Currently browsing the archives for October 2006

Older Posts »

Politically Unpopular

How does Williams handle this problem?

Psychologists and other behavioral scientists who teach courses containing material on individual differences often find themselves presenting research findings that are politically unpopular in today’s social climate. For example, segments of most introductory psychology courses deal with intelligence and mental abilities. An honest treatment of this material requires that evidence be presented indicating that both environmental and genetic factors determine intelligence. The evidence for heritable factors in intelligence is supported by data from selective breeding studies using animal subjects, from twin studies, and from family studies. In exploring the implications of this work the lecturer generally presents the evidence that different racial groups score differently on intelligence tests, and then analyzes the factors that contribute to this observed difference. Most researchers (and most textbooks) agree that although environmental factors are important, genetic contributions cannot be ignored, since they play a large role in determining group differences in mental abilities scores./1/ The case is quite similar in the discussion of sex differences in cognitive abilities. There are systematic differences in the pattern of abilities displayed by males and females on standardized tests. Although many of these differences may be environmental in origin or reflect differences in the socialization of males and females, some ability differences appear to be genetically determined. It appears that the disparity between male and female scores on certain abilities measures are the direct consequence of hormonal, neurological, and even brain structure differences between the sexes. The conscientious lecturer interested in presenting the full picture must discuss these physical differences as well as the environmental factors.

My goal for now is not to argue about the substance but to determine how Williams currently handles this. Can someone enlighten me? What is taught in courses like PSYC 101 and 221? How are these controversial topics handled? Just curious.


Ephs Running for Office

The Public Affairs office is looking for a list of all the Ephs running for public office. Let’s make one! I’ll start with:

Bill Harsch ’60 for Rhode Island Attorney General.

Martha Coakley
’75 for Massachusetts Attorney General.
Chris Murphy ’96 for Congress (CT-5).

And don’t forget Ephs like Ed Case ’75 (D-Hawaii) and Peter Monroe ’65 (R-Florida) who lost in their party primaries.

But surely there are others . . .


Football Broadcast

Matt Piven writes:

Want to listen to the homecoming football game against Wesleyan but can’t make it to town? Listen through WCFM Williamstown, the
college-owned radio station located in the basement of Prospect House.
As with all Williams football games, the station is broadcasting the
game over online streaming audio and stores the recorded audio files on an FTP site for you to download later. To listen live: download this file
at and run the streaming audio in iTunes or Winamp as the game is going on on Saturday (11/4), starting at 1PM ET. Check the game schedule here. If you miss the game, go to and log in with the user name “Football” and the password “Ephs” to download and listen to a full unedited cut of the previous game. But remember to download from the FTP before the next game airs or else you’ll miss it!



Matt Piven notes these two articles about WCFM.

Before you can get on the air at Williams College’s radio station, you have to first complete an hour of “community service,” which can involve time in the station’s library filing compact discs and LPs.

For some of the station’s student members, it might be their initial encounter with the latter.

That is one reason why WCFM is aggressively seeking more “seasoned” broadcasters to take an active role at the commercial free station, which broadcasts at 91.9 FM and “Webcasts” through a variety of online outlets.

“We have a large asset which consists of 25,000 vinyl records at the radio station,” Williams senior Matt Piven said. “People in town tend to be older, and our collection of music goes back several decades.”

Local residents also can provide stability. Unlike college students, the average community member will still be around in four years.

“Training a senior who’s in his second semester to have a show is much less productive than training a community member who’s going to be around for 10 or 20 years,” Piven said.

Great stuff. The more integrated Williams is with the local community, the better. Kudos to Piven and the other WCFM folks for these efforts.

Budding broadcasters aged 18 and over receive four hours of training before taking a certification test, Piven said.

“It’s quick and easy,” he said. “I don’t know if anyone has ever failed it.”

Then after completing the hour of community service, the would-be Wolfmen are free to talk, take calls and spin records – as long as they comply with the station’s policies.

How many Williams students would understand that “Wolfmen” reference?

