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Williams Men’s Tennis (#9) Late-Season Update

It’s another good year for the men’s tennis team.

After dropping the first match of the weekend against Bowdoin, the Williams College Ephs (ranked #9 in NCAA DIII) bounced back to defeat the Bates College Bobcats (unranked in NCAA DIII), 7-2.

The Ephs controlled both singles and doubles play, losing only one match in each to snap their three-match losing streak. The victory brought Williams to 7-7 (.500) to finish off the regular season, including a 5-3 record against NESCAC opponents.

This Friday, the Ephs travel to Middlebury College to kick off the NESCAC championships. The championships will take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (May 3, 4, and 5).

Source: https://ephsports.williams.edu/sports/mten/2018-19/releases/20190428u0bo29

 

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 4 of 5

By this point in the video, I assume more of the white male representatives are tearing up. Normally, these tears should humanize them in the eyes of their abusers. In this case, however, they only enrage SO and IB. I believe it is fairly common for abusers to think they have the right, the authority, and even the righteous responsibility to tell others how they should react. That’s exactly what we see in this next portion of the video. FYI: You can also see how SO and IB interacted with each other for dramatic effect.

Start – 56:17

IB: What’s wrong with you?

SO: And do not look at…don’t look at us with tears.

IB: I don’t want your tears.

SO: I don’t want that. I want anger. You should all be f***ing angry. I…I sat there and I had to f***ing listen to every single person. While I was siting there like my voice is not f***ing…I could not f***ing speak! I WANTED SO BAD TO TELL HIM TO F*** YOURSELF. F*** YOURSELF. F***. ALL OF YA SHOULD ALL F*** YOURSELF.

IB: You had to be real nice.

SO: But I had to be real nice to get some f***ing money. So all you had to say was f***ing motion, I approve. What the f***. You should be f***ing angry.

IB: You just told me ‘You got the money so you should be quiet.’ That’s f***ing crazy, son. (HITS DESK) I can’t believe this man said that to me in my face. You got your money so you should be quiet. What the f***?! That’s what they say. Right. You got your financial aid, shut the f*** up. Right?! You got your little house. Right. You got your little food. Right. Shut the f*** up. You don’t need nothing else. You got your job at the best institution in the f***ing school So you shouldn’t ask for nothing else. Right? We made it number one. You couldn’t be number one without me. Period. So what’s the word?! Every time we ask for something, you’all grant it, your rating stays up. So what the hell is the part of the equation. I don’t get it, son. You only go to the number one liberal arts school because I’m here, n***er. Period

If we weren’t here could you possibly be? Or would you be some white exclusionary school who can’t do diversity. What?! So when we…try. What do you think we do when we do black previews? We retain pre-frosh. Fool! What’s wrong with you people?! I just don’t get it. You just said ‘You got your money. Stop talking. Why did you come back?’ Because you thought we had no honor. You said you got to come. You sucked it up. (SPAGHETTI SUCKING SOUND) What are we here for? To vomit it back out. We tired, son. I’m sorry. We couldn’t do it this time. You love it when we swallow. We couldn’t do it. Can’t believe that we just got told that to our face. That’s the level of respect that you have for me. Just in case you was confused with what you said to me.

When I heard IB make that spaghetti sucking sound on the video it reminded me of that moment in Silence of the Lambs where Hannibal Lecter tells Agent Starling that he once got a questionnaire from a census taker and reacted by killing him, cooking up his liver, and eating it with fava beans and a nice Chianti. (SPAGHETTI SUCKING SOUND)

It is clear that IB believes he is contributing to the U.S. News & World Report ratings of the school. I am guessing these thoughts are not original to him. They are most likely repeated among those who believe that their primary contribution to the school is that they provide evidence of diversity. In truth, these high ratings are more accurately seen as a consequence of the Williams College endowment. This endowment, and the school’s rural location, allow it to provide a high quality education at a lower than market price. The U.S. News & World Report rating gives Williams College an advantage, in part, because it is a comparative bargain.

