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The Houses of Williamstown: Theta Delta Chi … (Reissue)

(This is the 14th of a series of 16 posts). This was originally posted 18 Nov, 2009. Click COMMENTtto see the full article.
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I am Williams

Our friends at the Williams libraries need to read EphBlog more often! The author is Professor of Rhetoric Carroll Lewis Maxey and the date is sometime before 1926. Background here.

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DeVos Speech on Due Process

Former Williams professor KC Johnson writing (with Stuart Taylor) in the Wall Street Journal:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made clear her intention to correct one of the Obama administration’s worst excesses—its unjust rules governing sexual misconduct on college campuses. In a forceful speech Thursday at Virginia’s George Mason University, Mrs. DeVos said that “one rape is one too many”—but also that “one person denied due process is one too many.” Mrs. DeVos declared that “every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined.”

This might seem like an obvious affirmation of fundamental American principles. But such sentiments were almost wholly absent in discussions about campus sexual assault from the Obama White House and Education Department. Instead, as Mrs. DeVos noted, officials “weaponized” the department’s Office for Civil Rights, imposing policies that have “failed too many students.”

Indeed. Do any of our readers think that the John Doe of Safety Dance should be denied, forever, his Williams degree even though he has completed all his classes?

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Looking forward to our semester ahead

To the Williams community,

Welcome back! As you heard over the summer, this term will be my last at Williams, before I move to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in late December. I’ll miss a lot about this place, but what I think I’ll miss the most is our sense of community—the fact that everything we achieve we achieve together.

Even over this last summer, we’ve continued the work of building our community and strengthening support for it. To cite just a few examples, this fall we’re welcoming twenty-two new tenure-track faculty into one of the finest cohorts of teachers and scholars in the world. We’re also celebrating the most diverse entering class in Williams history, and one of the most highly-qualified. We’re approaching completion of the first phase of the Science Center project, a vital home for teaching, learning, and research. We’ve opened a bookstore that’s bringing new energy to Spring Street—as will the new Williams Inn when it opens in 2019. And we’re making tremendous progress on the Teach It Forward campaign, with more than $560M raised so far, and thousands of Ephs giving time as mentors, volunteers, and more.

As we start this semester, the energy on campus is palpable. But so is the uncertainty. We’re coming together after a summer that laid bare—in Charlottesville and elsewhere—troubling fault lines in our national community. Then, last month, Hurricane Harvey further tested America’s resilience. There were Williams people caught in both storms, or personally affected by them. My heart goes out to them, as I know yours does, too.

It turns out the Purple Valley isn’t really a bubble at all. What happens in the world affects us here. If the nature of that impact is not yet clear, then we should take this time to think ahead about who we’ll want to be, and how we’ll want to act, in those moments when our values will be tested.

One of the great strengths we can draw on in such work is our commitment to each other. That doesn’t mean we need to think alike. Williams is a place where we respect, explore, and engage with differences. When we disagree, we aim to do so intelligently, openly, and with integrity. But there’s one proposition that isn’t up for debate: that every member of this community is of equal worth and has an equal right to be here. This simple truth is the essential value on which our community rests. Williams accepts students of all backgrounds who are committed to higher learning, and strives to sends them into the world as thoughtful and effective and moral people. Especially in light of the events of the past year, we should recommit ourselves to this purpose as we gather anew this week. Let’s look at what has happened in the world and think about how we’re going to meet the challenges ahead.

Much will become possible if we work together. Williams is a place where every person can and should bring their fullest self to our community, and where we should aim to contribute as much to this place as we draw from it. That’s what I’m going to commit to making possible in my last semester in the Purple Valley. I hope you’ll join me.

 

Adam Falk

President
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Drop/Add is now open– It’s time to explore courses!

Greetings, Ephs!

Welcome to Fall 2017 Drop/Add period! This is an opportunity to think about all we can explore and learn in the upcoming semester as we prepare to begin classes.

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

Many of your professors and classmates––and even President Falk––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.

As you’re solidifying your courses for this fall, 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 astronomy, or theater, or sociology, or any other discipline.
  3. Taking a class that uses different teaching methods. Never taken a course with an experiential component? Always wanted to try a lab course? This fall 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! Professors often welcome students who are “shopping” courses to drop by their class on the first day. If you are interested in exploring a course by attending the first class meeting, contact the professor ahead of time. There is even a handy guide to help you write these sometimes-daunting emails.

This advice, we hope, is as true for first-years as it is for seniors. It is never too late to try something new.

These are Your 32.

They are Your Chance to Explore.