Are there any options for remote broadcasting? I would love to create a podcast about All Things Eph and then have it broadcast on WCFM. Of course, I could do the same thing now and just put it on EphBlog, but having it on WCFM would a) be fun and b) increase the likelihood that various Williams professors/administrators would answer my questions.


Blogging from Beijing

Sam Crane is blogging for Beijing.

Yet something that has struck me in just the past few hours is how, underneath the dizzying transformations of this country, some things stay the same. As I walked back to the guest house last evening, through the campus of BLCU, there was a small group of young women playing badmitten without a net. Just hitting the bird back and forth, talking, laughing, out with friends. It was a scene right out of my first enounters with China, back in 1983 at Beijing University. And the men out on the street, with the three-wheeled pedi-carts, selling roasted yams. This, too, was an old standard of 23 years ago. Only back then, there were was no 24-hour MacDonalds right across the street.

Too bad that more Williams professors don’t blog. Sam students (past and present) can learn so much from him by reading his daily thoughts and observations. The more blogging, the better.


Homecoming and the WSO Rideboard

At the end of the week, after work on Friday, I’ll be hitting the road to make the five-hour trip from my home on the Main Line of Philadelphia to Williamstown for Homecoming. Anyone who needs a ride at this time from this area is welcome to contact me and see if something can be arranged, as long as you can share the car with . . .

Read more


Easy Answers

Former Williams professor Grant Farred, now at Duke, asks the tough questions:

All of which, of course, begs the crucial question: What is it precisely that that these three players, and the lacrosse team in general, are “innocent” of? Racism? Underage drinking? Hiring sex workers under a false name? Homophobia? The abdication of a collective team – what happened was not a “mistake” but part of an older and widely known pattern of lacrosse behavior – and larger institutional responsibility for declaring public what precisely it is that Duke University represents?

Now if it’s me, and I see that three guys have been charged with a crime, and everything indicates they did not commit that crime, maybe I stick the word “innocent” in the toolbox for later. But that’s me.


Access Denied

How does Chris Murphy ’96 know that he has arrived on the national stage in his race for Congress? When his opponent starts running adds like this.

Another good sign is that the Republicans are worried enough to send Laura Bush to campaign for his opponent, Nancy Johnson. Although the race is now listed among the 50 most competitive in the country, Murphy still faces an uphill fight. Things seem to be trending in his direction, though.

Today’s Hartford Courant poll from the University of Connecticut shows Democratic challenger Chris Murphy ahead by 4 points, 46% – 42%. The worst news for Johnson is this from the Courant story:

Geographically, the UConn poll also shows Johnson in trouble in one crucial area of the district – the affluent, educated Farmington Valley suburbs of Avon, Canton, Simsbury and Farmington. In her past two elections, Johnson has racked up tallies of 60 percent or more in these towns. But the UConn poll apparently shows that Johnson’s support there has been cut roughly in half, with Murphy leading among likely Farmington Valley voters by 52 percent to 36 percent.

This is a potentially ominous sign for Johnson as she will need closer to half the vote in the affluent Farmington Valley suburbs as opposed to a third if she hopes to weather the storm this year. These affluent, educated voters now moving towards Murphy are Republican leaning voters who are almost definitely upset with the present course in Iraq and taking it out on Nancy Johnson.

Any Ephs with the Murphy campaign should write in with updates.



HWC has resisted my pleas to join EphBlog for two years now. But as least I can highlight comments (like the one from this thread) in order to bring his commentary to a wider audience. (Not all our readers check the comment threads.) Enjoy!

Speaking of blogging and diversity and professors and Williams, this one should should be right up David K’s alley: a professor blogging against Williams’ recently approved curriculum “Diversity Requirement”.

In this interesting read, Professor Burke argues not only against diversity requirements, but against curriculum requirements in general.

