From the testimonies associated with the student/alumni letter to President Mandel about the English Department:

In 2008, I was harassed for a month by my entrymate and her friends who thought I called security one night during one of their parties. Following that night, each time they would have parties, they would repeatedly deface my white board hanging on my dorm door. This ultimately led to Nigger being written on the wall on my dorm with my marker and a penis drawn on the wall as well, with a matching penis being drawn on my whiteboard. Knowledge of this incident later sparked the campus-wide movement called Stand with Us, which led to what is now Claiming Williams. Despite the College “celebrating” Claiming Williams each year, my name, as well as the name of the known perpetrators has been erased from the retelling on the narrative, perpetuating the idea that this incident is part of the College’s past—a distant memory of less-inclusive times, used to demonstrate the College’s growth and current commitment to diversity. During my time at Williams, I was literally silenced—being told by the administration that I could not talk about the incident due to the “investigation.” I was later asked by the Williams newspaper to write an article about it, but was told that it had to be an op-Ed since the school wasn’t able to identify exactly who wrote Nigger on the wall. Co-opting my story to use it for its pedestal of “progress” and removing my name and the names of those who built the Stand with Us Movement is plagiarism. Removing the names of the perpetrators from the narrative gives them anonymity and protection and is yet another way the College demonstrates its commitment to protect the oppressor rather than expose and address the oppression. The power of the Stand with Us Movement was that knowledge of what happened to me sparked others to tell their stories. There were countless stories like mine because the issues lie not just with problematic students, but with a problematic system that reinforces the idea that behavior like that is allowed here. During my remaining years there, similar incidents continued to happened with both students and faculty of color. It baffles me how an institution filled with the brightest minds and experts in their fields can’t seem to figure out how to hold white people accountable and create larger, effective systems of accountability.

This note is unsigned, but it purports to be from Jacquelin Magby ’11 and to describe events which we have collected under the Willy E. N-word category. In terms of its impact on Williams, this was one of the most important events of the last 15 years. Worth reviewing in detail?

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Joe Thorndike ’88 writes about his father’s book about the Atlantic seaboard.

I was present for a lot of that first-hand research, especially in Connecticut, where I grew up, and on Cape Cod, where I visited my father frequently during the last 25 years of his life. I also managed to tag along for brief trips to Maine and Florida.

But for every trip I took, there were dozens that I skipped. Occasionally, my father would ask me — in his reserved, taciturn New England way — if I wanted to come along. But like many adult children of aging parents, I found reasons to say no.

Apparently I was busy, but in retrospect, I can’t imagine with what. My father has been dead for more than a decade, but I still regret, almost daily, the many trips I didn’t take.

Take trips with your father, every chance you get.

Still looking for a Father’s Day gift? EphBlog recommends Aidan’s Way by Professor Sam Crane. Excerpts here. More from an Amazon review:

Every now and then a book comes along that wakes us out of our drab routine lives and makes us reevaluate essential questions: what is important? Am I doing something worthwhile with my life? What is life’s meaning? Trite as it may sound, “Aidan’s Way” does just that, but in a way that is subtle and avoids self-indulgent breast-beating. At its core, “Aidan’s Way” is a resounding affirmation of life. Sam and Maureen Crane are the parents of Aidan, who is profoundly retarded mentally–he cannot walk, talk or see. At every turn, they face the possibility that he may die. Pneumonia assaults his lungs and grand mal seizures force him to rely on a feeding tube for sustenance. Adversaries come in human guise as well, with the Cranes heroically combating outrageous abuses by their HMO, doctors stereotyping Aidan as “one of THOSE kids,” and a heartbreaking moment of frustration when an indecisive nurse fails to administer a drug in time to stop Aidan’s seizures from permanently damaging his already fragile brain. There are heroes, too — a doctor with cerebral palsy who doggedly probes the causes of Aidan’s condition while others write him off, a younger sister who brings hope and joy to the family, and countless therapists, journalists, and teachers. Aidan touches hundreds of people.

Indeed. Sadly, Aidan is no longer with us, except in spirit.

Happy Father’s Day to all of Eph Dad readers, including to the loyalest reader of all:

_BW15108

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Thanks to O, the Oprah magazine, we can learn more about Amy Sanders O’Rourke, ’03. As you may know, she is the wife of the increasingly less popular presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke. Amy was a psychology major at Williams where she also took a minor in Spanish.

Amy comes from an exceedingly wealthy family but, most likely, she isn’t really an heiress to a billionaire. Amy’s father, real estate magnate William Sanders, sold one of his companies to General Electric for $5.4 billion in 2002. Forbes estimates his net worth at about $500 million. So he is a half-billionaire. Nevertheless, Amy has a trust fund that totals about $5 million.

On their first date, Beto took Amy to Mexico. They visited the famous Kentucky Club Bar in Juarez, Mexico which, in legend at least, is the birthplace of the margarita. After visiting the bar, they were stopped by a camera crew who asked the couple to kiss. Beto, however, got out of the situation by saying that he and Amy were siblings. Ten months later, they married. They have three kids: Ulysses, 12, Molly, 10, and eight-year-old Henry. In the Christmas card picture above, Molly is featured wearing a Williams College shirt.

 

 

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The Berkshire Eagle has published an opinion piece by Joseph Moore ’20, one of the students who led the effort to deny WIFI equal status as a recognized student organization (RSO). He is a comparative literature major from Stroudsburg, PN.

Joseph Moore: It wasn’t WIFI that was denied free speech

The gist of his article is that anti-WIFI activists were unquestionably right in seeking to discriminate against WIFI because it was supporting “literal crimes against humanity.”

