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Official College Reports

Williams does a poor job of archiving its past. But, rather than complain, EphBlog is here to help! Below are some of the most important documents from the College’s recent history. We will update/review this list each year in January.

1962: The Angevine Report (pdf). This is the single most important Williams document of the last 100 years. It led to the elimination of fraternities at Williams. Isn’t it embarrassing that the College doesn’t host a copy of this report on its own servers?

2002: The MacDonald Report (pdf). This led to a dramatic decrease in the admissions preferences given to athletes. The College actively refuses to make this report publicly available.

2005: The Dudley Report (pdf) which led to the creation of Neighborhood Housing, the single biggest failure at Williams in the last few decades. Note also the CUL reports from 2001, 2002 and 2003 which paved the way to this disaster.

2005: Williams Alcohol Task Force Report. Sadly, I don’t have a pdf of this report. Does anyone? The issue of alcohol is a perennial one at places like Williams. Whatever committee tackles it next should start by reading this report. I think that this report was a follow up to the 2004 Report on Alcohol Policy (pdf).

2005: Diversity Initiatives. I think (but can’t find it right now) that the College does maintain a (pdf) of this report. The Record should do a story about what has happened in the last decade.

2007-2008: Self Study for Accreditation, Visiting Team Report, Response to Visiting Team Report, NEASC Final Letter.

2008: Waters Committee Report (doc) which led to the elimination of the Williams in New York program. Future historians might argue that this report was more important than the MacDonald report since it highlighted a turn inwards by Williams.

2012-2013: Accreditation Interim Report, NEASC Interim Report Response.

2016: Report on College Staffing.

2017: Financial Fundamentals.

2017: Self Study for accreditation.

There are other reports that should be added. Suggestions?

Special thanks to Provost Dukes Love, who is more committed to transparency that any other recent senior Williams administrator. If he were going to be Provost forever, I would not feel the need to maintain my own copies of many of these documents.

If we won’t remember Williams history, who will?

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#1 Comment By anonymous On October 26, 2017 @ 10:01 am

An interesting quote from the 2005 diversity report:

“• A lack of tolerance of diversity of thought in the classroom setting is an area of concern for some students. Many students expressed a wish that professors presented “both sides” more evenly, particularly in terms of liberal vs. conservative political views. Along with this, some people expressed resentment at being looked to as a “classroom spokesman” when the discussion involves something related to their own particular ethnicity, religion, political views, etc.”

Maybe the college could have become a leader on this front, instead of dead last.
https://heterodoxacademy.org/resources/guide-to-colleges/top-50-liberal-arts-colleges/

#2 Comment By abl On October 26, 2017 @ 11:46 am

I’ve heard largely (if weakly) positive things about the neighborhood system from students. It doesn’t seem to have become the sort of campus-defining change its creators appear to have hoped for–possibly because the administration made a number of compromises in service of its detractors very early on in its tenure–but that doesn’t make it a failure.

On the whole, the system does not appear to be particularly expensive. And, from my own personal experience as well as my (obviously) numerous interactions with fellow students during my time at Williams, its impacts–both positive and negative–were fairly restrained. As I see it, the system’s biggest impact on campus came via its decentralization of campus social planning. My understanding was that this was a central purpose of the program, and, if so, the changes brought about by the program at least during my time were by all means a smashing success (as campus-sponsored social planning improved fairly dramatically in quantity, quality, and diversity under the system).

I think we can all agree that many of its loftier goals were not achieved. But again, that does not make the system a failure, let alone a big failure.

#3 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On October 26, 2017 @ 1:34 pm

I’ve heard largely (if weakly) positive things about the neighborhood system from students

Huh? The Neighborhood System — the procedure outlined in Dudley’s report of assigning students to specific housing neighborhoods and forcing them to select housing only in those neighborhoods — has been dead for several years. There are some vestigial remainders but they play no meaningful role in student life.

The current housing system is the same as the system 15 years ago: Free agency. Each year, there is a lottery and upperclassmen can choose to live anywhere on campus.

Any system that exists for 10 years, is widely judged to be a failure by the community, and then is completely removed is a “failure.” If you can think of a bigger failure at Williams in the last 25 years, please point it out.

My understanding was that this was a central purpose of the program

You are misinformed. Should I provide links to several 100 pages of commentary?

The central purpose of Neighborhood Housing was to end student self-segregation. Morty/Williams did not like all the football players living in Tyler and all the African-Americans living in Brooks. All other discussions about housing/community improvement were either naive fig leafs or purposeful misdirection.

#4 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On October 26, 2017 @ 1:41 pm

campus-sponsored social planning improved fairly dramatically in quantity, quality, and diversity under the system

1) Really? You have first hand experience of Williams pre-2006 and post? If so, you are in unique position to tell us more about what you observed.

2) No kidding! Before Neighborhood Housing, Williams devoted $X to events/parties/whatever for houses. After Neighborhood Housing, Morty/Dudley/Roseman threw money at the houses, increasing $X by a factor of 2 or 3 or maybe even 5. They were willing to spend whatever it would take to make Neighborhood Housing a success.

3) Did that positive effect (and/or the money that prompted it) continue? I had lunch on Monday with a current Williams junior who had nothing but complaints about “campus-sponsored social planning.” Do you hear differently today? Of course, one student is just one student, and students have always, and will always, complain that there is not enough going on at Williams. But I hear very little positive about the current Neighborhood Leadership Teams. Do you?

#5 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On October 26, 2017 @ 1:46 pm

I will be more than happy to write tens of thousands of words on this topic, if anyone is interested. Background here.

Note that the current “Neighborhoods” are not even the same as the neighborhoods set up as part of Dudley’s plan, so, to the extent they work OK, I don’t think the credit goes to that plan.

