Note this Record interview with Falk:

Falk demurs on the notion that the College has grown more bureaucratic, emphasizing his belief that the goal of any hiring and reorganization was directly tied to the betterment of the community. “There had been great growth in the endowment in the previous decade [before I was president] and I think that it had put the College in a position where we didn’t have to make the same kind of difficult choices between different funding priorities that we would have to make once the endowment dropped 30 percent,” Falk said. “And we are just a more complex operation then we used to be. We have a debt portfolio of $300 million. We have a complicated [human resources structure], a complicated facilities operation, a childcare center, a controller’s office and auditors that are doing more and more sophisticated work. A lot of that is really hard work for a faculty member to rotate in every few years and do as effectively as someone who’s a really strong professional.”

The (anonymous!) faculty member who points out this passage asked some (rhetorical!) questions:

Falk’s opinion of faculty governance is on full display here. He clearly prefers a “really strong professional” to make the “difficult choices between different funding priorities.”

Exactly right. Most Williams presidents are remembered, at most, for one thing: Sawyer abolished fraternities. Chandler created Winter Study. Oakley instituted tutorials. What will Falk be remembered for 30 years from now? Tough to say, but one contender is: Put the final nail in the coffin of faculty governance.

Is it truly the case that students and faculty are comfortable with having unaccountable administrators in charge of the really difficult decisions?

Students don’t care, obviously. Faculty (like my correspondent!) love to complain but, when push came to shove, they did nothing of substance. Recall the “alignment” (pdf) that Falk outlined 7 years ago this week. I devoted nine days of discussion to explaining what this meant: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Read it if you want to understand the past/future of faculty governance at Williams. Short version: Faculty governance has decreased each decade at Williams for at least the last 50 years. Falk accelerated/completed that change.

Does he really have such a low opinion of the faculty who have taken on administrative roles?

That is unfair. Falk loves Dukes Love and Denise Buell and Marlene Sandstrom. There are a dozen or more faculty at Williams who want/wanted those jobs. Falk turned all of them down, in preference for the ones he picked. But, at the same time, Falk (and the trustees!) want to pay Chilton/Puddestar/Klass two or three times as much money Love/Buell/Sandstrom and give the former much more power.

If so, what is his opinion of the other faculty and their voice in charting a path for the College?

They should shut up. There are a dozen (or a score? or more?) faculty at Williams that Falk has never had a meaningful one-on-one conversation with.

In any organization, the power lies with a) the people paid the most and b) the people who spend the most time talking with the boss. At Williams, a) and b) describe the senior administrators, not the senior faculty.

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3063339508_154a99432a_b   Oneonta-Rain      J Seward Johnson*                                                       Mark Adamus

It has been since the 16th of June. This will be a welcome soaking to the 950 firefighters working on the 44, 000 acre blaze in the Columbia Gorge.

I am posting this with a specific reference to this fire warning on Williams campus safety:

https://security.williams.edu/css-duties-services/fire-alarm-system/

Would that someone had instructed the 15 year old boy not to throw a firecracker into a tinder-dry 200 foot gorge.

* Mister Portland … “Allow me”.  Johnson bio here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Seward_Johnson_II

 

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Williams, as the College would be quick to tell you, does not use racial “quotas” in admissions. It does not require that there be, exactly, 50 African-American students in each class. But Williams does have ethnic/racial goals. It wants a class that looks like America.

From the Record in 1998:

There are no specific quotas to be filled in the admissions process at Williams, Director of Admissions Thomas Parker explained. Rather, the admissions Office tries to admit a class that reflects national populations.

From the Record in 2012:

[Former Vice President for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity Mike Reed ’75] explained that the College tries to model its student body on an “approximate mirroring” of the country, which requires recruiting students of color who otherwise would not apply.

A faculty friend reports, after talking with newish Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Liz Creighton ’01, that the same policy is true today. Creighton believes that ethnic/racial breakdown of US students at Williams should match, as close as possible, the ethnic/racial breakdown of the college-age US population, at least when it comes to African-Americans and Hispanics.

This is true, not just at Williams, but across elite higher education in the US. Occasionally, uninformed people don’t realize this or naive people deny it. Purpose of this post is to document that they are wrong.

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(This is the last post in a series of 16) This was originally posted 26 Nov, 2009. Sharp eyes may have noticed the disconnect between 14 and 16: namely Zeta Psi. The Zetes reissue was posted on May 20, 2017. http://ephblog.com/?s=zeta+psi+house

 

Final NA top
Continues under the fold (more…)

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To the Williams community,

After seeing my campus message this afternoon about the defacement of the class banner in the ’82 Grill, students came forward and shared relevant information with Campus Safety. As a result, we are now confident that the “KKK” symbol was present on the banner as of last spring, and potentially earlier.

I want to thank those who reached out to communicate with CSS. They significantly aided the investigation. It does not eliminate the harmful impact of the incident. But it demonstrates the kind of community effort needed, in our continuing fight against racial hatred and other forms of bias.

Adam Falk
President

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To the Williams community,

Just after 11:00 PM on Friday, September 15, Campus Safety and Security (CSS) received a report from a student who noticed that someone had defaced the Class of 2019 banner in the ’82 Grill by writing “KKK” among the names, in the same color of marker. I am attaching a photo of the banner, with the letters circled, so you can see it for yourself.

Campus Safety and Security staff notified the Williamstown Police, who photographed the site. CSS then promptly took the banner down and secured it. They are now working to try and determine the timeline and identify the perpetrator. Anyone found to be involved will be held accountable.

The banner was originally signed in Fall 2015. The small size of the letters and the dim lighting of the display space mean we do not know whether the act was committed recently, or went unnoticed for some longer period of time. Anyone who has information they think may be pertinent should contact Campus Safety at 413-597-4444.

If you have experienced an incident of bias or are aware of one, please report it immediately. If you are unsure whether a specific incident constitutes bias, you can find information about our policies and community standards on the Office of Diversity and Institutional Equity website.

