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David : Fourteen Fun Facts (2) College Administrator Revisited …

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February. Certainly, you remember February. It was the month Dave took a vacation. I ran David: 14 Fun Facts. This was #2 on Monday, February 16.

It got no comments.

Perhaps now after David has nearly (Please, God) completed his survey of Extreme Budget Cuts (picked up by ESPN) the timing may be better.

Cut the museum? Cut the museum? At long last, sir, have you no shame?

I ask this question in all sincerity: Is EphBlog the opposition party to the administration and the Board of Trustees?

You have been following this now-90% complete series.

I ask the question I asked back on February 16th – Would you buy a used car from this man?

Your comments please!

(I’d do one of those vote widgets but it is beyond my known world)

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#1 Comment By David On March 31, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

Dick,

This is not my “plan.” I do not favor and have never proposed closing the museum. We are having a discussion, just like the fine folks on the Ad Hoc Committee for Budget Priorities, about all the cuts that the College could make. Some of the things on the list are cuts that I (and Rory!) would make. Some are not. Once we have outlined all the possibilities, then we can discuss priorities.

Is this really so hard to understand? Is it any different from what, say, Jeff did in this post? Why not compare him to a used-car salesman?

Please, don’t blame me for the hard choices that Williams is about to make. I am just trying to explain to people what sorts of discussions the ABCP is having right now.

I would bet that at least one of the options they are considering is a 50% cut, at least, in WCMA’s operating budget.

#2 Comment By Ronit On March 31, 2009 @ 2:09 pm

No, David. When you post a blog, under your own name, titled “Close Williams College Museum of Art”, and then proceed to point out the advantages of closing the Williams College Museum of Art, you can’t then say “I do not favor and have never proposed closing the museum.”

You are responsible for what you post. Don’t weasel out of it when someone calls you out on a ridiculous proposal.

#3 Comment By JG On March 31, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

At some point you may have indicated the intent to post a list of just potential cuts but not ones you support (I couldn’t find an introduction to this series laid out anywhere clearly, but I didn’t check all the comments). Thus far, however, all suggestions have been things you’ve advocated before in one form or another, and in the comments I believe you’ve defended them all (aka advocated for).

A recap for folks who don’t feel like re-tracing: 1 – end the Bolin Fellows program, 2 – close the Boston Inv. office, 3 – eliminate 1-2 year positions, 4 – end Questbridge, 5 – eliminate green spending, 6 – close the OCL, 7 – stop giving to “charity,” 8 – cut salaries. Each of these seems to have been the subject of past posts in which you’ve advocated the cut and/or denigrated/made fun of/questioned the necessity of the program or the essence of the program/expenditure even if not it by name.

So pardon us if we’ve assumed that the ninth entry suddenly represents something you don’t want to happen but are just throwing out for discussion. How would we know?

#4 Comment By David On March 31, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

How would we know?

Read what I write.

This category (note that each post is categorized as an ABCP Items) began with this post:

So, let’s pretend that we are on the Committee and come up with a listing of all the big budget cuts that Williams might plausibly make.

Note this is not a list of all the things that I want to cut. This is a listing of all cuts. Some I favor and some I don’t. And several, I didn’t even think up!

Each of these seems to have been the subject of past posts in which you’ve advocated the cut and/or denigrated/made fun of/questioned the necessity of the program or the essence of the program/expenditure even if not it by name.

Untrue! I have always been a fan of Questbridge. The more people that apply to Williams, the better. I don’t believe that I have said even a mildly negative word about the project in tens of thousands of words of writting about admissions at Williams. I also have no problem with 1-2 year positions at Williams. Indeed, I think that a lot of these positions/people add a great deal to the community, especially of they are held by recent Williams graduates. (I may have had negative things to say about some of the people who hold these jobs and/or some of the jobs themselves, but never about this class of positions (all of which I think now need to be eliminated because of the crisis) as whole.

And, just to be clear, several of the next few items are things (NCAA participation, football, Williams-in-Oxford) are things that I absolutely love about Williams. Again, the goal has always been to list all options, not just options that I favor.

Ronit: You really think that I have a habit of not standing by my unpopular proposals? That’s right! Mr. Political. Bend with the wind. Go with the crowd. That’s me.

#5 Comment By JG On March 31, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

First off, you don’t put anything at the top of these posts that would link to the intro (poor blog etiquette). I didn’t notice the tag, and I’m a regular so how would anyone else know? The category box also doesn’t list ACBP (if I had noticed it) alphabetically – you’d need to know to go to cost-cutting and THEN to ACBP which I only did now b/c I’m motivated to fight with you and trying to avoid finishing something at work.

And I attempted to search for the intro and couldn’t find it – there is something wrong that happens with the formatting when you use the search box so you can’t find stuff. [I know this is a work in progress, I’m not attempting to complain about the site to the tech folks, only to remind David that things are not easy to find.]

Going back to read that intro post now, nowhere does it say that you don’t actually want any of these cuts – it just says you’ll be listing cuts. Your posts don’t say they are offered soley for discussion, and your advocacy for each of them and failure to indicate a lack of support on this one leaves one to assume that you support it as much as you seem to support the others.

And I knew the Questbridge exception comment was coming – that’s why I said

or the essence of the program/expenditure even if not it by name.

