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Student Experiences and Support Services

This entry discusses the one-page student experiences report, which is descriptive, and the 10-section student support services report, which is prescriptive. Since the two reports are very different, I shall discuss them separately.

I don’t have time to go into detail on all of them, but the diversity report includes 50 very interesting tables and graphs; see here for a list.

Student Experiences

African-American students:

Latino/a students:

Asian-American students:

Thus, we see that students’ experience at Williams differs greatly when examined along racial divisions. Certainly, each student’s experience at Williams is distinct and different, but perhaps it is troubling that differences are based on something so superficial — or not, as many argue — as the color of one’s skin.

The committee has suggestions for what to do in the future:

1. Create a subset of these data to use as measures of progress toward improving the experiences of historically underrepresented groups at Williams.

Given the recent discussion on student recruitment, improving the experiences for the students from underrepresented groups once they get to Williams seems like a great idea, since they are so hard to get to Williams in the first place.

Policy making bodies should review those data regularly and report them publicly as appropriate.

Sounds like something David Kane would support wholeheartedly.

2. Create a more sophisticated system for the early detection of students who may become academically at risk and for more actively providing them with support.

A good idea in theory, but how much interference do students really need? More on that in the next section.

3. Continue to look for opportunities to reduce financial pressures on students from low-income families.

Always a good idea. This report emphasizes the financial burden of college on “students of color” in general and African-Americans and Latino/as specifically, but this also applies to international students and all “socio-ec” students.

Student Support Services

This report has 10 separate sections.

Special Academic Programs: The “discussion” section begins:

The data on student experiences and performance suggest that we need to be asking ourselves continually if we are doing enough, and doing well enough, for all of our students.

Sure, support services are good, but isn’t college a lot about learning to do things on your own? If the college is always trying to add more services, this process will never end, until not a single student struggles, and then where is the learning? Uncomfortable learning, sure, and not every student has a high enough GPA to go to Oxford — a problem cited in the report — but that is the way it has to be. The report also recommends hiring more TAs of color, saying

One, some students of color will be more comfortable seeking help from other students of color. … In this case, affirmative action might mean looking beyond those students most assertive about pursuing such jobs and those students with the strongest grades to make sure that all of the qualities that make a good tutor or TA are considered.

In my experience, many of the students that come to the Resource Center are non-white. Would more students really come there and to TA sessions if the quality of TA teaching were decreased in favor of “affirmative action” for URMs? A difficult question.

International Students:
The report notes that

The new First Days orientation schedule has made it necessary to condense a four-day international student orientation program into a morning. Consequently, the schedule consists of a series of administrative tasks required either for SEVIS compliance or for the business of the College.

Ouch! “Welcome to America, welcome to Williams, please fill out this form, thank you and enjoy your semester.” This is not exactly the warm fuzzy Williams touch we expect. However, the recommendation (by Dean Amy) is

International students at Williams need additional support.

It’s easy to say that in every area; perhaps it is especially needed here, and perhaps not.

An effective and substantive orientation program should be developed and implemented;

True? Maybe for some, but maybe some international students don’t need it, and it would make them feel separated from the Americans.

the College needs to commit to providing transitional housing and housing during major breaks;

Good idea! I don’t think many people would argue with this. Doug Bazuin makes a good point about this in his section of the report:

We have worked with the Dean’s Office to provide transitional/holiday housing for international students. At times, we have had to lobby various campus constituencies (such as Facilities) to provide housing for these students. Our efforts to provide this housing was not proactive, but occurred as a result of student pressure. As the profile of our international students changes, we have found that these students require more and more resources, and we often do a poor job of being proactive about those needs.

Okay, back to Dean Amy:

…workshops regarding such issues as cultural adjustment, work visas, fellowship opportunities, the honor code, English language usage, and study skills could be created.

Required workshops? Because if not, I can’t really see very many international students, who are already bright to begin with, voluntarily attending a meeting on, say, the honor code.

In addition, it would be helpful for the College community, particularly those staff members with direct contact with students, to have training regarding cross-cultural communication and sensitivity.

Again, easy to say that we need more training. But do we, really? I thought the point was to learn those things from living and working with people who are different, not having workshops about it.

Students with Disabilities:
The report describes students with disabilities at Williams as

approximately 70 self-identified students… the largest percentage of them have learning disabilities or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder… Students with depression, bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder have self-identified and requested accommodations.