The symbol “KKK” has long been used as a weapon, to intimidate and instill fear. We cannot yet know the writer’s intention, but the nature of a weapon is that it does harm regardless of intent. When someone inscribed those letters, or defaced the banner with them afterwards, they harmed our community. The fact that the investigation is ongoing should not delay us from turning to each other to offer help and care.

Adam Falk
President

 
Attached photo:
Banner

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Some crazy Williams alum sent this letter (pdf) to all the presidents of NESCAC schools. Let’s spend three days talking about it. Today is Day 3.

NESCAC schools should measure and make public the academic accomplishments of their student athletes, both in high school (AP/SAT scores) and in college (GPA, majors).

Suggestions:

  • In the first (trial) year, allow each school to present the information in whatever way it prefers. (Smart presidents will simply delegate the task to their athletic directors and institutional researchers.) Since no (?) athletic conference has done this before, it is not clear what the best approach might be.
  • Any statistic should be presented in three different ways: for the entire student body, for the team as a whole and for the team weighted by playing time. (The last measure discourages coaches from stacking teams with academically accomplished benchwarmers.) FERPA prevents schools from releasing data about an individual student, but there is no law against making aggregate data available.
  • Include data from both high school and college. We want to demonstrate both the affect of athletics on admissions and, even more importantly, how athletes perform in college.

There are several benefits to greater transparency about the academic performance of NESCAC athletes. First, it would publicly demonstrate a fact that many non-athletes doubt: On the whole, athletes are similar in their academic qualifications and accomplishments to non-athletes. Second, it would encourage coaches to make academics a bigger focus in both their recruiting and their mentorship. If you (partially) measure coaches by the academic performance of their teams, you will get better academic performance. Third, it will prevent coaches/schools from complaining, inaccurately, about the behavior of their peers. Right now, coach X loves to claim that school Y unfairly lowers standards for its recruits. Who knows? With transparency, we can observe institutional behavior easily.

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Some crazy Williams alum sent this letter (pdf) to all the presidents of NESCAC schools. Let’s spend three days talking about it. Today is Day 2.

NESCAC schools should disallow participation by athletes older than 22 (except, in individual cases, by unanimous consent of the NESCAC presidents).

The average age of student athletes in NESCAC continues to increase, further deepening the athlete/non-athlete divide at most schools. This is especially true for starters in high profile sports. Indeed, it is hard to find a NESCAC men’s hockey team in which several of the best players are not two years older than their classmates after spending several years in junior hockey. Although many students use the PG (post-graduate) year option to better prepare for the rigors of NESCAC academics, others (and the coaches who recruit them) use it as a red shirt year, a chance to become a better athlete. Since athletic ability peaks in your late 20s, this aging-of-athletes process will only continue. This isn’t too large a problem now, which makes it all the easier to end. Exceptions, by unanimous consent of the NESCAC presidents could be made in individual cases, like the military veteran who starts college at 21 and was not recruited specifically for his athletic talent. Once coaches know that they can’t play outstanding athletes who are too old, they will find plenty of 18-year-olds to recruit.

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79f9c078764335a893bb6d12056ea644   34496624._UY630_SR1200,630_

 … and I am sure you might even catch a whiff about one or two of your classmates, John LaCarre’s new book, A Legacy of Spies, is out!

In the opening para you realize it is going to concern LaCarre’s first iconic spy, the one who came in from the cold, Alec Leamas. And include most familiar names and ancient doings from The Spy Who Came In From The Cold plus the trilogy: Tinker, Tailor, Honorable Schoolboy, and Smiley’s Friends. And indeed, the Great Man Himself:

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 5.37.04 PM

Here is  a rave review in The Guardian …

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/sep/07/legacy-of-spies-john-le-carre-review

And for my redoubtable friend DDF and his rather limited view on blog acceptability, who better a reference than James Phinney Baxter himself! First head of the Research and Analysis Section of the OSS.

 

 

 

imgres

https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2010-featured-story-archive/oss-research-and-analysis.html

 

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Some crazy Williams alum sent this letter (pdf) to all the presidents of NESCAC schools. Let’s spend three days talking about it. Today is Day 1.

Football is too dangerous.

The National Football League, which for years disputed evidence that its players had a high rate of severe brain damage, has stated in federal court documents that it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at “notably younger ages” than in the general population.*

NESCAC football may be less dangerous than playing in the NFL, but there is every reason to believe that it is more dangerous, by an order of magnitude, than every other NESCAC sport. More importantly, the defenses for football are weak:

“No student is forced to play football. To the extent doing so is dangerous, it is a student’s choice, just like participation in other risky activities like rock climbing.” The vast majority of starting players on most (all?) NESCAC football teams would not have been admitted to their school if they did not agree to play football. They don’t really have any “choice,” at least if they are being honest with the coach who is recruiting them. If they tell the coach that, while they would love to go to school X, they don’t plan on playing football, the coach won’t put them on his list and they won’t be accepted.

“Ending football would be too unpopular among the alumni and/or major donors.” Connecticut College has no football program, and yet does as well as the average NESCAC school in terms of alumni giving and loyalty. Swarthmore ended football 15 years ago and, after a short-lived controversy, has raised as much money as almost any liberal arts college.

“Football may be dangerous for students but it is not dangerous for the College.” The first football lawsuit against a NESCAC school is not far away. If the NFL was willing to pay millions to injured players, even those who had only been in the league for a season or two, why wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to four-year NESCAC players? Do you want to be deposed by a plaintiff’s attorney about what you knew about the risks of football? Do your trustees? Organizations with hundreds of millions of dollars in assets attract lawsuits. The more years you allow football to continue, the greater the potential liability.

* “Brain Trauma to Affect One in Three Players, N.F.L. Agrees” New York Times, September 12, 2014.

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Williams is #1 in the US News ranking, for the 15th year in a row.

