Currently browsing the archives for February 2019

Answer Wisely

This is the current status of the bottom of the big poster in Hollander Hall which we highlighted yesterday. I think that the comments are . . . pretty good! Reader opinions welcome. And thanks for the photos. Keep them coming!

I have selected “White Male Vigilantes” as the category for all posts related to McPartland’s actions and the response there to, abbreviated as WMV.

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Crowd of White People

This display is in Hollander Hall. Perhaps some readers could send us photos of the answers.

1) There was some abl/PTC discussion about the people/resources being put into this effort. I agree with abl that there might very few (10?) students actively engaged, with perhaps 50 supporters who aren’t putting up posters but do come to the marches. I also agree with PTC that there is (official?) college support (via the Davis Center?) for these efforts. No student printed out that poster and her dorm room printer. No one puts up a poster of that size without College permission, implicit or otherwise. Can someone on campus provide some local color?

2) There was a march/meeting/protest yesterday at Paresky. Details are scarce. But this CARE Now handout was distributed. Kudos on the graphical design of this document! It looks very professional.

3) There are two candidate names for the McPartland-related portion of this controversy: “White Male Vigilantes” and “EverPurple.” The former is how an anonymous student referred to McPartland. The latter is a reference to Evergreen State, a school’s whose descent into PC nonsense Williams would do well to avoid. Which do readers prefer?

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Green/Love Black Joy, 4

Let’s spend the rest of the week on various subplots associated with the controversy over Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kimberly Love’s failure to teach this semester. Day 4.

Former professor Eric Knibbs writes:

Prof. Love’s office, Hollander 111, used to be my office. When I resided there, I and my office neighbors found it occasionally convenient to place a small outside one’s office for waiting students to sit on (or to hold a box as a receptacle for essays). We were promptly admonished by security to put the chairs back in our offices immediately, and fire regulations were cited. The “fire hazard” thing isn’t a special application of the rules to this case. It represents the College’s approach to the hallways as I experienced it and is the reason this stuff was cleared out.

A Current Student writes:

The College take Regulations, especially those pertaining to the fire code, Very Seriously. Very, Very Seriously. I cannot tell you how many times I have been yelled at (nicely!) by custodians and security for my negligence. I can also say that this display constitutes a fire hazard. Not even the slightest doubt. It won’t cause a fire, but I would trip over it in a rush, and suddenly there’s a blockage in the hallway, etc. etc. Sure, there probably isn’t going to be a fire, but even I know this is a bad idea to keep it there.

I’d like to point out that when I say ‘fire hazard’ that doesn’t mean the object in question will start/contribute to a fire; I basically mean someone can trip over it. Stupid rule? Yes. Strictly enforced? Also yes. (And I do really mean strict. Just yesterday I was berated for leaving my shoes in the hallway. The custodians that come M-F are trained to clear all hallways every morning, so @PTC there essentially are people citing minor infractions every morning M-F.)

1) Who is the Williamstown fire marshall? Here? The Record ought to interview him.

2) I guarantee that, if a non-political display has the same dimensions and used the same materials as the original memorial, it would be removed instantaneously. Does anyone disagree?

3) The new display is less obviously illegal, mainly because it is possible to walk around it. But is it consistent with the fire code? Are there any other office hallways at Williams which look like this? Expert opinions welcome.

Do readers have any predictions about where this debate is going?

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The Pillory of McPartland

Professor McPartland’s duties, as a philosophy, a teacher, and a mentor to students, have been jeopardized by the Hollander Hall backlash:

  • The man is deeply dedicated to the principle of free speech and equality. Opportunists on both sides of the political aisle will now attempt to connect his principles and actions either to a racist agenda or as a sacrifice done in support of the persecuted right. These are distortions of his real beliefs. Nevertheless, they will out into the campus and beyond, allowing others to hijack his beliefs.
  • Minority students who wish to work with him will hesitate to ever approach McPartland, now. He’ll be known as the ‘racist’ professor, and such a label is as damning as it is indelible. Yes, he is tenured, but this won’t prevent the jury of popular opinion from denigrating his reputation. If people won’t approach him, how can he properly teach?

The worst part of all this? This could happen to any other professor who happens to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong professional capacity. As a student who cares for that unique bond between professors and students formed by an education in Williams, I worry for the future where all are subject to the pillory.

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Tell The Truth

Schapiro Hall at 9:00 AM today.

There is a report of a similar sign on Spring Street. Comments:

1) Can you imagine the convulsions that Williams would undergo if the sign said “How do you tell the truth to a crowd of black people?”

2) Do we need to separate out these two controversies? The debate about McPartland’s actions, and the responses thereto, are important enough to justify a new category. What name shall we use? I like “White Male Vigilantes.” Reader comments welcome.

3) How should I interpret the image at the bottom? Where does it come from?

4) Who is paying for these displays? A big poster board like that is not free, nor, I suspect, is it sold on Spring Street . . .

5) Thanks to our readers for these great photos!

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Green/Love Black Joy, 3

Let’s spend the rest of the week on various subplots associated with the controversy over Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kimberly Love’s failure to teach this semester. Day 3.

A (different!) Williams professor writes:

The main issue is that two mentally ill professors have made a claim that Williams is so violent to them that they cannot teach their classes. Some students believe that claim to the point that they set up a shrine to worship these professors. The college, by not denying the claim that the college is too violent to teach and by supporting the shrine despite obvious fire code violations (there are newspapers literally covering green lighted exit signs), is taking a side.

I am sad that there are some professors who are facing legitimate, devastating hardship: a child with a life threatening disease, a spouse with cancer, perhaps their own debilitating diagnosis. Some of these professors are faculty of color from very different backgrounds and cultures. These professors show up to their classes, write letters of recommendation for their students, and they role model doing work during times of hardship. In extreme cases they work with their departments and the Dean’s Office to get help with their classes and workload. These professors do not get shrines in the hallway or letters of support in The Record. They are doing their best to be adults and to do their jobs. Other faculty work around the clock to deliver excellence to their students.

This incident at Williams is a case of two very squeaky wheels getting some unearned, undeserved grease in the form of a paid leave, a shrine of worship, and the sense that they are somehow social justice warriors.

As a Williams professor, I am deeply embarrassed.

If it is true that these professors are mentally ill (not for me to judge), then students and other people should be supporting them as people and not necessarily supporting their unsubstantiated assertions. Students should be giving these two faculty support and privacy, not discussing this incident in terms of race, violence, or tenure. The fact that students are validating their claims and that Keith McPartland has been branded a racist means that this incident is not being treated as a mental health issue. The two professors are indeed being treated as social justice warriors instead of individuals who require a medical leave.

One of these professors literally stated that their department Chair was going to “assassinate them,” and rather than give this professor a medical leave several months ago, the college asked the Chair to step down. What does that imply? That implies, to me, that even if these two faculty are mentally ill, that the college has not responded in a way that is treating them as mentally ill, but is instead validating their assertions. The students supporting them are doing the same, passing around their ideas from The Feminist Wire, and looking to these faculty as role models.

I personally think that these two faculty deserve respect and privacy, and they should take their leave to heal however they need. But their actions were objectively hurtful and their assertions unjustified. Other faculty are suffering from problems, including mental health problems, who go about solutions in an appropriate way. The actions of these faculty should not be worshipped with shrines and admirers.