Moreover, the real problem now has nothing to do with the fact that the school is in danger of losing its federal funding. For Joseph, the real problem is how the nation-wide, nearly unanimous blow back from center-left news outlets and right-wingers has made anti-WIFI activists reticent to promote further discrimination against WIFI.

What can I say? Mission accomplished!

 

 

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Last day.

In ages past, administrators and academics believed the mission of higher education to be the pursuit of knowledge (University of Chicago: “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched”; University of Cambridge: “Hinc lucem et pocula sacra”) or even truth (Harvard University: “Veritas”; Yale University: “Lux et Veritas”). Today, they pursue Social Justice. Under that banner, anti-racist activists hope to do to higher education what Soviet communism did to fine art, literature and music. Under officially approved socialist realism, art was judged first and foremost by how well it depicted Soviet ideals, parroted Communist Party doctrine, and cultivated loyalty to the Soviet system. Not even science was exempted from serving a primarily ideological purpose during the thirty-year reign of Lysenkoism over Soviet biology and agronomy. Substitute critical race theory for Marxism–Leninism, whiteness for capitalism, and racial justice for dictatorship of the proletariat, and you will understand much of what the Great Awokening truly offers.

Would the Awoke of Williams disagree?

Just as critical race theory can destroy knowledge, it can likewise destroy institutions premised upon the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge. Thanks in large part to the influence of critical race theory, Evergreen State College melted down in Spring 2017. The concrete results of that meltdown included numerous faculty resignations, a catastrophic collapse in enrollments, layoffs, budget cuts and worldwide humiliation. Every institution of higher education should learn the lessons of Evergreen, for history is wont to repeat itself―the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Does this argument apply to Williams? I chatted with a Williams faculty member (not Paul) last week about the Evergreen comparison. I made the case that, however similar the woke rhetoric, Williams was unlikely to end up like Evergreen.

First, wokeness is affecting all of elite higher education. A student less interested in this attitude won’t find respite at Swarthmore.

Second, Williams is less woke than most of its peers. Indeed, we have always been among the most “conservative” institutions in elite education. (One could argue that the last 8 months show that this is changing. I bet not.) To the extent that there will be market movement away from the woke, we will benefit.

Third, wokeness has been with us for years, if not decades. The demands of the students who took over Hopkins Hall in 1969 were very similar to the ones that CARE Now made this year. Williams has been fine throughout.

Fourth, I have a great deal of (naive?) faith in the “hard men” of Williams, the ones who would step forward and prevent SJW nonsense from permanently hurting the institution. Ephs like Greg Avis ’80, Michael Eisenson ’77 and Andreas Halvorsen ’86 have a lifetimes worth of making tough decisions. They would not shirk from doing what needs to be done. I have the same (naive?) faith in the two hard women who now run Williams: President Maud Mandel and incoming Trustee Chair Liz Robinson ’90.

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 9.

Sensoy and DiAngelo identify whiteness as the primary barrier to hiring non-white faculty in North American higher education. They use the term whiteness as a label for “a range of unnamed and exclusionary institutional practices” that are “intrinsically linked to dynamic relations of white racial domination.” Never mind that whites make up the same percentage of US college and university professors as they are a percentage of the general population, while persons of Asian descent make up 11% of all professors, despite being only 5% of the country’s population.

1) Again, this article (pdf) is not just (only!) some random SJW nonsense. It was distributed by Dean of the Faculty Denise Buell to Williams professors.

2) Imagine that Buell distributed an article entitled ““We Are All for Diversity, but . . .”: How Faculty Hiring Committees Reproduce Jewishness and Practical Suggestions for How They Can Change.” That might lead to some interesting conversations!

3) My sense is that the Williams faculty is at least 11% Asian, although I can’t find the latest data.

Paul continues:

Sensoy and DiAngelo are nonetheless intent to “unsettle whiteness” and disturb, not only in order to promote the hiring of job candidates of color but to radically transform the university itself. Practices of whiteness they seek to unsettle include:

“research in the form of peer-reviewed journal publications and the acquisition of grant monies … [as] barometers of the most-valued work driving salary and career progression”;

“White European enlightenment epistemology … the privileging of particular forms of knowledge over others (e.g. written over oral, history over memory, rationalism over wisdom)”;

“a call for a general position in any field … [this] reinforces the idea that some aspects of the job are core, foundational, and thus presumed neutral, while other aspects are additional, extra, and specialized”;

“counting only candidates’ output (the number of publications) and not input (the time it takes to build the relationships that grant access) … such as relationships with communities and activism/advocacy work”;

“the discourse of merit”;

“bas[ing] quality solely on factors such as the tier of publication … Might we instead consider research that does not further the cause of racial justice to be, in fact, lesser quality research?”

In the view of Sensoy and DiAngelo, none of these practices seek out academic quality on fair and objective, if debatable, grounds. They are instead the socially constructed racist values of white culture and, for that reason, must at minimum be unsettled and at maximum abolished. Sensoy and DiAngelo want “traditional fields” with their “old classifications” to be swept up into “forward thinking” through “an interrogation of … disciplinary fields and their borders.” As they “decolonize predominantly white university campuses”―aka “white/settler–colonial institutions”―and pursue the “decolonization of the academy,” Sensoy and DiAngelo call for a transvaluation of all academic values. Their aim is to eradicate the traditional mission of academia and the nature of the academic life. Their goal is to turn the decolonized university into a radical fundamentalist sect.

Would Denise Buell be willing to engage Darel Paul in a public debate?

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I’m happy to report Nico Perrino at FIRE now has a transcript of his podcast interview with Williams biology professor, Luana Maroja. A number of things popped out at me when I read the transcript. The first is that Maroja comes from a family of Marxists. To escape political persecution in Brazil, her father had to burn his Marxist books. She has talked about growing up in a dictatorship. This is the first time, as far as I know, she has shared how she and her family were impacted by that dictatorship.

