Currently browsing the archives for February 2017
To the Williams community,
In recent weeks I’ve been asked whether possible changes in the government’s approach to Title IX will affect our work at Williams. Initially these questions focused on sexual assault prevention. In response to recent national news, people are now also asking about our commitment to inclusion of transgender students, faculty and staff.
Uncertainty can be worrying. So I want to reassure you on both points. We’re going to do everything we can to guarantee the wellbeing of everyone in our community. That’s because our efforts have always been and will continue to be motivated by respect for each other as people, not by the fear of government sanction.
With that in mind I want to start by reaffirming unambiguously that our trans students, faculty and staff are deeply valued members of the Williams community. It’s our job to make sure that everyone feels welcome here and enjoys the full benefits of that membership. That includes, but is hardly limited to, the absolute right of trans members of our community to use bathrooms and other facilities that accord with their identity.
And to all those concerned about the future of Title IX and sexual assault prevention, I assure you that we’re going to continue and intensify those efforts, not retreat from them.
Williams students, staff, faculty and alumni have made important progress in that regard. Much of their work was described in the spring 2015 issue of Williams Magazine, “Standing Strong Together.” Numerous resources and information are also available on our Title IX website, as well as through the Dean of the College and the Davis Center. If you’ve experienced assault or bias, or want help for any reason, please reach out in the way that feels right to you.
Our work cannot and will not stop. So I also want to make sure we consistently communicate about where we’re succeeding and where we’re running into challenges. With that in mind you’ll be receiving a steady stream of reports and updates starting this semester. They’ll include news about a grant to support prevention strategies around campus social events as well as Dean Sandstrom’s annual report on outcomes from the previous year’s sexual misconduct processes.
My goal in this message isn’t to pretend we’ve become perfectly inclusive or solved the problem of sexual violence—we haven’t. There’s always more to be done. And it needs to be done in an equitable, accessible and transparent manner. I’m profoundly grateful to Toya Camacho, Meg Bossong ’05, the Davis Center, RASAN, Men for Consent, our alumni advocates and everyone else who’s been involved in the work so far. If you’re not engaged in those efforts and would like to do more, please talk to Toya, Meg or our student leaders about how you can help. It’s going to take all of us to support our trans friends and colleagues and prevent sexual assault and violence at Williams.
As you know, policies often shift from one Washington administration to the next. Fortunately, we don’t have to passively wait for direction. Instead, we turn to our mission and values to guide us in times of uncertainty and change. This is an important moment to heed our conscience and to show the deep care and concern for each other that defines Williams.
Here (zip) is a link to a zip folder of all the documents (including exhibits) associated with the latest amended complaint in the Safety Dance sexual assault care and here (pdf) is a highlighted version. Don’t have time to read all that? No worries. Former William professor KC Johnson provides this summary:
(1) Both parties to the case were unappealing. But unappealing students deserve fair treatment just as much as appealing ones.
(2) The accuser was a Williams employee, but received kid-gloves treatment throughout by Williams—in a way that would have been inconceivable if the employee were a man and the student he allegedly mistreated a woman.
(3) The employee had a pattern of filing what appear to have been retaliatory complaints against the student. Williams not only refused to treat the complaints as retaliatory, but refused to consider the effects of the first complaint’s failure on the employee’s credibility for the second complaint.
Beyond the troubling elements from the original complaint, the amended complaint raises four new areas of concern with how Williams handled the case:
Form 990 is an IRS requirement filed by all US non-profits. It is a confusing document that has changed significantly over the years. See here for background reading. Williams only provides versions going back to 2009. Future historians will thank us for archiving older versions: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. In fact, because Williams occasionally hides things that it once made public, let’s go ahead and save the more recent filings: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Wow! We have been doing this a long time . . .
Is the past another country? From 1998:
Cumulative inflation between 1998 and 2015 has only been 45% so we would expect the total compensation for Adam Falk and Fred Puddester, Payne and Healy’s successors, to be about $397,000 and $244,000 respectively, right? The actual numbers are $768,000 and $442,000. Williams has raised administrator salaries around 90% more than the rate of inflation over the last 17 years.
It has not, however, raised faculty salaries nearly as much. From 1998:
Note that is hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison with today because the highest paid professors in 1998 may be different — in terms of things like years of service or administrative duties — from the highest paid professors in 2015. Indeed, I am not even sure if items like health care and retirement benefits are included (or excluded) in 1998 versus 2015. However, a compensation of $175,000 for, say, Stewart Crampton ’58 is not out-of-line to the 2015 compensation of $231,000 for Bill Lenhart. In fact, that 32% increase is less than the rate of inflation!