Although Dean Amy claims that “students who have submitted documentation are invited to come in to talk on an individual basis with the person responsible for coordinating accommodations,” I have heard from a student who did this that the person was very unhelpful, and the talks did not lead to any accommodations. Once again, Dean Amy’s suggestion is that

Students with disabilities at Williams need additional support.

She recommends a “learning specialist” to meet with students and design “educational programs” to help them understand their disability and study better. Again, she also recommends workshops. I am not sure what the benefit of workshops would be.

Campus Life and Student Activities
Doug Bazuin discusses the Campus Life office, of which he is the head. He essentially summarizes the jobs and recent histories of various event-organizing groups, but there is no clear focus. The conclusion is equally unconvincing and unconvinced:

While one has the sense that the Campus Life Office should be doing more for our students regarding diversity, it’s not clear what that is. MCC provides a lot, however, and there is always the question of overlap. Maybe there could be more interaction between our offices, to see our roles as less compartmentalized. We could also work with other offices and outside agencies on expanding the training of HCs and CLCs in cultural competency.

Again, the same “we should do more, and maybe have workshops” theme.

Student Residential and Social Life:
In this report, Will Dudley essentially summarizes the CUL’s plan for anchor housing. He writes,

The proposed residential system aims not only to increase the extent to which all of the houses at Williams reflect the diversity of the student body, but also to enhance the opportunities and incentives for the members of the houses to interact with each other in meaningful ways.

A bit paternalistic, but with good intentions, I suppose. However, Dudley claims,

The CUL will spend the coming year preparing for the implementation of the new house system. The most important aspect of these preparations with respect to issues of diversity will be the design of the house governance structure.

Many would argue for many other aspects as being “the most important” before the house governance structure — number of clusters, for instance.

Multicultural Center:
This is a useful summary:

The Multicultural Center was established in 1989 to support the educational mission of the College by developing and supporting programs, events, workshops, and training, with a focus on the diversity of the community, including differences in gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and religion.

The report discusses WOW, SPARC, MLK day, and other events in great depth. In addition to recommending workshops (surprise!) for JAs, it suggests that:

So, nothing major, just more workshops, more support, and more money.

Safety and Security:
Jean Thorndike writes:

In writing this report, I have realized that no significant training has taken place since Department of Justice training in 2001.

Is this a problem? Perhaps, given that the college demographics have been changing, and that new officers did not receive even that training. However, she remarks later,

Yearly: All officers/supervisors who attend the six-day Northeast Security Officers Training Academy at Bates College attend a three-hour training program on “Diversity and Hate Crimes.” … Officers who have already attended the academy are rotated through the program again to insure mandatory training.

Thus, there may not actually be a gap. Thorndike makes another interesting point:

Doug Kern from SUNY did an excellent program about how campus officers react initially and what types of messages these actions send to members of historically underrepresented groups. … For example, it might imply they are taking sides because they allow a person with privilege or power to “tell their story first.”

This is certainly something that officers might not realize if they did not have a workshop to remind them. Good point. Thorndike further suggests that Security “establish CSS [campus safety and security] staff liaisons with student diversity groups.” This is an interesting idea, since entries already have security officers assigned to them, and would be worth pursuing.

Health Center and Psychological Counseling Center:
The report suggests that

One of the goals of the Health Center is to increase our outreach. Ideally we would like to have a member of the staff contact each of the underrepresented student groups early in the academic year to establish a relationship. We hope that if these students know at least one member of the staff, they will feel comfortable coming to the Health Center and will make us aware of how we can best serve our minority students.

An interesting idea. Would it work? Would more people who need to go to the health center actually go if they knew someone there? If so, it would be a good idea. Now that its hours are so reduced, it is good to encourage people to go. The health center is also trying to increase contact with CDE students, which is an aspect of college diversity that no other report considered. The report ends on a sad yet valiant note:

The Health Center staff is not as diverse a group as we would like, but the individuals are committed to being allies to our students. … Our attempts at increasing diversity within our hiring pool through the alumni office and others have not been successful.

Well, okay, keep it up and thanks for trying.

Religious Life and Community Service:
Rick Spaulding has the best recommendations of any of these reports. He suggests that for JA and HC training,

Replace the models of “information fairs” and perfunctory “panels” of student services staff with substantive, interactive explorations of the lived experience of diversity… Take steps to change the culture of these training sessions so as to add a far stronger sense of the gravity of the matters that we are counting on these students to address. Equipping JAs to be more effective teachers about issues of diversity, and more effective front-line enablers of community, would be a far more valuable way for them to spend their very limited training time (especially in May) than “bonding” with each other. Why is bonding with each other more important than spending time taking a hard look at the way race and class still have sharp edges at Williams?

