An anonymous professor of political science (not from Williams) writes:

Judging by what you described, Moore was a visiting professor, so a search committee is not the relevant standard. Most adjunct / visiting slots are filled by the department chair without consultation from the rest of the department. Colleges need courses taught, getting people to remote colleges to teach is difficult, and selections are usually made based off of glances through CV’s and calls to advisors. Writing samples are rarely requested or examined for visiting lines. Sylabii and teaching evaluations would weigh more heavily. Even an “endowed” visiting professor line probably works much less formally.

Would a search committee worth its salt seriously consider someone with an abstract written like Moore’s? It depends. If the rest of his writing samples were equally poor, then no. Not even close. But if the cover letter and writing samples were reasonable, then the abstract wouldn’t stop anyone. Dissertations are often rushed at the last minute and abstracts are written at the very end. So it would not be unusual for someone to spend 5 minutes writing an abstract as they rush to the printer to meet the deadline. When I submited my dissertation, I was embarrassed to hand it in at 9am on the day it was due. The dean who accepted it said that 75% of dissertations came on the last day and 75% of those came in during the last hour.

But you are correct that the quality of writing in that paragraph is not up to par.

1) Did Moore submit a writing sample when he applied to Williams?

2) Will the College release that writing sample when it concludes its investigation? Williams ought to. The best way to regain trust is to be as transparent as possible about how this disaster happened. The College ought to provide the Williams community with every detail of the process by which Moore came to Williams.

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