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Fun with Stereotypes!

Stereo type analysis

A recent comment by frequent visitor JCD using a racial stereotype in describing a former student leads me to post this analysis of the use of stereotypes in the classroom and their results both socially in the context and particular to the person to whom applied.

Christine Reyna   Lazy, Dumb, or Industrious: When Stereotypes Convey Attribution Information in the Classroom Educational Psychology Review, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2000

A larger version may be seen here. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.573.6067&rep=rep1&type=pdf

There seems to be a lot of this going around.

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Choose Williams Over Harvard

In celebration of previews, reasons why you should choose Williams.

There are several hundreds high school seniors¹ who have been admitted to both Williams and Harvard (and Yale and Princeton and Stanford and . . .). Fewer than 10% of them will choose Williams over these more famous schools. Some of them are making the right choice. They will be better off at Harvard, for various reasons. But at least half of them are making the wrong choice. They (you?) would be better off at Williams. Why?

1) Your professors would know your name. The average Harvard undergraduate is known by name to only a few faculty members. Many students graduate unknown to any faculty. The typical professor at Harvard is primarily concerned with making important contributions to her field. The typical professor at Williams is primarily concerned with educating the undergraduates in her classes. Consider this post by Harvard professor Greg Mankiw, who teaches EC 10, the equivalent of Williams ECON 110/120, to over 750 students each year.

Being an ec 10 section leader is one of the best teaching jobs at Harvard. You can revisit the principles of economics, mentor some of the world’s best undergraduates, and hone your speaking skills. In your section, you might even have the next Andrei Shleifer or Ben Bernanke (two well-known ec 10 alums). And believe it or not, we even pay you for this!

If you are a graduate student at Harvard or another Boston-area university and have a strong background in economics, I hope you will consider becoming a section leader in ec 10 next year. Applications are encouraged from PhD students, law students, and master’s students in business and public policy.

Take a year of Economics at Harvard, and not a single professor will know your name. Instead, you will be taught and graded by (poorly paid) graduate students, many with no more than a BA, often not even in economics! But, don’t worry, you will be doing a good deed by providing these students with a chance to “hone” their “speaking skills.”

2) You will get feedback on your work from faculty at Williams, not from inexperienced graduate students. More than 90% of the written comments (as well as the grades) on undergraduate papers at Harvard are produced by people other than tenured (or tenure track) faculty. The same is true in science labs and math classes. EC 10 is a particularly egregious example, but the vast majority of classes taken by undergraduates are similar in structure. Harvard professors are too busy to read and comment on undergraduate prose.

3) You would have the chance to do many things at Williams. At Harvard it is extremely difficult to do more than one thing in a serious fashion. If you play a sport or write for the paper or sing in an a cappella group at Harvard, it is difficult to do much of anything else. At Williams, it is common — even expected — that students will have a variety of non-academic interests that they pursue passionately. At Harvard, the goal is a well-rounded class, with each student being top notch in something. At Williams, the ideal is a class full of well-rounded people.

4) You would have a single room for three years at Williams. The housing situation at Harvard is horrible, at least if you care about privacy. Most sophomores and the majority of juniors do not have a single room for the entire year. Only at Harvard will you learn the joys of a “walk-through single” — a room which is theoretically a single but which another student must walk through to get to her room.

5) You would have the opportunity to be a Junior Advisor at Williams and to serve on the JA Selection Committee and to serve on the Honor Committee. No undergraduate student serves in these roles at Harvard because Harvard does not allow undergraduates to run their own affairs. Harvard does not trust its students. Williams does.

6) The President of Williams, Adam Falk, cares about your education specifically, not just about the education of Williams undergraduates in general. The President of Harvard, Drew Faust, has bigger fish to fry. Don’t believe me? Just e-mail both of them. Tell them about your situation and concerns. See who responds and see what they say.

Of course, there are costs to turning down Harvard. Your friends and family won’t be nearly as impressed. Your Aunt Tillie will always think that you actually go to “Williams and Mary.” You’ll be far away from a city for four years. But, all in all, a majority of the students who choose Harvard over Williams would have been better off if they had chosen otherwise.

Choose wisely.

¹The first post in this series was 11 years ago, inspired by a newspaper story about 18 year-old Julia Sendor, who was admitted to both Harvard and Williams. Julia ended up choosing Williams (at least partly “because of the snowy mountains and maple syrup”), becoming a member of the class of 2008, winning a Udall Foundation Scholarship in Environmental Studies. Best part of that post is the congratulations from her proud JA.

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This Friday is the deadline for designated a course as P/F or withdrawing from a course

Dear Students,

I hope you are well as we make our way towards the end of term.  I’m writing today to remind you that this Friday, 4/28, is the last day for you to withdraw from a course and also the last day to switch a course to the pass-fail option (if the course allows that option.)

Pass-Fail

You may take up to three courses on a pass/fail basis over your four years, with no more than one course in a given semester. These courses do count towards the thirty-two required for graduation.  (There are some limitations to be aware of. Faculty may designate their course as ineligible for pass-fail, pass-fail courses can’t count towards distribution requirements, and classes towards the major need to be taken for a grade, with the exception of the first course in the major.) More information about the pass-fail option is available here.

Click here to find the online form for designating a course as pass-fail. Be sure to submit the electronic form before the 4:30 pm deadline. Please note that if you are a first year student, you must print out the form and have it signed by a dean prior to the 4:30 deadline.  

Withdrawals

At Williams, course withdrawals are limited to a total of two over your four years of study. Withdrawals are permitted only with permission of your professor as well as a dean, and require you to make up the “course deficiency” quite promptly.  You can learn more about the withdrawal policy here.  If you would like to withdraw from a course, please be sure to speak with your professor first, and then set up a meeting with a dean prior to the deadline of this Friday at 4:30 pm.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Dean’s Office early this week if you have any questions about the process of withdrawing from a course or designating a course as pass-fail.  You can call the office at 597-4171 to make an appointment, or stop in during walk-in hours (click here for hours), and the deans will be happy to help you.

 

All best wishes,

Dean Sandstrom

 

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The First One Hundred Days …

The significance of this baseline varies in importance with our reversible President.

WPA POSTER Stamps

The WPA was approved on March 6, 1933 as a part of the first one hundred days. The importance of this engine of recovery from the depression is well-known.  So are the many civic landmarks, recreational areas, and artistic productions created for ‘we the people’ that continue in use to this day.

How different from an insistence on a wall and cutting funding for the arts.

I know art and architecture are not hot buttons on this blog, but if anyone’s interested in more detail, below are two good books:

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The USPS issued these WPA Poster stamps with ten designs on a sheet of twenty. The date of issue was March 7, 2017 at Hyde Park, New York, the site of FDR’s home, and library and museum.