Drop/Add ends on September 15th. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you!

Yours in a love of course exploration,

Arielle Rawlings ’18
College Council Vice President for Academic Affairs
Stephanie Caridad ’18
Student Chair to the Committee for Educational Affairs
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More Perfect Unions

Interesting Labor Day thoughts from Oren Cass ’05:

Organized labor is neither inherently partisan nor inherently counterproductive economically. In theory, an arrangement by which workers “bargain collectively” and offer “mutual aid,” as the NLRA establishes is their right, can be a neutral or even positive part of a flourishing market economy. Other countries have implemented labor systems sharply different from—and more effective than—the American one. Even within the U.S., examples exist of organized labor’s potential to operate more constructively. A reformed legal framework for labor could help address several critical challenges, including the plight of less skilled workers struggling in the modern economy. It’s time for a new approach.

Effective reform would have four elements. First, the NLRA must no longer have exclusive jurisdiction over relationships between employers and organizations of workers. Its definition of a covered “labor organization” must narrow from all organizations of employees whose purpose is “dealing with employers” to only those established for the purpose of using NLRA-defined rights and processes. The 8(a)(2) prohibition on nonunion collaboration between employers and workers must go. None of these changes affects the ability of a union to operate with its current model—to the extent that workers choose it.

Second, the government should formally recognize the existence of the “labor co-operative”: a nonprofit controlled by its dues-paying members for the purpose of advancing their employment and creating value, rather than merely reallocating it. Co-ops will be held to governance and financial standards appropriate to their potential roles and will be eligible to partner with government in delivering benefits. They will also have the capacity to earn recognition as the collective representative of employees in a given workplace, but their existence will not depend on such recognition.

Read the whole thing, although I doubt that my leftist Eph friends will find Cass’s argument very compelling.

A more concise version of the argument is available in the Wall Street Journal.

It is a shame that Cass was such an obnoxious Never Trumper. The Administration would benefit from his energy and ideas.

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Today’s DACA announcement

All campus email from Adam Falk, Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 12:04 PM:

 

To the campus community,

This morning, Attorney General Sessions announced the cancelation of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Under DACA, since 2012, people who entered or were brought into this country illegally while minors have been eligible for a two-year, renewable deferral from deportation, as well as a work permit. The cancelation means the program will no longer accept new applications. It has also created uncertainty about the status of the more than 800,000 people who already hold DACA deferrals or permits.

Given this uncertainty, I want to affirm some important commitments Williams has already made to our community:

Staff who are aware that someone on campus needs help in light of the DACA cancelation will reach out to them privately with offers of support. If you need assistance, please contact the Dean’s office, our Chaplains, the Davis Center, or Counseling Services. This can be done confidentially.

Williams will not provide student or employee information to government agencies or their officers unless presented with a legitimate court order. Such agencies and people are also prohibited from conducting interviews, searches, or detentions on campus without a warrant or probable cause. You can always call Campus Safety at 413-597-4444 if you see anything you are unsure of.

Anyone admitted to or employed by Williams is a welcome member of this community, entitled to full rights, services, and protections. We will not tolerate bias or prejudice toward our people on the basis of DACA status or other identity attributes. If you experience bias or see it happening to someone else, use the reporting feature on the Williams: Speak Up! website to let the college know so that we can intervene.

We will continue to work with our colleagues in higher education and our legislative delegation to advocate for protection for undocumented students.

Many Williams faculty, staff, and students came here from other countries, or are the children of immigrants, as am I. We are all better off for their decision to make Williams their home. Faced with this latest news, we will begin where we always begin in such moments: by living out our values, and caring for those around us.

Sincerely,

Adam Falk
President

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Fall 2017 Course Advice

Fall classes start tomorrow. Our advice:

Your major does not matter! One of the biggest confusions among Williams students is the belief that future employers care about your major, that, for example, studying economics helps you get a job in business. It doesn’t! So, major in what you love.

But future employers are often interested in two things. First, can you get the computer to do what you want it to do? Second, can you help them analyze data to make them more successful? Major in Dance (if you love dance) but take 4 or so classes in computer science and statistics. With that as background, you will be competitive with any of your Williams classmates when it comes time to apply for internships/jobs.

Take a tutorial every semester. The more tutorials you take, the better your Williams education will be. There are few plausible excuses for not taking a tutorial every semester. Although many tutorials are now filled, others are not. Recommended:

ANTH 328: Emotions and the Self with Peter Just.

NSCI 317: Nature via Nurture: Topics in Developmental Psychobiology with Betty Zimmerberg.

