Dear members of the Williams community,

If you’re not a first-year now, you were a first-year once. The Junior Advisor (JA) system has played a role in all of our Williams experiences in some way. That’s why we, as the Junior Advisor Advisory Board (JAAB), feel strongly that starting a conversation about the future of the JA system with the larger Williams community is vital at this moment.

Over the past few years, we’ve heard many valid criticisms of the JA system. Examples include: JAs taking on undue emotional labor, the unfair burden placed on JAs of color, and the financial stress experienced by low-income JAs, among others. For these reasons, and others, JA applicant numbers have been steadily decreasing for the past few years, with this year’s numbers at an all-time low.

We will not have the traditional cohort of 52 JAs to the Class of 2022. We worked hard to reorganize the system, and there will still be a JA system and an entry system next year. However, it will look significantly different than it has in the past. This includes changes such as:

  • JA teams of 3 and 4
  • Larger “double” entries (e.g. Sage A/B and Mills/Dennett 3)
  • Strengthening the relationship between the Deans and JAs

We hope that the JA teams and larger entries will alleviate some of the emotional burden currently placed on JAs. However, this will not fully solve the problem: we as a community must also change our expectations around the JA position.

Originally, JAs were intended to serve as “informal counselors and mediators, … friends, who just happen to know the lay of the land.” Now, JAs struggle to support all of their frosh while balancing the responsibility of being full-time students and members of the community. We want to change this narrative –– not by returning to how things used to be, but by working together to move forward in a more sustainable and productive direction.

We as a community need to affirm that JAs are here to serve as mediators, links to resources, and friends –– nothing more, nothing less. If significant changes aren’t made, then future first-years may experience a Williams without a JA system. It’s important for us in this moment to reckon with the alternative, which would most likely be an RA system in which students recruited by the College oversee all first-year dorms.

Over the next few weeks, we invite you to make your voice heard on this issue –– and we sincerely hope that you will. The week of April 2nd will be “JA Week”, organized by JAAB and the Gargoyle Society, dedicated to thinking about the future of the JA system. In addition, feel free to reach out to any JAAB member with thoughts or ideas. We want the JA system to survive and thrive, but it won’t without the support of our community.



Jesse Facey, JAAB Co-President
Jad Hamdan, JAAB Co-President
Brian Benítez
Jason Adulley
Austin Anderson
Brad Clark
Claudia Forrester
Sumun Iyer
Zeke King-Phillips, MinCo Representative
Emmy Maluf
Ben Metrikin
Chetan Patel
Chrisleine Temple
Darla Torres
Kyle Walker

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