IB: When you said you got your money and so you should be quiet. I don’t even remember what you said. Because you know you all look like you. That’s that’s that’s what happened. Because when I get angry and enraged and stuff like that I don’t have the time to give you the dignity…no, in fact, I have the time to give you the dignity you gave to me. Because that’s what it looks like. That’s what it looks like. It’s crazy, son.

He just said, ‘Yo. Yo. I got somewhere to go. Can you please stop?’ What?! I had somewhere to go two hours ago. I missed work…to plan this shit. I missed…I missed everything…to plan it. What could I possibly be doing that I have to go and do all these other things? What could possibly be taking up my time? Why I can’t do my homework? He came for my job. He said, ‘Why aren’t you at work right now?’ What? It almost drives me crazy. Why am I not at work? Why am I not sleeping at night? Why do I have? What?

So I can take out time during my middle of my day to not do homework next Wednesday, so we can create space for black frosh’s. You ain’t creating it. You were going to create it? You were going to create minority previews? You was going to do it? Or the black woman who always got to do the God damn thing going to come in this space and create it. You was going to create minority previews, right? Right. God damn.

I think that the conventional wisdom is that the abusive behavior illustrated in this controversial video is a result of the mistreatment the  black activist speakers have suffered earlier in their lives at the hands of the white majority. I’m not so sure. I know enough about verbal and physical abusers to recall that rage and controlling behavior can also be a side effect of drug and alcohol abuse. Inappropriate behavior is also more likely if you have gone without food or sleep…two issues mentioned by the verbally abusive students. If I was sitting in Maud Mandel‘s office, I would send both students to anger management classes. If either of them seeks counseling, I’m confident the therapist will ask what, if anything else, caused them to become “…angry and enraged and stuff like that.”

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 3 of 5

Sadly, the extraordinary scholarly excellence which initially attracted me to teach at Williams has been replaced by an intolerable level of bullying and indoctrination. As a student at Middlebury College, Dominic Aiello ’22, observed we are in a new era “…when students are encouraged to experience campus life as one long sequence of ideologically-inflicted psychic traumas.”

In this next section of the video, we get to see raw bigotry in action. According to Merriam-Webster, a bigot is “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” The transcript is particularly alarming because IB is demanding more space and more resources and more autonomy to live out his abhorrent ideology. Here, he addresses the issue of segregation. First by noticing it inside the room. Later by asking for more of it outside the room.

Start – 53:10

IB: I’m just so confused. Because I did the same comment. I did the same and I don’t care or understand how the logic. I just don’t get it. The critical thing of the room is on the ground. I just don’t get it. Could you dare? How? Are we witnessing this? Am I here today? Because I can’t believe this. The room is literally segregated.  Do you notice that?! Did you notice that? Because I noticed that from being here three seconds.

SO: Me too.

IB: What the hell! I just don’t understand it. Like how could you be so blind? I don’t know. Silence. Everyone goes back to talk to their fathers and their f***ing friends and all these God damn s*** and nothing gets to resolve. We just lose our breath. Right?

SO: Right? This is not a f***ing show.

IB:  I’m not f***ing performing for you. This is not a monologue we created. We didn’t practice the lines before we came here. This is the lines of life. We do this s*** every day. I was talking to my father. I was living my life. I had essays and labs. Leave things behind. But here I am. You didn’t have to do that today. You get to catch up on your homework. Don’t tell me you’all have hard work. Don’t tell me you tired. I’m sick and tired of white people telling me they’ve got f***ing s*** to do. Because this wasn’t in their schedule today and damn, it wasn’t in mine.

SO: Not in my schedule.

IB: But, yet. Here I am wasting time, energy and life. And what do I got to do? You know what I have to do after this? You know what we have to do after this? We gotta find a space and time and community to heal and resist. It looks something like…black previews. And then when we ask for point four of a budget, we get asked to f***ing include you. What the f***?! After we done dealt with this s***.

And we say I just want a little bit of a break. I just want a little bit of an affinity house. I just want a little bit of a not having to speak to Charles Derbyshire time. I just want to have to deal with all these things. And then to come back and get asked: ‘Can it, can it be everyone else?’ What the f***? Everyone else isn’t here right now. It’s just us. We had to leave the meeting just to be here…with you. With ya’all. It’s your job. It is your job right there. And your job right there. And your job right there to be doing the work. We tired!