 

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Fall 2017 Pre-Registration opens Monday! It’s almost time to explore courses!

Greetings, Ephs!

Spring is coming to the Berkshires, and this means that Fall 2017 pre-registration is just around the corner! On Monday, we begin thinking about all the fall semester has to offer. (Sorry, seniors––though post-grad life has its own excitement in store!)

It’s time to make the most of Your 32.

With a recently re-designed course catalog, you can explore all that the Williams curriculum has to offer across divisions and departments.

A Course Catalog Tip: You can use the “Keyword Search” box to pull up courses from across divisions that mention a particular word anywhere in their title or description. Search for whatever you might be interested in, from “food” to “climate” to “storytelling” to anything in between! Or just click around and see what grabs your attention!

As you’re choosing courses for the spring, you may want to consider:

1. Taking a class in every division. This help you complete your divisional requirements, and it will encourage you to have a diverse schedule!

2. Taking a class in a discipline you have never studied before. There are so many departments at Williams, and all of them are incredible! Try something new––perhaps you’ll fall in love with geosciences, or theater, or sociology, or any other discipline.

3. Taking a class that uses different teaching methods. Never taken a tutorial before? What about a course with an experiential component? Always wanted to try a lab course? This spring could be your semester to take a course in a totally different format!

Your 32 courses are an incredible opportunity to explore interests, challenge yourself, and learn about incredible topics. Take a risk. Try something new.

And, email professors to learn more about their courses! There is even a handy guide to help you write these sometimes-daunting emails.

Many of your professors and classmates have been changed by one course they took outside of their comfort zone. They made the most of their 32! You can hear their stories in this short video.

These are Your 32.

They are Your Chance to Explore.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you!

Yours in a love of course exploration (and springtime),

Jeffrey Rubel ‘17 and Chetan Patel ’18

Committee on Educational Affairs and College Council

PS – Thanks for all the #Your32 love! Keep it strong!

If you have any interest in joining the campaign, let us know.

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General Housing Lottery Online Registration Now Open

It’s time to register for the General Housing Lottery for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Questions? Be sure to read through all of the linked information here first. If your question isn’t answered there, contact Gail Rondeau Hebert.
Good luck to you all!
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How To Lobby Alumni

How to lobby alumni to help you change college policy:

  1. Get organized first. You only have so many opportunities to get alums to care about the issue that has you all worked up. Actually, you probably only have one opportunity. Create an organization, select officers, put up a web page, recruit a “advisory board” of professors and staff, post of list of all the students who have signed on as supporters, decide on what, specifically, you want the administration to do (including packages of the minimal set of things you’d accept and the maximal set that the administration could conceivably grant). See here for a concrete example.
  2. Be realistic in your goals. You can demand that the College pave the walkways with chocolate, but alumni are unlikely to be impressed with your reasonableness. It is fine to have a big picture goal in mind, but what specific incremental step would you like the administration to take right now. You may want a Chicano Studies department, but what about a visiting professor next year? Some alumni will be in favor of your larger goals — and, by all means, sign them up to help with that — but, to be most effective, you want most alumni to, at minimum, think to themselves, “That doesn’t seem too outrageuous. Why won’t Morty go along?”
  3. Don’t be deluded into thinking that you can have a meaningful effect on alumni fundraising. The College’s fundraising machinery is massive, organized and professional. Virtually nothing that you could possibly say or do would influence it. Even a change that might conceivably have the alumni up in arms — something on the scale of ending Winter Study or the JA system — would not provide enough fodder to change the dollars flowing in. A college that could take the lead in ending fraternities can ride out almost any level of alumni frustration.
  4. Several thousand more words of advice below the break:

    Read more

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Last Lyceum of the year on Wed, 4/26/17

Dear fellow Ephs,

It is both happy and sad for me to do this last Lyceum of the year and also my last Lyceum ever. It’s been a pleasure serving as the Lyceum Coordinator these past 2 years; thank you for all your eager signups and pleasant company.

If you would like to become the next Lyceum Coordinator, please fill out the CC committees application (choose Lyceum Coordinator under “committee selection”)

(10/10 would recommend if you are invested in: building student-faculty/student-staff relations, food, dining, communications, logistics, and event planning! Direct any questions to Minwei at mc11. Deadline is next Friday, 4/28!! )

Ok keep reading for actual Lyceum details…

—-
Have you been waiting to get to know a cool professor or staff over Lyceum Dinner all year? Now is your last chance until October (or if you are a senior, this is your last chance ever)!!

The Nutting Family cordially invites you to ask a professor or staff member (administration, chaplains, health services, Davis Center, campus life, CSS, facilities, dining services, etc.) to a partially subsidized, three-course meal at the Faculty Club for this special dinner. This Lyceum Dinner will be held at the Faculty House at 6:45 pm on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017.

Due to popular demand and to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules, this dinner will be flexible in terms of how many people can be in each party. 1, 2, 3… up to 7 students may invite any ONE member of the faculty or staff to dinner. (We are trying this out still so things may revert in the future.)

Another important clarification: if selected to attend Lyceum, it WILL take away your meal swipe for dinner on 4/26/2017. If you are a senior and not on a meal plan, don’t worry you can still attend! Just clarify on the form that you don’t have a meal plan and the Nutting Fund will also cover your meal!

Spaces are given on a first-come, first-served basis, with preferences given to:
1) those with parties of 4 (3 students and 1 faculty/staff)
2) those who have not yet attended a Lyceum dinner, especially seniors!!!
The entrée options for this dinner are:

-Seared Steaks with Red Wine, Mushrooms, and Onions
-Baked Tilapia with Sun-dried Tomato Parmesan Crust
-Portobello Wellington

As always, forward a confirmation email from your guest; your registration will not be considered until we receive the guest’s confirmation email.
The online registration form will close as soon as all spaces have been filled. If you have any questions, please email WilliamsLyceum@gmail.com


Cordially,

Minwei

Lyceum Coordinator

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African-American Yield Comparison

Williams yields African-American accepted students at a lower rates than (some of) its peers.

frosh-2014W-B

Thanks to a commentator (who should join us as a blogger!) for pointing this out. He also shared (created?) this analysis:

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1) Thanks for doing this! We need more peer comparisons at EphBlog. This topic would also make for a good Record article and/or senior thesis.

2) Although we compare poorly with Pomona, we do fine relative to many other colleges. So, maybe the glass is half full? I know that the Admissions Office has devoted a lot of time/money/personnel to African-American enrollment.

3) The unknown factor here is standards. The easiest way to get a very high yield among African-American students is to have much lower standards than your peer colleges. If Pomoma lets in a lot of low quality African-American applicants — high school students that Williams/Amherst/Brown/Dartmouth all reject — then Pomona is going to do very well in yielding those students.

