Although I think that spring break should be over by now, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of activity over at the Williams Record. Fortunately, there has been some interesting articles in the last few weeks. Here are some highlights:

The Record ran a two part series on Diversity at Williams in the March 4th and 11th issues. It was extremely well done, focussed on the situation specifically at Williams. (I can’t figure out a way to link to those issues in their entirety, but you can get to them via the “Archives” box on the left of the home page.) The article on faculty diversity was particularly strong. Consider this section:

At Williams, 91 percent of assistant professors in Division I are female, compared to only 57 percent of doctorates given out in 2000-2001. Further, 46 percent of Division I assistant professors at Williams are minorities, while only 14 percent of Division I doctorates given out went to minorities.

These numbers have started to concern certain members of the community, who argue they indicate what may have once been a noble effort to diversify the academic ranks is now overcompensating at the expense of scholars not looked at as part of the affirmative action program.

“The juggernaut of affirmative action hiring continues despite long-ago demonstrated success,” said Robert Jackall, professor of sociology. “At what point will the College declare victory and peace with honor and leave the battlefield?”


1) Although I am pleased that our classmate Katie Kent is tenured, a wonder about the sort of education that my lovely daughters will receive at a place where men don’t get to teach English. Then again, perhaps Dean Fix will still be around to help out!


2) As far as Professor Jackall’s question goes, I don’t know the answer. But I suspect that only males with tenure are well served to ask these sorts of questions in public.

3) I wonder about the definition of “minority” in this quote. One of the subtle points in these sorts of debates is who gets to “count” as a minority? Sometimes Asians are included (I would wager that they are in the above); sometimes they are not. This issue came up during our time at Williams over the issue of counting a professor with a Spanish last name as a “Hispanic,” even though he was from Spain and, therefore, not really Hispanic in the eyes of some activists.

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