Perhaps David Kane would have an opinion on this subject, but it sounds like a great idea to me. He also makes the good point that

…the realities of religious diversity might offer a way to break through the layer of predictability that, for many, “diversity training” may have acquired. Most Williams people have been asked to think, maybe frequently, about how they view racial differences, and perhaps even economic differences. Fewer of them may have been asked to think about how they view religious differences. It could be that this topic would offer a fresh avenue of approach, during orientations and trainings, to the common heart of the matter, which is sensitive, thoughtful, educational engagement with the realities of difference between people.

Career Counseling:
This report is not very deep. One of its three recommendations is:

We recently proposed to link our diversity resources to the MCC home page, which was positively received by the MCC Director.

Awesome. Hey, maybe I’ll link to you, too. Come on, let’s think of something better than a link! But as I pointed out way up at the top in the first section, URMs get a disproportionate number of Williams-sponsored fellowships and internships, so the OCC is probably doing a pretty good job.

Did you make it this far? Thanks. Now, discuss.

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#1 Comment By David On January 11, 2006 @ 9:33 am

I made it this far! Thanks to Diana for an excellent summary.

Unlike you, I think that Rick Spaulding’s call for more workshops and less “bonding” is ridiculous.

See this letter from JA Co-Presidents from two years ago about JA training.

Many of the other training sessions, however, were mainly didactic, with minimal room for interactive discussion. These discussions were also much less effective when they followed a lengthy speech.

It seems common sense to me that you want the JA class to be as bonded as they can be. When trouble hits, there is nothing more important than having JAs that know one another well and trust each other’s judgment. Also, as Connell and Geissler make clear, the best teaching/learning method for JAs is, mostly, war stories. The more that JAs can talk with past JAs about things that actually happened, how past JAs tried to solve real problems, why they did what they did, and how, in retrospect, they might have acted differently, the better.

The last thing that new JAs need is another boring lecture from Rick Spaulding or anyone else.

I have never heard a JA say something good about the didactice, lecture-driven portions of their training. Contrary opinions are welcome.

Again, I love Rick Spaulding because he is such a dinosaur.

Why is bonding with each other more important than spending time taking a hard look at the way race and class still have sharp edges at Williams?

Presumably, once these new JAs have taken a “hard look” at things, they will see the world the way that Rick Spaulding does.

In fact, what really matters is that the JAs know/trust each other well enough so that when of these sharp edges do arise in their entry, they can use their fellow JAs as a resource for advice and assistance.

By the way, just how “sharp” are the edges of race, much less class at Williams? Not that sharp, I think. For example, who do you think has a harder time on the Williams social scene:

a) A man whose family is at the 10th percentile in terms of income at Williams or,

b) A man whose physical attractiveness are at the 10th percentile according to Williams standards.

My guess is that it is much tougher to be ugly at Williams than it is to be poor.

Same would apply to race. Who do you think encounters more sharp edges at Williams?

a) An African American female or

b) A (white) female at the 10th percentile in terms of intelligence.

My guess is that it is tougher to be stupid (in a Williams context) than it is to be a darker shade of purple.

#2 Comment By Rory On January 11, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

First, Diana, a very impressive entry!

David, you continue to use such sharp language, it really amazes me. Unsurprisingly, you and I disagree on Rick Spaulding, who I find to be one of the most engaging and progressive (in terms of being ahead of the curve and his political views) people I’ve ever met. A truly fantastic person who does not lecture. And even if he did, it’d be magnificent. Whence the “dinosaur” comment?

Your comparisons seem off the mark. Rather, we should ask 10th percentile and white, vs. 10th percentile and URM. The clear answer seems to be being URM makes the experience, across the board, more difficult. Some white people might have crappy experiences, and some URMs may have perfectly wonderful experiences, but the overwhelming evidence is that they are the exceptions that prove the rule.