4) The most outlier strategy among elite LACs when it comes to African-American applicants is Middlebury’s: admit/enroll fewer. In the class of 2020 (pdf), only 4% of the students are African-American. Thoughts on this?

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Needs a job! Ephblog should act now!

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US citizen. English is first language. Has skills!

UPDATE from DDF: Don’t criticize my friend Swart for not making an Eph-related post! Bill O’Reilly is, of course, famous for seeking sex (sometimes successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully) from women when the power relationships involved were quite imbalanced. The relevant Eph comparison is with Williams professors who seek sex from students, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. At least two Williams professors were so successful in this regard that they eventually married their students. And one is still on the Williams faculty! If you object to O’Reilly, do you also object to this behavior?

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Bias Incident Response Task Force Report

Before it disappears in a fit of historical memory-holing, let’s archive portions of the Bias Incident Response Task Force Report from October 2012:

On November 11, 2011, the words “All Niggers Must Die” were written on a wall on the fourth floor of Prospect Hall. This hate crime caused a large number of our Black community members to feel targeted and unsafe and, overall, placed extraordinary stress on the fabric of the campus. A variety of associated issues and concerns were exposed in subsequent open mic events, campus conversations, and related gatherings. Among the concerns that were raised by many members of the campus community were pointed criticisms of the administration’s initial response to, and early communications about, the crime.

President Falk commissioned the Bias Incident Response Task Force (BIRTF) as the central component of a detailed debriefing of both the initial incident response and related protocols.

This was written almost a year after the event, by which time it was obvious that the entire incident was a “hate hoax.” This graffiti was written by student of color Jess Torres ’12.

Perhaps most important, we affirmed the need to ensure that we’re providing immediate, meaningful, and effective support to the most affected parties, after which we should expand our support to individuals and groups as we track the impact of the incident across campus and over time. This includes the establishment of physical and virtual safe spaces for post-event processing and dialogue, as well as additional components of an institutional infrastructure of counseling and support.

The best “support” that Williams could provide is to tell people that this was a hoax, that minority students have nothing to fear from white racists wondering the hallways of Prospect.

If the Record were a better paper, it would revisit this topic next fall, call up the members of this task force and ask them some hard questions.

The “Culture of Silence”

Perhaps the most frustrating – and enabling – campus condition is what students and others have termed the “culture of silence.” In fact, the name of the student organization that developed in response to the Prospect hate crime is Students Against Silence. While we recognized the highly complex nature of this phenomenon, our conversations focused on a couple of related questions:

What prevents students, faculty, and staff from taking advantage of the reporting websites and formal support structures that exist? If people want to talk about their experiences and concerns, are there unknown barriers to using existing channels more frequently and consistently?
What is it about our campus culture that allows students to believe they can behave like this? Once they leave here for graduate school or the workplace, their behavior changes, by and large, because they know this isn’t acceptable anywhere else. Why does it feel acceptable to them here?

The students on the Task Force explained that this is such a small, interconnected place that if you do something that leads to a falling-out with your team or your close circle of friends, you have few places left to turn. The prevailing social pressure – particularly on women – is not to make waves, not to “make life harder than it needs to be.” There was a strong perception that more people would report acts of discrimination, harassment, and assault if the social backlash to reporting weren’t so strong.

This perception that Williams’ size and distinctive social interconnectedness – typically considered to be positive features – work against us in this way resonates with our perceptions of why staff and faculty also hesitate to report the incidents of discrimination that they deal with.

Or, just maybe, there are fewer instances of actual discrimination at Williams than there are almost anyplace else in the world.

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Senior Week 2017 – Save The Date!

Seniors,

Can you believe how quickly the time has gone? Just one final push– you’ve got this! In anticipation of our graduation weekend, we just wanted to inform you of the dates for Senior Week hosted on campus. For planning purposes, the week will start on Tuesday, May 30th, the first event being at 10 p.m. and runs through Friday, June 2nd, with the final event being Last Chance Dance.

We have plenty of fun events planned for those days before our graduation weekend, including brunches, barbecues, and the lovely dinner at Mount Hope. We will be in contact with you about specifics on all that will take place, but until then, we’ll see you on campus for the festivities starting May 30th.

Thanks and enjoy the rest of the semester!

Best,
Maria, Michelle, Rika, Andrew, Scott
’17 Class Officers

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Endowment Comments

Two points about the ongoing debate over whether Williams should sell the oil and gas assets in its endowment.

First, oil and gas assets do not necessarily help boost the performance of the Williams endowment.

Williams endowment earned -1.5 percent for the year ended June 30, 2016, even though its managers held oil and gas assets. Yale’s endowment, by contrast, where managers are selling out of the oil and gas sector, earned +3.4 percent over the same period.

Second, there seems to be some confusion what it means when critics say Williams’ trustees have financial interests in oil and gas assets.

Critics pressing Williams to sell oil and gas assets do not make a priority of trustees holding oil and gas stocks through retirement or personal mutual funds.

They are more concerned about trustees who, through their jobs, profit from dealing in oil and gas.

A trustee who works in an academic institution whose retirement fund owns Exxon stock is one thing.

A trustee who works for a private equity fund restructuring an oil and gas company to maximize the return upon its sale to a third party is another thing.

A hedge fund trading in and out oil and gas assets to boost quarterly earnings is a third thing.

A review of the current roster of 21 trustees suggests that, through their jobs, as many as 10 have active financial interests in the oil and gas sector.

Thus, any vote by the trustees on whether or not the Williams endowment should sell out of the oil and gas sector begins with a financially interested bias on the part of up to half of them.

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Grounded: An Essay on the Passing of a Roommate

Frank and I had been in touch before I moved overseas last year. Despite the progression of his ALS, he seemed to have come to terms with his imminent passing.

“My breathing (biggest issue), walking, talking, and muscle mass have all declined,” he wrote me in February 2016. “ALS has no treatment or cure so all you can do is manage your symptoms. I just live day to day and try to remain positive.”

But I couldn’t square a diminishing “Franco” with the hardy athlete I had known at Williams. I envisioned Frank – once our red-headed, speedy cornerback – in a wheelchair, on oxygen and his muscles withered away.

Frank was my roommate and best friend in college. He was a small-town boy from nearby Hoosick Falls, NY, the first person in his family to attend college. I was the diplomat’s son, a boarding school product, who had grown up in Asia. Despite the different backgrounds, we clicked. The glue was Williams football in the fall of 1982. We were freshmen defensive backs, low men on the totem pole, who held bags, played dummy defense and sat the bench during games. Having had success in football in high school, we were humbled, and we ended up largely laughing at ourselves and our predicament.