One of his objections is that curricular requirements may serve simply as a way for the faculty to pat themselves on the back for implementing a desireable institutional objective. He proposes more direct ways of giving this positive reinforcement:

These kinds of rationales are also a problem because increasingly they lead to requirements as a kind of prestige object, very distant from achieving particular or focused learning objectives. Having a requirement in this case becomes a symbolic and gestural communication of the seriousness with which an institution regards an idea, concept or discipline. There are cheaper ways to do that: give people little gold stars or medals or hearty handshakes from the president, if that kind of symbolic affirmation is what they’re seeking.

More to the point, Burke argues that, at a college like Williams with students like Williams students, there is no need for a “diversity requirement” because the students would be naturally interested in learning about different cultures and the curriculum would provide ample, and attractive, opportunity. In short, the students would “buy” without being forced to because the product is something they want anyway.

If a student can get through Williams without taking a course that could plausibly get an “asterix” for meeting one of those criteria, then that student is working very hard to avoid those courses. It might have been fair to think that in the early 1960s, your average white male student at Williams (or Swarthmore or Amherst or Princeton or Duke, etcetera) would have been largely disinterested in any or all of the possible meanings of diversity that Williams has designated as learning objectives. Today, I really think that a student with active antipathy towards those objectives would be unusual. In this case, the marketplace of courses at your average liberal arts college is more than adequate to ensure that most students will encounter questions of diversity in some fashion.

As usual, Burke’s blog is an interesting read.

Indeed. Williams should ensure that all its courses are rigorous (i.e., no more science guts). After that, it need merely require 32 credits and a major. Leave everything else up to the students.


Ephs at Goldman Sachs

If I were clever, I would be able to cross-reference this listing of those chosen as new partner managing directors at Goldman Sachs with the Williams Alumni directory.

Goldman Sachs doled out one of its highest honors on Wednesday, naming 115 employees as partner managing directors, or P.M.D.’s. The status, awarded to a select group every two years, comes with a broad array of perks, including the right to share a larger portion of the investment bank’s earnings.

In 2005, the firm’s 287 partner managing directors split $2 billion, for an average of about $7 million each. This year, the kitty at 85 Broad Street is bound to be bigger, because Goldman’s overall compensation pool has grown. Goldman said last month it had earmarked $13.9 billion for salaries, bonuses and benefits for its employees through the third quarter, 19 percent more than the total for all of 2005. (The latest P.M.D.’s will not become partners until Goldman’s next fiscal year, which begins Nov. 25.)

Alas, I am not that smart. But you can bet that the Alumni Office would love to know if there are any Ephs on this list. Are there?


Judicial Mandate

Dan Blatt ’85 has mixed thoughts on New Jersey Marriage decision.

As most of you by now know, the Garden State’s Supreme Court has given state lawmakers “180 days to rewrite” state laws to give gay people “marriage or something like it, such as civil unions.”

I am delighted that the New Jersey legislature will be addressing state recognition of same-sex unions. I would rather that this had come about as it had in Connecticut rather than by judicial mandate.

On the one hand, I’m pleased that the legislature will be dealing with the issue. On the other hand, I don’t think courts should mandate which issues state legislatures put on their calendars. It seems a clear violation of the separation of powers.

Finally, because a court has mandated this, it strengthens the hand of those supporting state referenda defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Whenever one state court mandates gay marriage, it leads to a backlash against gay marriage in other states. While this ruling may be good for same-sex couples in the Garden State, I fear this may hurt same-sex couples in other states.

This analysis seems about right to me. The more active judges are in this dispute, the more likely voters are to fight back via referendum. This will be a big issue, I think, in 2008 in Massachusetts. I predict that every single Williams professor who takes a public position on this debate will be on one side. Anyone care to bet against me?


Photo ID, #56

Atop what building is this conical roof?


A hint is below the break.

Read more



What happens when Dan Drezner ’90 runs out of blogging topics? He asks for advice on staplers. I am not making this up.


Billsville Foliage of Yore

Williamstown’s foliage is usually gone by the time Homecoming rolls around, so here are some photos from early October 2000 to jog some memories (of the leaves and what the campus used to look like). Full size individual images are available by clicking the thumbnails or captions. The full photoset (in zip format) is available here.