The real change that jumps out is the huge increase in highly paid administrators. In 1998, only two non-faculty (Healy and Birrell) made the top 7 in compensation. In 2015, six of the top seven highest paid employees (Wakeman, Crosby, Klass, Puddester, Chilton, Sousa) were non-faculty.
Frederick Wiseman ’51 won an Oscar tonight! Admittedly, this is an “honorary” Oscar and the announcement was made last fall. Still, this is the only Williams-related news I have seen tonight. Am I missing anything?
Sadly, we have fallen behind on our pop culture coverage of All Things Eph. Fortunately, we have news! Wendy Rhoades (played by Maggie Siff), a key character in Billions, is a graduate of Williams. The screen shot above is from the opening episode of season 2. Here is a close up of the diploma:
1) Alas, this does not look like an actual Williams diploma. How about some attention to detail, Showtime set director Christina Tonkin Noble?! Perhaps someone at Williams can get her a proper diploma?
2) Does anyone have the backstory? In general, Williams is not picked out randomly to serve as a character’s undergraduate school. Some writer making a decision is an Eph or knows someone who is.
3) The last few strong female fictional characters with degrees from Williams include Carmen Lowell from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, CJ Cregg from West Wing, Meg Powers from Long May She Reign, Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate, Kaitlin Cooper from The O.C., and Lucy Montgomery from As The World Turns.
4) Other examples? And, no, male nurse Gaylord Focker ’95 does not count . . .
On August 3, 2014, I woke up in a hospital bed somewhere in San Francisco with a catheter and tubes snaking down my throat and up my nose.
I looked at my hands and noticed an IV stuck in my left forearm. The left side of my head throbbed in pain. As I attempted to sit up and understand where I was, a nurse saw that I was awake and ran over.
“Do you want your mother?” she asked. I tried to speak and choked on my breathing tube; I nodded. Soon, my mom rushed in and took my hand. She asked me if I remembered the accident.
I remembered walking down the aisle at my friend’s wedding in Sonoma, the sun beating down so hard on the ceremony that a groomsman got burned standing at the altar. I remembered giving a speech about how my friend always thought she could do better, except when it came to her husband.
I remembered going out with the wedding party in San Francisco to celebrate. We crashed an Indian wedding at the Fairmont Hotel and then guzzled down scorpion bowls full of pink tropical punch at the hotel bar. But that’s where the memories jolted to an end.
I shook my head no.
My mother explained that I had been involved in a hit-and-run car accident after a drunk driver rear-ended my cab.
The force of the impact threw me forward and I hit my head against the armrest in the front, causing my brain to bleed internally. Later, the two groomsmen who rode the cab with me told me that after hitting my head, I had mumbled, “It’s going to be okay,” before slumping over in my seat.
The official diagnosis was an acute subdural hematoma with subfalcine herniation, a traumatic brain injury.
Read the whole thing. This is the best Eph essay I have seen in 2017. The Williams Magazine should seek to re-publish it, perhaps with added details about how Park’s Eph friends helped during her recovery.
Hmmmm … Canadians, eh?
Activist students want to rename Horn Hall:
Students are convening an emergency TOWN HALL MEETING at 8:30 PM on Thursday [March 2] to rename Horn Hall.
We will provide a brief 10 minute rundown of Joey Horn’s recent conviction of abuse of workers and the administration’s disturbing response. Then, the space will be opened up for suggestions about what to rename Horn Hall. Perhaps we should choose an amazing alum or professor who has committed their life to fighting for justice and a better world. At the end of the meeting, we will vote on a new name. Though this meeting is organized by students, we invite any staff, faculty, and members of the community to participate.
This a direct action in response to the fact that the College has decided to go through with naming the new dorm after Trustee Horn despite her recent conviction. This makes Horn Hall one of several Williams buildings named after problematic figures. Since the administration won’t engage with us or rename the building, we are taking matters into our own hands and finding a new name for the building for the present moment. This is not about choosing the perfect or permanent name for the building. We seek to fuel further interrogation of other problematic (including racist and slave-owning) figures memorialized on Williams campus and, most critically, address the oppressive systems which are the legacy of some of these figures, both within the institution and outside of it.
The town hall meeting will last one hour. Following the meeting, we will all march to the newly named building for a ribbon cutting ceremony and a pizza celebration. Join us for as long or short as you can, and spread the word! If you have questions, comments, or want to help plan this effort, email email@example.com.
1) “other problematic (including racist and slave-owning) figures memorialized on Williams campus”? Details, please. Williams, unlike Yale, seems remarkably bereft of problematic historical associations.
2) Who is paying for the “pizza celebration?” Nothing wrong with pizza, or celebrations, for that matter. But any good Record reporter should figure this out. If I were a trustee, I would have no issues with Williams students protesting my decisions, but I would ask Adam Falk if the college should really be subsidizing such activities.
