Four years ago, Henry Bass ’57 wrote:

I do think Ephdom has a problem with excessive decorem. Perhaps considerable decorem is necessary to get faculty particiapation in this blog. I only hope the faculty will allow a little more controversy than they find really comfortable.

Some will, and some won’t.

Years ago I wrote the Willliams administration saying they should allow a little more controversy in trustee elections by allowing long campaign statements such as those in Harvard elections. I got a polite letter back telling me that, “Harvard grads may run for the office overseer, but that Williams grads stood for office of trustee.”

A great line! There is something to be said for the Williams tradition of decorum and — Dare I say it? — gentlemanly behavior. This tradition is one reason that the Williams campus is less riven by ideological disputes than other elite colleges. Still, we ought to at least allow trustee candidates to tell us what they think! Back to Henry:

Williams once did have a candidate with deep beliefs, Herbert Lehman, who ran for the US Senate in New York and was elected several times on very liberal platforms. And his family gave Williams lots of money. But, Williams was so offended by his brashness and liberal beliefs that it never even gave him an honorary degree.

True story? There is a great history thesis to be written about Williams and the Lehman family. Who will write it?

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