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Open Greylock Dining Hall

All-student e-mail:

This conversation is in anticipation of the open meeting with the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Student Experiences, a historic event for Williams College. It will take place on Saturday (1/23) at 1:00 pm in Griffin 3. This event will be open to all and focused on the sharing of personal student experiences so that members of the Board of Trustees are able to better understand what Ephs need and want from our institution today.

What to ask from the Trustees? (Obviously, don’t ask for something trivial. The Trustees are not interested in your complaints about the quality of the hot chocolate served at Stress Busters.) Reasonable options:

1) Reopen Greylock Dining Hall. The dining hall was closed, reasonably enough, during the Financial Crisis. Williams is now rich enough to reopen it. The other dining halls are excessively crowded. Opening Greylock would both reduce that overcrowding and increase the popularity of student housing on that side of campus. Doing so is expensive, but it is the sort of decision that Trustees like to make.

2) Every room a single. There is no better way to improve the quality of life of two students forced into a double than to give them singles. Williams already has an excellent housing stock, but making it better would both improve the quality of student lives and make Williams more desirable to admitted students. Moreover, very few students are stuck in doubles against their will anyway, so this goal would not be hard to achieve. (For starters, the rule would not apply to first years, most/many of whom don’t object to being in a double.)

3) Proclaim that Williams students have the same First Amendment protections as their peers at Berkley or Michigan or MCLA. Williams currently reserves the right to punish students who would not be punished for the same actions at a public school like Berkley. (As a private institution, Williams has the ability to kick a student out for, say, dressing inappropriately during Halloween.) But the Trustees should make clear that Williams would never do so by, for example, agreeing with the University of Chicago statement on free expression.

What suggestions do our readers have? What major requests should current students ask of the Trustees?

Full message below the break.

Good Afternoon,

Our campus is at a pivotal moment. We are having important conversations about the challenges that accompany the privileges of a Williams education. To shape this campus into the place we all hope it can be, we need to understand and fully engage the perspectives and experiences of all our peers.

To continue the work of engaging all student experiences at Williams and building solidarity, the Leadership Roundtable, made up of the CC President, MinCo Co-Chairs, JAAB Co-Presidents, SAAC Presidents, and Neighborhood Leadership Council, invites all students to a conversation tonight, Thursday, January 21st at 7:00 pm in Baxter Hall.

This conversation is in anticipation of the open meeting with the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Student Experiences, a historic event for Williams College. It will take place on Saturday (1/23) at 1:00 pm in Griffin 3. This event will be open to all and focused on the sharing of personal student experiences so that members of the Board of Trustees are able to better understand what Ephs need and want from our institution today.

While this meeting on Saturday is important, a meeting of students is necessary in order to best understand the issues that impact our classmates on a daily basis. We, as students, cannot reach out to others for help in fixing the problems that many of us face if we do not have an understanding of what those issues are. We hope you will join us tonight as we begin the work of transforming these understandings into action.

Thank you.

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#1 Comment By ephalum On January 22, 2016 @ 9:35 am

I’d certainly agree with the Greylock dining hall suggestion. Both if there is crowding (I have no idea) but also for geographic proximity on loooong, cold winter days. There is only going to be more housing concentrated on that side of campus, with the new dorm opening up next year, Bascom likely to be reconverted to a dorm, and the possible renovation and expansion of Garfield.

Closing Dodd made sense given how small it was, given that the space can be used for social / living space, and given that it is very, very close to two other larger dining halls. But Greylock has, it seems, barely been used since it has been closed, and there aren’t really any obvious alternative uses for that space. The college has PLENTY of big social spaces now between all of Paresky’s various spaces, Goodrich and the newly-refurbished Log — I can’t imagine any similarly-sized college has more. So really, the choice is to just leave a useful building vacant, or return it to its original use, one which will enhance student welfare especially those who live in the Greylock Quad and other dorms on that side of campus. And having a dining hall right there instantly returns Greylock to far more desirable housing stock, even if it will always lack the charm of the older dorms and it’s hard to even envision a renovation that will improve its deficiencies (the low waffle ceilings and generally-institutional feel inside). But because it well-laid-out suites of singles, throw in a dining hall as part of the quad and voila, it’s a great place to live.

#2 Comment By dm ’10 On January 22, 2016 @ 4:58 pm

As a Berkeley student I feel obliged to point out that you’re missing some ‘e’s.