seems like too much. So, I would suggest giving each smaller house 2 to 3 doubles, thereby making them approximately as desirable, from a singles/doubles perspective, as Wood/West/Perry.

5) As discussed previously, Williams might give Neighborhood residents an advantage in selecting senior houses in their neighborhoods.

6) I have not studied the architecture of the houses. Some of these suggestions (doubles in Poker Flats?) may be impossible.

7) This nice thing about this proposal is that it is easy to back out if disaster strikes. Let’s say that no senior groups of 28 apply for one of the large houses. No worries! Just include those houses in the main senior/co-op housing draw, or just dump them back into the main Neighborhood housing lotteries. Williams is no worse off for having made the attempt. But if several groups do bid (and how could one resist the lure of Wood?), then there is the chance to dramatically improve student housing satisfaction.

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