PHIL 242: People Power with Alan White.

ECON 228: Water as a Scarce Resource with Ralph Bradburd.

Too many first years take a big intro class because they think they “should.” They shouldn’t! Even a “bad” tutorial at Williams is better than almost all intro courses. If you are a first year and you don’t take a tutorial like these, you are doing it wrong. Note that, even if you don’t have the official prerequisites for these classes, you should still enroll. The pre-reqs almost never matter and professors will always (?) let you into a tutorial with empty spots.

By the way, where can we find data about how popular tutorials are? For example, do most/all tutorials end up filled? How many students attempted to enroll in each one? More transparency!

Take STAT 201 (if you enter Williams with Math/Reading SAT scores below 1300, you might start with STAT 101). No topic is more helpful in starting your career, no matter your area of interest, than statistics. Students who take several statistics courses are much more likely to get the best summer internships and jobs after Williams. Also, the new Statistics major is amazing.

Take CSCI 136: Data Structures and Advanced Programming (if you enter Williams with Math/Reading SAT scores below 1300, you should start with CSCI 134). Being able to get the computer to do what you want it to do is much more important, to your future career, than most things, including, for example, the ability to write well.

The Computer Science Department seems to have re-arranged things a bit in terms of strongly recommending that students take 134 first. In the past 134 was a not very serious course which was a waste for students in the top half of ability, including anyone with any prior exposure to programming. Is that still the case? If so, skip it and go directly to 136.

Informed commentary welcome on the 134 versus 136 choice.

If a professor tries to tell you the class is full, just claim to be future major in that topic. Indeed, many students official enroll as statistics or computer science majors sophomore year to ensure that they get into the classes they want. You can always drop a major later. Mendacity in the pursuit of quality classes is no vice.

See our previous discussions. Here are some thoughts from 10 years ago about course selections for a career in finance.

What courses would you recommend? What was the best class you took at Williams?

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DACA

Sound advice!

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Top Presidential Contenders

Who are the top (early!) contenders for the next Williams president? Keep in mind that Williams, unusually for a top elite liberal arts college, has never had a female president.1 Most Williams faculty members I talk to think there is a less than 10% chance that a white male will be selected. Top contenders include:

denise-photo-headWilliams professor Denise Buell: She is the current Dean of the Faculty, the traditional stepping stone for internal candidates. Both Frank Oakley and John Chandler were Deans of the Faculty before becoming Williams presidents. An (anonymous!) faculty member told me she is “insanely ambitious.” Having been Dean of the Faculty for many years, she has had numerous opportunities to interact with members of the search committee. If she were not interested in the job, she probably would have been named the interim president, a role often bestowed on Deans of the Faculty, as with Bill Wagner last time. She is about 52, which might be a tad old nowadays, but still well within the range.

Raymond, Wendy_2013_1(0)Former Williams professor Wendy Raymond: She is currently the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of Faculty at Davidson. Her son is out of high school and her husband, David Backus, is a former lecturer in geosciences at Williams. I suspect that she moved to Davidson because she was eager to climb the academic ladder and Davidson provided the best opportunity. At 57 she is, like Buell, a bit older than the target age. She has both fans and detractors among the current faculty. She was a champion of diversity issues while at Williams so, if the committee is interested in this topic, she will certainly get an interview.

spencerFormer Williams trustee Clayton Spencer ’77: She has been the president of Bates since 2012. At age 62, she would be the oldest (new) Williams president in decades. She has done well at Bates and would not be viewed as a bad person if she were to leave after just 6 years. Might Williams try to grab her for a 4 to 5 year term, long enough to allow Provost Dukes Love to gain the experience he needs? Perhaps. Recall that Spencer was on the search committee that selected Falk. Another member of that committee was current search committee heard Mike Eisenson ’77. It is certainly interesting that Spencer and Eisenson are both members of the class of 1977.

cappyFormer Provost Cappy Hill ’76: Longtime readers will recall that I was certain Cappy was going to be selected last time round. Wrong that time but maybe this time? She was almost certainly a finalist when Morty was selected almost 20 years ago so she has been around the block on this several times. A faculty member mentioned to me that they had “heard some positive speculation about Spencer and Cappy Hill; both make some sense.” After a successful decade at Vassar, she now (like many former LAC presidents) runs a non-profit: Ithaka S+R. Do she and her husband like living in NYC? Are they interested in retiring in Williamstown?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWilliams history professor Eiko Maruko Siniawer ’97 is my leading dark horse candidate. At 42 (and a Williams graduate) she is the perfect age: experienced enough after more than a decade at Williams to know what she is doing, young enough to have the energy that the trustees are looking for. (I believe that Payne, Schapiro and Falk were all hired while in their 40s.) Although she has not served as either Dean of the Faculty or Provost (the most common stepping stones to college presidencies) she is former head of CUL and current chair of the Committee on Priorities and Resources, perhaps the single spot (outside of the provost’s office) at which a Williams faculty member can learn to think like a president. Being a person of color is also a big advantage in this search since the trustees would love to be able to get the Williams-has-only-had-white-presidents monkey off their backs.