The memories of practices on Cole Field – it’s the practices I remember, not the games — are indelible. Crisp fall days turning cold and dark as September gave way to November. Two-a-days, tackling drills, running sprints – we were building fortitude and friendship, both drenched in sweat. Frank is in the middle of the memories, his helmet wearing high on his head, his arms pumping when he ran, and his cackling laugh. Dick Farley, who would later be inducted into the Football Hall of Fame, was then the defensive backs coach. He was ornery, tough and spare with compliments. If you got a “not bad” from him, you knew you had done well. We practiced hard, overcame injuries and played all four years. A copy of the football program from 1984 has a full-page photo of Frank on the front, leaping high, arms outstretched, in an attempt to block a punt. He is completely airborne.

1984_Football_Program002

Off the field, Frank was organized and responsible, a product, I think, of having become the man of the house at an early age when his father left the family. Frank helped raise his three siblings. His room in our suite was always neat and his homework done. He had a way of retreating home to Hoosick Falls on the weekends, finishing his papers there and coming back refreshed while the rest of us – at least me – felt woefully behind the academic curve. Largely a tee-totaler, Frank was amused by our late-night antics. I recollect his very presence lent some balance to a lifestyle that could be raucous.

Life opened up for Frank after college. He taught and coached in Florida before getting the international bug and teaching in Brussels at an international school. The world became the small-town boy’s oyster. He would take school football and basketball teams around Europe and the Middle East for competitions, and he traveled to northern Italy where his father’s family came from. Those were, in retrospect, the happiest times of his life, next to the birth of his three children.

The older we get, the more we wonder how we will pass on. Frank died on February 16, 2017 at the age of 52, felled by a crippling disease for which there is no cure and no clear cause. Was it abetted by stress brought on by life’s ups and downs? Or toxicity in the soil from a plastics factory in Hoosick Falls? Or, as a medical doctor classmate wonders, blows to the head (and likely concussions) Frank suffered in football?

Thousands of miles away in Central Asia, I can only wonder. I reread Frank’s sentiments in that last email. They included his best friends at Williams.

“If I go tomorrow I have no wants and am content with the life I have had and the relationships I have made,” Frank wrote. “Please give those same regards to Clouder, Dunc, Howie, and Kenard if you talk with them. I think of them often also.”

Franco’s passing makes more tenuous the grasp of the past; there’s a slipping away. The airborne become grounded.

— written by Jeff Lilley ’86 about Frank Morandi ’86. Thanks to Williams College Archives and Special Collections for the image.

Condolences to all.

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Responsible Hosting During Williams Previews

Dear Students,

Williams Previews, our program for admitted students, will be held on April 24 and 25. If you are hosting one or more pre-frosh during this event, please know how grateful we are for your help.

For many of you, the quality of your overnight visit was a determining factor in your own decision to attend Williams, and it is now your turn to shape a similar experience for prospective students. To that end, you should be aware of our expectations for the hosting program, particularly with regard to the College’s alcohol and drug policy.

Williams urges students to act responsibly and in accordance with the law and the Williams Code of Conduct. Providing alcohol of any kind or quantity to underage prospective students is illegal and is not permitted by the College. We stress this policy because there are serious risks involved in not abiding by these rules. Please also be aware that any pre-frosh who chooses to engage in illegal activities puts their admission to the College in jeopardy. We are not asking you to “police” pre-frosh or make their decisions about alcohol for them. We do ask that you please use good judgment and not put pre-frosh in a position of feeling pressure to drink to “fit in”—any form of peer pressure to abuse alcohol conveys a negative image of Williams to the vast majority of prospective students.

We also ask that you keep your eyes out as active bystanders in regard to questions of consent and respect. If you observe a situation that seems to be heading in a dangerous direction, please either intervene or call for help.

Your attention to these concerns during Previews, as well as throughout the academic year, is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions about the policies referred to in this letter, please contact Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College. For assistance after hours, please call Campus Safety and Security at 413.597.4444.

Sincerely,

Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College
Dick Nesbitt, Director of Admissions

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Elia Kazan’s (’30) Williams

“Elia Kazan, the immigrant child of a Greek rug merchant who became one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history […]”

So opens the Times’ 2003 obituary of one of Williams’ most distinguished alumni, whose work profoundly influenced generations of Hollywood stars and auteurs.

Kazan attended Williams in the late 20’s, graduating in the class of 1930; Kazan’s experience there, described vividly in his autobiography, is fascinating as a snapshot of a Williams, and an America, of a bygone age.

I have here excerpted and re-assembled, from his autobiography, Williams in Kazan’s words:

Williams College. I’d never heard of the place […] [but] it was far from home and my father’s authority.

I applied for admission […] Williams would be my liberated life, I’d be on the right track at last.

Then the news came. I’d been accepted at Williams, class of 1930.

Williamstown was pleasant enough that summer in 1980, but in the fall of 1926, when I saw it for the first time, it was enchanting. There was a soft, cool breeze that day, and the sky was a deep saturation of blue near purple over low, ever moving, cotton-white clouds. Looking between the buildings – some classic Georgian, others great lumps of gray or reddish stone – the eye found, at the end of each vista, the softly scalloped Berkshire Hills, called “the mountains.” They embraced a broad valley, making it home. The buildings on campus were well spaced, between them lay generous lawns, perfectly green after an untrampled summer’s growth. Upperclassmen were everywhere, reawakening old acquaintance; trim and healthy, they seemed happy to be back. All the young men were dressed in casually pressed trousers, flannel or corduroy, and soft woolen sweaters – the frost comes early in northwestern Massachusetts. Some boys, especially fit and broad shouldered, wore heavy-knit black sweaters with large purple W’s across their chests. These were the lettermen, the athletes of the teams. Everywhere there was an atmosphere of privilege and affluence; in a bay apart from the storm, the elite was gathering.

It was not all Billsville bliss, however. Kazan was profoundly influenced by his adverse experience with — rather, outside of —  the fraternity scene. He describes the darker side of Williams of the late ‘20s, in the rigidly stratified social life that dominated it and virtually all other private and wealthy institutions of the time:

Now I must confess my foolishness. I had actually expected to be invited to join a fraternity.

That autumn there was no message for me from the fraternity brothers except the message of silence. How crushing that silence was in ’26. It hurt for four dark, cold years.

Jews and blacks weren’t taken into fraternities at Williams in 1926. From that week in 1926 on, I knew what I was. An outsider. In time I began to see I wasn’t the only one. There were three blacks in the class of ’30. At graduation, one was our valedictorian, another our salutatorian; the third was number four in the class.

I decided to relieve father of my dependency. I got a job waiting tables at the Zeta Psi fraternity. I learned how to clear tables six plates at a time. I walked through snow in sneakers to serve the Zetes their breakfast. Sometimes the wind-driven sleet stung like frozen tears.

