The housing changes proposed by the CUL are a horrible idea for the school. As a freshman, I have a vested interest in keeping these changes from occurring. Please do anything you have to do to keep these changes from occurring: talk to your council reps, call Morty, start a group, pass out flyers, make a petition. This is a bad idea for our school.
1. Freshmen do not know who they want to live with for the rest of their time at Williams.
When freshman organize themselves into groups of four to receive their housing assignments for sophomore year, they would be selecting their living mates for the next three years. There are serious problems with this system. First, many freshman have not found a tight group of friends yet, some are still trying to find their niche. Students who are reserved or quiet might not have developed a tight group of friends yet and would get stuck living with people they may not end up liking.
Even if a student has made very good friends, what if they become even better friends with other students during sophomore year or they discover serious differences with their roommates? What if a student drank a lot his freshman year, picks in with a heavy drinking group, and then decides to be alcohol-free and does not want to live with people getting smashed every weekend? Is the school going to force students to live in an uncomfortable environment for three years in the name of house unity or diversity? Perhaps, if only the proposed system improved house unity or diversity.
2. This housing system will not foster increased diversity or house unity.
If there is a perception that there is not enough interaction between different groups on campus, this is not the answer to that problem. Forcing students to live with people that they do not want to live with will accomplish nothing. Coming into sophomore year, most students have a fairly well-developed group of friends. Note to proponents of this system: this will not function like an entry.
As is already exhibited in Mission, living down the hall from someone does not necessitate involvement with that person. In fact, this system will discourage students getting out of their rooms and involved with other students because they will not be surrounded by friends in their hall. If some students have ignored all the councils, sports, service projects and other activities in which they can interact with many different types of people, I seriously doubt that living down the hall from someone will spark a huge increase in acceptance or interaction.
Also, this system will limit the number of people with whom each student interacts in college because they will be surrounded by the same students for three years in a row, instead of having a new living community every year. Students will end up knowing a smaller percentage of the Williams community.
As for house unity, I can’t think of anything that would spark house unity more than living with a huge group of my friends. If my house IM team is full of my friends, I am going to take a lot more pride in it than if I only know two people on the team.
3. The system is inherently unfair.
How is the administration going to decide which sophomores get to live in Tyler, while others are forced out to the Odd Quad or to Mission? If you get a small dungeon-like room in Mission sophomore year, do you get a better room junior year? Some students will be stuck with a group of people with whom they barely get along, while others will find themselves in a cluster full of students with whom they get along extremely well. It seems to me that they are simply trying to extend the idea of the entry because of its successes. I know that there are freshmen who love their entry and would love to live with them next year and easily could under the present system, but I know others who associate with their entrymates very little and have friends primarily outside the entry and would rather live with them.
The flexibility provided under the current system allows students to live in a situation which is as beneficial as possible to them and their peers. I would venture to say that Williams students are a better judge of who they should live with than the administration.
4. Students will be unhappy.
There is not a student I know who supports these changes. We want to be able to live with our friends and pick into the houses in which we want to live. I personally would hate to live in Mission, while another student may be dying to live there. Let the students choose houses for ourselves; we are big kids now. Students want flexibility, not being stuck with the same people for three years.
There is just no up side to this plan. Students will be frustrated and many left out to dry by the system. Diversity will not increase and house unity will decrease. The students will be generally unhappier and have less fun without their friends around them. If you think that diversity and lack of house unity are a problem, and honestly, I have not been around long enough to judge, think of a new idea to correct these problems. This is not the answer.