A new, and extremely well-informed, anonynous source reports:

I am writing with information regarding the racial slur incident you’ve been discussing in EphBlog. The sanctions imposed on the faculty member in question are as follows:

1) She is not allowed to attend department meetings for five (5) years;

2) She is not allowed to participate in tenure and hiring decisions for five (5) years;

3) She is not allowed to supervise junior faculty or other colleagues in the department (i.e., she cannot become chairman of the department) for five years;

4) She will teach an additional undergraduate course every other year for the term of the sanctions (this additional course was assigned in light of the fact she will not attend meetings or do tenure-committee work).

Together, these constitute a minor sanction. The Dean of Faculty and senior College administrators imposed the sanctions (i.e., the Discrimination Grievance Committee was not involved).

I am a person with knowledge of this situation and feel that the debate in EphBlog and elsewhere needs to move beyond a guessing game (about the players involved in this incident) to a genuine debate about the nature of the offense and the appropriateness of the sanctions imposed. I hope the information I’ve provided fosters that debate.


1) Great stuff! Many thanks to this source and all the other folks that provided EphBlog with information. I firmly believe that the College is best off handling this matter in the most transparent manner possible. Sunshine is always the best disinfectant.

2) As always with anonymous sources, we need to take care in evaluating these claims. With any luck, the College will officially confirm the information along with Professor Laleian’s identity. Even if the College doesn’t confirm it — and no doubt calls from the Record and Transcript will be coming soon — I would still wager that this information is correct. Who would have an incentive to lie about this, especially when others could so easily correct the record?

3) Although I had initially expressed an interest in finding out more details — who went to Dean Lenhardt, what sort of (ill)working relationships existed in the department — I now agree that we have enough of the details to “move beyond a guessing game.”

4) My own opinion depends on how similar, and not so similar, cases have been handled in the past. Are the sanctions imposed on Laleian the harshest that the College has imposed in the last 20 years or are they, relatively, light? What is the history of faculty-sanctioning at Williams? I am not looking for names and dates, just the sort of executive summary that the honor and discipline committee provides each semester.

Let the debate begin.

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