Two schools have a lock on No. 1: Princeton University topped the U.S. News national university list for the seventh straight year, and Williams College led the liberal arts list for the 15th straight year.

Every time that we appear in a sentence like this (with Princeton!), the better for our brand. (And if you find that notion of the College’s “brand” to be distasteful, you are a child. Parents will not pay a quarter million dollars for something with a less-than-amazing reputation.)

1) We did a detailed dive into the rankings last year. Should we revisit? If so, I would need someone to send me the underlying data. See here and here for previous discussions.

2) Kudos to Adam Falk, and the rest of the Williams administration. Maintaining the #1 ranking is important, especially for recruiting students who are less rich, less well-educated and less American. There is no better way to get a poor (but really smart) kid from Los Angeles (or Singapore) to consider Williams than to highlight that we are the best college in the country.

3) Many schools do a lot of suspect/sleazy things to improve their rank. Does Williams? Morty, infamously, capped discussion class size at 19 to ensure that the maximum number of classes met this US News cut-off.

4) There is a great senior thesis to be written about the rankings, similar to this article on the US News law school rankings. If you write such a thesis, hundreds of people around the country will read it.

5) Any comments on changes in the rankings below us?

6) Below the break is a copy of the methodology, saved for the benefit of future historians. (more…)

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As long as there is an EphBlog, there will be a remembrance of the three Ephs who died on 9/11: Howard Kestenbaum ’67, Lindsay Morehouse ’00 and Brian Murphy ’80. Previous entries here and here.

morehouse

Keefe, Bruyette and Woods, a stock brokerage and an investment bank, occupied three floors of the South Tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001. Lindsay S. Morehouse ’00, a new research assistant, was working on the 89th floor when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower at 8:46 AM. As The 9-11 Commission Report describes in chilling detail, there was little consensus about what denizens of the South Tower should do. Howard Kestenbaum ’67 and others started to leave the building. Lindsay Morehouse did not. She and her co-workers did not know — they could not know — that United Airlines Flight 175 was only minutes away from impact. They stayed were they were.

“What should I do?”

Flight 175 struck the South Tower at 9:03, crashing in between floors 78 and 84. Lindsay was just 5 floors above. She, and hundreds of others, survived the impact. They did not know — they could not know — that the South Tower would collapse in less than one hour.

Even five years later, the bits and pieces of a life well-lived and yet unfinished remain..

morehouse01On September 10, a dream came true for Lindsay Morehouse, an investment banker with Keefe, Bruyette and Woods. She was accepted as a volunteer at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of New York and eagerly awaited the name of her new little sister. A college tennis star who led the Williams College women’s team to the NCAA finals in her junior year, she continually sought challenges and new adventures.

Only 24 years old, she had already visited New Zealand, France, Italy, New Mexico and Greece. She had been bungy-jumping and rock-climbing. She was famous among her huge circle of friends, teammates, colleagues and loved ones for her intensity and deep feelings, for being as demanding of herself as she was of each relationship in her life.

Her passions were varied: gnocchi and Indian food, “Rent” and “Les Miserable,” the Yankees and kittens. It seemed that every time she touched a life, she made a life-long friend, as witnessed by the crowd of more than 800 mourners at her memorial service on September 15.

“What should I do?”

Lindsay had come to Williams from St. Paul’s School. Her love of tennis and academic seriousness were clear even then.

morehouse08Mrs. Maycen also talked about her daughter’s affection for St. Paul’s School and how the scholarship in her name honors Lindsay’s feelings toward the School.

“I remember clearly cleaning out her room on her last day at St. Paul’s. She said, ‘Mom, I’ve just loved this school. I just love St. Paul’s.’ Fast forward and in the last week of her life, she was accepted into the Big Sister program in New York City,” said Mrs. Maycen. “She was coming full circle; wanting to help people less privileged than she was. That’s why this scholarship is just so fitting. Giving a talented student the opportunity to have what she experienced at St. Paul’s is a wonderful way to carry on Lindsay’s desire to help others.”

Lindsay’s mother said that she believes her daughter would be honored to know that a scholarship in her name would provide individuals with leadership potential an opportunity to come to St. Paul’s, and to take full advantage of all the School has to offer; much like Lindsay did herself.

“I just know that, from her perch above, Lindsay is pleased, proud, and humbled to have a scholarship in her name at the school she loved so well,” said Mrs. Maycen.

“What should I do?”

Professor Michael Lewis shared these memories:

morehouse11I have written a great deal about monuments and memorials, particularly those at Ground Zero in New York. And in judging the design proposals, I always found myself thinking about Lindsay Morehouse, and what would be the appropriately dignified and heartfelt way to remember her.

I met Lindsay in 1998 when she took my architecture course. This was a large class, about fifty students, but she was the first one I got to know, and all because of a terrific misunderstanding on my part.

Long ago I realized how important the first day of a class is. This is where you can set the tone t, and if you want the students to feel that they can speak, and ask questions, and make comments, this has to happen in the very first class. By the second, it’s difficult; by the third, it’s too late. The invisible wall has come down. And so on that first day, you need to encourage students to make comments – so they can see that they will be listened to with appreciation and thoughtfulness, and not be snubbed. The professor cannot seem to be on a fishing expedition, wanting only to hear only a particular sentence. The instant he shows the slightest hint of disappointment over a student comment – or says those fatal words, “anybody else?” – the game is over. The freeze sets in and the class will never thaw.

Therefore, to make this happen, I deliberately put a couple of images in my first lecture that invite questions – open-ended questions where there is no such thing as a wrong answer. If student don’t automatically raise their hand, I look for someone who seems just on the verge of asking. You can always tell who doesn’t want to be singled out.

On that particular day it was Lindsay Morehouse I noticed, sitting in the second or third row on the right. She had that alert, pleasantly curious expression that tells you that she’s following right along, is engaged and responsive, and seems delighted to participate. What do you think? I asked her, and whatever she said was useful and helpful, because the class moved along happily afterwards, and I left thinking that the first class was a success.