[T]hese two professors [Green and Love] were put on medical leave. That means the college considers this a mental health issue (because there are no physical health issues). One of these professors was put on medical leave after she didn’t show up to class as that was probably the only way to give her a chance and not terminate her employment. Discussions of mental health might not be coming up on EphBlog but believe me they are being discussed all over campus. My frustration is that students and some faculty aren’t treating this as a mental health issue, they are treating these two faculty as victims of a violent college and true social justice warriors. If this was only about mental health then none of us, not even you, should be talking about it. My point is that this is not just a mental health issue. The way the college has legitimized their concerns and the way that students have advanced their cause means that we haven’t even figured out how to talk about this yet.

Agree or disagree, a great College — as Williams aspires to be — should be a place at which we can have this conversation, where we can discuss and debate difficult questions, where — not only is it acceptable for someone to make you uncomfortable — but where being uncomfortable is a part of every Eph’s education.

Alas, Williams is not interested in having this conversation (in public). Instead of posting this comment on WSO Discussions — which have been dormant for a decade or more — this professor comes to EphBlog. And we are glad to host them! And our (hundreds? thousands?) of readers are eager to engage with his thoughts, as recent comment threads make clear.

Yet the fact that we, rather than Williams, host this conversation is an indictment of the Williams Administration. They could recreate WSO Discussions, perhaps only allowing Ephs to view/participate, perhaps requiring real names only. Yet the very last thing Williams wants is for a professor to be able to communicate, directly, with the entire community of Ephs, both students and alumni.

Williams insists on controlling the conversation because it does not trust us to talk amongst ourselves.

PS. Could someone clarify whether or not both professors are on medical leave, or just Green?

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Inclusive Space

One source sent this photo of a note taped to Professor McPartland’s door:

You will never guess what happened next!

1) I believe that these events have not been staged. That is, I think that real students, who actually support McPartland, put up the initial note, fully (and naively?) expecting other students to sign it. (McPartland, by all accounts, is a widely liked and respected teacher.)

2) I think that (different!) real students saw the note, and then wrote their honest feelings about McPartland. There are no hate hoaxes here.

3) “White Male Vigilantes?” Sign me up! And this would also make for a cool rock band name.

4) Is it a coincidence that McPartland, who (regularly?) teaches a Winter Study course on boxing, is one of the more high testosterone members of the faculty? Note that he could have taken this sign down from his door at any time . . .

5) Should any of the students involved be punished? Of course not! Lest you think this is an absurd question, recall President Mandel’s latest e-mail:

The following night, an unknown individual or individuals entered Hopkins Hall after hours, when the building was closed, and papered the outer doors of many office suites with flyers vilifying Professor McPartland by accusing him of extreme racism. I’ve been told these images are now also circulating on social media. This incendiary, offensive and damaging attack has no place at Williams. Senior Staff and I removed the Hopkins Hall flyers immediately on Friday morning. Flyers and materials that have been placed on and in front of Professor McPartland’s office door in Schapiro will also be removed. Williams is not as inclusive as it must become, but these acts have hurt our efforts.

“[N]o place at Williams” certainly suggests (just to me?) a violation of the (extremely broad!) student code of conduct. What do readers think?

Isn’t Mandel suggesting that students who put up posters, or at least posters which vilify, will be punished?

This would be nuts, obviously. I was going to write 1,000 or so words explaining why. Do I really need to?

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Green/Love Black Joy, 2

Let’s spend the rest of the week on various subplots associated with the controversy over Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kimberly Love’s failure to teach this semester. Day 2.

A (different!) faculty member (?) writes:

I have no comment on the free speech aspects of this “healing space”. I do wish to point out, however, that the “healing space” has very clearly become a shrine to the Williams Martyrs. It is a physical manifestation of the religion Anti-Racism, endorsed and supported fully by the administration. The religious and sociological dimensions of this entire affair are fascinating.

In her remarks at the faculty meeting on Wednesday, President Mandel strongly argued that reigning orthodoxies shall fall as Williams moves ever more into Inclusion. The notion of an officially unorthodox orthodoxy is too delicious for words.

Claiming Williams is the High Holy Day of Anti-Racism at Williams. At President Mandel’s induction in September 2018, the student government co-presidents sought to introduce ritual self-abasement of the College into campus culture. I am sure there are many other liturgical expressions.

Emphasis added. I agree that the religious metaphor works well. I prefer “Diversity,” rather than “Anti-Racism,” as the Williams godhead. What other parallels would readers draw? I don’t know nearly enough about religion, or about life on campus, to flesh this out fully.

The best approach would be to pick a specific period from the Williams of the 19th century. Perhaps the American Missionary Movement, begun with the Haystack Prayer Meeting? Or the Third Great Awakening? Highlight the key beliefs of that era and then suggest counterparts to the Williams of today.

A worthwhile project for EphBlog?

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Tense and Emotional

Latest from President Mandel on Green/Love Black Joy is below. There is a lot to process here, but, in the meantime:

1) Could someone send/post a copy of the “flyers vilifying Professor McPartland by accusing him of extreme racism?” Mandel reports that these flyers are “circulating on social media.” Future historians will thank you!

2) If you are a student who is being attacked/threatened by the Administration about these flyers (or anything else), EphBlog is here to help. We may disagree with your views, but we will eagerly defend your rights to share them. Academic Freedom for All!

Williams faculty, students, and staff,

Last week I sent an email sharing that some materials from the memorial in the first floor hallway of Hollander Hall had been moved by a faculty member. I explained that we were gathering information, and I now want to share what I’ve learned. I welcome the chance to hear from anyone else who was there and still wants to share their perspective.

As many people know, students and others had placed notes and objects in Hollander to demonstrate support for Assistant Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kim Love. In my first message I noted that Senior Staff and I had decided these materials weren’t impeding movement through Hollander and should be left undisturbed for a period of time. To clarify, we were aware the materials would eventually have to be moved due to their placement in the hallway. However, our plan was to allow them to remain until we could discuss long-term options with students.

While we were working to initiate that conversation, staff members responsible for campus and environmental safety, as well as Associate Professor Keith McPartland, the faculty chair of the building use committee responsible for Hollander Hall, exchanged calls about their shared concerns that the materials violated the fire code and posed a potential risk to people in the building. Professor McPartland, having clarified that they did violate both state law and campus policy, relocated the portion of the memorial that was on the floor, where it could have impeded evacuation or passage by people with disabilities. He moved it to a nearby location where students could reclaim it and didn’t disturb materials along the walls or in front of office doors. He also offered to help students reinstall the work in an alternative location that would be visible without creating an obstruction.

Students confronted him in Hollander and objected to any tampering with the memorial. People who were present report that the interaction was tense and emotional.

The following night, an unknown individual or individuals entered Hopkins Hall after hours, when the building was closed, and papered the outer doors of many office suites with flyers vilifying Professor McPartland by accusing him of extreme racism. I’ve been told these images are now also circulating on social media. This incendiary, offensive and damaging attack has no place at Williams. Senior Staff and I removed the Hopkins Hall flyers immediately on Friday morning. Flyers and materials that have been placed on and in front of Professor McPartland’s office door in Schapiro will also be removed. Williams is not as inclusive as it must become, but these acts have hurt our efforts.