Luana asserts  she sees no evidence minority professors are the victims of violence on campus.

In one of these meetings, I asked – we need to know what is the violence that is happening on campus and I was told by another professor that even asking what is the violence is a violent act. So, basically, you cannot discuss anything. You just have to take everything at face value and, of course, there are problems with that. Serious claims need serious evidence, right?

Nico recounts how another hero for free speech, Zach Wood, reported he felt ostracized on campus due to his views. Luana reports a similar uncomfortable feeling, “I know that students sometimes turn their heads when I pass and you don’t know if they are on my side or not.” The full transcript is below the break.

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 1.

Whiteness and the Violence of Critical Race Theory

Decolonization intends to uproot Western academia’s supposed foundational characteristic: whiteness. According to critical race theory, whiteness is the social construction of white culture as socially normative. White supremacy, an unequal race-based distribution of power and resources, naturally follows. In the words of well-known activist-scholar of Whiteness Studies Robin DiAngelo, whiteness is a “racist worldview” into which all white people are socialized and effects “an unequal distribution of basically everything between people of color as a whole and white people as a whole.” The evil of whiteness animates the views of anti-racist student activists: “Whiteness is the most violent fuckin’ system to ever breathe!” (Evergreen); “I charge the white man with being the greatest murderer on earth” (Williams);

Paul does not provide a link, but this is a famous quote from Malcolm X. Was it included as part of one of Kyle Scadlock’s ’19 guerilla art projects?

“We demand that the College offer classes that embody intersectionality, as defined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, and address the racial diversity of the LGBTQ+ community instead of centering whiteness” (Sarah Lawrence). Never mind the superior performance of Asian students on white standardized tests, the strong overrepresentation of Asians in white supremacist higher education, that fact that Indians are the United States’ highest income ethnic group or that Nigerians are one of the most successful new immigrant groups in the country.

Exactly right. The average SAT score of Asian-American students at Williams is 1520, higher than white students. I also suspect that Asian-Amnericans have higher GPAs at Williams, but I have not seen any data.

College administrators, too, have taken up the task of decentering whiteness, helping their white faculty and staff in “processing whiteness” (Williams),

The link which Paul provides does not work. I suspect he is referencing this:

Processing Whiteness

Organizers: Ruby Solomon, Integrative Wellbeing Services; Seth Wax, Chaplain’s Office; Gail Newman, Professor of German

The Processing Whiteness group will provide opportunities for faculty and staff to analyze and understand white identity, white privilege, and racism in a supportive environment that focuses on the experiences of the participants. Through a series of facilitated discussions, the group aims to help participants learn to speak about the historical and contemporary implications of white identity, examine race and racism, identify implicit bias and feelings of shame, and explore and practice allyship and interrupting racism.

Is that a parody I just made up of Williams wokeness? Or reality? You make the call!

Paul continues:

“unpacking whiteness” (University of New Hampshire), conducting “conversations in whiteness” (University of Michigan), “understanding your whiteness” (University of Iowa) and “understanding and unlearning whiteness” (Evergreen). In a 2017 article in Harvard Educational Review, DiAngelo and her co-author Özlem Sensoy (both PhDs in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington) lay out what in their view whiteness is and how it operates in US and Canadian academia. The focus of their article is how whiteness is supposedly reproduced through faculty hiring and how that process may be interrupted. Thanks to its anti-racist frame, this article has, not surprisingly, become quite popular among American college administrators. In fact, it came to my attention because my own Dean of Faculty distributed it for my edification when I recently served as chair of a departmental hiring committee.

Denise Buell might be the most woke Dean of the Faculty in NESCAC. And I bet that she would consider that a compliment!

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Simon Maloy ’03 died yesterday after enduring a year-and-a-half-long fight with colon cancer.  Simon was a researcher and a journalist with Media Matters for more than 14 years. He was, at one time, in charge of listening to the Rush Limbaugh radio show and providing his readers with commentary and fact-checking services.

Simon appeared in the pages of Ephblog over a decade ago talking about his experience as a Limbaugh listener. Over his career, his work was published at The Week, Rolling Stone, American Prospect, and Salon. He was a history major at Williams College.

Some of his friends have set up a page at GoFundMe in his honor. So far, donors have given $67,696 toward an overall goal of $125,000. You can find this GoFundMe page by clicking on the following link. 

In Memory of Simon Maloy

The authors of the GoFundMe page indicate they are “…setting up this fund to help support Simon’s family — especially his sons’ education — as they move forward without him.”

Simon Maloy is survived by his wife Leslie and his sons, Avery and James.

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 7.

Racist violence on campus is said to go deeper still. Anti-racist activists claim its foundation is the very curriculum and pedagogy of the university: “the question of what counts as ‘good literature’ or ‘good art’ is not easily separable from feelings of exclusion from a majority culture of privilege and ‘value’” (Williams);

Check out that link! It goes to the Faculty-Staff Initiative Final Report of 2009 (pdf). These claims are not just made by some radical student fringe. They are core beliefs of many (most? almost all?) Williams faculty and administrators.

And maybe they are right! Certainly, if teachers have been telling non-white students (for their entire lives!) that Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dante are “white” and can’t really speak to the experiences and hopes of non-white people, it would hardly be surprising if those students came to Williams with “feelings of exclusion” toward Western classics. That does not strike me as a good thing.

How long until those names are sand-blasted off the front of Stetson/Sawyer?

Maybe we can keep Homer (brownish?) and Cervantes (Hispanic?) . . .

Side note: Had a conversation with some faculty about the Katie Kent ’88 and Dorothy Wang dust-up. Their comment was that if Katie had not been the one accused of racism, she would have been leading the charge against whomever was accused. Fair?