3) It is interesting how connected these various causes are, even though there seems no obvious reason why someone involved with Divestment should care about Horn Hall or why someone involved with either should be working with CTA, whose main (praise-worthy!) issue is greater trustee transparency. Is there a common factor of sticking-it-to-the-Man which motivates all these campaigns?
4) If we are going to rename Horn Hall, then the best choice is Krissoff Hall.
I realize that John Doe was probably an affirmative action admission at Williams, due to his ethnicity (Ecuadoran-American) and family income (low). But is it too much to ask that he get the quotation correct?! It is “like a woman scorned,” not “than a woman scorned.” Then again, perhaps we should be proud that accused-rapist Ephs are even educated enough to make a literary reference at all!
Does anyone have the energy to go through all 80+ pages of this document? Not me! But I can’t help quoting this section:
Throughout, the red text is John Doe’s comments. From the document:
“literally all I ever wanted was to dance with you is that’s too much to ask?”
From the lyrics to Safety Dance:
‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
Well they’re no friends of mine.
I rest my case.
We are deeply disturbed by the recent conviction of Trustee Joey Shaista Horn and her husband by the Oslo District Court for violating the Immigration Act (of Norway). The couple had illegally hired two au pairs and subjected them to illegal and unjust working conditions from 2011 to 2014 , as reported by several Norwegian media outlets.
How about a shout out to EphBlog!? The CTA did not find that article on its own. [If anything, EphBlog owes CTA a shout out since it was CTA member Linda Worden ’19 who first found the article. Thanks to commentators for pointing this out.]
We have questions and demand answers:
● When was Williams College made aware of the investigation, the trial, and the conviction?
● Why did Williams College fail to notify the community about this pending investigation?
● If the College was aware of this investigation, why did the College feel it was appropriate to open Horn Hall with its current name?
● Will Trustee Joey Shaista Horn continue to serve on the Board of Trustees?
We demand that the College develop a clear plan for ensuring transparency and accountability from Trustees in the future.
The CTA deserves credit for highlighting the timing of the initial indictment in 2014. This scandal has been percolating for a long time. (And EphBlog is embarrassed to not have covered it until now.) However, CTA has also demonstrated a childish inability to accomplish anything of use and/or to work with its natural allies. (That is, it refuses to follow my excellent advice.) However, I am still happy to answer their questions:
1) Joey probably let the College know about this issue back when she was indicted. At least, I hope she did.
2) The College is not in the business of keeping “the community” updated on every imbroglio that its trustees (or its faculty or its major donors or its students) get involved in. That would be stupid! Would the CTA want Williams to send out a news release every time a student is arrested by the local cops, a news release with the students name? I hope not!
3) Donors get to name things. How naive are the students behind the CTA? Moreover, at the time of the naming, the Horns had not yet been found guilty. And they still might win on appeal. And, even in the worse case that they spend a few months in jail, I (and Williams?) do not see that conviction as such an egregious sin that a building renaming would be required.
Horn will continue to serve on the trustees. She is a good person who did one bad thing. I initially thought that Horn would stay on the Trustees. I was wrong. Did the CTAs letter play a role in her resignation? The Record should try and find out.
By the way, the politics of this situation are interesting. The CTA is, obviously, packed with social justice warriors. So, why were they trying to get rid of one of the few women of color on the Trustees? Why were they attacking Horn for, more or less, employing an illegal immigrant in Norway?
Is the CTA the Williams beachhead for Trump? Prosecute and shame the employers of illegal immigrants!
The good (?) news is that the Horn case is bringing together Ephs who normally disagree. Consider former Williams professor John Drew’s take:
From my perspective, the more pertinent issue is whether or not the U.S. and Williams College are ready for the globalist values of Joey Horn 87′. As a matter of integrity, Williams College should return their gift and allow someone else, someone with better and more humane values, have the honor of their name on that building. Simple as that. If Williams fails to take action, the students on campus should begin protesting this outrage.
If the CTA — social justice warriors (almost) all — and John Drew — perhaps the most outspoken member of the vast right wing conspiracy, Eph division — all agree that Horn Hall should be renamed then . . . well, I guess that I am not sure what follows from that . . . But is sure is nice to see CTA/Drew agree on something!
UPDATE: Today’s Record article is stunningly good. Kudos to reporters Nicholas Goldrosen and William Newton. Read the whole thing.
In other words, Doe’s appeal failed. He has been permanently expelled from Williams, even though he has completed all the requirements for a degree. Comments:
1) The Order highlights the set of documents that we will soon get to read, before the hearing on March 28. I am not sure if we will learn much more than we already know. John Doe behaved problematically throughout his time at Williams. But to expel him based a completely implausible accusation of sexual assault, an assault that happened in the middle of a two year consensual sexual relationship, is a travesty of justice.