You have often criticized spending for diversity efforts you don’t like (anything but internationals it seems). Indeed, in the Questbridge post itself you advocated reducing the numbers of what you called “poor students” at Williams. You have claimed that such programs don’t actually help the diversity of Williams. I have now scanned all the previous posts in the QuestBridge category and note that most of those posts are announcements of accepted students and not really supportive of the program that I can tell. Since you’re arguing here that a post on a topic does not mean you support it, what should these posts tell me?

And some of your commentary is actually undermining and not being “a fan” as you say. Here is a winning example from this post that is sort of about QuestBridge but really more about the Tyng and your random thought that applicants with mean parents are more deserving of a leg up in admissions (I think that’s what you’re saying, this commentary is odd):

Yet that leaves a riddle for all of those who, like Anthony Marx, think that the goal of bringing more “low-income” students, especially Questbridge applicants, into Williams should be a very high priority. (For me, it isn’t.) The riddle:

Who is more disadvantaged: a student with parents who love her and each other, but make $50,000 per year or a student with parents who don’t love her (and hate each other) but making $100,000?

For me the answer is obvious. I would much rather my daughters were raised in a loving family than in a rich one. Would any reader disagree? All the people who argue that the lack of socio-economic diversity at Williams is an important problem seem to, paradoxically, place too much emphasis on the importance and effects of family income instead of family support. If you want to worry about anyone, worry about applicants who lack caring parents.

#6 Comment By David On March 31, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

First off, you don’t put anything at the top of these posts that would link to the intro (poor blog etiquette).

That is what the tag is for. Whether or not that is poor blog etiquette depends on where you hang out on the Internet. Do you think that the other posters on EphBlog do a better job than me at linking/tagging to previous discussions?

I didn’t notice the tag, and I’m a regular so how would anyone else know?

I don’t know. We should be able to track the statistics of this sort of usage via Google Analytics but I haven;t looked at it closely. My understanding is that, however many links you provide, very few readers click through (or read the comments).

The category box also doesn’t list ACBP (if I had noticed it) alphabetically – you’d need to know to go to cost-cutting and THEN to ACBP which I only did now b/c I’m motivated to fight with you and trying to avoid finishing something at work.

Do you think that ABCP should be listed separately? I wasn’t sure how to handle this since it is clearly a subset of cost cutting. Indeed, the best way of structuring the relationship among categories is not obvious. Suggestions welcome! For me, I try to give every post a sensible category and hope that this is enough.

And I attempted to search for the intro and couldn’t find it – there is something wrong that happens with the formatting when you use the search box so you can’t find stuff. [I know this is a work in progress, I’m not attempting to complain about the site to the tech folks, only to remind David that things are not easy to find.]

True. Who said they were? Designing/running and site like EphBlog is hard. Special thanks to Eric, Ronit and Ken for all that they do. One trick for searching is to use Google itself using something like site:www.ephblog.com ABCP.

Going back to read that intro post now, nowhere does it say that you don’t actually want any of these cuts – it just says you’ll be listing cuts.

True. I have provided an update to make that clear.

Again, I don’t think that this is anyone’s fault. I meant to create a list of all possible cuts. You thought I meant to create a list of just cuts I favored. Now, I have made my intention clear. Once again, EphBlog has iterated to understanding.

You have often criticized spending for diversity efforts you don’t like (anything but internationals it seems).

Well, again, please read what I write. Consider my suggestion last fall to devote much more money to highly qualified black applicants via the Tyng. Are you in favor of that? No worries if you aren’t. Many reasonable Ephs (Rory?) are against the idea. But just because you are against giving more money to black Ephs does not make you an eeevillll racist. It just means that you have different policy preferences than I do. You may also be comfortable with the College’s quota against international students. Many reasonable Ephs are. That doesn’t make you a raging xenophobe.

It is probably the case that, on the wide collection of College efforts that might fall under the “diversity” banner, I have significantly different ideas than many Ephs, including you. But that hardly makes me the monster that some (not you, I hope, after our fun breakfast last year!) like to see me as.

#7 Comment By rory On March 31, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

what is your obsession with bringing me into this david?!?

#8 Comment By JG On March 31, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

For goodness sakes, nobody called you a monster. I was simply indicating that what you seem to think is abundantly clear – from your lack of any description I might add – isn’t so clear. I don’t want to get into a debate with you over diversity right now, that is for other really frustrating threads that aren’t about you suggesting (though apparently not advocating) cutting WCMA.

As to whether ACBP should be a category – I don’t know. I’m not sure the category drop-down vs. “tags” (which I guess are not in the drop-down) is necessarily conducive to anyone finding things on EB, but that might be my ignorance. I also think that authors are very inconsisent about tagging/categorizing (there is apparently a category that just gets a “1” which means nothing). I think it is worth thinking about for the future.

As to others doing it better, I remember someone did a series and linked to their first post (SophMom maybe?) but I could be wrong. Personally I think it’s heplful when you’re doing a series to make it easy for people to find the whole series. Even now, the only reason others would know it’s a series (and not just you waking up on day saying axe WCMA) is because I asked you to number them.

Breakfast with you last year was nice, however your online behavior since them certainly hasn’t raised my opinion of you.

#9 Comment By rory On March 31, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

sophmom had an italicized sentence in each post reference the series.

#10 Comment By sophmom On March 31, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

I learned all my (good) posting habits from Postmaster General, Ronit B.!
;-)

#11 Comment By Parent ’12 On March 31, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

A simple request-

If anyone does a daily series, please keep it well under 12 days.

Given when Dave’s series appears, it seems like High Noon, or shoot-out at the OK Corral.