The next day I headed to my office hours, knowing that there would be no one there, because it was only the first week of the semester. But there was Lindsay, outside my office, evidently waiting for me. I could not imagine why, but when she stepped in I could see that her face was red. I asked her if something was wrong, and she began to weep. The she said a sentence that I can still hear almost twenty years later: why were you picking on me?

It took me a moment to realize exactly what she meant, and then it was my turn to feel terrible. What I thought was relaxed banter in the class, she felt as if she had been cruelly put on the spot, without warning. I handed Lindsay a tissue, and explained just what I wrote above – that I did this on purpose, to create a certain exciting mood in the lecture hall where everyone feels allowed to comment and participate, and no one’s ideas are ever brushed off. I also explained how I looked for engaged and curious faces who seemed they wanted to comment, and that she seemed to be that person. And I told her this was the only time that I had read the signals wrong.

It is a funny law of life that after a misunderstanding or any tense confrontation with someone, you tend to feel closer to the person. This was the case with us. For the rest of the semester Lindsay was a superb presence in the classroom –just as engaged and curious as I had thought at the beginning. I soon discovered she was one of the stars of our tennis team and she often came to class in her tennis whites.

Williams sawyer library

One of the assignments was to make a new facade for Sawyer Library in the style of one of the architects we studied, and she turned in an imaginative and fabulously witty Neo-Palladian design, complete with statues teetering on the parapet. I still have it.

Lindsay_Morehouse

Lindsay showed she had a knack for architectural thinking and we even looked at creating a winter study project where she could do an advanced architectural project, but I was on leave and this didn’t happen. I later found out she had talked to her mother about this project, and her regret that we couldn’t make it work.

On September 11, I had heard that Lindsay had been working in one of the World Trade Center buildings. Two days later, the 13th, I was walking into my American art class, just about to launch into the second lecture of the year. I happened to pass my friend Dave Johnson, our tennis coach, and asked if there was any news about Lindsay. This was that time of confusion when there was still hope that some people might be trapped in the subway beneath the building, and might be rescued. And to my shock, Dave said that the memorial service was going to be Saturday. He explained to me that there was no doubt that she was lost, and that she was on the phone as it happened.

morehouse09This happened seconds before I was to walk to the podium and lecture to my American art class – which happened to be the only one I ever taught that filled the room to its 110-seat capacity. I started to tell them about Lindsay, whom many of them know, and then I cried like a baby in the room, which immediately fell silent. Although I pulled myself together to give the lecture, I was rather chagrinned. As I left the room I bumped into my colleague Sheafe Satterthwaite and I told him of my embarrassment, and that I had never openly cried in front of my students before. Satterthwaite thought about it and said simply, “it will endear you to them.”

And so that is the symmetry of my relationship to Lindsay Morehouse, which began with her tears and ended with mine.

“What should I do?”

News reached Williams slowly.

In a third message on Friday [9/14] afternoon, President Schapiro announced that one recent Williams graduate, Lindsay Morehouse ’00, was known to be missing in the attack on the World Trade Center. Morehouse was an economics major and a captain of the women’s tennis team. Betsy Brainerd, an assistant professor of economics who had Morehouse in two of her classes, remembered her as “a warm and vital young woman with a great outlook on life.”

Other members of the economics department also shared fond memories of Morehouse. Roger Bolton said that he “still [has] many of the e-mails she sent as ‘Linz’ with questions on how she could make her work as good as possible, and always with a ‘thanks’ in advance.”

“I will miss Lindsay,” Kaye Husbands-Fealing, an economics professor, said. “As I watched television this week and I saw survivors that were about her age, I could see her face in theirs. Her indomitable spirit lives on. May God bless her; may God bless her family.”

“What should I do?”

This was the last question that Lindsay’s father was to hear from his daughter, the last time that he would listen to her voice, the last chance that he would have to try to protect her from a too cruel world. Yet there was little he could do.

Morehouse called her father after the first plane hit the other tower to say that she was safe and that she had been instructed to stay in the building. She called a second time after the second plane hit her tower. That call was cut off.

And that was all. Lindsay, like more than 1/3 of the employees of Keefe, Bruyette and Woods, died that day. Neither fathers nor mothers, husbands nor wives, brothers nor sisters could save them. Although the most important tragedy of 9/11 is the deaths of thousands of innocents like Lindsay Morehouse — thousands of people who gave more to life, and had more left to give, than we can ever fully know — the rest of us must shoulder the burden of survival, of wondering what we might have done differently to save them, of worrying about the telephone call which might come to us someday.

“What should I do?”

I do not dread asking this question. I dread trying to answer it. Lindsay Morehouse was not just one man’s daughter. She was a daughter to all of us. May my own daughters be spared her fate.

Condolences to all.

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From: Marlene Sandstrom
Date: September 10, 2017 at 6:49:14 PM EDT
To: WILLIAMS-STUDENTS@LISTSERV.WILLIAMS.EDU
Subject: information about a recent campus incident
Reply-To: Marlene Sandstrom

Williams students,

We write to inform you of a campus incident earlier this week that you should be aware of.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, two students defaced the door of their friend’s dorm room by painting on it. (We are not disclosing the dorm because the conduct process is confidential.) One of the two students wrote “I like beer.” The second student painted a swastika, and then quickly covered it with more paint to make it illegible. The students then removed all the paint from the door.

The student who painted the swastika reported to campus authorities what they had done. The college has begun disciplinary proceedings, and the student will be held accountable under our campus code of conduct. In addition, we will continue speaking directly with the students who were involved or immediately affected in the dorm where the painting occurred.

None of the people directly involved felt targeted as a function of their identity. For that reason we instigated our investigation and conduct processes without initially making a larger campus announcement. However, several JAs have reported that other students who heard partial accounts of the incident were concerned, especially in the aftermath of Charlottesville and other troubling events. Understanding their concerns, we want you to have full information about what happened and know what steps are being taken, and to assure you that we have no basis for thinking the incident points to an ongoing threat.