2) The Record should provide more coverage of this case and should send a reporter to the March 28 hearing.
3) Biggest winners are the attorneys. Rossi/Kelly/Lapp are all going to get to bill many more hours than if the case were just settled.
4) Does anyone know why the College is insisting on continuing on this path? I could, maybe, understand that, if Doe were still a student, the College might want to permanently prevent him from coming back to campus. But he has completed all his course work. He has walked in the graduation ceremony. What possible purpose does this vindictiveness serve?
Readers should let me know if they want more or less coverage of this case.
Economics Professor Sarah Jacobson tweeted:
1) The College ought to maintain a list of all faculty members who tweet. (I have a vague sense that such a list used to exist. Best I can find now is this.) The more contact between and among faculty/students/alumni, the better.
2) Politically, it strikes me as a mistake for these protestors to combine their complaints about a ban with complaints about a wall. The ban, especially as it applied to green card holders, was, to some extent unprecedented. Plenty of people are against it, especially when they are confronted with specific stories of refugees. But the wall is another matter. The US border always has a wall (on some sections), partially built by Barack Obama. Telling me you are against the wall is, to me (and a (large?) majority of other Americans?) indistinguishable from a claim that the US should have open borders, that anyone who wants to come to the US (and does not commit a violent felony) should be allowed to do so. Fighting Trump on that front seems foolish and doomed to failure.
3) Who are the Ephs most involved in the protests against Trump in the Williamstown area? (My sense is that Jacobson was just passing through the airport when she took this photo.) What are their plans for future events?
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — During President Trump’s transition to power, his team reached out to Elliott Abrams for help building a new administration. Mr. Abrams, a seasoned Republican foreign policy official, sent lists of possible candidates for national security jobs.
One by one, the answer from the Trump team came back no. The reason was consistent: This one had said disparaging things about Mr. Trump during the campaign; that one had signed a letter opposing him. Finally, the White House asked Mr. Abrams himself to meet with the president about becoming deputy secretary of state, only to have the same thing happen — vetoed because of past criticism.
… The New York Times, February 18, 2017
A proven answer:
Oath of loyalty for Public Officials:
“I swear: I shall be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, respect the laws, and fulfill my official duties conscientiously, so help me God.” (as of August 20. 1934).
From the Office of the President:
Resignation of Trustee Joey Shaista Horn ’87
Feb. 17, 2017: Joey Shaista Horn ’87 resigned from the Board of Trustees, effective Feb. 16, citing the need to focus on personal matters. Michael Eisenson ’77, Chairman of the Board, thanked Joey for her extensive and committed service to the college and said, “We are sad to lose Joey from the board and grateful for the many ways that she contributed to the work of the board and to the health of the college.”
1) Thanks to class of ’15 and WA for the tip.
2) Does EphBlog share some of the blame here? That is, would Horn have resigned if we had not published the story? I don’t know. The timing certainly suggests that this is true, since the resignation came the day after we published. Moreover, the underlying news — the guilty verdict — came out more than two weeks ago. Did Horn fail to inform the College? Or did she inform Williams, but Falk and the trustees hoped that the story would never come to light? Surely, someone knows the inside story . . .
3) How was the message distributed, if at all, to the Williams community? In particular, did an all-campus message come out? If not, how did WA and class of ’15 come across it?
4) Is the College doing its best to keep this news from spreading? For example, consider this search:
Normally, a search of the opening phrase of a Williams news release pulls up that release as its first hit. Is the College using some robots.txt-fu to keep this news hidden from the world? Should it?
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) February 17, 2017
Perhaps the truth is somewhere in between . . .
I’m glad I have my Second Amendment Rights. I see an Armed Ephblog as our first line of defense.
is are not my enemy, it is they are the enemy of the American People”. Team names and other collective nouns may be used as singular or plural (esp UK) … ‘media’ is the neuter plural of ‘medium’.)
When was the last time a Williams trustee was sentenced to jail? Two weeks ago!
The Oslo City Court has sentenced a wealthy Norwegian investor and his wife to five months in prison each, in a case that has highlighted abuse of Norway’s au pair program. It’s supposed to serve as a cultural exchange for young people from abroad but the couple, aided by two neighbours, was found guilty of fraudulently and illegally using two young women from the Philippines as au pairs at the same time, and putting them to work as their low-paid household help.
