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Diversity, Schmiversity

The more time that I spend on the Diversity Initiatives site, the more of a fan of the project I become. Indeed, another argument for making the site public is that it serves as marvelous advertising for the College. A community that can maintain this sort of intelligent conversation is a community worth joining.

That said, it would be nice for the College to be more precise about exactly what the point of the exercise is. For example, a recent suggestion noted that “It’s time to include a discussion of why the faculty at Williams is not politically diverse.”

Maybe. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. It is an important problem. But does it fall under the rubric of the Diversity Initiatives?

Who knows? The problem is that the College, even Morty, is excessively vague about what topics should be included in this discussion and what topics shouldn’t.

Welcome to the Williams Diversity Initiatives Web Site.

As a special focus this year Williams is seeking ways to make the College as welcoming as possible to members of historically marginalized groups.

Which groups are considered “historically maginalized” and which are not? I am not asking this question for the relativistic reasons of the typical snotty conservative — i.e., my Irish ancestors were treated poorly too! — but for precision. That is, should we be talking about the issue of (the lack of) political diversity among in the faculty in the context of the Divserity Initiatives?

It depends, obviously, on the meaning of “historically maginalized groups,” which is an interesting phrasing, and not at all the same thing as “underrepresented groups”. After all, women students are no longer underrepresented at Williams, at least in aggregate, but there can be no doubt that they were “historically maginalized”.

I am not sure if we should be discussing the issues of gender and political orientation in the context of the Diversity Initiative. It is reasonable for the College to want to focus on some topics rather than others. But there is no excuse for sloppy thinking or writing. What precisely are the Diversity Iniatives about?

Inquiring minds want to know.