Cole Field

downstage tree.jpg
Adams Theater Downstage

gladden tree.jpg
“Pave paradise…”

greylock path.jpg
Path to Greylock

morgan ivy.jpg
Morgan Ivy

pine cobble.jpg
View from Pine Cobble

quad leaves.jpg
Science Quad leaves

route 2.jpg
Near WSB on Route 2

science quad.jpg
Science Quad

St. Johns Church

west tree.jpg
West College



A Williams history question.

I have a friend who swears that there was at one time a custom, among Social Register-types who had affiliations with Williams, of pronouncing the name of the college as “Weems.”

Is this true? If so, what is the back story on this odd practice?

P.S. The anecdote that claims to corroborate this practice dates back to the mid-60’s; it would have already been an anachronism at that point. Perhaps a Williams history/trivia buff can help out here?

I have no idea. But surely a social register type like Frank Uible ’59 will be able to help out.


Murphy ’96 Update

I am still looking for an Eph willing to blog about Chris Murphy’s race for Congress on a regular basis here at EphBlog. Only two weeks left! In the meantime, here is an overview of the race.

If Curt Weldon is the safest of all Philadelphia-area Republicans, Nancy Johnson is the safest of all Connecticut Republicans. It is no coincidence that both of them are the most senior Republicans in their respective areas. Johnson won election to Congress in 1982 – an impressive feat, considering how rotten the results were for Republicans nationwide. She has had some close scrapes since them – most notably in 1996 when she barely won reelection. The closeness of that contest had to do with her relatively close relationship with Newt Gingrich. She was the chair of the House Ethics Committee when the Democrats brought charges against him.

She will face a touch challenge this year in State Senator Chris Murphy, who so far has done a superb job in the fundraising game. The 5th District – which occupies the northwest corner of the state and includes Danbury – is the most Republican in the state. Kerry only won it by 1,000 votes. entered this race early on with an attack on Johnson’s support of Bush’s prescription drug plan; this might have been a good thing for Johnson, who seems to have shaken off whatever rust that she’s developed in the 10 years since she faced a serious challenge. She has a reputation in the House as a moderate leader on health care policy, and she has been touting that in her reelection campaign. Good news for Johnson – in a recent Democrat-sponsored poll that was 40% D to only 28% R, she still had a 5% lead.

Murphy is up by 5% in a recent poll. Keep your fingers crossed. Even we non-Democratic Ephs would like to see Murphy in Congress.


Your Intelligence

Steve Satullo ’69 with two movie reviews: Red Eye and Thankyou for Smoking.

If all you expect from movies is an hour and a half of entertainment that doesn’t insult your intelligence, here are two plausible alternatives from the past year.

Good to know. Let’s leave the intelligence-insulting to, uh, bloggers?


Cutest Baby Ever

Congratulations to Greg Crowther ’95 on the birth of his son.

Both mom and baby are recovering quite well. Phil appears to have inherited his mother’s tendency to sleep a lot and say little (except when we change his diaper, which he hates). His aptitude for and interest in breast-feeding appear more than adequate. As for my wife, she’s hobbling around as one might do after a particularly rough marathon — the main difference being that they don’t give you a baby when you finish a marathon. Which is a good thing, since if they did we’d collectively have 16 kids rather than just one.


And, for those keeping track at home, Phil Crowther will be class of 2027. (Rule is: Add 21 years to birth year if born after September 1 (or whatever the cut-off date is in your school district) or 22 years if born before.)



How many times have we heard stories like this?

Last Saturday afternoon, I walked to Mission and saw one of the bike racks with MY BICYCLE AND TWO OTHERS LOCKED TO IT thrown down the hill to the left of the main entrance. One of the others had a messed up tire, a reflector on my front tire broke, and all three were scratched. I have seen this bike rack down that hill, with many bikes attached, numerous other times. WHY does this keep happening, WHO is doing it, WHY do you think it’s ok, and WHEN are you going to realize it’s not? I’m tired of living on a campus where you can’t trust your peers to be respectful of anything in public space, no matter how beautiful it is, how lucky we are to have access to it, or how much of our tuition is going towards keeping it nice.

