In the Williams College class of 2016, there were 67 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) graduates. One of them (Todd Hall) was African-American. (Full list of students available in the course catalog, and reprinted below the break for your convenience.) Comments:

1) There were 37 African-American First Years in 2012-2013 (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 2016, but it was probably around 34.

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, 2010 and 2017.

3) A relevant news hook is the “scandal” last spring 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 serious newspaper, it would investigate this statistic and interview senior faculty and administrators about it.

Williams 2016 Phi Beta Kappa graduates:

Astrachan, Brian
Berg, Emily
Bergwall, Lucy
Bianco, Joseph
Bravo, Christopher
Chae, John
Cihon, Peter
Dine, Ranana
Donow, Samuel
Finch, Ellen
Forbes-Cockell, Jace
Fourakis, Eva
Friedrich, Paul
Goldstein, Eli
Gong, Feixue
Hall, Todd
Ho, Patricia
Huang, Tony
Jackvony, Taylor
Ji, Weiting
Kallas, Gabriella
Kaufman, Benjamin
Kehne, Gregory
Kim, Demie
Kim, Soomin
Klag, Noah
Kling, Alexander
Krcmar, Rachel
Leonard, Molly
Levine, Brian
Lewis, Rebecca
Liu, Tong
Lunke, Kristian
Mackall, Blake
Mazaheri, Bijan
McDonald, Peter
McNaughton, Kathryn
McNaughton, Matthew
Meyerson, Olivia
Miller-Lewis, Gillian
Mishkin, Pamela
Molinari, Vincent
Mook, Conor
Narayan, Ashwin
Page, Lucy
Paseltiner, Alex
Paul, Austin
Potter, Daniel
Preston, Katherine
Qiao, Luxi
Raventos, Jose
Rowe, Allison
Serletti, Lacey
Shea, Emily
Stallman, Jillian
Sun, Penny
Tamposi, Jacob
Tang, Helen
Udell, Andrew
Wang, Jeffrey
Wang, Kai
Wassarman, Douglas
Wieman, Sarah
Wilkinson, Paige
Worthington, Francis
Zelnick, Cooper
Zhan, Chanel

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