The Williams class of 2021 wrote this letter:


From the Washington Post:

“In such a divided world, we must cherish unity without uniformity,” the Dartmouth class of 2021 wrote to U-Va. first-years. “Show the world that you — UVA 2021, an economically, racially religiously diverse class — are stronger for it.”

From one class of 2021 to another, they urged U-Va.’ s new students not to let fear overshadow optimism.

Other first-years followed — members of the class of 2021 at Columbia University, Yale University, Williams College, Pomona College, and Vassar College — wrote letters of support to U-Va.’ s new students, too.

Polanco and Luiza Odhiambo, who met this summer at an orientation program for first-generation college students at Dartmouth, were both stunned by the violence in Charlottesville. They talked and agreed that it was essential to speak out. They asked members of the incoming class if they wanted to send a group message to U-Va. The answer was immediate.

1) Does anyone know which members of the Williams class of 2021 led the effort?

2) I think it is inappropriate to imply that this letter is from (the entire?) Williams class of 2021. You shouldn’t claim to speak for Group X unless the members of Group X have given you permission to do so. (It would be OK for a similar letter to be sent in October if it came from the Frosh Council, for example.) Presumably, there are members of the class who disagree with at least some aspects of the letter.

3) Any interest from our readers in a close reading/critique? Recall this fun exercise. My initial impression is that this effort is of much higher quality than the MinCo letter from two years ago. Further evidence that Williams students are getting smarter?! And, partially for that reason, this letter is much scarier. How will these students react when, for example, Zach Wood ’18 invites Richard Spencer to speak at Williams?

4) Recall this discussion from a decade ago:

Back in the day, it was taken for granted that the benefits of affirmative action went to students who a) Did not grow up rich and b) Did not attend prep schools and c) Had 4 US-born grandparents who had suffered under the legacy of discrimination. It appears that this would now only be true for a (small?) minority of the beneficiaries of affirmative action at Williams today.

Are readers surprised that the two leaders of the Dartmouth effort were born outside the US?

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