More from Paul below, and you really ought to read the whole thing!

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 6.

Speaking with anti-racists and engaging terms such as racism and violence involves entering an interpretative thicket. When the boundaries of racism expand to include the statements Make America Great Again (Skidmore College) and It’s OK to be white (Bates College, the latest of dozens of examples of this form of trolling) and the dictates of cultural appropriation forbid white people from teaching yoga (University of Ottawa) and performing Indian dance (American University), one despairs of ever extricating oneself from the entanglements of meaning.

Indeed. Again, if I wanted to make trouble at Williams, I would first put up a bunch of posters “It’s OK to be black.” Nothing bad would happen! Then, in the same locations, I would put up posters “It’s OK to be white.” Williams would melt down, as Northwestern has under former Williams President Morty Schapiro’s leadership.

Also, recall the saga of The Taco Six.

Sadly, I don’t know nearly as many of the details of the Taco Six (fall 2014) as I should. (See here for excellent discussion and debate.) I think that the students were never “punished” by the College except to the extent that they were threatened/tortured by the Dean’s Office. (In many of these cases, the process itself is the punishment.)

Woke culture came to Williams before the Fall of 2014, but the Taco Six is still one of its earliest and clearest manifestations.

More from Paul below:

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May 8, 2019

On Saturday, men’s crew won its first team championship since 2001 at the New England Rowing Championships. All four boats brought home medals to secure the title on Lake Quinsigamond.

The 4V set the tone for the rest of the team by leading off the day with a silver medal. In the afternoon final, the men got off the line well, matched only by Boston College and UMass in the early going. Boston College quickly separated from the field while the men pushed ahead of UMass. At the midpoint of the race, the crews were separated by open water and continued to spread out through the second half of the race. Boston College won in 6:31, and Williams took silver in 6:44.

Source: https://williamsrecord.com/2019/05/mens-crew-wins-first-new-englands-title-since-2001/

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In a recent tweet, political scientist Darel E. Paul has revealed more about the anti-white, anti-male agenda of Williams College. According to Paul, the dean of faculty – most likely Denise Buell – announced at a faculty meeting that the less white and less male Williams College gets, the better it will be.

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Williams College economist, Kenneth Kuttner, has co-authored a timely article at Econofact. It decimates the proponents of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) including Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

MMT is popular among socialists because it asserts that a country cannot default on its debts as long as it is controlling its own currency and limits its borrowing to its own currency. It implies we can safely reduce unemployment by printing more money. This approach is obviously appealing to socialists because it means they can ignore other tools for reducing unemployment like cutting the size of the government, reducing regulations, reducing the minimum wage or implementing tariffs which benefit U.S. workers. Kuttner and his co-author, Michael Klein, summarize their findings:

However, contrary to MMT doctrine, there are very real constraints on the government’s use of deficit spending. First, using sustained monetization (“printing money”) to finance deficits, a core principle of MMT, invariably creates inflation. Second, the reliance on tax hikes or spending cuts to quell inflation is highly unrealistic, given politicians’ extreme aversion to fiscal austerity, not to mention the lags inherent in the budgeting process. And third, MMT ignores the fact, that above a certain level, deficit spending will contribute to an ever-rising ratio of debt to GDP, whose costs will eventually be borne by future generations.

In the scatterplot above, they demonstrate the positive relationship between the inflation rate and the difference between the growth rate of the monetary base and the rate of growth of GDP for the U.S.

Kenneth Kuttner is a Professor of Economics at Williams College. His areas of expertise include macroeconomics, monetary policy, macroprudential policy, and the Japanese economy. Michael Klein is as Professor of International Economic Affairs at Tufts University. His research interests include world capital markets, exchange rate management, and foreign direct investment.

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 5.

Thankfully, this seems to still be a minority response to requests for evidence. A more common one is that campus racial violence skeptics listen. Both at Yale and Evergreen, white male professors at the center of the campus storm were repeatedly told to listen and repeatedly accused of failing to listen. At Williams, all faculty have been encouraged to “be listeners. Talk less, listen more.” This is an exceedingly reasonable request. Before skeptics, in particular, speak, they should indeed first spend time listening to protesters. But many do listen. Nicholas Christakis spent hours on the Silliman College quad at Yale listening to (and speaking with) student protestors, and many more hours in structured listening sessions. Bret Weinstein attended hours upon hours of meetings of both faculty and students in which he mostly listened―and during which he was openly pilloried as a racist. So what exactly does listen mean in the context of the Great Awokening?

Via Steve Sailer, I think this photo captures what CARE Now has in mind for professors like Darel Paul.

From listening to a great deal of anti-racist discourse, my strong sense is that listen means two rather different things. Its first meaning is eminently fair and consistent with the everyday meaning of the word: to listen means to hear my story. Minority students and faculty are keen for white students and faculty to listen as they describe their experiences. Experiences are not only external and material but also, and even more so, internal and mental, and thus involve both actions and emotional reactions. Both together make up the story being told. To listen also includes doing so attentively with neither defensiveness nor interruption. I submit that every person of goodwill should do as much.

Agreed. But listening is a two-way street. I am happy to listen to you for X minutes, in precisely this manner, as long as you are willing to listen to me for X minutes. If you think that only your views are worth listening to, then . . .