My salvation was the college library. I lived in the stacks, like a small animal finding refuge in a mass of brambles. I’d take out books by the bagful, read late at night and between classes in the day. Books were the solution to my life […] by the light of their stories, I understood the drama of my own life.

I went to North Adams, five miles by trolley, and entered the movie theater there […] I felt comfortable in the mill town – no rich boys there, just mutts like me.

It took me many years to quiet this rage against my classmates […] But I notice still that every time I receive a request for money from the Williams Alumni Fund, I have a reflex to chuck it in the wastebasket, and usually do.

 

Kazan further reflects on Williams’ lasting effects:

Four years at Williams made a certain kind of man of me, not an agreeable man but a self-reliant, tough-skinned, resolute, and determined man.

In my senior year at Williams, I’d had one teacher who did influence me. Mr. Dutton taught English lit, and I wrote a paper for him on “The Waste Land.” […] In class, it was his passion for what he was teaching that impressed me. In some way I don’t quite understand, Dutton made me believe that perhaps, somewhere in the broad range of a life in the arts, there might be a niche for me and that I might well mark time until that niche appeared.

 

And what a niche it was.

 

Epilogue

From a 2012 Jack Sawyer interview in the Williams Alumni Review:

After [fraternities] were abolished, we found that alumni who had been estranged from the college began to reconnect. This was particularly true of Jewish alumni. Someone who was not Jewish but who certainly illustrated this was Elia Kazan ’30, the great film director, who began to pay attention to Williams. And it made a financial difference too. People who hadn’t given to the college began to give again.

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Defining Our Values

Walking around campus, you’ll see those now-signature posters: “I Am Williams,” they proclaim. But what exactly is Williams? What should Williams be? What do we value as the Williams community?

Next Thursday and Friday in Paresky and Goodrich, we will offer the community a number of ways to share, record, or simply talk about what they value and what they think Williams values. We hope to gather thoughts from you over these two days.

Building on this effort, Ephs from every corner of campus will come together over the next year and beyond in a collaborative effort to answer those questions. We will come together to define what the Williams community is––and the values that underlie it.

With open dialogue and a variety of perspectives, we will discuss what it means to make the best of Williams. Ultimately, we plan to establish a set of concrete values that describes what we all want our Williams to be. These are not simply buzzwords: They are substantive points in a mission statement that outline and describe our common standards and ideals.

These values, the Purple Values for our Purple Valley, will be a concise and accessible list of principles to help guide our community. This effort is about the process just as much as the final product, as this will provide an opportunity for introspection.

So, please help us make this possible. We need your input to better understand our community values. We look forward to seeing you next week!

Tobias Muellers ’18 – Gargoyle Society

Michael Rubel ’19 – College Council

Chetan Patel ’18 – College Council

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Class of 2021 Admissions Data IV

Let’s discus admissions data for the class of 2021. Key table:

admi2

Today is Day 4. For me, the most interesting unknown is: Does Williams discriminate against Asian-American applicants and, if so, by how much? That Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford discriminate is beyond dispute. Indeed, the best historical parallel is with the rampant bias against Jews hundred years ago. (See The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton by Jerome Karabel for a magisterial history.) But Jews at Williams: Inclusion, Exclusion, and Class at a New England Liberal Arts College argues — fairly conclusively, I think — that Williams did not discriminate against Jews, either at all, much less to the same extent. The basic reason was not primarily that Williams was more well-disposed towards Jews than Harvard/Yale/Princeton. Instead, Jews were less likely to apply to Williams and/or attend Williams if accepted.

Might the same dynamic apply in the case of Asian-Americans? The lower yield for Asian-Americans might provide some indirect evidence for such a claim. At the very least, I would predict that Williams has been doing less discrimination for fewer years than HYP. At the same time, the table we discussed last week is worrying:

ccf_20170201_reeves_2

If about the same raw number of Asian-Americans and whites have Williams-caliber SAT scores, we would expect about the same number of whites/Asians in each Williams class. If the ratio is actually 4:1, and if Williams does not discriminate, than Asian-Americans must be much less likely to apply and/or less likely to enroll if accepted. Thoughts?

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Class of 2021 Admissions Data III

Let’s discus admissions data for the class of 2021. Key table:

admi2

Today is Day 3.

Will the College really yield less than 10% of the 187 black students it accepted during regular admissions? That would be a shockingly low number. Perhaps a close read of Peter Nurnberg’s ’09 thesis on matriculation decisions would tell us if this number is typical. The 43 number for the class of 2020 is not unusual, but there is a fair amount of volatility. The last few years have been 51, 35, 64 and 59.

I believe that there is a significant gender skew on African-American admissions, with women outnumbering men. Does anyone have the exact numbers? In the class of 2010, it was 13 men and 31 women.

Any suggestions for how the College should do better with African-Americans? It seems like more ought to be done with some of the African-American faculty? If I got a private lunch with, say, Neil Roberts, I would be more likely to choose Williams. Also:

One of the great problems that Williams faces in admissions is attracting enough/any African-American applicants will Williams-caliber credentials. Partly, this is because Williams, because of its location and size, is less attractive (on average) to African-American applicants than it is to other applicants. (The same is probably true for international students). But, much more important is the intense competition for elite African-American students from schools like Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford. Almost any African-American applicant with the high school grades and standardized test scores which would place her in the normal range for academic admission (AR 1 and 2) will be accepted at one or more of HYPS. (This is not true of, say, Chinese-American applicants.) Since 90% of applicants (and probably a higher percentage of African-American applicants) admitted to the College and one of these 4 choose HYPS over Williams, this means that Williams has little choice but to accept many African-American applicants who we would not accept were they Chinese-American.

The only practical solution to convince such students to choose Williams is to make it worth their while. And the Tyng (money for graduate school and extra money while at Williams) is the best method available. Therefore, the College should award almost all Tyng Scholarships to African-American applicants, thereby luring 4-8 African-American applicants away from HYPS and to Williams each year. (With luck, HYPS won’t feel compelled to match our offers.) For legal reasons, Williams might need to make an occasional offer to someone who was not African-American, but I doubt that the Department of Justice would be making trouble against these sorts of efforts anytime soon.

As true now as it was in 2009.

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Food Insecurity at Williams I

Today, a Record article was released on the administrative response to food insecurity on campus, where students purposefully choose plans with fewer meals in order to save money. The coverage is excellent! Part 1 of a 3 day discussion.

For purposes of comparing the upcoming plans with this year’s plan: Williams offers four options for meal plans that students living on campus must enroll in: 21 meals a week ($6,760 per year or assuming 24 weeks in a year, $13.41/meal), 14 a week ($6,341 or $18.79/meal), 10 a week ($5,164 or $21.51/meal) or, for seniors, 5 a week ($2,728 or $22.73/meal). Note that a sandwich, a bag of chips, and a drink from, say, Spring Street Market, is approx. $12 – lower than any one meal offered by Williams. Wow!