At this point, it looks like more black students have arrived to support the CARE Now activists. As far as I can tell, SO addressed the room on her own earlier. She then contacted IB and requested that he come and defend her. She or IB may have also sent messages to other black students to join them at the College Council meeting. Ironically, this example of piling on illustrates one of the dangers John Derbyshire discussed in “The Talk: Nonblack Version” where he suggests things about blacks that white parents should warn their children about. Derbyshire cautions it is best to leave an area if a large number of blacks suddenly dominate a public space. IB recognizes the arrival of other black students and explains this show of force is a hallmark of black community.

IB: Another one. You see when you call community they come. That’s what community looks like. Not some minority black guy. What are you talking about? Community looks like…if I call YOU SHOW UP because we’re getting eviscerated, embarrassed in this space. We having to suck d*** and then tell you we don’t like the way it tastes.

That’s what’s happening today. Sure we got the money. But we sick and tired of having to beg, steal, barter, go into every f***ing office, suck some more d*** just to ask for some shit. That’s crazy! Just so that we can get more community. We didn’t ask to interrupt this space. But you have some way of intruding in ours. We didn’t ask for none of that and yet here…we…are. What’s wrong with you?

For me, the comments above represent an earthier, perhaps more accurate, expression of one of the core demands of CARE Now, the demand for affinity housing. As you may remember, the editorial board of the Williams Record was criticized by both The College Fix and Breitbart when it endorsed a CARE Now proposal which would essentially establish segregated housing on campus. This proposal was part of a larger a list of demands “calling upon the College’s trustees to fulfill their ‘obligation to the well-being and safety of its students, faculty and staff’,” according to The Williams Record.

As Maud Mandel noted in her recent letter, many schools are dealing with the conflict between affinity housing and integration. Given the video above, I cannot imagine a worse decision than to give more power and resources to verbally abusive students. It seems particularly dangerous to empower them while also leaving them more isolated, insular, and unaccountable to others.

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 2 of 5

All in all, I’m most impressed with the bearing and peacemaking of TW. After reviewing the video, he looks like both the strongest and most gracious person in the room. When too many of his fellow students absorbed the CARE Now speakers’ verbal abuse without comment, TW stood up to these bigots. Maud Mandel should give him some sort of award.

Start – 51:18

TW: When you were sitting here and you were in discussion, I observed the regular order and I gave you a certain parliamentary respect that we do, and I would just ask in your conversation with me that you preserve that same respect.  Now, the first thing…the first thing, when you referred to what I was writing. What I was writing down was in reference to what you were saying…it was a note of sort. And, you mentioned that why isn’t black previews called minority previews? And that was something that was said in here. That was something that I found problematic. It was, it was, it was never suggested in here that black previews be called minority previews. I think that’s where, kind of…

SO: This is on?! You’all wanna to run it back? Actually how many people remember me?

WH: I’ll respond to that. I, I was the person who said that.

SO: Oh. You have the minutes?

WH: I can respond. I was the person who said that. That was just a comment about the inclusive nature. I think that what you said and what other people in this room said resolved my, all of my concerns about the inclusive nature of your event.

SO: How long did that take? How long did that take? Very f***ing long. For you. For you, your problems to get resolved. I had to f***ing sit here. I had practice at 8:00 o’clock. I did not have time for ya n***ers.

IB: Have you eaten today?

SO: I have not f***ing eaten today! BECAUSE YA DUMB ASS N***ERS WANTA F***ING TALK! Inclusion. Inclusion. FUCK YOUR INCLUSION! (HITS TABLE) BECAUSE I’M F***ING EXCLUDED. How many people look like you in this f***ing room right now?! How many people?!

WH: One!

This was the only, mercifully comic moment in the video. You cannot deny the sheer logic of WH’s surprising response. After all, he doesn’t have a twin brother in the room. I think the culture of open antagonism at Williams would improve if more white students showed this sort of quick thinking and courage.

Williams College student confronts white College Council representatives on April 9, 2019. She asks: “How many people in this room look like you?”