Listen does not end there, however. A second meaning is attached to the first and follows in its wake. One heard this clearly on the Silliman College quad at Yale University in 2015. Students who were upset over Christakis’s defense of the position that students should police their own Halloween costume choices through “self-censure” and “social norming,” rather than submit to “bureaucratic and administrative” control asked for—and received—an apology for hurting their feelings and causing them pain. This was not enough. Students further demanded an admission from Christakis that both his wife’s original email and his own defense of that email were violent and racist. “Let us tell you if you’re being racist,” said one student. Another insisted, “Empathy is not necessary for you to understand that you’re wrong. Even if you don’t feel what I feel ever, even if nobody’s ever been racist to you―’cause they can’t be racist to you―that doesn’t mean that you can just act like you’re not being racist.” If Christakis had truly listened to those students at Yale, he would have accepted their definitions of racist and violent. He would have endorsed their interpretation of the world as socially normative. Because he refused to do so, one student concluded “all I see from you is arrogance and ego … You are not listening! You are disgusting! I don’t think you understand that.”

Exactly right. The way that CARE Now can be sure that you have really — truly and with empathy — “listened” to them is if you agree with them. If you don’t agree with them, then, by definition, you never really listened.

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There is a lot of media attention focused on the U.S. Department of Education’s investigation of Williams College. Many of the articles are based on the original reporting by The College Fix. Here’s some of the most prominent headlines.

Geller Report: Williams College under federal investigation for discriminating against Jewish students

Newsweek: WILLIAMS COLLEGE INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION AFTER STUDENTS VOTE AGAINST PRO-ISRAEL GROUP

Jewish News Syndicate: US Department of Education studying Williams College for possible discrimination

The Jerusalem Post: AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATE WILLIAMS COLLEGE FOR REJECTION OF PRO-ISRAEL GROUP

Breitbart: Williams College Faces Federal Investigation for Discrimination Against Pro-Israel Student Group

The most interesting comments from the Geller Report are shown after the break.

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 4.

The Evidence of Racist Violence

Charges of violence are the most serious that can be leveled against an institution and a community. Therefore they should be supported by the most clear and compelling evidence possible. It is precisely here that anti-racist campus activists fall woefully short. Former Evergreen State College biologist Heather Heying observes “we keep on hearing that we are an incredibly racist institution and we have yet to hear any credible evidence for racism here on campus.” This gulf between personal experience and publicly available evidence is at the heart of the disagreements over racism on campus today.

This is a recurring theme at EphBlog. A large percentage of the “racists” incidents at Williams over the last 20 years — perhaps even a majority — have been “hate hoaxes,” incidents in which an Eph sympathetic to leftwing and anti-racists views stages an attack to appear to have been committed by a racist. The most dramatic of these was the 2011 “All Niggers Must Die” graffiti in Prospect House by African-American/Hispanic student Jess Torres ’12. The Record has never reported on this fraud and the College, to this day, continues to insist that this was an actual hate crime.

Adam Falk’s pathetic response to that nonsense was the first clear evidence that he was dramatically out of his depth as Williams president.

Part of the communication problem is rooted in anti-racist discourse. Activists often speak in emotionally charged generalizations: “we want to dismantle anti-blackness campus-wide” (Evergreen); “injustices [are] imposed on people of color by this institution on a daily basis” (Sarah Lawrence); “We, however, simply ask that our existences not be invalidated on campus” (Yale); “We charge this man with the destruction of black existence on this campus” (Williams). When asked what evidence supports these judgments, an increasingly popular response is to rule such questions out of bounds on the grounds of racism: “To ask marginalized students to throw away their enjoyment of a holiday, in order to expend emotional, mental, and physical energy to explain why something is offensive, is — offensive” (Yale); “We hold the truth of discursive and institutional violence to be self-evident.” (Williams); “accept the grievances of faculty of color without question” (Williams). According to former Evergreen State College biology professor Bret Weinstein, he was told by one of the most radical faculty of color at the college “to ask for evidence of racism is racism with a capital R.” Why? “We must stop asking them because we are inflicting harm on them asking for evidence.” Philosopher Nora Berenstain has invented a name for such evidentiary requests: “epistemic exploitation.” From such a perspective, blind faith is the only acceptable response.

Exactly right.

Darel Paul is the most prominent critic of this trend on the Williams faculty. Who are its most prominent/eloquent proponents? Which faculty members should we be reading to get the other side of the debate?

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Jenni Fink at Newsweek has published an article on how the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) initiated an investigation into Williams College after a law professor alerted them to how the College Council discriminated against pro-Israel students.

NEWSWEEK: WILLIAMS COLLEGE INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION AFTER STUDENTS VOTE AGAINST PRO-ISRAEL GROUP

Fink’s story breaks some new ground. First, it appears that this issue is occurring elsewhere too. In April 2019, pro-Israel students hit New York University with a complaint to OCR claiming that school violated Title VI too.

Second, Fink reports on the motivations behind the report. “In my experience,” said David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University, “Jewish professionals on campus aren’t sufficiently assertive in such matters, and students have lots of others things on their plate, so I figured that if I didn’t do something, no one would.” Bernstein seems to get the on-campus climate. His observation is consistent with the school’s tepid initial response, seemingly endorsed by Rabbi Wax, that WIFI would enjoy separate and almost equal rights. Bernstein calls the situation “…a pretty open-and-shut case of discrimination.”

Third, Fink’s article describes the procedures involved.  “If OCR finds the organization failed to comply with the law, the first step is to negotiate a voluntary resolution agreement, which outlines specific remedial actions,” she writes. “In the event an organization rejects a resolution agreement, federal financial assistance can be withheld or the case can be referred to the Department of Justice.”

Fourth, Bernstein seems pretty insistent that Williams College acknowledge the gravity of the situation.

Bernstein credited Williams College with taking steps to mitigate the situation, but said it wasn’t solely an issue of poor procedures. He said it went past a “misgovernance problem” and was a problem of anti-Semitism, which required the college’s acknowledgment to alleviate.

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I will be at reunion. Want to chat with me about all things Eph? Reach out to me at daviddudleyfield at gmail and we can set something up!

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 3.

