Today’s Record contained an editorial and op-ed about winter housing for aided international students, in addition to the article below. Also, I apologize for the misleading nature of the second excerpt, but it was irresistible. I attended al-Azm’s lecture; he’s under-appreciated.

Falk looks back, prepares to face new challenges – By Lina Khan
“…how do you create a community where people live “diversely”? That’s kind of a lousy word for it, but you know what I mean.

Look, we’re in America. In case you hadn’t noticed, America hasn’t solved this problem. There is racism in this country, there is homophobia in this country, there are the difficulties of being an immigrant and various kinds of xenophobia that play out in different ways in different parts of the country. We can’t expect that there are any kinds of simple answers on a college campus.

The advantage that you have here is that we can control more variables, we have the opportunity to be intentional about these things. But that doesn’t make it easier to provide answers. Within the goals that led to the neighborhood system was an understanding that the campus needed to be intentional about undergraduate life in various ways, or else diversity would be something you brought in the door and would only be a value of the College in a sporadic way.”

Internationals face anxieties over winter break housing – By ??????????
Many international students – especially those receiving financial aid – find it financially or logistically difficult to return to their home countries for winter break and, since the College requires all students to vacate their rooms between the end of fall finals and the beginning of Winter Study, they must find elsewhere to stay for this two-week period. According to Gina Coleman, associate dean for international students, students who cannot go home have the options of either staying with friends or family in the United States or, alternatively, applying for accommodation through Christmas International House (CIH), a program organized by the Presbyterian Church that places students with host families or in church and civic center dormitories.

Visiting prof is ‘Voltaire of Arab world’ – By Adam Century
Internationally renowned scholar and Visiting Professor of Philosophy and Religion Sadiq al-Azm, labeled by many as the “Voltaire of the Arab world,” is no stranger to social conflict. […] When asked about his impression of Williams, al-Azm offered a tale about his experience prior to coming to the College that Ephs might contest: “When I was telling people in Europe or back home that I was going to be teaching at Williams, they’d often ask me where it was, and I’d answer that it was Amherst’s brother school, at which point most people would recognize it.”

He did, however, seriously note that Williams takes much better care of their faculty and guest faculty than at larger institutions. “At Williams, I find myself very much in my element like at other schools, but here I have more advantages – more support systems, more help, and just generally more friendly people all around me,” al-Azm said. “Perhaps, this place might even be better than Amherst!”

Committee modifies Claiming Williams Day… – By Taylor Bundy
Giselle Lynch ’12, one of the current co-chairs of the programming subcommittee for Claiming Williams, noted that last year she was “sick of complaining about Williams” and decided to channel her discontent into getting involved on the Steering Committee this year. “I didn’t really feel like I belonged at Williams,” Lynch said. “I didn’t feel that I was smart enough or rich enough.” She said that while she thought the College would be progressive on issues like race, class and other similar issues, she didn’t see that progressivism among her fellow students. “Maybe I had preconceived notions, but I didn’t think I was that far off,” she said, noting that the Steering Committee is working to prompt conversation about these very issues.

“We’re looking to start conversations that are pretty taboo on the campus, not to enlighten people,” Lynch said. She said that one of these topics is how Williams was originally a school for all white, rich males. “Although the school has changed its institutional policies, the culture hasn’t adapted to those institutional concepts,” Lynch said. “I do think that there are a lot of people that don’t feel that they can ‘claim’ Williams.”

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