The couple are Ragnor Horn ’85 and Joey Shaista Horn ’87. Does the name “Horn” sound familiar? It should! Horn Hall, the College’s newest residential building is named after Ragnor and Joey, in thanks for their $10 million donation. Joey has been a Williams trustee since 2009. The Horns have been generous donors for more than a decade. Consider this snippet from 2008:
Back to the article:
The au pairs’ testimony was almost entirely at odds with the Horns’, according to media reports. The Horns claimed they considered the women members of their family and had tried to help them. They admitted to having surveillance cameras in their home but claimed they were not focused on the women while they worked. Mrs Horn, who was represented in court by one of Norway’s most famous defense attorneys, John Christian Elden, also confirmed the required use of face masks, but claimed that “was common in Asia” and was only required in the kitchen by one of the women who “coughed so much.”
Evidence prosecutors referred to in court, however, included a chatting exchange Mrs Horn had with a friend that revealed her referring to her household help in derogatory terms and accusing her of coughing on the food or while in the bathroom. Mrs Horn told her friend the au pair would have to use both a face mask and disposable gloves while in the home or with Horn’s children.
The conversation used as evidence in court also recorded Mrs Horn telling her friend that she had threatened to send the au pair back to her “straw mats in Manila.” Mrs Horn defended herself by saying it had been a “private conversation” with an old friend and that she actually “loved straw mats” and had one in her own home that she used for yoga.
1) Who among us does not love straw mats?
2) WA, who tipped us off about this case, wants me to spend a week going through the details. Should I? My last series on the lifestyles of the rich and the Eph involved Mayo Shattuck ’76 and his cheerleader wife.
3) When was the last time a Williams trustee was sentenced to jail? I can’t come up with a single example. Help us Eph historians!
4) The Horns have three children, including two at Williams. Spare a thought for what they must be going through.
Here (pdf) is a summary of major enrollment at Williams over the last decade. Here is a portion of the data:
Lots of interesting stuff! Worth spending a few days discussing?
I’m glad to see John Oliver back!
Remember, there is a ‘Bright’ in ‘Breitbart’ … well, nearly.
Best debates are the ones that feature Ephs on both sides. The latest proposal for a carbon tax cum dividend is an example. In favor, we have Trustee Mark Tercek ’79:
The plan has four pillars: tax the carbon in fossil fuels at $40 per ton of carbon dioxide for the emissions they will produce; rebate all of the revenue to American households in quarterly dividend payments; repeal federal regulations that will no longer be needed because carbon prices produce greater and more efficient investments in emissions reductions; and assure that the program does not damage U.S. trade by adjusting its impact on exports and imports that are energy intensive.
Against, Oren Cass ’05:
This week, a self-described “who’s-who of conservative elder statesmen” launched a new organization, the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), to make their “Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends.” Lest one be confused, the proposal is yet another carbon tax. Lest one be optimistic, it manages only to weaken an already flawed policy.
None of these objections or challenges is new. Yet, in the marketplace of ideas, the carbon tax behaves increasingly like a government-run utility. It doesn’t care about competition. It ignores complaint with impunity. Its business model depends on the strength of its political connections, not the quality of its product. Elder statesmen often sit on the boards of such entities. Rarely do they achieve positive change.
My take: The politics of this proposal don’t work, not least because of environmentalist who hate it, as you can see from all the progressive’s attacking Tercek from the left. A better plan needs to be more extreme, in order to bring along the right. I recommend a constitutional amendment that would repeal the federal income tax while simultaneously granting Congress the right to tax carbon. Conservatives would go for this because they hate the income tax. The Government’s need to spend would force a carbon tax higher than any other possible plan.
Let’s arrange for a debate at Williams between Tercek and Cass, ideally each paired with a student. Bring back the Williams College Debate Union!
This is the only known photograph of David Kane …
About half of the female students currently at Williams will not be married at age 32. Don’t want that to be your fate? You will never be prettier than you are right now and you will never be surrounded by as many single, high-quality men. Follow EphBlog’s advice:
1) Pick 5 Williams men you would like to go out with on a date. You are, obviously, not picking a husband at this stage, but you are selecting likely candidates. Because men are shallow creatures, select men that about as handsome as you are pretty. If you are average, then select an average man. Even better, select a man at the 25th percentile of attractiveness. If you end up married, he will spend the rest of his life marveling at the beauty of the woman in his bed each morning and vowing to do his best not to screw up his good fortune.
2) Pick a friend to be the matchmaker. Many of your friends would jump at the chance. You need someone social, someone not afraid to approach a (possible) stranger on your behalf.
3) Have your friend approach a candidate and let him know that, if he asked you out on a dinner date, you would say, “Yes.” Assuming you have picked wisely, he will be excited! There are few things a boy likes more than knowing a girl is interested in him. And the reason he hasn’t asked you out before was, most likely, that he was afraid you would say, “No.” There is nothing a boy fears more than rejection. Since he knows ahead of time what your answer will be, you can be (mostly) certain that he will ask you out. If you want to avoid the embarrassment of rejection yourself, just allow your friend the discretion to approach the men in the order she sees fit. Then she won’t even need to tell you if candidates 1 and 2 turn down this opportunity.