Threats to life are now commonplace accusations. A black faculty member at Evergreen claimed “My ability to speak and my ability to be heard is a matter of my personal survival, and so, for me, this is about my teaching but also my life.” This is not a figure of speech, for the same faculty member also claimed “This shit is literally going to kill me.” Student graffiti at Williams claims “Nos están matando!” [They are killing us!], and two black Williams professors insist “What we have been doing to fit our bodies in these institutions is killing us.”

Paul does not provide a link to the matando graffiti. Was this reported somewhere? Any photos?

The infamous 2015 incident at Yale University, in which dozens of students argued with Professor Nicholas Christakis on the Silliman College quad in the wake of an unwelcome email from Christakis’s wife regarding Halloween costumes, crystallizes the claim:

Christakis: “So I have a vision of us, as people, as human beings, that actually privileges our common humanity, that is interested not in what is different among us, but what is the same … I believe even though I am not like you in the sense of my superficial appearance, that I can sit down and talk to you and understand your predicament, that I can listen to you. If that’s not true, if you deny that, then what is the reason that you ask to be heard, by me or anyone else?”

Student: “Because we’re dying!”

Did you watch the video of Christakis? It is amazing! Highly recommended. Paul continues:

No surprise then that the language of safety has become ubiquitous among anti-racist protestors: “I feel unsafe” (Williams); “I don’t feel safe here and that’s on you” (Yale); “This school is unsafe for marginalized students and you know it” (Evergreen); only after students “dismantle systematic oppression” will the school “be sustainable or safe for marginalized people” (Sarah Lawrence). Rather than push for greater police presence on campus, however, students instead demand an expansion of mental health services―usually emphasizing cultural competence or, more crudely, racial hiring. This began with the very first protests of the Great Awokening at the University of Missouri in 2014. There, one of seven student demands was “increases [in] funding and resources for the University of Missouri Counseling Center for the purpose of hiring additional mental health professionals; particularly those of color.” Activist students at Sarah Lawrence demand “at least” one new black, Asian and Latino/a therapist, “unlimited therapy sessions” on campus and free transportation for students to attend therapy sessions off campus. Those at Williams demanding the College “hire additional therapists, with a focus on trans therapists and therapists of color” are simply the latest instance of this pattern.

I have two contradictory views on the therapist issue. First, I want more money spent of things that students want/use and less money spent on everything else. If students want/use therapists then, by all means, hire more therapists.

Second, the bureaucracy at Williams continues to grow out of control! Health Services has 35 employees. That is bonkers! There are 15 therapists. (I realize that some of them must (?) be part-time.)

Is there data about the use of therapists? How many Williams students are seen by a therapist in a given year? How many sessions does a typical Williams student in therapy receive? How have those numbers changed in the last decade? Does therapy help?

Keep in mind:

1) Every dollar that we spend on another therapist is a dollar that we are not spending on an additional faculty member. I want more faculty and smaller classes.

2) Williams should focus more on preparing students for life after Williams. I am ready to believe that therapy is helpful and that we should employ some therapists. But is providing a senior with unlimited therapy — with no co-pay! — a good idea if, the day after graduation, she will have no more therapy? I am not sure that it is.

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Ephs' postseason run ends with 10-7 World Series loss to Trine

 

This will most likely be my final softball post, at least for a while.

Once again, and for the last time, the Ephs displayed a grit and determination not seen all that often as, down to their last two strikes and trailing by eight runs, they jumped up off the canvas and gave Trine University a scare worthy of John Carpenter. Ultimately, the Ephs saw the curtain fall on their 2019 journey with a 10-7 defeat at Suddenlink Field.

They left the University of Texas-Tyler with a fifth-place finish in the nation, the second-best effort in program history, a 39-7 record, which tied the 2018 team’s mark for single-season wins, and a whole stadium full of new admirers.

Not bad!

The five Eph seniors co-captains Jessica Kim and Casey PelzMackenzie MurphyKristina Alvarado and Jill Jenkin, finish their career with a 151-39 record, good for a .795 win percentage. The 151 wins are the most produced by any class in program history.

An interesting fact about one of the graduating seniors: “Alvarado played in her 47th career NCAA Tournament game, 25 with softball and 22 with women’s soccer. She played in five different NCAA championship events; three women’s soccer Final Fours and two softball national championships. She won three national championships with women’s soccer and helped softball to a third-place finish (2017) and a fifth-place finish (2019), the two best finishes in program history.”

Source: https://ephsports.williams.edu/sports/sball/2018-19/releases/20190525qd9k1d

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Roz Rothstein, the CEO and Co-Founder, StandWithUs sent Maud Mandel a letter dated May 30, 2019 complaining about the school’s two track system for approving student organizations. In Rothstein’s view, the school needs to end the role of the College Council in making these decisions. Without this change of policy the school will be unable to avoid the sort of discrimination which has provoked an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights into Williams’ conduct. Rothstein writes:

We therefore recommend that you take this opportunity to clarify the College’s policy in granting RSO recognition and formally adopt the policy on the Student Life website as the College’s official formal policy. In doing so, you will reduce the likelihood of similar bigotry and discrimination from reoccurring on your campus. Additionally, you will send a clear message to your student leaders that abuse of their power will not be tolerated and will be met with consequences.

So far, it appears that the administration has rejected Rothstein’s recommendation. This at least is what The College Fix is reporting regarding its conversation with Rothstein. The full letter is below the break.

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 2.

The preachers of the Great Awokening claim to desire racial equality.

Paul only (?) considers racial issues to be part of the Great Awokening. Is that accurate? I would consider Title IX, sexual assault and #metoo to be almost as important issues on campus. Perhaps also transgender issues? As with racial controversies, Williams has seen sex/gender debate in the past, but nothing as intense as we have seen over the last few years. And what about environmental concerns and the associated debate about Divestment? Again, I am happy to give race the lead part in the Great Awokening, but I think we can’t understand the broader cultural changes without looking beyond race.