Agreed. This has been a problem at Williams for, at least, 20 (and probably 200) years. Unfortunately, no one likes my solution. Yet.



Nathan Friend ’07 responds to this post about his WCFM radio show “The Hour.”

Thanks for the plug on EphBlog, I appreciate the interest. I’m sorry about the streaming problems, that’s probably on our end, but we’ve been doing everything we can to correct that problem. I hope you were able to hear enough of the discussion to understand what was being said.

In response to the comment about WCFM archiving our shows, we actually do record the shows, but are worried about copyright issues because the majority of the shows are music-based, and we have to be careful around the record companies. Fortunately as a talk show, I don’t have that problem, so it’s more an issue of finding the server space to keep my shows available online. I’ll let you know when we figure that out (which hopefully should be soon).

Also, I’m interested in what you said about more people listening than we realize. Do you think that’s the case? We only have rough numbers on that, but I know at least for my show we’re talking maybe 2 or 3 people. If you have some better insight into listenership, I’d love to hear it.

I don’t know how many people listen to Nathan’s show right now, but if the success (?) of EphBlog has demonstrated anything, it is that there is a substantial demand (at least in the hundreds) for All Things Eph. I think that the reason more people, especially alumni, don’t listen to Nathan now is that it is hard to do so. If his show were easily available as, say, a podcast, that would change.


Listen to the Interns

Ethan Zuckerman on Chris Anderson.

He [Chris Anderson] walks us through some of the business changes that happen as we move from scarcity to abundance:

– In the past, we built business cases based on ROI. Now we build it and build the business afterwards.
– In the past, “everything is forbidden unless it’s permitted.” Now everything is permitted unless forbidden.
– Scarcity is about paternalism, a decision that an editor knows what’s best. Abundance is about egalitarianism.
– Scarcity is top-down, abundance is bottom-up. Instead of command and control, it’s out of control.

Chris tells us that he’s trying a new management philosophy – “I do whatever my interns tell me to do.”

Perhaps I’ll try this next summer.


His Pipe

Andy Kessler’s overview of all things media includes this Eph reference.

In the 1983 movie Scarface, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) explains to his buddy Manny how America (and perhaps the media) works. “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.” Steve Case at AOL got it backwards. He had the teenage girls locked into his pipe (man, that sounds weird) but couldn’t figure out how to turn it into a sustainable media empire. Instead he merged with an existing one in TimeWarner and more or less killed them both.

Steve Case did more for the Jan 2000 shareholders of AOL than most any CEO has done for his shareholders in the last 2 decades.


Photo ID, #55

These are some nice photos of a sunset over time. You can make guesses as to where it is.




You can also see a slideshow that switches from one picture to the next. Kinda neat.


Grudin in Vienna

Wick Sloane ’76 reports:

Eva Grudin, Williams art professor, has been working for several years on issues on anti-semitism and the Holocaust. She was born in Shanghai during WWII after her parents, Jewish, fled Vienna. Her preparation is done and the art events are unfolding this fall in Vienna.

Below are two e-mails from Eva. Attached is her overview of the project. Not sure how all this goes on a blog. But courage such as Eva’s is something Williams can be proud of. She wants friends to tell others about the project. You can use these notes and the overview in full or as you wish.

Hold onto your hat. Not for the timid. But all true.

More information (include website) from Grudin below.

Read more


One Fall Day

In a wonderful multimedia display, the Boston Globe explores the pageantry and wonder of college football in a feature called “One Fall Day.” The highlight, of course, is a slideshow with narration of undefeated Williams’ thrashing of Middlebury this past weekend. But they also cover the country, hitting games at all levels of play — junior college in California, Division II at Abilene Christian here in Texas, Division IAA at Howard in Washington, DC, and the big boys in Athens, Georgia. This brought me back to crisp fall days in gorgeous Williamstown: The tailgates, the food, the glorious Williams victories.

[Crossposted at dcat]

Update: Here is the accompanying article.