4) Go out on the date. Who knows what will happen? The date may be a failure. If so, have your friend go on to another candidate. But the date is probably more likely to go well, especially if you chose your five candidates wisely, picking men that you already liked and respected, men with whom you could imagine having a longterm relationship. One date may lead to another, and then another. Perhaps you will never have a need for the other four candidates.
Does this seem like a horribly retrograde and patriarchal plan? Perhaps it is! The claim I am making is purely a statistical one. Female Eph undergraduates who follow this advice are more likely to be married at 32 than those who do not.
Happy Valentines Day! And point your date toward EphBlog’s annual advice on falling in love . . .
Williamstown does not appear to be a sanctuary city.
In the United States and Canada, a sanctuary city is a municipality that has adopted a policy of protecting unauthorized immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws and by ensuring that all residents have access to city services, regardless of immigration status. Such a policy can be set out expressly in a law (de jure) or observed only in practice (de facto). The term applies generally to cities that do not use municipal funds or resources to enforce national immigration laws. The cities usually forbid their police or municipal employees to inquire about a person’s immigration status or share such information with immigration enforcement. The designation has no precise legal meaning.
1) Am I correct that Williamstown is not currently a sanctuary city and that this act, if passed would turn it into one?
2) Does anyone have any insights into the local politics involved? Williamstown is overwhelmingly liberal and had fewer than 15% of its votes going to Trump. So, presumably, anything that goes against Trump would be popular . . .
3) How much leverage does the Federal Government have over Williamstown? The town’s budget is $19 million, with 10% coming from “Other Governments.” But how much of that is state versus federal? How how much of the money from the state is actually funding that originates from the federal government? Best info I can find is here:
I think that this is just school-related revenues and that there are few other sources of state/federal aid to the budget. Would Trump ever start to take away education-related money from sanctuary cities? Would a loss of $400,000 make Williamstown rethink its stand?
Governor Baker seems committed to keep the state government out of the discussion. That is good news for Williamstown since a withdrawal of state funding would cause chaos for its budget. But what happens when the Feds start to put pressure on the States? Imagine if Trump (and the Republican congress) decided to cut off funding to any state which insisted on giving its own funding to sanctuary cities.
Is the new construction for the high school — and the tax free bonds that support it — a possible pressure point?
Again, informed commentary from Williamstown residents wanted!
Art: @obrienillustration #alternatefacts
The plan (pdf) to replace the Exploring Diversity Initiative (pdf) with a Difference, Power, and Equity requirement will be discussed at this week’s faculty meeting. Day 4, and the end, of our discussion.
1) Again, it is sleazy for the CEA to list colleges with a similar requirement and not mention colleges, like Amherst and Yale, without one.
2) The College has been pushing these, allegedly, “innovative approaches” for 30 years. Has anything been accomplished? Consider some of the courses that meet the current EDI requirement:
CHIN 101 (F) Basic Chinese (D)
CHIN 102 (F) Basic Chinese (D)
CHIN 201 (F) Intermediate Chinese (D)
CHIN 202 (F) Intermediate Chinese (D)
JAPN 101 (F) Elementary Japanese (D)
JAPN 102 (F) Elementary Japanese (D)
JAPN 201 (F) Intermediate Japanese (D)
JAPN 202 (F) Intermediate Japanese (D)
CLAS 340 (F) Roman Cities in the Near East (D)
CSCI 205 (F) Cinematography in the Digital Age (D)
These look like great classes! But it is absurd to pretend that they, in any meaningful way, involve exploring diversity, or at least exploring diversity more than any competently taught language or history normally class does. Looking closely at the EDI listing (pdf) makes it obvious that one big element here is under-enrolled departments listing every possible class in order to increase student interest. A second element is departments listing at least one class in order to get the diversity apparatchiks off their backs.
Indeed, the cynical way to view EDI/DPE is as the College’s method for moving students from over-subscribed classes that they want to take — especially in economics, psychology, statistics and computer science — into under-subscribed courses in unpopular departments.
The central issue is the hypocrisy of Williams in pretending that it requires students to take courses which “represent our dedication to study groups, cultures, and societies as they interact with, and challenge, each other” while, at the same time, allowing that requirement to be fulfilled by introductory Japanese, but not introductory Arabic.
This is a fantasy on several levels. First, almost every single non-science class at Williams does this, at least given the constraints of its subject matter. Show me a history or political science or sociology or anthropology or . . . course which does not “study groups, cultures, and societies as they interact with, and challenge, each other.”