Defacing our campus is unacceptable at any time. But the use of a swastika, even as a “prank,” shows a lack of sensitivity to how that symbol has been used as a weapon of intimidation and hatred, both historically and in recent incidents around the country.

If you want support, or if you have questions, please contact the Dean’s Office, the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity our Chaplains, the Davis Center or Wellbeing Services. And if you have experienced an incident of bias or are aware of one, please report it immediately so the college can step in.

Williams is a place where we all come freely to learn and live. It is at its best when we live up to the college’s values and make everyone feel equally welcome. This is a moment to reaffirm that commitment. We assure you that we are doing our part, and hope you will join with us to stand for Williams as a place of inclusivity and respect.

Marlene Sandstrom
Dean of the College

Leticia Smith-Evans Haynes
Vice President
Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity

Stephen Klass
VP for Campus Life
Williams College

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(This is the 14th of a series of 16 posts). This was originally posted 18 Nov, 2009. Click COMMENTtto see the full article.
tdx Top copy
Article continues under the fold (more…)

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Our friends at the Williams libraries need to read EphBlog more often! The author is Professor of Rhetoric Carroll Lewis Maxey and the date is sometime before 1926. Background here.

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Former Williams professor KC Johnson writing (with Stuart Taylor) in the Wall Street Journal:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made clear her intention to correct one of the Obama administration’s worst excesses—its unjust rules governing sexual misconduct on college campuses. In a forceful speech Thursday at Virginia’s George Mason University, Mrs. DeVos said that “one rape is one too many”—but also that “one person denied due process is one too many.” Mrs. DeVos declared that “every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined.”

This might seem like an obvious affirmation of fundamental American principles. But such sentiments were almost wholly absent in discussions about campus sexual assault from the Obama White House and Education Department. Instead, as Mrs. DeVos noted, officials “weaponized” the department’s Office for Civil Rights, imposing policies that have “failed too many students.”

Indeed. Do any of our readers think that the John Doe of Safety Dance should be denied, forever, his Williams degree even though he has completed all his classes?

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To the Williams community,

Welcome back! As you heard over the summer, this term will be my last at Williams, before I move to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in late December. I’ll miss a lot about this place, but what I think I’ll miss the most is our sense of community—the fact that everything we achieve we achieve together.

Even over this last summer, we’ve continued the work of building our community and strengthening support for it. To cite just a few examples, this fall we’re welcoming twenty-two new tenure-track faculty into one of the finest cohorts of teachers and scholars in the world. We’re also celebrating the most diverse entering class in Williams history, and one of the most highly-qualified. We’re approaching completion of the first phase of the Science Center project, a vital home for teaching, learning, and research. We’ve opened a bookstore that’s bringing new energy to Spring Street—as will the new Williams Inn when it opens in 2019. And we’re making tremendous progress on the Teach It Forward campaign, with more than $560M raised so far, and thousands of Ephs giving time as mentors, volunteers, and more.

As we start this semester, the energy on campus is palpable. But so is the uncertainty. We’re coming together after a summer that laid bare—in Charlottesville and elsewhere—troubling fault lines in our national community. Then, last month, Hurricane Harvey further tested America’s resilience. There were Williams people caught in both storms, or personally affected by them. My heart goes out to them, as I know yours does, too.

It turns out the Purple Valley isn’t really a bubble at all. What happens in the world affects us here. If the nature of that impact is not yet clear, then we should take this time to think ahead about who we’ll want to be, and how we’ll want to act, in those moments when our values will be tested.

One of the great strengths we can draw on in such work is our commitment to each other. That doesn’t mean we need to think alike. Williams is a place where we respect, explore, and engage with differences. When we disagree, we aim to do so intelligently, openly, and with integrity. But there’s one proposition that isn’t up for debate: that every member of this community is of equal worth and has an equal right to be here. This simple truth is the essential value on which our community rests. Williams accepts students of all backgrounds who are committed to higher learning, and strives to sends them into the world as thoughtful and effective and moral people. Especially in light of the events of the past year, we should recommit ourselves to this purpose as we gather anew this week. Let’s look at what has happened in the world and think about how we’re going to meet the challenges ahead.

Much will become possible if we work together. Williams is a place where every person can and should bring their fullest self to our community, and where we should aim to contribute as much to this place as we draw from it. That’s what I’m going to commit to making possible in my last semester in the Purple Valley. I hope you’ll join me.

 

Adam Falk

President
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Greetings, Ephs!

Welcome to Fall 2017 Drop/Add period! This is an opportunity to think about all we can explore and learn in the upcoming semester as we prepare to begin classes.

It’s time to make the most of Your 32 courses.

Many of your professors and classmates––and even President Falk––have been changed by one course they took outside of their comfort zone. They made the most of their 32. You can hear their stories in this short video.

As you’re solidifying your courses for this fall, you may want to consider:

  1. Taking a class in every division. This help you complete your divisional requirements, and it will encourage you to have a diverse schedule.
  2. Taking a class in a discipline you have never studied before. There are so many departments at Williams, and all of them are incredible! Try something new––perhaps you’ll fall in love with astronomy, or theater, or sociology, or any other discipline.
  3. Taking a class that uses different teaching methods. Never taken a course with an experiential component? Always wanted to try a lab course? This fall could be your semester to take a course in a totally different format.

Your 32 courses are an incredible opportunity to explore interests, challenge yourself, and learn about incredible topics. Take a risk. Try something new.

And, email professors to learn more about their courses! Professors often welcome students who are “shopping” courses to drop by their class on the first day. If you are interested in exploring a course by attending the first class meeting, contact the professor ahead of time. There is even a handy guide to help you write these sometimes-daunting emails.

This advice, we hope, is as true for first-years as it is for seniors. It is never too late to try something new.

