News of the interim report on the neighborhood housing system has finally percolated its way into the alumni literature. I am glad to see that the Neighborhood Review Committee is taking a hard look at the system, which we knew as “anchor housing” when it was proposed in the 2004-05 academic year. However, I was disappointed to find that not only is anchor housing just as unpopular among students as it was in 2005, but that many of the worries and criticisms students expressed from 2004 to 2006 predicted failings that the current panel identified.
I cannot help thinking that, had the College administration paid closer attention to students’ concerns before implementing the housing change, Williams might now have a successful housing system. But the Committee on Undergraduate Life seemed too emotionally invested in one particular housing plan, and the previous College administration too focused on rapidly implementing it, to incorporate even the most constructive criticism. Instead, they outright told students that they knew what was best for us, and discounted both the surveys showing how dissatisfied students were with the anchor housing concept and the specific criticisms that have now materialized.
It is my hope that the incoming College administration will take this data into account and correct these mistakes. Williams students are an intelligent, passionate, community-minded bunch, and we have plenty of our own good ideas for improving the College. As an alumnus, I recognize that the move to neighborhood housing was effected with the best of intentions; I ask now that the College recognize similar intentions among the student body and take their criticisms of anchor housing constructively.