Second, it is hard to read “core of their pedagogical mission” as anything other than a plea for indoctrination or as plaintive virtue signalling. Assume (as EphBlog does!) that the Williams faculty is highly competent, that they structure their classes intelligently, providing a balanced coverage of the relevant issues. In that case, the amount of time that, say, HIST 284: Introduction to Asian American History spends on the “shaping of social differences” is appropriate even if it is not the “core” of the class. If you believe that Williams faculty are competent, than you should assume that they spend the appropriate amount of time on issues relating to difference, power and equity, given the subject of their course. Why wouldn’t they?
Moreover, we assert unapologetically that the elimination of a curricular commitment to difference and power would send a terrible signal to our community and beyond.
Is there a better example of virtue signalling at Williams in the last year? Recall that this requirement does nothing meaningful to change the content of specific courses. The syllabus of HIST 284 is going to be the same as it would have been if the professor taught at Amherst. Removing the requirement does not change a single class at Williams. It just allows students to take the courses that they want to take, which is the same freedom as Yale and Amherst allow their students.
To the Williams Community,
As provost and president, respectively, we’re delighted to announce, following a national search, the appointment of Liz Creighton ’01 as dean of admission and financial aid. Liz, who currently serves as deputy director of admission, will assume the new role May 15.
This is a new position, reporting directly to Dukes as provost. As dean, Liz will provide leadership to our efforts to attract and support talented students from across the country and around the world. She’ll use her leadership skills, vision, and creativity to further strengthen Williams’ position as a national leader in both admission and financial aid work, while breaking new ground in shaping how these two areas collaborate to deepen the socioeconomic diversity of our student body.
Liz joined the admission staff at Williams in 2006 and served in several roles before being named deputy director in 2011. As deputy director she has overseen the daily operations of the admission operation and guided work that enabled us to enroll the most ethnically and socioeconomically diverse student body in college history. She has overseen important initiatives including improving our use of data to aid in recruiting and enrolling exceptional students from low-income backgrounds; the expansion of Windows on Williams and Williams Previews, which provide funding for 350 talented students who couldn’t otherwise afford to visit campus; creation of a remote college counseling program for 200 high-achieving, low-income students; and partnering with our communications office to develop a comprehensive communications strategy and publications stream.
Before coming to Williams, Liz worked in Harvard University’s Development Office, where she managed the fundraising portfolios of the university provost and directors of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, serving on a team that raised $40 million for the institute during its first two years.
Liz earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Williams in 2001 and a Master’s degree in education from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2010.
We want to thank the members of the search committee—Danielle Gonzales, Bum Shik Kim ’19, Rhon Manigault-Bryant, Ngoni Munemo, Marlene Sandstrom and Chris Winters ’95—for their diligent work that has led to this wonderful outcome for Williams.
Please join us in congratulating Liz on her new role.
Dukes Love, Provost and Professor of Economics
Adam Falk, President
“Profound changes?” Really? Shallow people often think that This Time Is Different, that no one before has ever had the thoughts that they have now, that the historical moment in which, by sheer happenstance, they inhabit is unique in some way. Historians know better.
And this is all the more true at Williams College. Do these authors really believe that students 30 years ago where unaware of the importance of “power,” that they were unconcerned with issues of “equity?” Professor Kurt Tauber was teaching Marxism at Williams 50 years ago!
What would the excellent professors in the Williams Philosophy department make of this sort of prose? I bet that Joe Cruz or Alan White would offer suggestions like these:
The Writing Intensive requirement
is dedicated to the critical and practical development of communication over diverse fields towards developing varied, multi-disciplinary methods of transmitting and exchanging knowledgemakes students better writers. … Finally, the Difference, Power, and Equity requirement will give students the opportunity to develop their own critical perspectives about evolving social questions from past to present, thoroughly grounded in information about and theories of differenceteaches students critical thinking about social standing. (? — Some examples would be useful.)
Leaving these quibbles aside, we are left marveling at the magical thinking embedded in this Williams Curricular Triad. (Useless capitalization is the best sign of nonsense at Williams. Recall the Williams House System.)
First, are they necessary? One would hope that every Williams in any of the humanities — History, English, Philosophy, et cetera — would involve extensive writing. (Any such class that doesn’t should be cancelled.) Very few students would graduate from Williams without taking a writing intensive course even if no such class were required, especially given the existence of the Divisional requirements.
Second, do they do any good? The main impact of these requirements is probably the effect the combination of the three minimum courses in Division III and/or the Quantitative Requirement has on students who don’t want to take any math/science classes. Do such students benefit from being forced to do so? I doubt it. Do any readers have personal anecdotes to offer?