Is this true? Or are they more interested in casting sinners into the hands of an angry mob? While it is difficult to discern another person’s ends, it is far easier to know her means. These involve a wholesale transformation of language, the academic curriculum, standards of judgment, disciplinary content and boundaries, academic freedom, even the definition of knowledge itself. This is no passing storm or simple outburst of youthful exuberance. The Great Awokening is a truly revolutionary project. Like all revolutions, it promises considerable destruction on the way to its final destination.

Indeed. Is the French Revolution a better historical metaphor?

Consider this article from the October 13, 1987 Williams Record. A central aspect of the French Revolution was its tendency to eat its own young. Robespierre may have helped to start the revolution, but that didn’t save him from the guillotine. Thirty years ago, Katie Kent ’88 was, perhaps, the single most important leader of the campus left at Williams. She was a force!

Try to put yourself back at the Williams of the 1980s. Many of today’s debates, especially about race and gender, are similar, indeed, almost identical, to those we had back then. Katie was in the midst of it, castigating those to her right with vim and vigor.

If Nostradamus had appeared at a Gargoyle meeting in the fall of 1987 (Katie was a Gargoyle) and predicted that someone in the room was, 30 years from then, going to be the sort of college professor that would cause left wing students to seek their ouster, we would have believed him! Gargoyle had a right winger or two with dreams of an academic career. But none of us would have thought that he was talking about Katie!

This semester, the Thermidorian Reaction came for Professor Katie Kent ’88. Who will they come for next?

Back to Paul:

The Charge of Racist Violence

The foundational claim leveled by anti-racism protestors is that violence is ubiquitous on campus. This claim dominates discourse at Williams. It is said that students and faculty “suffer from the college’s violent practices” as a matter of routine. Dozens of white tenured professors are supposedly “perpetrators of institutional violence” and “fight for a legacy of violence to be maintained” at the college. Minority professors’ “bodies [are] attacked,” and all people of color suffer “intentional violence that comes with being affiliated with this institution.” At Evergreen, even “white silence is violence.”

Violence is not meant to be taken metaphorically. While reports of racially motivated assault or even property crimes like larceny or burglary almost never surface, protestors and activists claim to suffer physical trauma nonetheless. For example, one Williams professor argues “In an abstract world in which you are not a pariah, collective violence is figurative. For targeted groups, in the real world, it is material (stress in emotional circuitry destabilizes the body).” In 2017, psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett expounded this claim in the New York Times, insisting that spending “a lot of time in a harsh environment worrying about your safety … brings on illness and remodels your brain. … A culture of constant, casual brutality is toxic to the body, and we suffer for it.” This is precisely the kind of climate that anti-racist activists say dominates the Anglosphere’s colleges. Hence the insistence that “our very right to speak/breathe” is at stake (Williams) and the cry “You feel stressed? You feel fuckin’ pressure? This is my every day! … I have a fuckin’ right to live!” (Evergreen).

Is Paul’s description of the Williams of today a fair one?

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According to a report by The College Fix, the U.S. Department of Education is now investigating Williams College over charges it violated anti-discrimination law when the College Council refused to approve WIFI, a pro-Israel student group. The complaint against the college was filed by David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University, on May 2, 2019.

Williams College under federal investigation for discriminating against Jewish students

The full text of Bernstein’s complaint appears after the break. As The College Fix reports:

The College Council voted to deny WIFI recognition as an official student organization during a secretive and controversial meeting April 23.

It was not livestreamed as usual, and speakers were not identified by name in the meeting minutes. An April 9 meeting that was livestreamed had drawn national attention because black student activists went on a profanity-laced rant against white students.

According to The Williams Record, WIFI was the first applicant in more than a decade to be rejected despite meeting all required bylaws.

According to a letter that Bernstein received from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in Boston, he retains “a right to file a private suit in federal court whether or not OCR finds a violation.”

David E. Bernstein, 52, is a law professor at the George Mason University School of Law where he has taught since 1995. He focuses on constitutional history and the admissibility of expert testimony. He is a contributor to the influential conservative legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal. He took a B.A. degree summa cum laude with honors in History from Brandeis University.

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In the spirit of transparency, and given that “free speech” is a frequent canard of Ephblog(‘s mostly more-conservative posters), I have included, below the break, the complete collection of comments that have been deleted on Ephblog that are available to me as an author.  I suspect that there are older comments not included below (I have had comments deleted in the past, for example, but none are included in the below compendium).  I have not in any way culled these comments: what I can see is what you see below, with one small noted edit to prevent a semi-anonymous poster from being formally outed.

Some quick observations:

  • although a handful of the comments below are personal attacks, the majority of deleted comments have at least some substantive component and relevancy to the discussion;
  • the deleted comments are overwhelmingly made by politically left-leaning posters;
  • the deletions are overwhelmingly made by politically right-leaning posters (mostly David and John C. Drew, who are ironically also this site’s most vocal proponents of free speech besides PTC);
  • a few of these were double-posted comments or comments deleted by the comment’s author (JCD deleted several of his own comments in his own threads, for example).

I wanted to also excerpt one comment that I think merits more attention.  From “Recent alum” (and deleted, unsurprisingly, by John C. Drew):

David, on this post John C. Drew, a person who has had no association with Williams for almost twice my lifetime and has perviously cyberstalked Williams students in the comments section of the Williams Alternative, is comparing a current Williams student to a fictional cannibalistic serial killer. Please look in the mirror and sincerely ask whether this is at all productive or whether you’re just creating a dangerous situation.

