In the Williams College class of 2017, there were 71 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) graduates. None of them were African-American. (Full list of students available in the course catalog, and reprinted below the break for your convenience.) Comments:

1) There were 38 African-American first years in 2013-2014 (pdf). Some of those students transferred or took time off. Some African-American students from earlier years ended up in this class. We don’t know the total number of African-American graduates in the class of 2017, but it was probably around 35.

2) Since Phi Beta Kappa is the top 12.5% of the class, we would expect about 4 African-American PBK graduates. Of course, there will be random variation. Perhaps this year is low but, in other years, African-Americans are over-represented? Alas, that does not appear to be the case; there were zero African-American PBK graduates in 2009 and 2010 as well.

3) A relevant news hook is the “scandal” over UPenn law professor Amy Wax claiming that African-American law students “rarely” graduate in the top half of their class. The difference between EphBlog and Amy Wax, obviously, is that we have the data. (Williams declined to confirm or deny our analysis.)

4) Should we spend a few days discussing the reasons for this anomaly? If the Record were a real paper, it would investigate this statistic and interview senior faculty and administrators about it.

Williams 2017 Phi Beta Kappa graduates:

Karim Abou El Fettouh
Yoonsang Bae
Claire Augusta Bergey
Varun Louis Bhadkamkar
Michelle Jeanne Buncke
David Robert Burt
Melissa Alexandra Caplen
Angela Chang
Marcus Christian Colella
Scott Goldberg Daniel
Mary Elizabeth Janelle Dato
Lane Augusta Davis
Ruby Maria Froom
Nola Jennifer Gordon
Matthew Bibber Goss
Samuel David Gray
Miranda Rhew Hanson
Devyn Jenna Hebert
Intekhab Hossain
Nikolaus Harry
Reginald Howe
Emily Anna Hoyt
Roya Eskandari Huang
Russell Kennedy Jones IV
Hae-Min Jung
Alexander Sébastien Kastner
Owen Adrian Kay
Erik Noren Kessler
William Mullen Kirby
Olivia Rose Larsen
Kendall Oldham Leet-Otley
Jamie Rose Lesser
Megan Jean Maher
Matthew Stephen Marcarelli
Kevin Patrick Mercadante
Teague Gallagher Morris
Jackson Alexander Myers
Juliette Fredrika Norrmén-Smith
Rachel Olivia O’Sullivan
Nina Girish Pande
James Richard Pappas
Matthew James Quinn
Adam Joseph Resnick
Denis Andrew Rondeau
Jeffrey Noble Rubel
Christian Philipp Ruhl
Maia Francesca Sacca-Schaeffer
Rachel Meredith Schwartz
Maeve Allison Serino
Aaditya Sharma
Scott Andrew Shelton
Jeffrey Allan Sload
Sarah Anne Stevenson
Zihan Su
Melanie Sangita Subbiah
Katherine Aurelia Tardiff
Matthew Wildrick Thomas
Chelsea Rose Thomeer
Anthoney Tsou
Stephen Dane Tyson
Vidya Margaret Venkatesh
Maria Alejandra Vicent
Allende Nathaniel Boyd Zillioux Vilas
Evan Samuel Wahl
William Rhys Walker
Sarah Gabrielle Weiser
Caroline Celeste White-Nockleby
Daniel Patrick Ga Heung Wong
Fan Zhang
Zijie Zhu

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