Ted Gilley does a good job with EphNotes, the monthly e-mail summary of Williams news that is mailed out to alums.

Alas, the web site for EphNotes seems to always be an issue or two behind. The archive is also in Microsoft Word, an unfortunate and unnessary choice given that the e-mails themselves go out as text. The November issue notes:


With support of the trustees, and from campus and alumni leaders, Morty Schapiro is rallying Williams’ governance structure to focus this year on proposing ways to make Williams as open and welcoming as possible for members of historically marginalized groups. A coordinating committee is overseeing the effort, which is modeled on the structure that so successfully led to concrete proposals in the College’s 2000 strategic planning process. There will soon be a Web site to keep all interested parties abreast of developments. Ephnotes will let you know when it’s available.

My own modest contribution to the diversity discussion is here.
Future college presidents should note that Morty has handled the entire Nigaleian matter quite well. By including the entire community — especially those members most likely to complain the loudest about the current status quo — in the discussion about how Williams might do better, he has ensured a warm and fuzzy-feeling outcome for all concerned. Whatever their other faults, committees and process decrease discord.

This is true even if you, like me, think that this entire exercise is a waste of time. As Oren Cass ’05 argues, Williams is already about as open and welcoming as a community of imperfect humans can be. To pretend that anything more than marginal change is possible is to deceive oneself.

Moreover, the main change that might actually have prevented Nigaleian (doing away with tenure) isn’t even under discussion. Nor have we had a thorough airing of the reasons why Williams hired, promoted and tenured a person like Aida Laleian in the first place. As best I know, all of those folks still have as much say in personnel decisions as they have always had. But perhaps they have learned their lesson . . .

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