Spaulding, in asking for workshops, specifically avoids ideas like “lectures”. Instead, he asks for opportunities to learn that can be seen as bonding. The program whose reunion I spent this morning with is a good example. Anytown is a program for student leadership for high school students run by the NCCJ across the country. I worked this summer with Anytown, NJ. Yes, it has a clear ideological bent (diversity and multiculturalism is good) and is all workshops and the type of activities Spaulding looks for. Five months later, the students are unbelievably bonded because the workshops are so dynamic, challenging, and an amazing moment for growth. There is no time wasted at the program, and there are no “empty” (my term) bonding moments. There are also no lectures. to equate workshop with lecture only means you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience a whole lot of really terrible workshops (and I know how much that sucks).

It scares me to use a term Nixon created, but from looking at SPARC evaluations (full disclosure: I ran the program for a couple of years), I know there are students who do appreciate and gain from the program. Could it be better? hell yes. What would that take? Aside from a community culture that did not disrespect it in general, it would take a commitment to the training and designing of the workshop in terms of money and time that is currently unavailable for various administrative reasons. It is very easy to create an interesting bonding workshop for three or four hours if one has the professional training and experience to do so. As of my time on campus, however, that job has fallen to students who do an admirable job running the program, but need more facilitation training. Aside from those students who were natural facilitators, too many of the leaders were thrust into hostile environments with too little training for it to be as effective as it should be.

What this summary provides, I think, is a central criticism of the initiative reports. There is a real lack of creative thought. The answer can be summed up as such: more money, more links, more effort. Wow. Instead, we should hear about more crazy ideas, more infeasible ideas, because thinking of those things would lead to better feasible programs. What would happen if Williams invited 100 nominated students from targetted high schools to campus for tutorials with professors before their senior years? What if those studnets, if they pass the tutorial impressively, were then accepted to Williams? Sure there are feasibility problems and the problem that such students might be separated from the rest of the campus, but it could also increase the number of LSE and URM students quite dramatically. What if every high-ranking administrator and house presidents and other “dignitaries” (my term again) of Williams, students, alumni, and staff, were required to go to MinCo convocation nights? Requirement is ugly, and can cause resentment, but it would mean a lot more people went to those events. What if every year, the trustees met with the MinCo co-chairs? What if the MCC had a funded alumni advisory body to create more cross-generational support for students (actually, that one’s really feasible…hmmm…).

All of the above proposals have huge flaws that make me not support them (save the last), but they bring the discussion to new ideas and, I think, make it much more exciting. Such energy can be harness to bring real good. The current report, I believe, does not have nearly as much energy and creativity.

I also think tinkering has been a problem for creating a sense of continuity on campus, a sense that is important for creating effective community norms. The orientation program has changed, since I entered in ’99, at least five times that I know of. Give things a chance before radically altering them.

#3 Comment By David On January 11, 2006 @ 4:12 pm

Rory,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Perhaps the best thing that has come our of the seminar is your return to EphBlog. I know that I am not the only reader who finds your comments to be among the best that are made here.

1) Calling Spaulding (who I have praised repeatedly on the blog and who, by all accounts, is a fine chaplain) a dinosaur is a bit sharp, but that is the way his rhetoric often strikes me, like some radio signal sent out 30 years ago that has bounced around the stratosphere and is just now returning to Earth. Perhaps an analogy would help.

Imagine that, instead of talking about race/class, Spaulding spent a lot of time insisting that limitted JA training time should be spent “taking a hard look at the way Italian heritage still has sharp edges at Williams?”

What would your reaction be to that? Well, I, for one, would think this dinosaurish. It is not that I deny that Italian American students and faculty were discriminated against at Williams a century ago. They probably were. It is not that I deny that Italian American students may, on average, experience Williams differently than other students. They probably do. It is not that I deny that there are many examples of (some ignorant, some just malicious) anti-Italian American bigotry on campus. There probably are.

I would just think that concern over this shows a disjointed sense about what matters and what doesn’t. It isn’t wrong, just strange, historical. When my mixed-race daughters show up to Williams, I suspect that they will wonder what the heck this very nice, engaged chaplain is talking about.

Yes, yes, yes. I know that race and class still matter, that they matter a lot. But I just don’t see them as mattering as much as Spaulding does. Moreover, on the margin, I am not arguing that JA training should spend less time on these issues. I just think that Spaulding is crazy to argue that even more time should be spent on them.

I wonder if it is permissable, in Spaulding’s view, to, at JA training, disagree with his claim about the relative importance of these sharp edges. I wonder if Spaulding thinks that JA applicants who express a dissenting view should be turned down for the position.

