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Meet David Dudley Field ’25 at Williams Today

image1The weather in Williamstown has been horrible so far in May, cold and rainy. This is the forecast for the next 9 days. Worst May in a generation? I blame global warming!

I will be at the alumni events at Williams today: 3:00 talk with Adam Falk, 4:00 talk with Dukes Love; cocktail party at Faculty Club; dinner at Lasell. I am easily identified by my good looks, winning personality, purple shirt and salmon pants. If you are an EphBlog reader, say Hi!

Any advice on questions to ask? I will probably go with quizzing President Falk about the Derbyshire cancellation and Provost Love about transparency. Perhaps:

President Falk: No event in the last five years has given Williams more of a black eye in the national press than your cancellation last year of a student-invited talk by John Derbyshire, a leading intellectual of the alternative right. Since then, Donald Trump has won the presidency and several leaders of the alternative right — people like Steve Bannon and Jason Miller — have ascended to leadership positions in his administration. I met yesterday with the student leaders of the new Republican Club on campus. They plan on bringing several speakers to campus — including alumni like Mike Needham ’04 and Oren Cass ’05 — Republicans who are often branded as “racists” by their political opponents. In fact, they might even invite me to speak. I agree with some, but not all, of what John Derbyshire has written. Will you also be banning me from speaking on campus?

Provost Love: Your presentation and slide show has been fascinating and informative. However, as a class agent, I receive occasional complaints about transparency at Williams, specifically a disconnect between rich/important insiders and poor/unimportant outsiders. For example, the insiders in this room — all leaders in the alumni fund — get the benefit of learning more about Williams. The outsiders — the 25,000 alumni not invited to this event — don’t. I realize that the College can’t invite everyone to Williamstown for weekends like this. But there is no reason why you could not put the slide show you just shared with us on the Provost web page. Will you? And, if not, why not?

Suggestions welcome!

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Comments Disabled To "Meet David Dudley Field ’25 at Williams Today"

#1 Comment By Williams Alum On May 6, 2017 @ 10:44 pm

Please post responses.

WA

#2 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On May 7, 2017 @ 7:55 am

1) No reader came up to me, despite my resplendent salmon trousers. Sad!

2) Falk answered with, “No.” That is, I may have erred in framing my question in such a way that he could get away with a one word answer. Of course, Williams is not going to ban an alum from speaking! After some prodding, Falk did go on to discuss the topic. Observations:

a) He really feels that Derbyshire is a horrible racist, although he did grant that he had written some interesting books on math. He mischaracterized Derbyshire’s views, as he has in the past, though I did not feel that this was the time/place to argue with him.

b) He emphasized how little time he had to make the decision, implying that if the UL had provided more warning, things might have worked out differently.

c) The tone of his comments, and some other conversations I had, suggested that Falk/Williams were not happy with the current state of affairs. They don’t want Williams to be known as the sort of place that bans speakers. So, I am hopeful that we might see progress.

3) Dukes answer was “Probably.” (Note that I did not ask this question in nearly as eloquent a fashion as it is presented above.) He is a big fan of transparency and have given versions of this presentation all over campus. There are no secrets here. However, he tries to be very careful before making a public promise. He wanted time to think it over.

4) Dukes was impressive! (I had never met him before.) He is almost certainly now the leading candidate to replace Falk.

5) Despite the fact that he is finishing up his 7th year, Falk showed no indications that he would be leaving anytime soon. (This was unlike Morty, who was getting positively wistful in his public appearances even prior to the announcement of his hiring by Northwestern.) The Capital Campaign has two years left (I think). I believe that Falk will be president of Williams at least through 2019.

#3 Comment By JCD On May 7, 2017 @ 3:33 pm

Regarding “c” above. Falk cannot talk himself out of something he behaved himself into. I’m grateful we have places like the College Fix, Campus Reform and Ephblog to help shine a light on what’s really going on. Also, is salmon in this year?