Although my politics makes it likely that I will disagree with Mike Reed ’75, the College’s new Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Strategic Planning, allow me to first praise the transparency with which he conducts College business. Here are copies (recruiting letter, Bolin ad and listing of faculty positions) of the recent material sent out by Mike to, I think, all alumni of color. (At the least, my wife received a copy while I did not.)

Thanks to Mike for allowing us to post these and to Maggie Driscoll for providing electronic versions. Comments:

1) Process matters. The single thing that I most want out of College administrators is an open and transparent process. I may disagree with much of the substance of these efforts, but as long as the College is forthright in its dealings with me and other stakeholders, I should not complain too loudly. Kudos to Mike for making this material public.

2) Once Mike has a chance to settle in, I hope that he will post this and other material on the College’s website.

3) It would also be nice to post the report from the Diversity Initiatives. Although some criticism is justified, the report as a whole is a solid piece of reporting and analysis. The College should be proud of this work and make it easy for everyone to read it.

4) I have one substantive comment. The Bolin Ad reports, “At least two graduate students from underrepresented groups are appointed each year.” Hmmm. Just which groups qualify under this standard?

I believe that the Bolin was originally restricted to African-Americans. True? At the very least, recall the change from 3 years ago.

Since 1985, Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., has annually awarded the Bolin Fellowships for Minority Graduate Students, named after the school’s first black alumnus. This year, Williams changed the scholarship’s name to the Bolin Dissertation Fellowships, and for the first time applicants of all races will be considered as long as they belong to an “underrepresented group.” That could include academic rarities such as female physicists of any ethnicity or Caucasian researchers in Asian Studies, according to acting dean of faculty William Lenhart.

“The college thought it was a reasonable change” in light of the Supreme Court’s decisions, Mr. Lenhart says.

Here are the fellows for this year and last. See any “Caucasian researchers in Asian Studies”? See any Caucasians? I didn’t think so.

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