Key quote from Steve Klass, VP of Campus Life on “the critical goal of ensuring that no student goes hungry”:

It’s important to appreciate the centrality of this principle to our decision-making, because we recognized immediately that this meant constraining some set of choices available to students on dining plans.

Emphasis mine. Note that, according to the Record, Sophia Schmidt ’17 first brought up this issue in the fall of 2015. I don’t know what Steve Klass means by “recognized immediately”, but I suppose his definition of “immediately” is at least a year after the fact. Assume that Steve Klass is being honest and really recognized this problem “immediately.” Then why did it take the administration so long to do anything about it? (Why the competent students, who did the research for the admin to “recognize immediately” this problem, were not included in the decision-making process is the subject of another day’s discussion.)

This is concerning, because I don’t believe that Sophia Schmidt ’17 needed that survey to prove that food insecurity is a problem. Much like how swipes in and out of buildings are monitored by campus security, the meal swipes of students are monitored and recorded as well. How would Dining Services know if you used up all your meals at the end of the week, right? Implication: the College has always had the data it would have needed to “recognize immediately” that food insecurity is a problem on campus. 

So why didn’t the administration simply look at the data they already have? They could have saved Schmidt and other students the two years they spent working on this issue if they simply looked at the data they already have. Why didn’t they, if “ensuring that no student goes hungry” is a “critical goal” of the administration? Something does not smell right (and I’m not talking about Taco Tuesdays in Paresky).

But maybe I am wrong and the College does not keep data on food swipes/whether or not its students eat. Unsolicited suggestion: it should! How else will they know if their students are eating? Isn’t “ensuring that no student goes hungry” a “critical goal” of the administration? That nothing has been done until now implies either (1) that Klass/the administration on “recognizing immediately” food insecurity is as honest as Kellyanne Conway on the Bowling Green Massacre, or (2) that whoever is in charge of “the critical goal of ensuring that no student goes hungry” is incompetent to not have recognized this sooner.

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Spring Etiquette Dinner

Dear Ephs,

​Happy Wednesday! Thanks to the generosity of the Szykowny fund, OSL will be hosting ​the​ ​second Etiquette Dinner​ of the year​ to help you ​prime those dining etiquette skills!

The event will be held at the Faculty House on Tuesday, ​April ​25t​h​ from 6- 8:30 PM and will feature a four-course dinner proctored by an etiquette coach. The aim of the dinner is to provide students with a setting to practice proper etiquette skills and dinner conversations appropriate for a business or formal setting.

Please note that ​priority will be given to those wait listed for the Fall 2016 Etiquette dinner, those who have not previously attended an etiquette dinner, and those who have attended any of the Life After Williams events this month. The list of registrants will be identified the week before, with the wait list also informed. ​Those individuals who are on the wait list and are not given invitation to the Fall Etiquette dinner will get priority registration in the Spring.​

To register to attend, please fill out the following form​.​

Best,

Andrew Lyness, ’17
OSL Event Programming Intern

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Hewat House and Thompson Health Center

To the Williams community,

I am pleased to write to you today with news of a significant investment in student wellness by the college.

At their meeting last week, the trustees approved a project to renovate Hewat House, located at 100 Hoxsey St., into a home for Psychological Counseling Services (PCS).

We’ve been expanding our mental health and medical staffs and services over the past few years – including our current search for two new PCS therapists. At this time, we’ve run out of space to house everyone in Thompson Health Center, and we have therapists and health educators working from remote offices across campus. This situation doesn’t allow us to make the most of our professional team’s integrative approach to student wellness.

Hewat House and Thompson Health Center – located directly across the street from each other – will become a campus within a campus for our mental health and medical services, centralizing a team of professionals completely focused on all aspects of holistic student wellness. Once renovated, Hewat House will have enough room to co-locate our expanded PCS staff, all members of our training program, and our evolving group session program in a welcoming residential environment.

At the same time, this project will allow medical services to regain space in Thompson for more exam rooms, consult rooms, a respite room, and a meeting room. Like PCS, this will enable medical services to relocate their entire team back into the Health Center to provide fully integrated services.

I want to thank Angie Marano, director of administrative services for the Health Center; Deborah Flynn, director of medical services; Wendy Adam, director of psychological counseling services; Rita Coppola-Wallace, Executive Director, Design and Construction; and Scott Henderson, Project Manager, for their creativity and leadership on this project.

Steve Klass
Vice President for Campus Life

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When was the last time…?

https://www.thefire.org/chris-rock-explains-doesnt-want-perform-college-campuses/

 

In the interview, Rich and Rock discussed how Rock, like many comedians, has been criticized by audience members who were offended by his jokes. When asked what he thought about the recent controversy over Bill Maher’s invitation to speak at the University of California, Berkeley’s December commencement ceremony, Rock said, “Well, I love Bill, but I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative.” He elaborated:

Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. Kids raised on a culture of “We’re not going to keep score in the game because we don’t want anybody to lose.” Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can’t say “the black kid over there.” No, it’s “the guy with the red shoes.” You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.

Rock said he started to notice the trend about eight years ago, and that he wasn’t the only one—as he recalled, “I remember talking to George Carlin before he died and him saying the exact same thing.”

 

 

Once upon a time Chapin Hall was filled with music and laughter. Not long ago (20 years?), you could see popular bands and comedians there.

 

When was the last time the college had a (I guess what now would be considered “controversial”) band or artist on campus?

 

Once upon a time, Williams was free.

 

 

 

 

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Class of 2021 Admissions Data II

Let’s discus admissions data for the class of 2021. Key table:

admi2

Today is Day 2.

No one should be surprised that Williams yields whites better than it yields any other group. Is that a problem or an opportunity? I bet that white students from rich families who attended elite high schools are, on average, the happiest students at Williams. If so, should we admit more of them?

A similar analysis applies to legacies, the vast majority of whom are white. (Note that the legacy numbers are much iffier because the College does not (regularly) publish the exact numbers. President Falk usually provides an estimate of 1/7th but that certainly varies year-to-year. Indeed, the exact definition of “legacy” matters. We always include the children of alumni, never (?) the nieces/nephews and sometimes (?) the grandchildren. In any event, the 79 here is my estimate, equal to 1/7th of the 553 students in the class.)

I am amazed that we yield so well among legacies. Will 79 or so of the 86 legacies we admitted choose to enroll. That seems much too high to me. I know, just in my personal circle of friends, two legacy children admitted to Williams who went Ivy instead. Then again, perhaps the vast majority of those 86 were admitted early decision? Informed commentary welcome.

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Class Positions for Senior Week and Commencement Weekend

Hey Seniors!

