I am peeved. At a College Council (CC) meeting two weeks ago, a fellow member gave a brief report on what he observed at the town planning meeting a couple days earlier. One of the things that struck me most was the pettiness that characterized some of the complaints regarding the Williams’ student body and the impact they have on this town. The most absurd comment that was made was a complaint that Spring St. was too student-oriented and over priced.
First off, I don’t even understand how they even have this information since I thought the creation of parking spaces that were big enough for an S.U.V. with an attached trailer and the consequent reduction of total number of spaces, prevented townspeople from even venturing out to the hub of Willytown. Anyway, as I swagger down Spring St, reveling in the cockiness and arrogance that only being a Williams student gives, I constantly remind myself about how my three-figured bank account gives me license to rage up and down Spring St., flaunting my economic power as I go. By the way, the characterization of my bank account as 3-figured includes the two digits that are after the decimal point indicating the number of cents I have.
Nevertheless, after I buy a $2 pack of loose-leaf, I stop off in the obscenely student-oriented Harrison Gallery, admiring the pickings left over from the floods of foliage-watchers. I realize that what I had previously decided was a “want” is actually a “need.” I must have that new sculpture on display in the middle. I can hang my sports bra on it and other laundry that cannot be relegated to floor status quite yet. This classification system marks me as organizer supreme, not slob extraordinaire as some of my “friends” would categorize me.
Unfortunately, the price tag reflects the theme of the day, which seems to be three figures, but there is no decimal point on that puppy. Oh well, maybe one of the townie kids will buy it turn it into skate rail, since the town won’t build them a skateboarding park unless the college donates land.
That’s right. It’s not enough that the College is practically building the elementary school by itself, but that College has also been requested to provide the land for a skateboarding ramp. Come on. It’s called priorities and resources and if the town feels so strongly that the kids should be entertained, then they should suck it up and build one itself. I think it’s a great idea, but I think that the town should stop expecting that all the great ideas that it comes up with should be actualized by the College.
The implicit threat, of course, is that the College won’t get the precious building permits that it’s going to need in the next few years as the master building plan begins to take effect. It seems that the College has bent over backwards to contribute to the community, and if it doesn’t meet all the requests (demands) of the town, so what. This town would be nothing without the College. Many of the citizens are employed by the College, the student body constitutes a significant portion of the population, and the College provides so many educational and entertainment opportunities to the public, it’s absurd.
Yes, I think it’s absurd when auditors in classes are allowed to speak and dominate class discussions. I also think it’s ridiculous that Williams students get shut out of events that are designed to broaden their horizons.
I don’t care if you think Williams’ students are spoiled brats. We are all, whether through financial aid, a trust fund, parental sacrifice, or other means, paying for this privilege of four years at Williams College.
When David Sedaris was here, I heard very little from students about it because no one could get in. The reservation system, with no quotas for students or limits on townspeople, resulted in a near-exclusive non-student audience since many students rarely work on a schedule that extends beyond a few days (the real reason why papers are written the night before).
As any advice columnist worth her salt would say, it takes two parties to contribute to a screwed-up relationship and I would argue that the pettiness and navel-gazing of some of the townspeople is as much a factor as the commentary of a peevish senior on some of the more ridiculous aspect of these politics.