2) I know nothing of SPARC, but Diana claims that “no one” likes SPARC. You complain about a “a community culture” that “disrespects” SPARC. Is it people like Diana that you are talking about? (Perhaps someone could explain to we older alums just what SPARC is and, because we love history, who started it and why.)

I hope to address some of your other thoughtful comments later.

#4 Comment By Loweeel On January 11, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

Is it wrong of me to suggest that SPARC training would be both helped and balanced by including a discussion of the “Free Press” agitprop? And that the discussion following Katie Koestner should include at least a mention of the girl (class of ’04) who incited a campus-wide manhunt after accusing her recent ex-boyfriend of sexually assaulting her and then stabbing her in the leg?

Of course, the Free Press debacle was made up (and the perpetrator[s] should have been punished as harshly as the accused individuals would have if it were true), and the girl turned out to have been recently jilted and stabbed herself before making her false accusations.

Note that I am NOT saying that either SPARC or Katie Koestner are not good in and of themselves or that those incidents were a desired result of those programs.

Rather, I am suggesting that these “crying wolf” examples be included as examples of how the Williams community’s trust can be breached and innocent people and organizations defamed through clever manipulation of delicate issues, two sad twisted footnotes to goals that are, at the VERY least, admirable in theory.

#5 Comment By CurrentEph On January 12, 2006 @ 12:54 pm

As one of the 70 or so students who has submitted documentation for a learning disability, I have found Williams has granted me all accommodations required under ADA. All my professors have received written notification of my learning disability and requested accommodations and all of them have complied. There was one situation where a visiting professor challenged the necessity of my accommodations, and Dean Amy quickly stepped in and reiterated that my accommodations were not debatable. This year, once again, all my professors received the proper notification and I received all my accommodations without a problem.

Students with disabilities at Williams need additional support including workshops. Diana questions what the benefits of these workshops are. For students who are struggling with LD and/or ADHD, workshops tailored to adapting to Williams academic life with LD/ADHD are crucial for academic success. Intelligent students with learning challenges often fail at Williams because they previously found ways to get around their learning disabilities in high school and upon arriving at Williams soon realize that they can’t use the same tactics to succeed at Williams. Or students are diagnosed late in high school (as I was) and therefore, have not had the advantage of having academic specialists to work with them for an extended period of time before arriving at Williams. Finally, even if a student has been diagnosed with a learning disability, the cost of a learning specialist can be prohibitive. While my family’s health insurance paid for a portion of the testing required for documentation (although it was only $500 out of $2000). Fortunately, my high school was willing to pay the difference. There is no way that my family could afford the $125 per hour cost (which is not covered by insurance) for me to have the necessary study skills tutoring I needed.

So, as a student who has struggled at Williams for several semesters, I know that I would find workshops especially useful and agree that
Williams definitely needs to provide better support services for students with learning disabilities. I don’t need a subject tutor who is a student. I need to work with a learning specialist who is qualified to work specifically with students with learning disabilities Dartmouth, Harvard, Mt. Holyoke, Haverford and a number of other elite institutions have strong support services in place for students with learning disabilities/ADHD (or students who simply need help with study skills). Sure, Dartmouth and Harvard are significantly larger than Williams and have more resources but I’m fairly confident that Williams has more resources than Mt. Holyoke and Haverford. In fact, I’ve spoken with the learning specialists at two of these schools to see what I could do to receive the help I’ve needed. The academic director at one school was floored when I told him about the lack of academic support for students with learning disabilities at Williams and for kind enough to offer to work with me by phone. I find it unacceptable that I had to seek academic assistance from other colleges because Williams lacks these support services.

When I interviewed at colleges I was very open about my learning challenges. I was told that Williams did provide support services for students with disabilities. I made my learning challenges very clear when I applied here. While I have found Williams professors more than willing to comply with my accommodations and have been willing to work with me to succeed in their classes, the fact of the matter is that I’ve needed additional support and to say that dealing with the administration has been frustrating, would be a huge understatement.

While there have been some improvements in the time I’ve been at Williams, it’s nowhere near enough. I like being at Williams, I like the professors and the academic opportunities. There is nowhere else I’d rather be. I don’t think I should have to consider transferring to a school I’d be less happy at just because Williams has, for some unknown reason, failed to provide support services for their students with learning disabilities.

#6 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On January 13, 2006 @ 1:16 am

Again, thanks to Diana for this summary. It is, of course, difficult to enter into so many different stands of discussion.