Merrill_2016-219x300Williams history professor Karen Merrill: Any female former Dean of the College is a plausible candidate. At 53, she is not too old. Merrill is, I think, widely regarded as an excellent administrator and consensus builder. I have heard fewer complaints about her tenure as Dean of the College than about her predecessors or successors. Her handling of the controversy over the log mural (pdf) was masterful. (By the way, we really ought to rename the “Committee on Campus Space and Institutional History” to the “Merrill Committee.”) Indeed, of all the controversies at Williams over the last 15 years, I can’t think of one that was better handled. (And since Falk screwed up so many things, I think Merrill deserves most of the credit. Did any of the social justice warrior Ephs even complain about the outcome?) But is she interested in the Williams presidency? Informed gossip welcome!

Portugal2002_3-274x300Chemistry Professor Lee Park is the interim Dean of the Faculty. (Buell is on sabbatical. Isn’t it weird that someone would take a sabbatical year during their 3 year appointment period?) Park is 53 and, obviously, non-white. She has been the associate Dean of the Faculty for a few years, I think. She is currently chair of the Committee on Appointments and Promotions, traditionally one of the most powerful positions on campus. (Another member of that committee is Professor Tom Smith ’88, also a chemist and a member of the presidential search committee. If Tom is a fan of Park, then she may have a real shot at the job.) Also interesting is that search committee member Chris Winters ’95 is married to Williams chemistry professor Amy Gehring ’94. Park has worked (closely?) with Smith and Gehring for more than a decade. I wonder if they are friends or rivals? Park has also been chair of the CEP. Is Park interested in the Williams presidency? Presumably, she wouldn’t have worked so many administrative jobs over the years if she weren’t interested in climbing the ladder . . .

Other current or recent Williams female insiders seem less well positioned. After her utter failure at Dickinson, Nancy Roseman probably won’t even get a courtesy interview. Sarah Bolton has not been at Wooster long enough for a move to be reasonable. Marlene Sandstrom is too new to the Dean of the College job.

Given how strong these candidates are, I can’t imagine that Williams will hire a man. Are there are female Ephs who might be interested? Are there other female candidates who are “on the market?”

Who do readers think will be chosen? Who would readers vote for if they were on the committee?

[1] Among the top 10 liberal arts colleges according to US News, only Williams, Bowdoin and Carleton have never had a female president.

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The Eagle Creek Fire: 10,000/ now 33,000 acres of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area are in flames …

fire_stephen_datnoff_1_t670     photo Steve Datinoff, Hood River

… 5% contained as of noon 7 Sep, hikers have been rescued, towns are being evacuated, roads and the InterState are closed to all but emergency vehicles. The Eagle Creek/Indian Creek fire has crossed the Columbia River from Oregon into Washington.

The Columbia Gorge Scenic Area:

images

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/crgnsa/recreation

The need for knowledge in forest management is recognized at Williams:

The Williams College Center for Environmental Studies (CES) facilitates research and undergraduate teaching activities while preserving and monitoring forest resources, particularly through long-term ecological research. 

https://hmf.williams.edu/

If Ephs do not appreciate the beauty of purple mountains, then who does?

It has not rained since mid June. Ironically, this is a temperate rain forest. And the fire was started by an idiot with a firecracker!

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The Houses of Williamstown: Sigma Phi … (Reissue)

(This is the 13th in a series of 16 posts) This was originally posted Nov 16, 2009. Click COMMENT to see the entire post

 

AND IS A HOUSE THAT WAS REMOVED BY THE COLLEGE. SEE DU HOUSE POST BELOW
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College to tear down Garfield House (former DU House) ???

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A whisper from ‘Yup’ under the KA post just now:

 yup… says:

The college may tear down Garfield House (Former Delta Upsilon fraternity house) …

SEE POST ON SIGMA PHI ABOVE> A PURE COINCIDENCE!

Good God, please this can’t be true! Can anyone shed light on this? The Horn dullness gets built and the DU House comes down??