These are Your 32.

They are Your Chance to Explore.

Drop/Add ends on September 15th. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you!

Yours in a love of course exploration,

Arielle Rawlings ’18
College Council Vice President for Academic Affairs
Stephanie Caridad ’18
Student Chair to the Committee for Educational Affairs
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Interesting Labor Day thoughts from Oren Cass ’05:

Organized labor is neither inherently partisan nor inherently counterproductive economically. In theory, an arrangement by which workers “bargain collectively” and offer “mutual aid,” as the NLRA establishes is their right, can be a neutral or even positive part of a flourishing market economy. Other countries have implemented labor systems sharply different from—and more effective than—the American one. Even within the U.S., examples exist of organized labor’s potential to operate more constructively. A reformed legal framework for labor could help address several critical challenges, including the plight of less skilled workers struggling in the modern economy. It’s time for a new approach.

Effective reform would have four elements. First, the NLRA must no longer have exclusive jurisdiction over relationships between employers and organizations of workers. Its definition of a covered “labor organization” must narrow from all organizations of employees whose purpose is “dealing with employers” to only those established for the purpose of using NLRA-defined rights and processes. The 8(a)(2) prohibition on nonunion collaboration between employers and workers must go. None of these changes affects the ability of a union to operate with its current model—to the extent that workers choose it.

Second, the government should formally recognize the existence of the “labor co-operative”: a nonprofit controlled by its dues-paying members for the purpose of advancing their employment and creating value, rather than merely reallocating it. Co-ops will be held to governance and financial standards appropriate to their potential roles and will be eligible to partner with government in delivering benefits. They will also have the capacity to earn recognition as the collective representative of employees in a given workplace, but their existence will not depend on such recognition.

Read the whole thing, although I doubt that my leftist Eph friends will find Cass’s argument very compelling.

A more concise version of the argument is available in the Wall Street Journal.

It is a shame that Cass was such an obnoxious Never Trumper. The Administration would benefit from his energy and ideas.

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All campus email from Adam Falk, Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 12:04 PM:

 

To the campus community,

This morning, Attorney General Sessions announced the cancelation of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Under DACA, since 2012, people who entered or were brought into this country illegally while minors have been eligible for a two-year, renewable deferral from deportation, as well as a work permit. The cancelation means the program will no longer accept new applications. It has also created uncertainty about the status of the more than 800,000 people who already hold DACA deferrals or permits.

Given this uncertainty, I want to affirm some important commitments Williams has already made to our community:

Staff who are aware that someone on campus needs help in light of the DACA cancelation will reach out to them privately with offers of support. If you need assistance, please contact the Dean’s office, our Chaplains, the Davis Center, or Counseling Services. This can be done confidentially.

Williams will not provide student or employee information to government agencies or their officers unless presented with a legitimate court order. Such agencies and people are also prohibited from conducting interviews, searches, or detentions on campus without a warrant or probable cause. You can always call Campus Safety at 413-597-4444 if you see anything you are unsure of.

Anyone admitted to or employed by Williams is a welcome member of this community, entitled to full rights, services, and protections. We will not tolerate bias or prejudice toward our people on the basis of DACA status or other identity attributes. If you experience bias or see it happening to someone else, use the reporting feature on the Williams: Speak Up! website to let the college know so that we can intervene.

We will continue to work with our colleagues in higher education and our legislative delegation to advocate for protection for undocumented students.

Many Williams faculty, staff, and students came here from other countries, or are the children of immigrants, as am I. We are all better off for their decision to make Williams their home. Faced with this latest news, we will begin where we always begin in such moments: by living out our values, and caring for those around us.

Sincerely,

Adam Falk
President

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Fall classes start tomorrow. Our advice:

Your major does not matter! One of the biggest confusions among Williams students is the belief that future employers care about your major, that, for example, studying economics helps you get a job in business. It doesn’t! So, major in what you love.

But future employers are often interested in two things. First, can you get the computer to do what you want it to do? Second, can you help them analyze data to make them more successful? Major in Dance (if you love dance) but take 4 or so classes in computer science and statistics. With that as background, you will be competitive with any of your Williams classmates when it comes time to apply for internships/jobs.

Take a tutorial every semester. The more tutorials you take, the better your Williams education will be. There are few plausible excuses for not taking a tutorial every semester. Although many tutorials are now filled, others are not. Recommended:

ANTH 328: Emotions and the Self with Peter Just.

NSCI 317: Nature via Nurture: Topics in Developmental Psychobiology with Betty Zimmerberg.

PHIL 242: People Power with Alan White.

ECON 228: Water as a Scarce Resource with Ralph Bradburd.

Too many first years take a big intro class because they think they “should.” They shouldn’t! Even a “bad” tutorial at Williams is better than almost all intro courses. If you are a first year and you don’t take a tutorial like these, you are doing it wrong. Note that, even if you don’t have the official prerequisites for these classes, you should still enroll. The pre-reqs almost never matter and professors will always (?) let you into a tutorial with empty spots.

By the way, where can we find data about how popular tutorials are? For example, do most/all tutorials end up filled? How many students attempted to enroll in each one? More transparency!

Take STAT 201 (if you enter Williams with Math/Reading SAT scores below 1300, you might start with STAT 101). No topic is more helpful in starting your career, no matter your area of interest, than statistics. Students who take several statistics courses are much more likely to get the best summer internships and jobs after Williams. Also, the new Statistics major is amazing.

Take CSCI 136: Data Structures and Advanced Programming (if you enter Williams with Math/Reading SAT scores below 1300, you should start with CSCI 134). Being able to get the computer to do what you want it to do is much more important, to your future career, than most things, including, for example, the ability to write well.

The Computer Science Department seems to have re-arranged things a bit in terms of strongly recommending that students take 134 first. In the past 134 was a not very serious course which was a waste for students in the top half of ability, including anyone with any prior exposure to programming. Is that still the case? If so, skip it and go directly to 136.