Ball ’90 Poetry

JA Chris Jones ’88 notes the poetry success of one of his freshmen, Sally Ball ’90.

Like all the Saxon children, Leibniz sorts through leaves.
Today he’s with his mother, stiffly dressed. They sit
beneath a sycamore and he selects

eligible leaves for her to hold together
in a small bouquet. Yellow, green, and brown,
a single red one, a few of the yellows stippled

with green like drops of ink seeped
into a handkerchief. He’s six and his father
died this year. His mother can’t manage all the leaves,

and lets some go, which Liebniz doesn’t notice.
Then, absent-mindedly, she takes
a desiccated one he’s offering and lets it go,

and he is furious. Yes, yes, she says,
and takes it up, and a few minutes later
makes the same mistake.

These desiccated leaves are small clenched hands,
but the ones she likes, the ones anyone would choose,
are rubbery and strong and as big as Liebniz’s head.

She fans his face with their collection, a little tickle,
a bit of tenderness. He smiles and looking toward her
reaches for the ground; he checks his purchase

on the leaf he’d seen, and holds it by himself. Curiosity
and certainty collide; he knows he was making something
patterned, something whole–not what it was–and now it’s gone.

JA’s take pride in the triumphs of their freshmen (now first years) forever.



The wedding of my friend and teammate Kenny Marines ’01 to Jen Greene ’02 was listed in the New York Times’ wedding announcements on Sunday. Congratulations to a long-standing and lovely couple, and best of luck to them as they begin the rest of their lives together.

David, I don’t know whether they met during Winter Study (and I doubt that they lived across the same quad, as they were a year apart), but they were definitely a Williams couple, so that’s one more for you.

Though I knew about the nuptuals since the summmer, the reason I found out about the announcement was because David Lat (formerly of Article III Groupie and then Wonkette, now running a legal tabloid called AboveTheLaw) listed Ken’n’Jen in his Legal Eagle Wedding Watch post today and in fact, named them this week’s winners. Lat’s commentary is highly complementary and quite amusing — one might even call it gushing. (emphasis below is mine):

Résumé score: 8.7. Both are Williams College grads. She went to Brooklyn Law (cum laude), clerked for a bankruptcy judge (in the S.D.N.Y.), and will be going into bankruptcy — the department, not the financial state — at Simpson Thacher (the other highlight of their credentials, besides Williams). He’s an associate at the Tishman Speyer real estate firm.

Balance score: 8.7. Hard to gauge the impressiveness (or profitability) of Kenny’s employment with Tishman Speyer; but it seems to us that Jennifer has the edge.
Beauty score: 9.4. Yes, this is one of the highest scores we’ve awarded in a long time — but check out that photo! They’re both gorgeous. If she’s 5’8″ or above, she belongs on a runway. And so does he. You know someone is truly beautiful when they look great even with a shaved head. It’s all about the features.
Overall score: 8.80.
Additional comments: Extra points if this is a multi-ethnic union. A rabbi officiated, so one or both of them is Jewish; but we’re guessing that Kenny is Latino, based on the names of his parents (Emelania Fernandez and Juan Marines).

THIS WEEK’S WINNING COUPLE: Jennifer Greene and Kenny Marines. Their exceedingly high beauty score gave them a lead over the two other couples that they never relinquished. Congratulations!


Looking At The Data

Does this news from Michigan have anything to do with Williams?

With Michigan voters weeks away from a vote on whether to ban affirmative action, critics of the practice are releasing admissions statistics that they say show the extent of the gap between black and white applicants admitted to the University of Michigan.

The data reveal large differences in grades and standardized test scores, and indicate that black applicants are much more likely to be admitted, even with lower grades and test scores. These are the sort of data that have been influential in other states that have considered — and passed — statewide bans on affirmative action. “The people of Michigan have a right to know the extent to which discrimination is taking place,” said Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, which is releasing the data today and planning a series of events in Michigan to publicize the figures.