FRANK … you are on the scene …

‘yup’ is not unknown and is a reliable source.

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Townie Redux … Williamstown area by a knowing author

67101edd53c0c03f19c948d0247695a7--amusement-parks-beautiful-picturesReaders of my ‘Townie’ post on Andre Dubus III will like this short story written by ‘Anon’ in the late ’70s on townies in the Williamstown area he either knew or was.

The Boys of Bennington

The carnival was set up on the high school sports field in Bennington. It was an old school kind of carnival that originated in the South and traveled through the North during the summer months. It still showcased the bearded lady, the snake woman, and the smallest man in the world, when such things could be seen in Vermont- back in 1978.
Stevie and Mark were drinking beers under the concealing overhangs of a big spruce tree in a stand of pines next to the carnival. The boys were small for thirteen; ninety pounds and five feet tall. Through the trees they watched the action and listened to the sounds of buzzers, grinding gears, bells, and vendors’ loud solicitations. The carnival lights danced in the shadows of the trees; flickering about the boys’ faces.
Stevie was a fair haired kid in a white T, a cute boy. Mark was more awkward. He had curly brown hair and freckles so deep they could even be seen in the flickers from the carnival. His new black T-shit had large crisp white letters that lit up with a strobe effect from the flashing lights- proclaiming “Disco Sucks.”
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Time Lapse Video of Class of 2021 Picture

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Coming Soon: New Williams Online Housing Portal

Dear Students,
Over the past year, OIT and OSL have been working with a company named StarRez, to build and produce a centralized, cloud-based mechanism for student housing data management & room assignment/selection processes. We plan to use it for student housing selection for the first time for the August Mini-Lottery, so I wanted to share a little bit about it with you now.
Access for students will take place via a portal on the OSL website, using your Williams sign-in (like PeopleSoft). On that site, you will be able to participate in eligible housing selection & change processes, submit Special Housing Considerations information, see building rosters, view floor plans, create or join pick groups, etc. Most future room selection processes will be conducted online via the portal rather than in-person – including the large room draw we’ve held in Greylock in April the past many years. This means that you’ll be able to select your new room from the comfort of your current room. Or from Paresky. Or Sawyer Library. Or Tunnel City. Or New York City. Or London. You get the picture – wherever you are, if you have an internet connection, you can access the portal and participate.
Most housing processes will have the same parameters as they have in the past. One notable exception is that during a room selection process, there will only be a start time for groups to select based on their pick order, and not a by-group end time. This means that if you have a 3:30pm selection time and you forget about it until 4:15pm, it’s OK, you can still go in and select a room (until that entire room selection process ends and the selection portal closes).
We expect to learn a lot as we use the new system this first year, and we ask in advance for your patience as we do so. There may be times that we reach out to you to help us assess aspects of the system as well.
For now, we just wanted to let you know that this is coming; more details will be shared with you as we get closer to the August Mini-Lottery, including a link to the portal and instructions on how to access & use it. In the meantime, we hope you’re having a wonderful summer break.
 

-Doug

 
Douglas J.B. Schiazza, Director
Office of Student Life, Williams College
pronouns: he/him/his
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Fellowships Office, Welcome Back & News

Summer Fellows

If you received a summer fellowship, remember that your written report is due tomorrow, August 31.  Send to me as an word document attachment to email following the guidelines sent earlier.
 Upcoming Fellowship Deadlines & Info sessions 
 
Fall is a busy time of year for applications from graduating seniors! You can see campus and national deadlines on our webpage https://fellowships.williams.edu/    Also please read the Daily Messages for calendar updates or additional info sessions to be scheduled.
Coming up soon:
September 5, 5pm – Info session about the Fulbright research grant, Hopkins Hall 105
September 7, 5pm – Info Session about the Fulbright English teaching assistantship, Hopkins Hall 105
September 7, 5:45 pm – Info Session about the Watson & Chandler Fellowships, Hopkins Hall 105
September 11 – campus deadline for Fulbright research & study grant applications
September 18 – campus deadline for Fulbright English teaching assistantship applications
September 18 – Fulbright recommendations and foreign language evaluations are due online
October 10 – Campus deadline for Watson and Chandler Fellowships.  For access to the online application contact Lynn Chick
October 10 – Campus deadline for the Luce Scholarship
October 11 – Gates-Cambridge Scholarship deadline for US citizens
October 16 – Campus deadline for the Churchill Scholarship
October 24 – deadline for the Dr. Herchel Smith (Cambridge) and Donovan-Moody (Oxford) fellowships
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