An Amherst reader notes this letter from Amherst President Anthony Marx.

The faculty has begun the process of curricular renewal to ensure the best and most coherent education possible while integrating learning in and outside the classroom. The faculty also seeks to build on Amherst’s tradition of enrolling the most impressive and broadest mix of students unconstrained by their ability to pay.

That sounds fine but it is also the way that they talk at, say, Hampshire. Not that there is anything wrong with that! But is that the direction that Marx is taking Amherst? Note the use of the term “social justice” later in the letter.

Our peers in the Ivy League and among the great colleges now share our concern that the under-representation of qualified students from middle- and working-class families constrains the supply of future leaders. Amherst’s mission since the 1821 Charter has been to seek talent regardless of the means to pay, and we will continue aggressive pursuit of the strongest and widest applicant pool.

We all agree that Williams and Amherst should find the best students they can, regardless of wealth. We (or at least I) disagree that it is wise to reject better qualified students whose parents make $80,000 and replace them with students (who used to be rejected) whose parents make $40,000. Give me the best students, regardless of how much their parents make. Start here for more commentary.

If Amherst wants to accept students from families making $40,000 per year that Williams currently rejects and reject students from families making $80,000 per year that Williams currently accepts, then I’ll take that trade all day long.

The more that I read about Anthony Marx, the happier I am with Morty Schapiro.

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