I’ve had many conversations with people and groups concerned about the issues raised on our campus over the last few weeks: issues of identity, bias and racism in our college climate, and also of respect and basic humanity towards each other. Here are some of the steps that are happening as we move beyond individual meetings to community solutions:

Students who were stewarding the Hollander memorial have removed materials that violated the fire code and ADA. There are serious concerns about racism and other forms of bias on campus. We want students involved in addressing them and will work to find ways to do so, knowing that the process will require us to confront discomforting truths.

Starting the week of March 4, I’ll hold a series of small gatherings in my home where anyone concerned about campus climate and our support for faculty, students, and staff can communicate to me directly. We’ll continue to schedule such gatherings as long as there’s interest. People will be welcome to sign up individually or in groups. We’ll send a Daily Message later this week with instructions on how to do so.

With Senior Staff, faculty leaders, and others, I’m going to make sure all the takeaways from these and other conversations are imported directly into the college’s ongoing work on inclusion and into the strategic planning process.

Meanwhile, I’ve also begun talking with the Faculty Steering Committee, members of the student body, and other staff and faculty about ideas for a way forward. Individuals have been publicly maligned. Relationships have been strained or broken and now need to heal, so that we can all return to the work we have to do together. I include everyone in that mandate: Faculty, staff, students, and administrators all need to address issues within our discrete communities, as well as broader problems among constituencies and across our community as a whole.

This is a long message because the situation is complex and campus deserves as much information as I can provide. But it’s just a starting point. Each of us came to Williams to engage in a truly great learning community. We define that greatness by the reach of our intellectual ambitions and the openness and inclusivity of our culture. Such commitments are simple to express but hard to achieve. The actual work has tested our resolve and our bonds, and we’ll almost certainly be tested again in the future. But I also believe Williams has what it takes to persevere and transcend its challenges to become a better place. In fact, I believe we have to. I’m grateful I’ll be working toward that goal in partnership with all of you.

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Green/Love Black Joy, 1

Let’s spend the rest of the week on various subplots associated with the controversy over Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kimberly Love’s failure to teach this semester. Day 1.

A senior Williams professor writes:

As I may have mentioned earlier, I had moderately high hopes for our new president. But her bludgeoning of Keith McPartland, a great teacher and wonderful colleague, for doing his assigned duty, has certainly give me pause about her judgment and her ‘common sense.’

My own view is that Professor Kimberly Love should have been fired forthwith for dereliction of duty. And Mr.G. was reasonably given a semester’s leave to recover from his obvious mental incapacity. But he should then be encouraged, forced if necessary, to leave the College that he has utterly disgraced. There should be no compromise on either of these decisions. Neither of these professors should be teaching at Williams College and the chairmen who hired them should be promptly fired for lacking all sensible judgment.

Will this happen? I greatly doubt it. Williams now not only rewards mediocrity, but it regularly excuses catastrophic administrative decisions.

I’m absolutely disgusted by this whole affair. I can hardly believe that is happening to an institution, the idea of which I love with all my heart, but which is disintegrating before our eyes.

1) This seems a bit overwrought to me. Whatever else may be said about this disaster, it is less bad than Williams hiring (and re-appointing!) Bernard Moore, a convicted felon!

2) Why does this professor mention “catastrophic administrative decisions?” [Emphasis added.] It strikes me that the biggest mistake was the initial hiring of Green and Love. The Administration deserves some of the blame for that, of course, not least for its continuing insistence that hiring African-American professors is so, So, SO important. But none of this would be happening if the English and WSGS Departments were doing their jobs properly. Green and Love started at Williams in 2017. Who were the members of the search committees that selected them, presumably during the 2016-2017 academic year?

3) I still have high hopes for Mandel. How can this professor be sure that she doesn’t plan on getting rid of Green/Love? The time to do so is July, not February.

4) By the way, assume that Mandel fully intends to remove Green/Love. What are her options for doing so? (Perhaps our legal-readers could chime in!) I assume that Green/Love each have 3-year contracts. True? Or are junior professors essentially employees-at-will whom the College can fire whenever it wants to?

5) I don’t want to pry into anyone’s personal life, but, it is hard to avoid doing so in the context of this story. I assume that Green/Love are friends. Do they live together? Do they live in College housing? Are they romantically involved? I suspect that their living arrangements have implications, either legally and/or practically, for Mandel’s options in handling their case(s) . . .

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Where’s the Violence?

The College Fix has locked on to the Green/Love Black Joy controversy in an article published on February 18, 2019, titled “Black queer professors suddenly cancel their courses at elite college because of ‘microaggressions’

The focus of Greg Piper’s report is that Dr. Kai M. Green and Dr. Kimberly Love have massively inconvenienced their students and colleagues through the last minute cancellation of their Spring 2019 classes over what appear to be trivial concerns. From my perspective, Piper seems to underestimate the degree to which this controversy is a distraction from the underlying mental health issues which caused Kai M. Green ’07 to go on medical leave. (Kimberly Love has apparently also been placed on medical leave to help support Kai M. Green.)

In Piper’s view, the reasons that Green and Love provide for cancelling their classes seem relatively insubstantial. At best, he reports that they framed their complaints as

Colleague: Can I touch your….?

Answer: NO!

Piper is particularly concerned that neither Green or Love provide much detail regarding the “violent practices” they experience while teaching at Williams College:

Their article is light on specific incidents that bothered them; rather, it says Williams and other colleges “have not made structural changes to create environments in which Black, Brown, disabled, poor, queer people, and our work can thrive. Through various isolating tactics, academic institutions can dull our awareness of the grave conditions under which we are expected to perform.”

They cite one off-campus incident: a tow-truck driver who thought they weren’t “from around here” when he towed their stalled car, asked if they were students, and then called them “ball busters” when they complained that he wouldn’t drive them home, as he’d earlier promised.

Their description of this incident continues for several more paragraphs but does not acknowledge their classism toward the blue-collar worker. They finally suggest they told the account in “two very different ways” but both through a “Black Queer feminist lens.”

The professors, again, share no specific incidents of bias at Williams, other than the vague reference to requested touching. They credit the college for its “commitment and work … in the name of creating and sustaining a more equitable Williams.”

All in all, Piper is dubious about the merits of the complaints these Williams College professors have made about their working conditions. He writes: “Love and another professor, who together identify as “Black Queer Feminists,” are leaving their students high and dry due to abstract harms they claim to have suffered as a result of not being free to “point out the anti-Black, transphobic, xenophobic” environment of the extreme leftist college.”

Key comments on the Piper article include the following wry observations:

If you’re an SJW and you can’t find a safe space at Williams then you’re insane. The problem it seems is that the school allowed her to build her own course program and then got angry when no one signed up for it. Then she went to the college and demanded it be made mandatory or demanded reparations or she simply has a better offer somewhere else. Seriously, I have family members who work there.

Black, Queer, Heavy-set Feminist and a woman suffering from disphoria. What a team.

“Professors”: give everything plox
College: lol no ur batshit insane
“Professors”: microaggressions! transphobia! ur literally hitler

 

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Green/Love Black Joy

Controversies need names. And EphBlog is here to help! We hereby decree that the current scandal shall be named “Green/Love Black Joy,” with GLBJ as the appropriate abbreviation. Previous controversy names include: ¿Quién es más macho?, Nigaleian, Safety Dance, Prospect Must Die, Willy E. N-word, Catch Moore If You Can, The Taco Six, Mary Jane Hitler and Self-CARE Now.