#6 Comment By Whitney Wilson ’90 On October 26, 2017 @ 1:56 pm

Praising the neighborhood system as originally envisioned is like waving a red flag in front of the metaphorical DDF Bull.

#7 Comment By abl On October 26, 2017 @ 3:52 pm

The neighborhood system expressly had numerous goals. One of them was to decentralize campus social planning. Unless you were on the CUL or are secretly Nancy Roseman, I’m not sure you can speculate as the non-express “true” purposes of the system.

1. Yes, I do. As do nearly all of my closest Williams friends and connections. The predominant reaction to this all on campus was apathy–especially after the initial hubub died down. Sure, there were a few individuals who had very strong feelings (mostly against). But by and large, if you were to grab a random student in 2008 or so and ask for their thoughts about neighborhoods, you would have gotten a shrug.

2. My understanding is that the overall pool of money given to student social planners remained fairly similar pre- and post- neighborhood system. I think there was a small increase, but more to account for the inefficiencies of decentralized planning than to represent any meaningful rededication of resources to student social planning.

3. The important question here is whether the changes improved things. My experience was that they did–and reasonably dramatically. Probably the only way to tell if those improvements persisted is to look at the internal student satisfaction surveys that the College conducts. Are these published anywhere?

This is an incredibly boring topic. Neighborhoods never represented the massive change–for better or for worse–that you have always feared. You are right that the system of today has evolved from what was originally implemented in 2006 (2007?), and no longer represents a particularly important part of campus life (if it ever did). There are probably six or seven dozen other aspects of college life more deserving of “thousands” of your words than neighborhoods.

#8 Comment By David Dudley Field ’24 On October 26, 2017 @ 5:09 pm

Unless you were on the CUL or are secretly Nancy Roseman, I’m not sure you can speculate as the non-express “true” purposes of the system.

No outsider knows more about Neighborhood Housing than I do. No outsider has talked to more of the insiders than I have. I have shared much of this with readers. Consider these two lengthy comments from student members of the 2002 CUL. I never reveal the comments of private conversations, but don’t forget that I was Morty’s student and Dudley’s contemporary.

And, of course, “true purpose” is an ill-defined concept. Morty had (and has!) different views that Roseman. Roseman had (and has!) different views than Dudley. Dudley has (and had!) different views than other CUL chairs like Siniawer ’97 and Drew ’58. And every one of the other 30 (?) or so members of CUL (and of the Administration and of the Board of Trustees) had (and has!) different views of the “true purpose” of neighborhood housing.

But I do not know of a single well-informed observer who disagrees with the claim that a central motivation for Neighborhood Housing involved ending student self-segregation.

if you were to grab a random student in 2008 or so and ask for their thoughts about neighborhoods, you would have gotten a shrug.

Well, duh! First, by 2008, half (more?) of all students had no experience of free agency. How much of an opinion could they have had about a system that they knew little about. Seniors almost never care about such things because any future changes don’t effect them.

Second, “neighborhoods” always received a shrug, and still do! Students, back in 2005, hated the ending of free agency, and the elimination of institutions like the Odd Quad that went along with it.

Of course, in some sense, students were “apathetic.” Students are always apathetic! (Or, perhaps better, students always care more about things that really matter, like their friends and classes.) My only claim is that students were, in 2005, more upset about the ending of free agency than they have been, as a whole, about any other change in college policy in the last 25 years. (Perhaps Divestment is a bigger deal? So, perhaps Neighborhood Housing is at #2.)

My understanding is that the overall pool of money given to student social planners remained fairly similar pre- and post- neighborhood system.

Wrong. And insulting to Will Dudley! Do you think Will Dudley (and Nancy Roseman and Morty Schapiro and . . .) are smart or stupid? I think they are smart! They had every incentive to dump some money (tens of thousands of dollars?) into student programming and more than enough budget to do so. Why not do it?

The important question here is whether the changes improved things. My experience was that they did–and reasonably dramatically.

I am more than willing to believe that dumping an extra $100,000 into student programming dramatically improved the social scene in 2006-2008. Spending money cures a lot of ills.

But there is no doubt, as we have documented again and again and again, that students missed free agency, that they wanted, really wanted, to live with who they wanted, where they wanted to. Which is why the spend a decade fighting to get rid of Neighborhood Housing and eventually succeeded.

If Neighborhood Housing “improved things,” then why was it dismantled after 10 years?

Probably the only way to tell if those improvements persisted is to look at the internal student satisfaction surveys that the College conducts. Are these published anywhere?

Of course not! Not only are they not published, but the College refused to release any relevant data during the debate in 2005.

There are probably six or seven dozen other aspects of college life more deserving of “thousands” of your words than neighborhoods.

Suggestions welcome! (In all seriousness, I prefer to write about topics that readers find interesting.)

#9 Comment By abl On October 26, 2017 @ 7:28 pm

You’re more wrong than you think, but this isn’t a question worth debating. Honestly, I have trouble thinking of many Williams-related subjects less worthy of either of our attentions. (And my sense is that you have no trouble coming up with things to blog about, so I’ll try to let this die quietly.)

#10 Comment By Anon On October 26, 2017 @ 10:39 pm

https://sites.williams.edu/csih/

One of the most important committees created at Williams. It has the possibility of being seen as a historically marker of a drastic change at the school, and in American higher education in general. It’s formation relates to censorship: a cultural revolution of sorts at elite liberal institutions.

If it is the beginning of a new era of freedom of expression at Williams, or lack thereof, has yet to be realized or defined as either.

How this committee explains historical symbols, art, and monuments at Williams has the possibility of capturing, and even influencing, important historical concepts of Williams as “self” now and in the future.

#11 Comment By Anon On October 26, 2017 @ 10:41 pm

Note to self, never try to post from iPhone again…