In fact, many of the deleted comments specifically question John C. Drew’s credibility or the wisdom of giving him a platform regarding Williams.  I think it is interesting–and worthy of additional consideration–that an entire topic of discussion is currently being suppressed by active Ephblog moderation.

***For the sake of full disclosure, I reserve the right to moderate comments in this thread, although I will try to note when I have done so and explain why.***

Update: I have added two additional comments below that were mistakenly flagged as “spam” and therefore deleted.

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The Berkshire Eagle has published a story on the WIFI free speech conflict. It interviewed some student leaders and broke new ground.

Council members Solly Kasab and Lance Ledet took issue with the discussion and voting process.

“The way the April 23rd meeting was run was ridiculous,” said Kasab, vice president of communications for the council, as well as treasurer of WIFI.

Kasab and Ledet said the way one co-president called on speakers, favoring one side of the discussion, was unfair. And both found it troubling that only three council members spoke during the meeting and that votes were secret.

Ledet termed the decision “absolutely politically motivated” and voted for WIFI to become a club. Ledet sees larger issues as well.

“Regardless of individual beliefs over whether or not WIFI should have become a club, I think everyone can agree that the debate highlighted how unrepresentative College Council is of the broader student body.”

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 1.

Colleges and universities across the English-speaking world are caught up in the enthusiasm of a Great Awokening. Its dogmas are structural violence, systemic racism, racial stress, white privilege, white fragility, implicit bias and microaggressions. From the University of Missouri to Evergreen State College to Sarah Lawrence College and beyond, faculty and students are ablaze with the fire of social justice.

Would most observers agree that the Williams of 2019 is systematically different than the Williams of yesteryear? I would. Of course, it is easy to think that “this time is different,” that what you are seeing is new. Most of the time it isn’t. Human foolishness is always with us. And Williams has had social justice warriors, at least for the last 30 years, if not the last 50.

Lacking programs in fields such as business, medicine, engineering and agriculture, liberal arts colleges by their very nature have a higher than average percentage of students and faculty proclaiming this new faith.

I am not sure that this is true. Yale, one of the main examples that Paul uses throughout the article, has all of the above, except for agriculture. Evergreen State, another Paul favorite, has agriculture and business.

So, true to form, this spring the Great Awokening finally came to my home institution, Williams College. Administrators and other campus leaders have encouraged white members of the college community like myself to listen.

Administrators and campus leaders have been telling white Ephs to listen for decades. That is nothing new. But, I agree with Paul that 2019 feels different. There were isolated controversies in the past, but nothing like the sustained turmoil we have seen this year.

Over the past two months, I have striven to do exactly that. In fact, I’ve done quite a lot of listening (and reading). I have spent dozens of hours listening at meetings and reading copious documents produced by activist students and faculty. I have also watched videos and read documents resulting from the racial blowups at Yale University in 2015, Evergreen State College in 2017 and Sarah Lawrence College in 2019. Listening to these views from multiple campuses helped me realize that what seems to be a local discourse responding to local issues is actually a local manifestation of an international social, political and ideological phenomenon. All the accents and cadences of critical race theory can be identified. Williams, Sarah Lawrence, Evergreen and Yale could really be Any Residential College in Any Town.

Agreed. Again, my favorite historical analogy to the current campus hysteria is the Second Great Awakening. From Wikipedia:

Like the First Great Awakening a half century earlier, the Second Great Awakening in North America reflected Romanticism characterized by enthusiasm, emotion, and an appeal to the super-natural. It rejected the skepticism, deism, Unitarianism, and rationalism left over from the American Enlightenment, about the same time that similar movements flourished in Europe.

Postmillennialism theology dominated American Protestantism in the first half of the 19th century. Postmillennialists believed that Christ will return to earth after the “millennium”, which could entail either a literal 1,000 years or a figurative “long period” of peace and happiness. Christians thus had a duty to purify society in preparation for that return.

CARE Now is going to purify Williams, whatever it takes . . .

Entire article below the break:
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Commencement is this morning. Congratulations to all our graduating seniors!

I know that there is a livestream, but I can’t find it. Could someone please point it out?

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“Brutus” passes along the latest open letter:

We write today to reach out to you with our experiences and provide a longer history for the current conflicts within the Williams English Department. As alumni, we are deeply disappointed and frustrated by the College’s response to Professor Kent’s harassment of Professor Wang, not least because it is being treated as a single event rather than a part of a long-standing and larger pattern. We write in support of Professor Wang and in echo of the demands articulated by protesting students and the Coalition Against Racist Education Now (CARE Now), enumerated in the open letter delivered to you this spring. Furthermore, we urge for the broadcast of these events in alumni publications and Ephnotes, as they often go unacknowledged. It is this lack of institutional memory and publicity that perpetuates these harmful dynamics, despite their documentation (see Margolis v. Williams College, the 2015 open letter to the English department, and the aforementioned CARE Now letter).

Worth spending a week on? Entire letter and associated “testimony” below the break:

Brutus continues:

Quick follow-up on the previous email. According to the Williams English web page, the department currently has 0 white male assistant professors (tenure-track) and 0 white male associate professors (white men are still allowed to be itinerant adjuncts, it seems). Perhaps the College is taking the demographic approach to purging the English Department of its racism/sexism/heteronormativity/etc.?

True? I have not checked. But don’t forget! We need to get rid of the white women, like Katie Kent ’88, as well.

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Biology professor Luana Maroja has recorded a So to Speak podcast with Nico Perrino from FIRE. The tagline reads: “Professor Maroja’s experience growing up under a dictatorship in Brazil led her to become an outspoken advocate for free speech at Williams College and a skeptic of the idea that words are violence.”

Ephblog fans can stay up to date with So to Speak on the show’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and subscribe to the show’s newsletter at sotospeakpodcast.com.

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