Reasons:

1) This controversy centers around the actions of Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kimberly Love, so using their names makes sense. I also think that “Green Love” is nice phrasing.

2) Our story started with their article for the feminist wire in November. One of the best lines was: “And not even tenure is worth our Black joy.”

3) Other participants also like the phrase “Black Joy.” The photo at the top of the post is from the student tribute/memorial to Green/Love.

4) Blackness is at the very center of this dispute, one way or the other.

5) I capitalized Joy, rather than leave it as “joy,” as in the article, because I think that the subtext here goes back to the College’s appointment of Joy James more than a decade ago. I don’t think — contrary opinions welcome! — that James had anything to do with Green/Love’s hiring, but the institutional imperative which demands, Demands, DEMANDS, that Williams hire more African-American faculty is the driving force behind this story. That force has been around for decades, of course, but it sure seems to have picked up steam in the last 10 years. Or does only EphBlog remember Bernard Moore?

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Identity Evropa is Racist and the below post is idiotic

I can’t stay silent on this and am disgusted David could even pose question 2 rhetorically. There will be no comments on this post because there is no need. Identity Evropa is a racist hate group trying to recruit college students and David is doing work for them on this site with that garbage post. One google search is all it takes. Aren’t we ephs? Don’t we know how to do basic research?

From their founder:

“I think one of the major books that got me started was David Duke’s My Awakening, and I think from there the rest was really history.”
—Nathan Damigo on Red Ice Radio, June 16, 2016

From their 2nd leader in 2018 (edit: also, he lied about serving in Iraq):

“I work in HR firing n***** and s**** all day. Before that, I was in the army and I got to kill Muslims for fun. I’m not sure which one was better: watching n****** and s**** cry because they can’t feed their little [racist term for kids] or watching Muslims brains spray on the wall. Honestly both probably suck compared to listening to a k***’s scream while in the oven.”

 

The third leader is smart enough not to say the quiet part loud, but he did host shows on Red Ice Radio, you know, the white nationalist/supremacist platform. F*ck this

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Evropa

Latest e-mail:

Williams students, faculty and staff,

This weekend, CSS received a report that a pole near Sawyer Library was vandalized with the word “Evropa”. As we explained a few weeks ago when the phrase “Identity Evropa” was discovered on a white board in Thompson Hall, Identity Evropa is an organization that promotes a white supremacist and European supremacist ideology. The group is especially known for trying to provoke reactions on college campuses.

While we believe this latest discovery is making a reference to the same organization, at this time we can’t assert whether or not both actions were taken by the same person. Because the organization is one that promotes hatred, we will investigate the report as a possible bias incident and Campus Safety and Security is trying to identify the author of the graffiti.

Williams should be a place where everyone is welcome and we treat these incidents with the utmost of seriousness. If you have information you think will aid the investigation, please call Campus Safety at 413-597-4444 or submit information through OIDE’s Bias Incident Reporting form. The form includes an option to report anonymously.

Sincerely,

Leticia S.E. Haynes, Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity
Steve Klass, Vice President for Campus Life
Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College

Previous discussion here.

1) Has the word “Stetson” disappeared from official campus discourse? During construction, the project was referred to as “Stetson-Sawyer.” I expected that terminology to continue, both since the entire front half the building is the old Stetson Hall and because Stetson was such a major figure in the College’s (financial) history. But my sense is that the average first year has never heard nor used the word “Stetson.” We are all as dust . . .

2) Klass is a smart guy. Surely he realizes that all-campus e-mails are exactly what these trolls want to achieve? The bigger a stink that Williams makes whenever anyone writes “Evropa,” the more “Evropa” writing we are going to see.

3) I would still like a discussion about why Identity Evropa is unacceptable at Williams while, say, Black Lives Matter and BDS are OK. All three organizations have problematic, even hateful, members. But Williams, as an institution, should be run in a viewpoint neutral fashion. If faculty/students want to create a chapter of, or invite a speaker from, any of these groups, then the College should allow it.

4) Vandalism is, of course, always unacceptable. I have no problem with punishing any student who vandalizes the innocent polls around Sawyer, as long as the same punishment is applied regardless of political views.

5) If you did this, and you get caught, your best defense will be to claim that your vandalism had nothing to do with politics. You are just a huge fan of the Europa League, an annual soccer competition.

6) If you want to troll Williams, I recommend a different approach. The Evropa League comes with all sorts of unfortunate connotations. (And vandalism is always a mistake.) Instead, start hanging “It’s OK to be White” posters around campus, but only in those locations in which students are permitted to put posters.

This is guaranteed to drive much/most of Williams crazy, and is much less likely to get you thrown out of school. “All Lives Matter” posters would have a similar effect.

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Healing Space

From the Daily Adviser:

Calling for faculty and students to visit Hollander healing space

Faculty and students are invited to stop by the healing space in the first floor Hollander today to pay respects to Dr. G and Dr. Love, leave a note, and recognize all of the amazing work they have done for students on this campus.

Reality or is this a ludicrous EphBlog parody? Please answer before you click the link . . .

Thanks to a reader for the photo. Good stuff! Please keep sending them.

abl argued that:

the number of disparaging remarks made about the display itself, really do illustrate the hypocrisy running throughout the right-wing’s facially high-minded (but actually ideologically motivated) call to protect speech on private college campuses

I am the General Stonewall Jackson of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, Eph Division, and I have not made a single disparaging remark about the displays. In fact, I think that they are well done, both politically and aesthetically. I like the aesthetics of the heart-shaped collection of papers in the tribute to professors Green/Love and of the thorn-hedge in front of Professor McPartland’s office. I think that they both work beautifully. I also think that the politics work. Of course, I disagree (I assume!) with the protestors about whether or not students/faculty should be able to invite anyone they want to campus. But that disagreement does not prevent me from appreciating (and praising!) their protest efforts with regard to Green/Love/McPartland.

However, I am no expert on aesthetics! Other readers should chime in! I also don’t understand some (many?) of the references involved. For example, what does the green yarn imply?

UPDATE: On Thursday night, students taped photocopied pictures of Professor McPartland on the doors of Dean Buell and President Mandel. Can someone provide photos of these pictures? Future historians will thank you!

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McPartland in the Crosshairs

Where will the madness end? Your guess is as good as mine. Our story so far:

0) Assistant Professors Kimberly Love and Kai Green ’07 write an essay for the feminist wire in November. It is hard to summarize. Selected quotes:

We write this piece as two untenured junior faculty. We are Black Queer Feminists, serious about our call to research, service, and teaching. We are not safe. And it is not because we do not have tenure that we are not safe. …

We navigate this academic career with integrity and a deep love for knowledge. We are tired of shrinking ourselves to be here! We are tired of holding our tongues out of politeness because our colleagues are not ready to ask certain questions and are not ready to accept certain answers:

Colleague: Can I touch your….?

Answer: NO!

What we have been doing to fit our bodies in these institutions is killing us and we WANT TO LIVE! And not even tenure is worth our Black joy.

1) Love and Green cancel their classes just prior to the start of the spring semester, leaving their students (and departments) in the lurch. Their reasons for doing so are opaque at best.

2) Students (only?) sympathetic to Love and Green create a display/memorial around their (unused?) offices in Hollander Hall.