Informed commentary welcome on the 134 versus 136 choice.

If a professor tries to tell you the class is full, just claim to be future major in that topic. Indeed, many students official enroll as statistics or computer science majors sophomore year to ensure that they get into the classes they want. You can always drop a major later. Mendacity in the pursuit of quality classes is no vice.

See our previous discussions. Here are some thoughts from 10 years ago about course selections for a career in finance.

What courses would you recommend? What was the best class you took at Williams?

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Sound advice!

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Who are the top (early!) contenders for the next Williams president? Keep in mind that Williams, unusually for a top elite liberal arts college, has never had a female president.1 Most Williams faculty members I talk to think there is a less than 10% chance that a white male will be selected. Top contenders include:

denise-photo-headWilliams professor Denise Buell: She is the current Dean of the Faculty, the traditional stepping stone for internal candidates. Both Frank Oakley and John Chandler were Deans of the Faculty before becoming Williams presidents. An (anonymous!) faculty member told me she is “insanely ambitious.” Having been Dean of the Faculty for many years, she has had numerous opportunities to interact with members of the search committee. If she were not interested in the job, she probably would have been named the interim president, a role often bestowed on Deans of the Faculty, as with Bill Wagner last time. She is about 52, which might be a tad old nowadays, but still well within the range.

Raymond, Wendy_2013_1(0)Former Williams professor Wendy Raymond: She is currently the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of Faculty at Davidson. Her son is out of high school and her husband, David Backus, is a former lecturer in geosciences at Williams. I suspect that she moved to Davidson because she was eager to climb the academic ladder and Davidson provided the best opportunity. At 57 she is, like Buell, a bit older than the target age. She has both fans and detractors among the current faculty. She was a champion of diversity issues while at Williams so, if the committee is interested in this topic, she will certainly get an interview.

spencerFormer Williams trustee Clayton Spencer ’77: She has been the president of Bates since 2012. At age 62, she would be the oldest (new) Williams president in decades. She has done well at Bates and would not be viewed as a bad person if she were to leave after just 6 years. Might Williams try to grab her for a 4 to 5 year term, long enough to allow Provost Dukes Love to gain the experience he needs? Perhaps. Recall that Spencer was on the search committee that selected Falk. Another member of that committee was current search committee heard Mike Eisenson ’77. It is certainly interesting that Spencer and Eisenson are both members of the class of 1977.

cappyFormer Provost Cappy Hill ’76: Longtime readers will recall that I was certain Cappy was going to be selected last time round. Wrong that time but maybe this time? She was almost certainly a finalist when Morty was selected almost 20 years ago so she has been around the block on this several times. A faculty member mentioned to me that they had “heard some positive speculation about Spencer and Cappy Hill; both make some sense.” After a successful decade at Vassar, she now (like many former LAC presidents) runs a non-profit: Ithaka S+R. Do she and her husband like living in NYC? Are they interested in retiring in Williamstown?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWilliams history professor Eiko Maruko Siniawer ’97 is my leading dark horse candidate. At 42 (and a Williams graduate) she is the perfect age: experienced enough after more than a decade at Williams to know what she is doing, young enough to have the energy that the trustees are looking for. (I believe that Payne, Schapiro and Falk were all hired while in their 40s.) Although she has not served as either Dean of the Faculty or Provost (the most common stepping stones to college presidencies) she is former head of CUL and current chair of the Committee on Priorities and Resources, perhaps the single spot (outside of the provost’s office) at which a Williams faculty member can learn to think like a president. Being a person of color is also a big advantage in this search since the trustees would love to be able to get the Williams-has-only-had-white-presidents monkey off their backs.

Merrill_2016-219x300Williams history professor Karen Merrill: Any female former Dean of the College is a plausible candidate. At 53, she is not too old. Merrill is, I think, widely regarded as an excellent administrator and consensus builder. I have heard fewer complaints about her tenure as Dean of the College than about her predecessors or successors. Her handling of the controversy over the log mural (pdf) was masterful. (By the way, we really ought to rename the “Committee on Campus Space and Institutional History” to the “Merrill Committee.”) Indeed, of all the controversies at Williams over the last 15 years, I can’t think of one that was better handled. (And since Falk screwed up so many things, I think Merrill deserves most of the credit. Did any of the social justice warrior Ephs even complain about the outcome?) But is she interested in the Williams presidency? Informed gossip welcome!

Portugal2002_3-274x300Chemistry Professor Lee Park is the interim Dean of the Faculty. (Buell is on sabbatical. Isn’t it weird that someone would take a sabbatical year during their 3 year appointment period?) Park is 53 and, obviously, non-white. She has been the associate Dean of the Faculty for a few years, I think. She is currently chair of the Committee on Appointments and Promotions, traditionally one of the most powerful positions on campus. (Another member of that committee is Professor Tom Smith ’88, also a chemist and a member of the presidential search committee. If Tom is a fan of Park, then she may have a real shot at the job.) Also interesting is that search committee member Chris Winters ’95 is married to Williams chemistry professor Amy Gehring ’94. Park has worked (closely?) with Smith and Gehring for more than a decade. I wonder if they are friends or rivals? Park has also been chair of the CEP. Is Park interested in the Williams presidency? Presumably, she wouldn’t have worked so many administrative jobs over the years if she weren’t interested in climbing the ladder . . .

Other current or recent Williams female insiders seem less well positioned. After her utter failure at Dickinson, Nancy Roseman probably won’t even get a courtesy interview. Sarah Bolton has not been at Wooster long enough for a move to be reasonable. Marlene Sandstrom is too new to the Dean of the College job.

Given how strong these candidates are, I can’t imagine that Williams will hire a man. Are there are female Ephs who might be interested? Are there other female candidates who are “on the market?”

Who do readers think will be chosen? Who would readers vote for if they were on the committee?