However, plodding through, the first thing I am reminded of is a series of VISTA conversations in ’90-’92. The perspective presented then was that while Williams worked to admit Latino/a students, it did little to support their success– such as provide the kind of tutoring or so-called “remedial” coursework in English or math that would allow them to catch up to various tracks.

(As a sidenote, the sciences at Williams remain noticably out-of-sync with many high school curricula in the US).

By the time of Jenn Cartee’s gatherings around the corner from me on Piedmont Ave. in Berkeley in ’99-’00, I would be surprised to hear minority students argue that Williams should not admit minorities because it did not support them; that it was not doing what it took to make a place for them.

In relation to the discussion above, I do not find myself in immediate agreement with David. Norm Spaulding ’93’s comments were among the most interesting and exciting of the above to me, because it seemed to suggested that there were other, meaningful things that could be done.

Now, parallel to that, David’s comments seem to express a reasonable frustration– the “more workshops,” training, … and so forth present diminishing returns. Sure, we can “require” JAs to attend more training on “diversity and sensitivity” issues… we can press international students into X, Y, or Z… and at the very least, each hour of such programs has less effect than the previous, or the exact opposite of its intended effect.

Here in Kentucky, I always have a wry sense of amusement when I find an alcoholic, at the end of the bar, stumbling through some assignment from LEAP (“Let’s Eliminate a Problem”) or similar court-mandated programs, non-so-calmly asserting that they know the evils of alcohol etc etc etc as they sit, getting drunk, about to drive home on a suspended license. For a little while I wondered if the judiciary and program administrators were kidding themselves; after a few talks with them, I realized they surely were.

Now, I don’t question the value of having had a good HR person take my team through a seminar on the dos and don’ts– especially the legal dos and don’ts– of interviewing (etc etc). There’s a time and place for such transfer of rote knowledge.

But fill the JAs’ training with a bunch of pre-packaged workshops on the above… half of whose content will be well-meant bunk… and they will emerge tired, overtasked, and burnt-out on such information before they start. By the time they actually need to apply it, a good majority will be so sick of it that they’ll ignore it or worse.

Take them to the Whites, put them on a five-day hike through someplace like marble canyon, and fill their days with subtle confidence-building exercises and reliance on each other to move forward. Fill the nights with informal discussion of Williams and its challenges; invite some alums along for the trip.

When they get back, make sure they have information on the resources bases necessary to address various questions. Instead of “cramming” them with information that they don’t want, make sure they have a network that can get them to the information and perspective they need, when they need it. Build resource centers around each of the topics above, appoint multiple ad-hoc liasons to agencies such as Security and the Health Center, and make “training” in issues available as appropriate.

In short, build leaders and a leadership structure.

While you’re at it, declare that the private infighting on issues so characteritic of so many of the institutions above needs to come to an end, chart a course of incentives to that end, and appoint an outside Dean of Faculty to acheive that– even if that needs to be someone outside academia.

As a footnote to the above, I rather amuzed and disturbed to hear (in one of our earlier discussions) that ephBlogger’s JAs were publically disturbed that a “sexual assault–” that’s rape, by the way– seminar in an entry might lead to frosh thinking that a “random hook up” might be rape.
Now, I have no ultimate judgments on people’s preferences or lifestyles. But trying as someone who grew up in a fundamentalist Methodist household, or partially in the voice of the many frosh students Western Kentucky has from parts of India or China or our own rural counties… that any pair of two JAs could be culturally offensive as the above is as good an indication of problems at Williams as any other. With respect to the fact that the perspectives of any of the groups above are likely to develop and change.

#7 Comment By Alexander Woo On January 13, 2006 @ 5:42 pm

Ken’s mention of Jenn Cartee (class of ’97 btw) reminded me of a thoroughly informal, unscientific count which I believe she did, revealing that openly GLBT students were twice as likely to not complete their degree in 4 years (or at all) as everyone else. She knew most openly GLBT students at Williams, and probably got some help on this, and the number for the general population was taken from an official published number, so it is fairly accurate, though the sample is still not all that large. (As my own guess, we’re talking about maybe 3 extra students per class taking a year off or dropping out? Though truth be told – all studies on minorities at Williams have sample size problems.)

Some of this discrepancy is likely due to societal circumstances Williams is unable to do much about, but I would think Williams is able to do better than that.

Is Williams doing better now?

(And why am I the only person to mention the issue of openly GLBT students recently? It’s not an issue I pay attention to much in any other context.)