3) Philosophy Professor Keith McPartland removed the material in his capacity as Chair of the Hollander/Schapiro Users Committee after consultation with Campus Security and a conversation with them about the fire code. (It is hard to believe that no one mentioned this to the Administration. McPartland, and the folks at security, are well-versed in the nonsense which passes for political discussion at Williams. Surely they anticipated a blow-back? Surely they sent an ass-covering e-mail to higher ups?)

4) President Mandel sends a somewhat bizarre e-mail about the removal. Mandel claims that, previously (meaning last week?), “after senior staff and I confirmed that the materials were not impeding movement through Hollander we had asked custodial, CSS and other staff not to disturb them.” Sure would be weird for Mandel to tell CSS not to touch anything and then, a week later, McPartland checks with CSS and they say, “Go ahead. Remove it.” But, then again, miscommunication is the curse of every bureaucracy . . .

5) Students (how?) discover McPartland’s role and decorate/vandalize his office. These photos (four more below the break) are from Thursday morning. Should McPartland be concerned about his future at Williams? What advice would you give him?

What does this mean? We need a scandal name! The saga of Love/Green will be with us for a while. Suggestions? Longtime readers will recall that EphBlog loves to name Williams controversies. Classic examples include: ¿Quién es más macho?, Nigaleian, Safety Dance, Prospect Must Die, Willy E. N-word, Catch Moore If You Can, The Taco Six, Mary Jane Hitler and Self-CARE Now.

“Love” and “Green” are good words to work with. How about “Love Green Black joy”? Suggestions welcome!

Four more photos below. I believe these are from the morning of Feb 14. Thanks to an anonymous reader for sharing them!
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Deeply Distressed

Williams students, faculty and staff,

In recent weeks, members of our community have been leaving notes and materials in front of the Hollander Hall offices of Assistant Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kim Love to honor and support them at a difficult time. It has now come to my attention that yesterday afternoon a faculty member removed these materials. I am in the process of gathering information about what happened, as I am deeply distressed by any interference with students freely expressing themselves in a way that is not disruptive. In fact, after senior staff and I confirmed that the materials were not impeding movement through Hollander we had asked custodial, CSS and other staff not to disturb them. I regret that we did not communicate this message more broadly.

I want to make clear that I fully support those who were expressing their thoughts and feelings through the content that was removed. People have now replaced that content and added to it. I and senior staff will work with students and others to find a way that it can remain without creating a safety hazard.

I have come to Williams with the goal of fostering a supportive and inclusive community where all members of a diverse learning community will thrive. I ask you to join me in continuing to strengthen these values going forward.

Sincerely,

Maud

Time for another EphBlog investigation? Recall J’accuse!

UPDATE: Kai Green’s office is Hollander 106 and Hollander 111. Do you think that a professor with a nearby office might have gotten sick of looking at a bunch of junk piled in the hallway?

UPDATE 2: Thanks to a commentator for pointing out this Record article about the display (picture added above). If I were a professor who had no choice but to deal with that every day, I would get pretty annoyed . . .

UPDATE 3: From a comment:

McPartland removed the material in his capacity as Chair of the Hollander/Schapiro Users Committee after consultation with Campus Security and a conversation with them about the fire code.

McPartland’s office in Schapiro has now been decorated/vandalized in turn.

More details, please.

Entire Record article below the break:
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How to Pick a Husband

About half of the female students currently at Williams will not be married at age 32. Don’t want that to be your fate? You will never be prettier than you are right now and you will never be surrounded by as many single, high-quality men. Follow EphBlog’s advice:

1) Pick 5 Williams men you would like to go out with on a date. You are, obviously, not picking a husband at this stage, but you are selecting likely candidates. Because men are shallow creatures, select men that are about as handsome as you are pretty. If you are average, then select an average man. Even better, select a man at the 25th percentile of attractiveness. If you end up married, he will spend the rest of his life marveling at the beauty of the woman in his bed each morning and vowing to do his best not to screw up his good fortune.

2) Pick a friend to be the matchmaker. Many of your friends would jump at the chance. You need someone social, someone not afraid to approach a (possible) stranger on your behalf.

3) Have your friend approach a candidate and let him know that, if he asked you out on a dinner date, you would say, “Yes.” Assuming you have picked wisely, he will be excited! There are few things a boy likes more than knowing a girl is interested in him. And the reason he hasn’t asked you out before was, most likely, that he was afraid you would say, “No.” There is nothing a boy fears more than rejection. Since he knows ahead of time what your answer will be, you can be (mostly) certain that he will ask you out. If you want to avoid the embarrassment of rejection yourself, just allow your friend the discretion to approach the men in the order she sees fit. Then she won’t even need to tell you if candidates 1 and 2 turned down this opportunity.

4) Go out on the date. Who knows what will happen? The date may be a failure. If so, have your friend go on to another candidate. But the date is probably more likely to go well, especially if you chose your five candidates wisely, picking men that you already liked and respected, men with whom you could imagine having a longterm relationship. One date may lead to another, and then another. Perhaps you will never have a need for the other four candidates.

Does this seem like a horribly retrograde and patriarchal plan? Perhaps it is! The claim I am making is purely a statistical one. Female Eph undergraduates who follow this advice are more likely to be married at 32 than those who do not.

Happy Valentines Day! And point your date toward EphBlog’s annual advice on falling in love . . .

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Unbearable Whiteness of Being

The Processing Whiteness group at Williams College has caught the attention of Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D., the Rome Bureau Chief for Breitbart news. Quoting the college’s website, the author reports the Processing Whiteness workshops will furnish “opportunities to analyze and understand white identity, white privilege and racism in a supportive environment that focuses on the experiences of the participants.”

The Breitbart author observes: “The assumption seems to be that ‘whiteness’ is a condition that disposes a person to racism and shame and therefore requires being worked through in a supportive environment.”

“The group will help participants learn to speak about the historical and contemporary implications of white identity, examine race and racism, identify implicit bias and feelings of shame,” states the event description.

Group leaders will also help participants “explore and practice allyship and interrupting racism.”

“It’s important that white people give space in their lives to learning from and bearing witness to people of color’s experiences of racism,” the site declares.

Much of the material for the workshop is be drawn from Shelly Tochluk’s 2010 book Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk about Race and How to Do It.

Witnessing Whiteness “invites readers to consider what it means to be white, describes and critiques strategies used to avoid race issues, and identifies the detrimental effect of avoiding race on cross-race collaborations,” according to the book description.

The Processing Whiteness group is meant as “a supplement to, not a replacement for, multi-racial dialogues and activism between white people and people of color,” the school website notes.

Processing Whiteness will be provided by Integrative Wellbeing Services Fellow Ruby Solomon, College Rabbi Seth Wax, and Professor of German Gail Newman. It includes eight hour and a half sessions over the Spring 2019 semester. It will meet on Wednesdays from 12:30 – 1:45 pm in Hollander 317 on the following dates: 2/13, 2/20, 2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 4/3, 4/10, and 4/17. The group is limited to 16 participants.

The most highly rated comments regarding Processing Whiteness are perhaps even more interesting than the article itself. They certainly show how people outside the purple bubble perceive this program.

How about a course on how to identify a fake black hate crime.

Ivy League schools and most of the formerly prestigious colleges like Williams have become cesspools of ignorance.

To assume negative character traits in people due to their race is racism. As usual, the “anti-racist” left is showing who they are: racists.

How about workshops to help “people of color” deal with their racism against white people?