Fortunately, there is a simple way to answer these questions: Randomly select 200 members of the class of 2021 and free them from all requirements (except for 32 classes and a major). Then, in just four years, we can estimate the causal effects of these requirements. In line with the null hypothesis of education, I predict that forcing students to take courses that they don’t want to take has no effect on any outcome we care about. Ultimately, though that is an empirical claim. Why won’t Williams — which Adam Falk often claims is and/or should be a leader in college education — perform this simple experiment?
In light of President Trump’s recent executive orders, and of the increasing interest within our community in the sanctuary movement, we – the undersigned – would like to share with you the status of our work on the Williamstown Immigrant Trust Act.
The Williamstown Immigrant Trust Act is a draft ordinance for the town of Williamstown. If passed, it will: ensure that the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) will not participate in the enforcement of federal immigration law; strictly limit the circumstances under which the WPD may comply with federal “civil immigration detainers”; prevent the WPD from surrendering sensitive personal information to federal immigration officers without a judicial warrant; bar the WPD from allowing federal immigration officers to question detained individuals solely for the purpose of immigration enforcement; and require the WPD to protect the due process rights of persons subject to federal immigration requests. The act will also limit the collection of immigration information by all town officers, and prohibit the use of town resources to create a registry based upon race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.
Many of these policies are already held by various agencies of the town government, including the WPD. The practical effect of this ordinance will be to turn those policies into law, ensuring that federal action against undocumented members of our community is as expensive and difficult as possible. Because many of America’s largest cities – including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago – already have sanctuary policies in effect, it is very unlikely that the passage of this ordinance will draw federal attention to Williamstown in particular.
This act is based closely upon a legal template developed by Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, whose office has provided guidance with regard to the legality of the draft ordinance. In the course of our work on this project, which began in November, we have also been in communication with the National Immigration Project, the Latinx Caucus of the College Democrats of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Association of Chiefs of Police, and we are grateful for the support of the Coalition for Immigrant Student Advancement here at Williams.
For the last week, the latest draft of the act has been before Town Manager Jason Hoch and other members of the town government. They have thus far been very receptive to this proposal, and we will be meeting with them to decide on the act’s final wording as soon as possible. It is our hope that the Immigrant Trust Act will be passed as a warrant article at the 2017 Williamstown Town Meeting this May, which is the earliest occasion on which the town as a whole can act upon this issue.
If you have questions or concerns, or if you would like to be involved in the fight to protect all the members of our community, please contact Benjamin Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benjamin Williams ‘17.5
Williams College Democrats
Williamstown Democratic Town Committee
Woodrow Wilson Professor of Political Science
Attorney at Law
Four Freedoms Coalition
To the Williams Community,
I’m pleased to write with the news that, after a national search, Megan Morey will join Williams as our next Vice President for College Relations. Her first day will be May 1.
Megan currently serves in an analogous role at Amherst College, as chief advancement officer. Many of you undoubtedly remember her from the seven years she worked at Williams, 2000–2007, first as senior development officer and then as director of leadership giving.
At Amherst, Megan earned the trust and appreciation of the entire Amherst community for her work to plan and carry out their Lives of Consequence campaign, which raised $500 million and achieved an impressive 72.5 percent alumni participation rate. Under her management, Amherst’s advancement program raised an average of $56 million a year in support of school priorities, including Amherst’s deservedly well-known commitment to financial access and diversity. She also collaborates closely with the college’s chief communications officer to integrate development communications with college-wide messaging, something that’s equally important here at Williams.
An experienced senior advancement professional, Megan will assume leadership of our Teach It Forward Campaign and all the work of the Office of College Relations, including development, alumni relations, advancement information services and career services. Among her early priorities will be working to enhance collaboration that maximizes the opportunities for alumni support in all its forms. Indeed, the search committee was impressed by her commitment to valuing the diverse ways in which our alumni can add value to the college and our students’ education.
Megan earned her B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University in economics management and French. She began her career in development at her alma mater, then progressed through positions of increasing responsibility at Denison University, Barton College and the University of Redlands.
I’m grateful to the members of our search committee—Leticia S.E. Haynes ’99, Dukes Love, Collette Chilton, Rob Baker-White ’80, Liz Creighton ’01, Jamie Art, Martha Tetrault, and Keli Gail as chair—for their work in a process that produced such a superb outcome. Thanks, too, to the whole College Relations staff, both for their participation in the search and for maintaining such strong fundraising momentum throughout. As you may have heard, we recently crossed the $500 million mark with two years yet to go in our $650 million campaign. Finally, I especially want to express my sincere appreciation to Keli and to Lew Fisher ’89 for their efforts as interim OCR Vice President and Associate Vice President for Development, respectively.
I hope you’ll join me in warmly welcoming Megan back to Williams.
… however, the Worlds Foremost Authority may have written for Ephblog under the nom de plume John C. Drew PhD.