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Praise for the Diversity Report

Kudos to the Administration for their openness in the Diversity Initiative. I suspect that every memeber of the coordinating commitee deserves some share of the credit for making so much of the underlying data public, but this open trust in the good sense of the Williams community can only come from the top. Much of the praise should go to President Schapiro, Dean Roseman and Provost Hill. EphBlog praises all!

Alas, I have still not had time to digest the body of the report, although the Record provides this overview. But we can already see the benefit to discussions on campus. Students can now make direct reference to items like this table about the diversity of JAs relative to the student body.

A confident and successful scholarly community is always as open as possible with its data and its methods. How nice to see that Williams continues to be such a community.

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#1 Comment By anonymous On April 30, 2005 @ 3:56 pm

Might be a good idea for you to read the report. Pretty lame.

#2 Comment By eph On April 30, 2005 @ 7:18 pm

Agreed. It’s a poorly thought-out and poorly researched report.

#3 Comment By Anonymous On April 30, 2005 @ 8:35 pm

I think the report is uneven — some of the authors are longwinded and others are to the point — but I don’t think it’s “pretty lame.”

My understanding is that it was an attempt to “write everything down.” I think the college’s big challenge will be the next step: to digest everything and come up with a cohesive plan going forward.

This is an incredibly difficult “grey area.” The Alumni Fund Vice Chairs have had a number of discussions on this subject and some pretty heated, personal confrontations. I remember one where a young, female, minority alum went on and on about how Williams wasn’t welcoming enough and eventually a self-made WASP alum from the 30’s exploded, “Get over it. Not all of us had things handed to us on a silver platter.” Here were two, well-educated people (but of different races, sexes, ages, and economic circustances) seeing the world very differently. The only thing that gives me heart is that the discussion remained civil and eventually there was some common understanding of why the other felt the way they did.

Williams can’t change the world but at least it can make its small piece a more accepting of diversity, while at the same time preventing the community from splintering into masses of separate interest groups.

#4 Comment By David On May 1, 2005 @ 8:40 am

I look forward to reading the report. But, even without reading it, I am still a huge fan of the process that the College is following. I can’t praise the College enough for being so open in its policy-making, for making (almost) all the underlying data public, at least within the Williams community. Now, as an alum, I have the right and obligation to make my opinion known, but if, at the end of the day, the College community feels differently, then I can’t get angry. Reasonable people will often disagree.

Yet if the College were to not be open, were to keep the data secret and the writing private, then I would have grounds for anger. Indeed, I am still angry about the College’s refusal to release some of the underlying data for the Report on Varsity Athletics, even though, in that case, I agreed with the policy change.

By the way, next Winter Study’s Cross Generational Community of Learning course will probably focus on a close reading and discussion of Diversity Initiatives related material. Mark your calendars!