Parents spending a ton of money having the kids indoctrinated in self-loathing anti-white P/C globalist Bull S h I t.

The Williams College website indicates that there will be no costs for participants to participate in this program. Moreover, Williams College has several copies of the book Witnessing Whiteness which are also available for free for faculty and staff. A light lunch will be offered. For the full article at Breitbart, please click on the link below.

Williams College Offers Workshops So Faculty Can Process Their Whiteness

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Zero African-American Phi Beta Kappa Graduates in 2015

In the Williams College class of 2015, there were 70 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 44 African-American First Years in 2011-2012 (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 2015, but it was probably around 40.

2) Since Phi Beta Kappa is the top 12.5% of the class, we would expect about 5 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, 2011 and 2017. There was one in 2016.

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 2015 Phi Beta Kappa graduates:
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Request to Contact PTC

From a reader:

PTC – I was hoping to ask you a few questions about Williamstown that really don’t have anything to do with the college, so I would rather not post them on EphBlog. If you’re ok with that, could you reach out to DDF so he can connect us via email? Thanks, WL

PTC: The e-mail that you use for commenting no longer works.

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Unpersuadable

abl, who really ought to put these excellent comments on the main page, writes about the membership of the new Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion:

For a committee like this to have perceived legitimacy, it has to include viewpoints on both sides of this issue.

Untrue. The CUL, when it implemented the Dudley Report which gave us Neighborhood Housing, had no proponents of free agency. The Ad Hoc Committee on Athletics, when it produced the MacDonald Report, had no public supporters of the status quo with regard to admissions preferences for athletes. Those committees were stacked with people who would go along with Morty Schapiro’s preferences. And so they did, with more than enough “legitimacy” to make the two biggest changes at Williams in the last 20 years.

I don’t know whether this committee will do much of consequence, or if Mandel is even thinking along these strategic lines, but by including several publicly identifiable left-leaning students and right-leaning faculty on the committee, Mandel increases the likelihood that any recommendation that is perceived to lean one way or another is nevertheless accepted.

I actually see the inclusion of right-leaning faculty members to be much more notable here. I have no doubt in my mind that Mandel is more confident about being able to persuade left-leaning students than she is right-leaning faculty members. If I were trying to engineer a committee to achieve my desired result, I would stack it with faculty members who I know agree with my position and students who don’t (but aren’t so entrenched to be unpersuadable–like students who have signed the petition but not taken more of a public role in the issue), and hope to get to a “bipartisan” proposal that relies on persuading the students in question.

All of this said, my honest guess is that Mandel is open to a range of possible outcomes from this committee and isn’t playing these sorts of strategic games. My bet is the reason why you see a diversity of viewpoints represented on the committee is that Mandel genuinely wants to reach some sort of compromise that will generally placate most people. And the reason why she’s limited the reach of the committee is because that also limits the risk of delegating this much responsibility — it becomes easier for her to rein in any proposal that she doesn’t like based on ‘exceeding the scope of the committee’ or some other seemingly non-ideological grounds.

Agreed! (Emphasis added.)

I would bet, however, that Michael Crisci ’21 and Rachel Porter ’21 are much closer to the unpersuadable side of the ledger. Yes, it is true that they are not leaders of CARE Now. But signing the statement puts them at the most extreme 15% of the student populations. And then they applied for this committee! My prior is that, of the students who signed, only the most committed would apply. Hope that I am wrong! Or that I have underestimated the persuasive abilities of Cheryl Shanks and Fred Strauch . . .

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Hate Hoaxes: A History

A “hate hoax” is an act of hate — racist graffiti, a threatening note — which is a hoax in the sense that it was perpetrated by a member (or ally) of the class of people it purports to attack. See Pro Publica and Reason for discussion and examples. Let’s review some examples from Williams history:

January 1993: Three (anti-black) racist slurs posted on the door of Rice House. Perpetrator turned out to an African-American student. He was suspended for one semester.

September 2001: Female student reports that she was assaulted in her dorm room. Turns out that she made the whole thing up. I do not think that this truly qualifies as a hate hoax since her intent was probably not to stir up a campus controversy about sexual assault.

November 2011: Racist note — All Niggers Must Die — attached to a door in Prospect House. Perpetrator was (almost certainly) an African-American/Hispanic student activist. She was not punished and, to this day, the College maintains the public fiction that this was an actual hate crime.

November 2012: Racist statement — All beaners must die — written on whiteboard in Mission. Perpetrator was of “Mexican descent.” As best I can tell, the student was not punished.

November 2016: Racist graffiti — AMKKK, “meant to signify AmeriKKKa, a spelling of America that references racism in our society” — written in red paint in Griffin Hall. Two students are caught, both claiming (plausibly!) to have no connection to the KKK. There are reports that at least one of the students was a minority. Students were probably punished, but I do not know the details. One might reasonably quibble whether this is an example of a true “hate hoax,” in particular, whether the two students had the necessary intent. Let’s leave that debate for another day.

Are there other examples I should include?

As best I can tell, there are about as many hate hoaxes at Williams as there are actual hate crimes. What do readers estimate the proportions to be?

Even the hate crimes that do not seem to be hoaxes — Williams E in 2008, Mills-Dennett 1 in 2009 and Paresky 2014 — often seem to be driven by animus whose original source has nothing directly to do with hate . . . but that is a discussion for another day.

UPDATE: A source has told me that the November 2016 incident was carried out by three (not two) students, all of whom were first year African-American females. They were caught because they used paint from a college academic department, traces of which were still on their shows and clothing when Security came knocking on their door. The were suspended for a year but are now back on campus. Can anyone confirm?

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Student Survey on Politics

From the Record:

Based on the 134 responses from a survey sent by the Record to 500 random unixes, students at the College have also involved themselves in the midterm elections, including discussing races with friends and professors, following day-by-day developments and voting. The survey shows that a majority of students were self-motivated to vote, voted based on their overwhelming disapproval of President Donald Trump and largely supported Democratic candidates.

1) Kudos to the Record for organizing the survey and running this article. More, please. For example, how about a survey of faculty opinions?

2) Make the data public. There is no reason why the Record could not provide a link to the raw data. For example, the article notes that:

From a scale of “1” (highly unfavorable) to “5” (highly favorable), only three percent of students gave him rating of “5,” while 81 percent of students gave him a rating of “1.”

Interesting! But how many gave Trump a rating of 4? I want to know what percentage of students have a favorable rating of Trump, a count that includes both the 4s and the 5s. I realize that the Record can’t discuss every number from the survey in the article, but that is why it ought to provide the data to its readers.

3) Even more interesting than student opinions about US politics are student opinions about Williams policies. How about a Record survey asking about admissions, touching on a topics like the quota for international students, preferences for athletes and affirmative action?

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Ad Hoc Committee Members

Observations on President Mandel’s latest announcement about the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion. (See also this solid Record article.)

1) I think my detailed observations from last month were spot on. Key point:

If Mandel’s strategy for freeing Williams from the legacy of Falk’s folly depended meaningfully on this Committee, she would put fewer students on it, ensure that those students were carefully selected and entrust the Committee with a broad mandate. She is doing the opposite. Therefore, we know that this Committee will be unimportant.

