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Best of the Record – 13 May 2009

Schapiro prepares College for his departure

Looking back on the last decade, Schapiro evaluated changes to campus programs and plans. “If I were to grade – and I’m a tough grader – I’d give housing a C minus; athletics, an A; the classroom experience, an A minus; the increase in diversity and intellectual vitality, an A; improvements in the drinking culture, a C,” he said. “This decade we’ve done a number of things right,” Schapiro said. “I hope the [increase in] tutorials and writing intensive courses stays. The actual education we provide in the classroom is better than during my earlier years at Williams. The students are much more intellectually engaged, diverse.”

Read the reflections at the end of the article – Will

Aid given to record 50 percent of students

The Class of 2013 will have the largest percentage of students receiving financial aid in the history of the College. Approximately 50 percent of the class will receive monetary compensation next year, and the budget has allotted close to $10 million in aid for the incoming class. In addition, there will be an increase in student summer earnings contributions for first-year students and in-semester work-study earnings for all students, in order to bring these numbers more in line with those of peer institutions.

‘I love you, man’: Ephs take chance on bromance

Here at the College, the incidence of bromance has been growing steadily, permitting the social phenomenon to escape its past “behind-closed-doors” stigma and allowing it to become part of the everyday social scene. As dudes are becoming increasingly comfortable with their sexuality, it is only natural that they are feeling more secure and consequently more willing to express their nonsexual attraction to other men. Prominent Williams males such as Bryan Borah ’11 and Andrew Gaidus ’11 are sincere and open about their bromance. “I love his New Jersey charm, but above all else I love his hair,” Borah related to me. “When we first met as first-years, I noticed his long and flowing hair in a group, and was immediately impressed.”

A universal narrative

Knowledge of speakers’ lives gets incorporated into our Williams experience. Not only do you know the name of a person you pass on your way to class, or their job title, or what sport they play or who their friends are, but also what challenges they’ve faced and some of their deeper experiences. Understanding others’ stories helps us to feel at home here; to, in Longfellow’s words, “disarm hostility.” After seeing 60 of these, we have learned, over and over again, that everyone must have a story.

A critical theory

Just here I think is what binds issues of diversity and over-politeness at Williams together. Our student body is selected on its ability to play the elite education game, which insists on early self-categorization (from admissions “hooks” to choices about what OCC info sessions to attend), on ceaseless sociability and on overloading extracurriculars. The implicit rules of the game are effectively normalizing: study hard, make friends, dedicate yourself to worthy groups and take the many resume-building opportunities afforded to you. From this follows the politeness, the omnipresent niceness and the disturbing paucity of vigorous, spontaneous debate. No dissension, no argument and – it may seem paradoxical – no sparks of real community.