[1] Among the top 10 liberal arts colleges according to US News, only Williams, Bowdoin and Carleton have never had a female president.

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fire_stephen_datnoff_1_t670     photo Steve Datinoff, Hood River

… 5% contained as of noon 7 Sep, hikers have been rescued, towns are being evacuated, roads and the InterState are closed to all but emergency vehicles. The Eagle Creek/Indian Creek fire has crossed the Columbia River from Oregon into Washington.

The Columbia Gorge Scenic Area:

images

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/crgnsa/recreation

The need for knowledge in forest management is recognized at Williams:

The Williams College Center for Environmental Studies (CES) facilitates research and undergraduate teaching activities while preserving and monitoring forest resources, particularly through long-term ecological research. 

https://hmf.williams.edu/

If Ephs do not appreciate the beauty of purple mountains, then who does?

It has not rained since mid June. Ironically, this is a temperate rain forest. And the fire was started by an idiot with a firecracker!

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(This is the 13th in a series of 16 posts) This was originally posted Nov 16, 2009. Click COMMENT to see the entire post

 

AND IS A HOUSE THAT WAS REMOVED BY THE COLLEGE. SEE DU HOUSE POST BELOW
Sig Phi Top copy
Continues under the fold (more…)

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DU-Top-copy

A whisper from ‘Yup’ under the KA post just now:

 yup… says:

The college may tear down Garfield House (Former Delta Upsilon fraternity house) …

SEE POST ON SIGMA PHI ABOVE> A PURE COINCIDENCE!

Good God, please this can’t be true! Can anyone shed light on this? The Horn dullness gets built and the DU House comes down??

FRANK … you are on the scene …

‘yup’ is not unknown and is a reliable source.

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67101edd53c0c03f19c948d0247695a7--amusement-parks-beautiful-picturesReaders of my ‘Townie’ post on Andre Dubus III will like this short story written by ‘Anon’ in the late ’70s on townies in the Williamstown area he either knew or was.

The Boys of Bennington

The carnival was set up on the high school sports field in Bennington. It was an old school kind of carnival that originated in the South and traveled through the North during the summer months. It still showcased the bearded lady, the snake woman, and the smallest man in the world, when such things could be seen in Vermont- back in 1978.
Stevie and Mark were drinking beers under the concealing overhangs of a big spruce tree in a stand of pines next to the carnival. The boys were small for thirteen; ninety pounds and five feet tall. Through the trees they watched the action and listened to the sounds of buzzers, grinding gears, bells, and vendors’ loud solicitations. The carnival lights danced in the shadows of the trees; flickering about the boys’ faces.
Stevie was a fair haired kid in a white T, a cute boy. Mark was more awkward. He had curly brown hair and freckles so deep they could even be seen in the flickers from the carnival. His new black T-shit had large crisp white letters that lit up with a strobe effect from the flashing lights- proclaiming “Disco Sucks.”
(more…)

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Dear Students,
Over the past year, OIT and OSL have been working with a company named StarRez, to build and produce a centralized, cloud-based mechanism for student housing data management & room assignment/selection processes. We plan to use it for student housing selection for the first time for the August Mini-Lottery, so I wanted to share a little bit about it with you now.
Access for students will take place via a portal on the OSL website, using your Williams sign-in (like PeopleSoft). On that site, you will be able to participate in eligible housing selection & change processes, submit Special Housing Considerations information, see building rosters, view floor plans, create or join pick groups, etc. Most future room selection processes will be conducted online via the portal rather than in-person – including the large room draw we’ve held in Greylock in April the past many years. This means that you’ll be able to select your new room from the comfort of your current room. Or from Paresky. Or Sawyer Library. Or Tunnel City. Or New York City. Or London. You get the picture – wherever you are, if you have an internet connection, you can access the portal and participate.
Most housing processes will have the same parameters as they have in the past. One notable exception is that during a room selection process, there will only be a start time for groups to select based on their pick order, and not a by-group end time. This means that if you have a 3:30pm selection time and you forget about it until 4:15pm, it’s OK, you can still go in and select a room (until that entire room selection process ends and the selection portal closes).
We expect to learn a lot as we use the new system this first year, and we ask in advance for your patience as we do so. There may be times that we reach out to you to help us assess aspects of the system as well.
For now, we just wanted to let you know that this is coming; more details will be shared with you as we get closer to the August Mini-Lottery, including a link to the portal and instructions on how to access & use it. In the meantime, we hope you’re having a wonderful summer break.
 

-Doug

 
Douglas J.B. Schiazza, Director
Office of Student Life, Williams College
pronouns: he/him/his
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Summer Fellows

If you received a summer fellowship, remember that your written report is due tomorrow, August 31.  Send to me as an word document attachment to email following the guidelines sent earlier.
 Upcoming Fellowship Deadlines & Info sessions 
 
Fall is a busy time of year for applications from graduating seniors! You can see campus and national deadlines on our webpage https://fellowships.williams.edu/    Also please read the Daily Messages for calendar updates or additional info sessions to be scheduled.
Coming up soon:
September 5, 5pm – Info session about the Fulbright research grant, Hopkins Hall 105
September 7, 5pm – Info Session about the Fulbright English teaching assistantship, Hopkins Hall 105
September 7, 5:45 pm – Info Session about the Watson & Chandler Fellowships, Hopkins Hall 105
September 11 – campus deadline for Fulbright research & study grant applications
September 18 – campus deadline for Fulbright English teaching assistantship applications
September 18 – Fulbright recommendations and foreign language evaluations are due online
October 10 – Campus deadline for Watson and Chandler Fellowships.  For access to the online application contact Lynn Chick
October 10 – Campus deadline for the Luce Scholarship
October 11 – Gates-Cambridge Scholarship deadline for US citizens
October 16 – Campus deadline for the Churchill Scholarship
October 24 – deadline for the Dr. Herchel Smith (Cambridge) and Donovan-Moody (Oxford) fellowships
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