The data came from the University of Michigan, which had to release the figures in response to the center’s Freedom of Information Act requests. Among the findings:

* The SAT median for black students admitted to Michigan’s main undergraduate college was 1160 in 2005, compared to 1260 for Hispanics, 1350 for whites and 1400 for Asians. High school grade point averages were 3.4 for black applicants, 3.6 for Hispanics, 3.8 for Asians, and 3.9 for whites.

* Black and Hispanic applicants in 2005 with a 1240 SAT and a 3.2 GPA had a 9 in 10 chance of getting in — while white and Asian applicants with the same scores had a 1 in 10 chance of getting in.


1) The Freedom of Information Act does not apply to Williams so it is not clear when, if ever, we will get this sort of data from the College. There was some discussion during the Diversity Initiatives over whether or not the College should release this data, but nothing seemed to come of it. The College’s official position is that it is willing to release data about some groups — see extensive discussion over the qualifications of athletes and legacies — but not among others, i.e., African-American and Hispanic students. The claim is that Williams does not want release aggregate data about easily identifiable groups of students. It will release about athletes and legacies because you can’t tell by looking at someone (?) whether or not she falls in this category but you can tell who is African-American.

2) This rationale is, obviously, mostly bunk. You can’t tell, at Williams, if someone is Hispanic just by looking at her since Hispanic is not a race. The College could, therefore, release data on all Hispanic students but chooses not to. Also, the reason that the College release all the data on athletes was that the powers-that-be (read: Morty) had decided that they wanted to reduce the emphasis on athletics in admissions. (How will you know when Williams wants to reduce the emphasis on URM’s? When a committee is formed to study the matter and releases a similarly detailed report.) The reason that the College releases data on legacies is that their strong credentials demonstrate that the College gives very little weight to legacy status.

3) From all that I have read on the topic, these statistics are typical for an elite college (although the SAT scores at Williams would be about 100 points higher for each group). See, for example, The Shape of the River. The problem that Michigan (like Williams) faces is even though there are African-American and Hispanic applicants with academic credentials similar to those of its white/Asian students, almost all those applicants are accepted by places like Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford.


Sign This

Professor Alan White had these thoughts on last spring’s graduation.

Thanks for the note, Dave, and for letting me know about it. Just
before heading to graduation Sunday, I mentioned to Jane what a key
part of the ceremony I take that to be. My suspicion is that even
those grads who know it’s coming are moved by it more than they’d

Clever opening by the class speaker: he looks to the woman signing his speech, then to the audience, says, “So, want to see how to sign some dirty words? Sorry, I’m not that big of an asshole.”

Good to know. I still think that the Class and PBK speakers should be chosen via audition to a mostly student-selection committee, but perhaps the current process works well enough.


Why Blog?

Nathan Friend ’07 asks, “Bloggers – Why do you do it?”

Why do you blog? How is your blog identity different from or similar to your ‘real world’ identity?

“The Hour,” with Nathan Friend will be having a discussion about online identity today (Mon. 10/16) from 4-5pm on WCFM Williamstown. Call or email in with your comments and opinions (I KNOW you guys have those…). Before the show:; during the show: x2197.

Listen at 91.9 FM, or stream us online at

Sounds like an interesting show. My answer here.

UPDATE: Trying to listen live but keep getting messages about “Network Stalled” which seem to require rebuffering. Happens every 15 seconds. Network troubles at Williams or at my end? It’s a shame that WCFM doesn’t record and archive these shows. There are more listeners out here than they realize.

UPDATE II: Who is the guest? Mark Taylor? Whoever it is is saying some uninformed but perhaps interesting things about finance and hedge funds, as Taylor has done in the past.

UPDATE III: Is Professor Laurie Heatherington really so clueless about why people blog? Hint: It is, more or less, the same reason she publishes. We all have something to say.

UPDATE IV: Best line from Taylor: “While Bagdad’s burning, people are playing World of Warcraft.” Also, “When that’s going on with the best and the brightest, that bothers me.” Some people (like Taylor? like Ralph Bradburd?) think that you should spend time on things they find interesting, rather on what you find interesting. Listen to Taylor, he knows best.


Older Posts »