2) Check out those Committee members:

Two of the student members — Michael Crisci ’21 and Rachel Porter ’21 — signed the student petition against the Chicago Statement. That document — how to put this neutrally? — does not provide many reasons for compromise. It is not clear how strongly Crisci/Porter felt about the issue. Not every signer was, presumably, fully committed. But for Mandel to allow students onto the committee who may very well have no inclination to allow someone like John Derbyshire (or Charles Murray or . . .) is a sign that she expects nothing of use from the committee.

Two of the faculty members — Cheryl Shanks and Fred Strauch — are strong proponents of free speech. (I have not discussed the topic with either.) Shanks authored a Record op-ed which was, perhaps, the strongest faculty statement on the issue. Strauch is a member of the rump Republican/conservative/libertarian/non-progressive wing of the faculty.

3) Note the change to the committee’s charge. New version:

I am charging an ad hoc committee with recommending to me, by May 2019, a set of speaker invitation guidelines that would demonstrate our full commitment to both inquiry and inclusion.

The emphasis on the “and” is new. Hmmm. Perhaps I shouldn’t make a big deal about changing patterns of italicisms . . .

4) The key power/responsibility in this whole discussion will fall to the Coordinating Committee. More on it some other day . . .

5) From the Record:

In a collective statement to the Record, committee members emphasized the range of backgrounds included in its membership. “President Mandel’s process for constituting this group of faculty, student, staff and alum representatives involved allowing each group to use their own governing bodies to nominate potential members,” they said. “Working together as a committee will in fact involve establishing a working model of inclusive dialogue among a diverse group.”

a) Good to see the Record picking up the phone and getting a statement. b) Why not publish the entire statement, rather than just two sentences from it? Even if there is not room in the physical paper, the statement could be added in a comment box to the web article. c) The Record should also have reached out to some critics, like either the faculty behind the petition of the leaders of CARE-Now.

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Violent Practices

EphBlog has been telling you for months that Professors Kimberly Love and Kai Green ’07 are . . . uh . . . not the very model of modern major Williams faculty. The Record reports:

Two professors canceled their courses in the days leading up to the start of spring semester. In an email to students enrolled in her courses, Kimberly Love, assistant professor of English, cited “a refusal to continue business as usual” in the face of “the College’s violent practices” as the reason that she would not return to the College this semester. Kai Green ’07, assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies (WGSS), is spending the semester on medical leave, writing in an email to the Record that the College is not a “safe place” for him.

Worth going through the (pathetic) details? Let me know!

Who is at fault for this nonsense? In order of culpability:

1) Dean of the Faculty Denise Buell, whose relentless focus on hiring (unqualified) applicants who check the right boxes has led us to this sorry state.

2) Former President Adam Falk, who aided and abetted Buell for almost his entire presidency.

3) The members of the English and WGS Departments, especially the ones who served on the search committees that selected Love and Green.

Entire article below the break:

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Four Letter Word, 14 Years Later

This post was originally written 14 years ago. More true today than ever?
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What is the stupidest, most out of touch statement by a senior faculty member to be published in the Record in the last year? Good question! Given all the misrepresentations concerning anchor housing, the competition is a tough one. But I am going with this.

To bring discussion [on racial incidents] to a more public arena, Schapiro and Roseman are hosting an open forum in Griffin at 8:30 p.m. tonight. Roseman said she felt that WSO blogs are ultimately limited in lasting value, despite the good content they sometimes contain. “They’re not really a dialogue,” she said. “They always degenerate over time.”

Pathetic. Roseman was also reported to refer to “blog” as a “four letter word” — i.e., something that she thought was not just useless but positively harmful.

First, does Roseman even read the WSO blogs? In other interviews, she has claimed not to. How can she know that they are “not really a dialogue” if she doesn’t read them regularly? How does she know that they “always” degenerate? Now, she is under no obligation to read the blogs, but if she is ignorant on the topic she has no business being insulting.

Second, the WSO blogs have many, many examples of incredibly lucid and subtle dialogue. Consider Katherine Dieber ’07 on campus racism:

In my opinion, the crime is not fearing, but letting that fear dictate actions. I’m always questioning whether or not I’m subconsciously racist or afraid, and if that’s the deeper reason for the way I interact with people of different backgrounds. Here’s my confession: I question most my interactions with black people. I wonder if I should be taking bigger steps to blend white American culture with black American culture, and this sort of worry colors my interactions with black people (until/unless I get to know them fairly well). Frankly, I’m intimidated. Am I the privileged white kid that black kids see as their enemy, or at least opposite?

Or Nick Greer ’08 on the Odd Quad:

We’ve built our own culture, we built the kind of tightly-knit “cluster” that you want for yourself, but one that excludes you. We built a culture that accepts even the most socially awkward. First years that have already given up on their entry? They’re in Currier common room hanging with us. People like you Kati- I mean Jessica, you make up 80% of this campus so from your perspective clusters aren’t that bad. I mean you may share a bathroom with that frumpy girl who plays D&D but it’s not like she hangs out with you or anything. No, Friday nights when your cluster is having another OC party she’s in her room. Oh, you’re so nice, you’ll invite her to come? Well she’s not interested, she hates you remember. Not everyone on campus likes that sort of thing and when you assume everyone on campus is like you, you exclude the people who are not.

Or Diana Davis ’07 on athletics at Williams:

My childhood friend, who is a year younger than I, looked at Williams when she was considering her college choices. She plays the oboe and the piano, sings, dances, acts, and does all sorts of wonderful things, but she is not an athlete. On her tour, she and her dad report that her tour guide repeated three times the impressive statistic that Williams wins 77% of its games. She was turned off by this athletic focus, and nothing I said could get her to reconsider and apply to Williams. This is sad. Are we alienating many such prospective students? Look on the bright side — that leaves more spots for athletes!

Or Cassandra Montenegro ’06 on Queer Bash pornography.

i didn’t know what to expect going into my first queer bash, but it wasn’t that. i was in no way warned. i dressed up for (what i was told was) the semester’s best party and left feeling the victim. i was so confused as why someone would do that to me–with no concern for my feelings. i couldn’t ‘just look away’ if i didn’t like it, like my friends told me to do. it was more than that, it was the principle. why porn? why on a screen? why at a campus party?

If Roseman doesn’t think that this sort of writing — and the larger dialogues in which they are embedded on the blogs — is the heart and soul of what a Williams education should be, then she is an idiot. More importantly, dozens of similar examples are available for all to see.

Third, it’s not that similar dialogues don’t occur over Mission lunches and late night pizza, just as they did 30 years ago. There are few better parts of a Williams education than the talks/arguments you have with your fellow Ephs. But the blogs provide an extra dimension that we lacked back in the day. They give students a chance to think for a moment about what they want to say, to pause and reflect on the opinions of others. The blogs are not a substitute for other dialogue, they are a complement.

Fourth, any regular blog reader will tell you that the blogs have two big advantages over in-person dialogues. First, they often bring together Ephs who don’t know each other well, who don’t share a dorm or classroom together. Second, they provide a way for the rest of us to listen in, to learn from the conversations among our fellow Ephs.

Why is Roseman so blind to the benefits that the blogs bring to Williams? Tough to know, but I’ll freely speculate. I think that there is a certain kind of administrator who does not really trust the students, who thinks that any discussion on a controversial topic needs to be supervised and moderated. This sort of administrator likes campus forums and classroom discussions because some adult is in control, someone is running the show. For this sort of person, the blogs are anarchic, out of control, always degenerating, making more trouble. A real dialogue includes a teacher, a Socratic figure who guides the benighted students.