Amazingly, we’re almost to 50 days until graduation! (54 to be exact right now…)
Thank you to everyone who nominated someone and/or voted in the election for Class Positions over the last 4-5 days! About 70% of seniors voted, which is fantastic, and every position was an incredibly tight race! You can find the winners of the election listed below!
We everyone is having the chance to enjoy the spectacular weather yesterday and today!
-Your Class Officers
 
Class Speaker – Jeffrey Rubel
Class Marshals – Elizabeth Curtis & Wilfred Guerron
Class Historian – Nico MacDougall
Class Gardener – Brett Bidstrup
Class Poet – Ariel Chu
Class Musician – Scott Daniel
Class Artist – Amalie Dougish
Class Bell-Ringer – Nathaniel Vilas
Class Toasters – Mariama Ndiaye, Tyler Duff, Troy Sipprelle, Olivia Larsen, Laura Lee
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Glorified Yoga Space

A resident of Greylock writes:

Didn’t the building Greylock use to be a dining hall? I heard it closed because of the financial issues during the financial crisis. I know that Williams is much richer now, at least richer than it was back when Greylock had to be closed. Why hasn’t it been opened as a dining hall? Whenever I pass by or see something going on in Greylock, all I see are townies doing yoga or dancing in the afternoons/late evenings. Is Williams just maintaining it as a glorified yoga space instead of turning it into a venue we can regularly use? It just feels like Greylock can be used so much better and it’s just … there.

1) True! Greylock used to be a dining hall, but as extensive Record coverage will show, closing Greylock was one of the many policies implemented to reduce spending during and following the financial crisis. Same with Dodd. However, other coverage also details improvements made to other dining halls in light of these changes over time. Should we spend several posts discussing these, and dining services at Williams in general? General dining related issues among students include the declining quality of the food served (despite increasing costs to students), the daily window in which food is not served on campus (after lunch ’til right before dinner), and the cramped space in Paresky and Driscoll during mealtimes. The Record reported just a month ago that Greylock will be used as a dance studio next year due to renovations in Goodrich, although plans “have not been formalized yet.” Maybe now would be an excellent time to make some suggestions?

2) I have also noticed that Greylock is used more frequently as “yoga space” than as a gathering place for students. Besides the odd class that’s held in some of the classrooms during the day, Greylock classrooms are also used for a capella practice. I personally have seen the upstairs of Greylock – where the dining hall used to be – less than five times: thrice because this is where students sign up for housing every spring, and once for a campus party. The basement is used by students for storage sometimes. That’s about it! Am I missing anything?

3) From conversations I have with my fellow classmates, that Greylock is not a dining hall is taken as a given since the entire (current) student body arrived at Williams after the crisis. However, more of my classmates are now realizing this and asking – given the congestion in Paresky and Driscoll during mealtimes – why Greylock is barely used/not back to a dining hall. Should we spend posts discussing why Greylock is still not a dining hall even though Williams is much more financially capable than it was when it had to be closed? On that note, would it be worth going through the significant changes made during the financial crisis – the rollback of no loans policy, non-need blind for international students, among others – and why these changes haven’t been reversed?

What do readers think?

 

As always, tips to concerned.ephs@gmail.com will help make Williams a better college for you and future Ephs!

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Class of 2021 Admissions Data I

Let’s discus admissions data for the class of 2021. Key table:

admi2

Today is Day 1.

The data is derived from the early decision news release, the regular decision news release and the 2016-2017 Common Data Set (pdf).

From the latest news release:

Of the [1,253] admitted students, 95 are international students representing 47 different nationalities. Among American students, 50 percent identify as students of color: 220 students are Asian American, 214 are black, 175 Latino, and 17 Native American. Thirty-seven percent identify as white and five percent opted not to identify. A total of 274, or 22 percent, are first-generation college students, and seven percent (86) have a parent who attended Williams.

Note that all these numbers include the 257 students admitted via Early Decision in December. So, Williams only accepted 996 students via regular decision: 1,253 – 257 = 996.

Caveats: This is the first time I have attempted an analysis like this. Mistakes are likely! In particular, I did lots of algebra in my head and made some simplifying assumptions. The “Projected Yield” is the percentage of admitted students in each category which would need to enroll in order to match the totals for the class of 2020.

That 700 admitted students turn us down — overwhelmingly for schools like Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford and significantly for the next tier (Dartmouth/Brown/Amherst/Swarthmore) — is a sign of the gap we face in becoming the best college in the world. We need more of these high quality students to choose Williams.

Among students that both we and HYPS accept, we yield only 10% or so. Of course, many of those students are making the right choice when they turn down Williams. Anyone who hates the snow would be happier at Stanford. But many (10%? 25%, 50%?) of the students who turn us down are making a mistake. They would have been happier at Williams. We need to do a better job of selling Williams to them. Suggestions?

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Legacy Admissions Play No Meaningful Role at Elite Colleges

legacy

tl;dr: Legacy status does not provide a meaningful advantage in admissions to elite colleges like Williams. People like Sam Altman and Arjun Narayan ’10 are wrong, either because of genuine ignorance or because of a (unconscious?) refusal to confront the major beneficiaries of admissions preferences: athletes and (non-Asian) racial minorities. (If Sam has complained about extra considerations that Stanford gives football players and African-Americans, I must have missed it.)

Hasn’t Arjun Narayan ’10 ever read EphBlog? We have been documenting these facts for over a decade. From 2008:

Morty [then Williams President Morton Schapiro] noted that a decade or so ago [or perhaps when he arrived?], the average legacy was a 3.3 on the 1-9 scale of academic ranks while the average non-legacy was 2.3. Morty did not seem to be a huge fan of this gap, or of giving legacies such a preference. He then noted that the latest statistics show that legacy and non-legacy are now equivalent (both at 2.3). Morty confirmed, consistent with all the analysis I have done, that being a legacy is not a meaningful advantage in getting into Williams.

Director of Communications Mary Dettloff kindly provided this update for 2017:

I had a conversation with Dick Nesbitt about this, and he says it has long been our policy not to release academic standing information for specific subgroups of students. That said, he also shared that for at least the last 20 years, the legacy students have had equal, if not marginally stronger, SAT scores and Academic Rating when compared to the rest of their classmates.

Case closed.[1]

More importantly, should we be surprised that students whose parents went to elite colleges are much more likely to win admissions to elite colleges themselves? No! Nature and nurture are passed down through the generations now, just as they always have been.

Consider professional baseball. From the New York Times:

baseball

A random US man has a 1-in-15,000 chance of playing in the MLB. The son of an MLB player has a 1-in-75 chance. In other words, your odds of playing in the MLB are 200 times higher of your father played. Given that fact, should we be surprised if your odds of coming to Williams are 200 times higher if your parent is an Eph?

