Over at Truth on the Market, Thom Lambert (co-blogger of my Antitrust and Contracts II professor, Dr. Joshua Wright),
notes incorrectly suggests that Williams is involved in discussions on the future of early admission that give off the unavoidable whiff of forbiddencollusive behavior of the sort that elite higher educational entities have been known.
(UPDATE: 10:10 pm)
After looking into the story more closely, it appears that I based my conclusions on some erroneous data, although I remain as firmly opposed to eliminating ED as humanly possible. The meeting discussed in the article linked from TOTM was in June, so I apologize for and withdraw any implication that this was in response to Harvard’s costless PR maneuver. Based on that, I incorrectly concluded that the presidents were meeting “to discuss, among other things, collectively eliminating their early admission programs and reducing merit-based aid.” (as TOTM described the NYT’s description of the June meeting) in response to Harvard.
Obviously, if that WERE the scenario (which it is not), the analysis below the cut would be true (if not necesarily fair or charitable), and I suspect that any such descision-making would not happen in the future.
So, again, my apologies, and I’ll leave my commentary below the cut for posterity rather than eliminate evidence of my errors.
So not only is even considering ending early decision a suicidal idea for Williams, but by publicly meeting with other liberal arts schools to “discuss it”, a court could easily presume that a joint decision will be made if there’s parallel behavior afterwards, thus rendering the conduct forbidden under S.1 of the Sherman Act, and potentially opening Williams up to some serious liability for an Antitrust violation. Gotta love treble damages!
I don’t know who the school’s chief counsel is, but if that counsel didn’t warn Morty about the MASSIVE potential downside of participating in that meeting given the history of collusion in elite college admissions, then Morty needs consider some supplementary legal advice.
The Administration is so incredibly risk averse over alcohol at homecoming (to the point destroy homecoming as we knew it) and drunk or sick students (by getting rid of the health center as we knew it, thereby drastically inconveniencing students who are sick yet not in need of expensive and disruptive hospitalization)… which is why it’s all the more mystifying and stupid that they’re just opening the door to a level of liability that could take a non-trivial bite of the endowment.
Penny wise, pound brain-dead.