Blogs are messy. They aid the students in doing for themselves what the College is unable and, often, unwilling to do for them. They represent a loss of control for Hopkins Hall.

I don’t know if Roseman is this sort of administrator. Perhaps there is some other explanation for her ridiculous comments. But, regardless of the explanation, the messiness is here to stay. The Dean of the College today has much less control over conversation on campus than the Dean did 20 years ago. Nothing can stop that trend from continuing. Embrace the Blog, Dean Roseman. We are the future.
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Fourteen years later, we have some updates.

1) Nancy Roseman, being an idiot, was an utter failure as Dickinson’s president. Where is she now?

2) Williams students are still discussing things, but those discussions are less open and inviting, more narrow and restricted.

A well-run school would urge WSO to bring back Discussions and make them readable by all.

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Kneeler

From the Springfield Student:

I looked around Blake Arena during the National Anthem on December 8. Our men’s basketball team faced Williams College. Spectators were focused on the visitor’s bench.

I followed their stares and I saw Williams senior forward, Kyle Scadlock, kneeling during the National Anthem. One of his teammates stood behind him with his hand on his shoulder.

I had never witnessed someone kneeling. I was shocked and unsure what was going to happen.

Will he start? Will they make a big deal out of Scadlock’s beliefs? Is there someone in the stands who is angered enough to lash out?

Scadlock started and played a total of 32 minutes.

I am writing this in admiration of his strength.

Questions:

1) Are there any other Williams athletes who kneel during the National Anthem? The Record should write a story.

2) Speaking of Record, how pathetic is it that they would write a long (and good) story about Scadlock without mentioning this? Was that incompetence or something else?

3) I have never seen a reference to Scadlock kneeling in any Williams publication. Has there been one? Not sure what the best policy for the College would be on that score.

“I became very angered about how people were responding to [Kaepernick’s] kneeling, primarily the coded language and the underlying message which disapproved of the issues [Kaepernick] was kneeling for,” Scadlock said.

After following all the media coverage and interviews he gave the first year he started to kneel, Scadlock became angered by how people were responding to Kaepernick’s decision. After watching him get black balled out of the league by NFL owners, Scadlock was inspired to kneel, too.

Watching Kaepernick take a knee, make various donations, as well as what he advocated for, also inspired Scadlock to learn more about how capitalism, systemic racism, and oppression affect African Americans and all people of color in the United States.

“The police brutality that is done onto black bodies is one of the many issues black people deal with every day, and as kneeling became a symbol for acknowledging and resisting these issues, I actually just started to feel more and more uncomfortable standing for the anthem,” Scadlock said. “Like [Kaepernick], I no longer felt like I could stand and take pride in being a part of a country that has these issues and to kneel was to at least address their existence.”

Good news! There are 200 or so other countries in this great world of ours. Perhaps Scadlock will be moving to one of them after graduation. If he thinks that America treats blacks unfairly, wait until he visits Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Japan and so on.

Where does Scadlock get this nonsense about “black bodies?” There is nothing wrong with Scadlock taking a few Africana Studies courses at Williams and receiving the Joy James view of the world. The problem arises when no one at Williams dares to challenge him, no one takes the trouble — and runs the risk, c.f. Dean Dave’s demotion — to show Scadlock the other side of the story.

Scadlock and Williams College men’s basketball head coach, Kevin App, have a great relationship, so when he made up his mind that he was going to begin kneeling, he wanted to let him know ahead of time in case people saw it at a game and began speculating. Scadlock thought it was important to make sure they were on the same page and explained to him why he was making the decision.

“I think the aspect of the discussion and further action is more important than just kneeling,” Scadlock said. “Some people have the privilege of being able to ignore these issues while black people have to deal with them every day.”

Ahh, yes. Every day. The virulent racism of Williams College weighs down on poor Kyle Scadlock every damn day. I blame Maud Mandel . . .

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Making the Williams Record a First Class College Newspaper

The new Editor-in-chief of the Williams Record is Danny Jin, supported by new Managing Editors Nicholas Goldrosen and Jane Petersen. How might they turn the Record into a first class college newspaper?

First, have a clear goal. Williams, as a smaller college, will never be able to support a daily paper like The Harvard Crimson or the Yale Daily News. But there is no reason why individual articles in the Record shouldn’t be just as good as those in other college papers. Right now, they are far, far worse.

Second, institute beats for individual reporters/teams. The Crimson and YDN — like every (?) professional paper — use “beats,” defined areas of focus for a given reporter. The Record should do the same. Admissions would be one beat, Administration another. Others might include the Endowment, Local News, Student Organizations and Faculty. With more reporters, we might add beats for each individual class. The Arts and Sports reporters at the Record already do a reasonable job, not least because, over time, they develop expertise in their topics. The same model should apply elsewhere.

Third, recruit more students. To be fair, the Record does try to recruit. But, if Jin/Goldrosen/Petersen want to turn it into a first class paper, they need to try harder, not least by appealing to students self-interest. The pitch is:

So, you want to go into finance? Cool! How are you going to learn about the finance world? How are you going to demonstrate your expertise to future employers? Simple! Become a reporter for the Record and write (almost) every week about the endowment. This will force you to become an expert on the Williams endowment specifically and on college endowments, and institutional investing, in general. Even better: After a few years, you will have a collection of articles to catch the interest of Wall Street firms.

The same sort of pitch applies in other areas:

So, you want to go into consulting/business? Cool! How are you going to learn about the business world? How are you going to demonstrate your expertise to future employers? Simple! Become a reporter for the Record and write (almost) every week about the Williams budget. This will force you to become an expert on Williams spending specifically and on the management of elite colleges, and other large organizations, in general. Even better: After a few years, you will have a collection of articles to catch the interest of consulting firms.

Nothing impresses a potential employer more than demonstrated expertise on a real world topic, gained outside of class. A similar pitch could be given to students with other interests.

Fourth, annualize the coverage. The yearly rhythms of the College provide a simple structure around which to organize coverage. Each year, there should be an article about endowment returns, each of the 4 trustee meetings, early admissions, regular admissions, First Days, Claiming Williams and so on. This might appear repetitive, but Williams, like all multi-century institutions, has a heartbeat, one which can be used to structure your reporting. An annualized coverage also allows for the development, over time, of real expertise. If you write about endowment returns each year then, eventually, you will start to ask some hard questions.

Fifth, talk to critics. The single most embarrassing thing about today’s Record is that it almost never talks to critics of the College. (Compare that behavior to how the Crimson and the YDN operate.) Many articles are simple rehashings of Williams press releases.

The Record could be a great paper. Will Danny Jin make it so?

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Ze/Zir/Zirs

A student writes:

Every semester, students are asked to update their personal information in the PeopleSoft Student Portal. Here’s a part of that process…so many options!

1) Is this another one of those annoying EphBlog parodies? Maybe! What do you think?

2) It is real! Would you have predicted this when EphBlog started in 2003. I would not have!

3) How do the answers that students provide affect official college reporting, as with the Common Data Set? My guess is that they have no effect. You can change your pronouns if you want, but Williams still records your gender as you selected it in the Common App.

3) What will Williams be asking its students in 2035? My guess would be that students will be allowed to change the official race and gender that the College records. What do you predict?

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