The mechanisms in both cases are the same. Genetics play a major role. The specific genes — probably thousands of them — that help you to hit a curve ball are passed from father to son. The genes that aid in doing well in school and on standardized tests are passed on just as easily. Nurture matters. Baseball players probably provide their sons with a better than average environment in which to learn baseball. Ephs who become parents do the same. You should no more be surprised at the high numbers of legacies at elite colleges than at the high numbers of baseball children in the Majors.[2]

However, it is interesting to consider how legacy admissions have evolved in the last 30 years. In the 1980’s, it was tough for Williams to find 75 high quality legacies in drawing from Williams classes of the 1950s. First, the college was much smaller than, with fewer than half the current student population. Second, Williams was much less academically rigorous. (That is, there were plenty of not-very-smart students.)

In the 80’s, there were 500 academically accomplished students per class. Judging/guessing from what we see at reunions, the total number of children of a typical class is at least 500 and probably closer to 1,000. But only 75 or so find spots at Williams! Do the other 425 go to Stanford? Nope. And the same harsh mathematics apply to the children of other elite schools. Since smart people have smart children, the pool of legacies that the College has to choose from is very impressive. Williams does not need to lower standards at all to find 75 good ones.[3]

—————-
[1] To be fair to Altman/Narayan, there are some subtle counter-arguments. First, if it is the case that legacies, as a group, differ from non-legacies on other dimensions besides academic rating, then it might not be fair to compare the two groups directly. Instead, we should compare legacies with non-legacies who “look” like legacies. For example, if legacies are more likely to be white and non-poor, then comparing them with non-legacies is makes no sense. Instead, we should compare them with similarly white/non-poor non-legacies.

Second, it could be the case that legacies come in two flavors: over-qualified and under-qualified. The over-qualified ones are exceptional candidates who turn down Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford for Williams. The under-qualified ones receive substantial preferences in admissions. Combining the two groups creates an overall legacy group which is similar to non-legacies but which “masks” the substantial advantages given to under-qualified legacies.

[2] Of course, legacy students are much more likely to attend their parents’ alma mater than legacy baseball players are to play for the same team as their fathers. Exercise for the reader: Explore the industrial organization of elite colleges and major league baseball to explain this difference. Perhaps a better view is to consider all the legacy students as a whole, in the same way that the New York Times considers all the legacy baseball players. But this post is already long enough . . .

[3] sigh, an EphBlog regular, points out this study (pdf) on “The impact of legacy status on undergraduate admissions at elite colleges and universities.” The author argues that legacy status matters a great (or at least did matter in the fall of 2007). I have my doubts. Let’s dive into the details in the comments!

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Special Housing Considerations (SHoC) Requests for 2017-2018 Housing Now Being Accepted

Students,
 
SHoC requests are now being accepted for consideration in advance of the Housing Lottery for 2017-2018 housing. They are DUE by this coming Sunday, April 16.
 
Do NOT wait to submit a request until after the lottery numbers are run. If your situation warrants a SHoC review, submit it by April 16.
 
Requests submitted after Sunday, April 16 will NOT be reviewed in advance of the April 30 Room Draw. So, again, if you want your situation considered before the room draw, submit your SHoC request by April 16.
 
Scroll down for information about the process (it’s slightly different than during the academic year), and for the link to the form.
 
Questions? Feel free to be in touch. Thanks.
 
-Doug

 
Douglas J.B. Schiazza, Director
Office of Student Life, Williams College
413.597.4747
pronouns: he/him/his
 
General Info:

If you have a housing assignment situation that you believe cannot be addressed through participation in the General Housing Lottery & Room Draw, including interest in living in Quiet Housing in Thompson, you may submit a Special Housing Considerations Request through the online form found at this link. Applications are due by Sunday, April 16, 2017.

In order for the reviewers to determine the most appropriate response to your request, please be as thorough on the form as you can be. We realize this may require you to share personal information – please know that we are very sensitive to that, and that your information will be held confidentially and used only to inform the decision on your request.


A Note about Title IX Related Requests

If your request is related to a Title IX issue, you may opt to share your rationale for your request directly with the Title IX Coordinator (Toya Camacho), the Title IX Deputy Coordinator (Marlene Sandstrom), and/or the Director of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (Meg Bossong), and have them speak with other reviewers on your behalf, rather than include your rationale on the form below. The form will give you that option. For more information about Title IX at Williams, click here.


The Process

Click here for a flowchart of the process. (Please note – all students in this process are considered upperclass students.)

  • Student submits the online form below.
  • The Director of the Office of Student Life (Doug Schiazza) will receive the request form via email and will determine the appropriate reviewing team. The staff as noted below will typically be the reviewers. However, additional input may be requested from others by either the Director of OSL or by the reviewing group based upon the specific request.
  • Director of OSL forwards the request via email to the reviewers.
  • Decisions (& pre-assignments for those approved) will be conveyed via email by the Housing Assignments Coordinator (Gail Rondeau Hebert) by the end of the day on Monday, April 17.
  • Those approved and their pull-ins will have until Wednesday, April 19 to confirm acceptance of their pre-assignments.

Reviewing Teams

All Reviewing Teams include the Housing Assignments Coordinator (Gail Rondeau Hebert) and the Assistant Director for Residential Life & Housing (Patty Leahey-Hays).
Additional Reviewers based on Request Type:
Documented or Documentable Disability with Long-Term or Permanent Housing Implications
+ Director of  Student Health Administrative Services (Angie Marano)
+ Director of Accessible Education (G.L.M. Wallace)
+ Assistant Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion (Toya Camacho)
Medical or Psychological Condition with Short-Term or Temporary Housing Implications
+ Director of Student Health Administrative Services (Angie Marano)
Religious Considerations
+ Chaplain to the College (Rick Spalding)
Title IX Considerations
+ Assistant Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion / Title IX Coordinator (Toya Camacho)
+ Dean of the College / Title IX Deputy Coordinator (Marlene Sandstrom)
+ Director of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response (Meg Bossong)
For more information about Title IX at Williams, click here.
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Annual update on the College’s work in sexual assault, prevention and response

Dear Williams Community,

I am writing to provide this year’s update on the College’s work in sexual assault, prevention and response. As recommended by the student members of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Group (SAPA), we publish data each spring describing how our disciplinary and accountability processes have been used over the previous year. Please click here to learn more about our campus response to sexual assault, as well as our ongoing prevention work.

These response and prevention efforts represent the extensive collaboration and dedication of students, and staff and faculty from all parts of campus. Thank you for your continued commitment to addressing sexual violence. It is clear that we have much more work to do together, and I am grateful for your partnership.

Sincerely,

Marlene Sandstrom

Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
Williams College
Phone: (413) 597-4261
Fax: (413) 597-3507

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