Next, one of the things that strikes me as extremely odd about this bigoted tirade is the way the black student activists repeatedly address the white student representatives as n***ers. I have never seen that before. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that this is another way that black activist students lord their power over their vulnerable liberal white peers. Since white students are socially prohibited from using the word “n***ers,” the black students are taunting them with the fact that only they can use this offensive language. I wonder if conversations about race at Williams might be improved if there was a new social compact where a white person can call a black person a n***er, but only if the black person called the white person a n***er first?

SO: What the…? ARE YOU BLIND, MY N***ER? WHAT DO YOU MEAN ONE?! YOU’RE A WHITE MAN! I can count f***ing how many? Literally this f***ing row. They look like you! Who is the black woman who look like me?

IB: You look like her?

WH: No.

IB: Oh, okay. What the hell!

SO: Great. At least you know something. Now I know why you got to Williams.

At this point, I would think the students representatives would begin to wonder about the inclusiveness of the black preview event being planned by CARE Now. If this is how CARE Now leaders treat elected student representatives, then how much more vile might they be to a white man who stops by to get a taste of the free fried chicken? A week later, at the April 16 College Council meeting, many of the white men who were verbally abused by these CARE Now leaders decided not to show up. It was so bad the College Council struggled to attract the minimum number of representatives needed to start the meeting and conduct their business.

If student leaders like TW or WH feel unwelcome at the College Council meetings, then I think it is time to rethink those meetings. The campus needs more people like them, not less.

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CARE Now and Grievance Studies

The final demand of the CARE Now Petition is “the establishment of enrollment options and teaching fellowships in Native Studies, Trans Studies, Disability Studies, and Fat Studies.” Their reasoning goes as follows:

These fields have historically been underrepresented and are absent from intellectual discourse at Williams and beyond. The current political climate on campus attests to student demand for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary studies challenging the hegemony of traditional systems of knowledge. The Interdisciplinary Studies program at Williams must provide greater tangible support for courses and faculty research that fall outside the backing of departmental programs. The creation of new enrollment options and teaching fellowships in Native, Trans, Disability, and Fat Studies comprises a crucial step toward legitimizing scholars participating in marginalized fields of inquiry and creating experimental epistemologies, as well as providing perspectives benefitting the subjects of those disciplines.

A year ago, a group of three professors dubbed these identity studies “grievance studies” after they famously got a number of bogus papers published in highly regarded journals in social sciences, gender studies, and sexuality studies. One of these papers posited that dog humping at a Portland dog park was evidence of rape culture. Another rewrote a portion of Mein Kampf in the language of intersectionality. The YouTube video series chronicling this hoax is very entertaining; I encourage all to watch.

These three professors sought to show these fields are politically rather than intellectually charged. Beginning from premises such as “whiteness is evil,” it becomes easy to reach absolutely absurd conclusions, and any number of arguments can be encoded in the elite language of these areas of study. The question then arises, If these fields cannot distinguish real scholarship from bullshit, what is their value?

Interestingly, the crux of CARE Now’s demand for teaching fellowships in these departments is not that they have any established intellectual value or success. At best these are “experimental” fields of inquiry, a phrase which could describe just about any discipline ever conceived. Rather, they claim the reason the college should embrace these fields is simply because there is a “student demand” for them. While this is not altogether a bad argument, it does redefine the purpose of the university: Rather than a place of genuine scholarship, under these demands, Williams College merely exists to cater to the interests of its student body.

I would argue that there must exist some external criterion of scholarship that must be met for a field to be recognized by the college. Perhaps one could be, Can genuine scholarship be distinguished from bogus scholarship in this field? Or rather, are the ends of a given field to pursue a real line of inquiry, or to reinforce a preconceived political philosophy?

Of course, subjects can be valuable for other reasons (namely, vocational)–music and business come to mind as examples. And if the proposed subjects truly are experimental epistemologies sincerely interested in unbiased inquiry, then I welcome them. I merely suggest that the premises of these fields be addressed with greater scrutiny. Ultimately, however, the demand for enrollment options in native studies, trans studies, fat studies, and disability studies is unrealistic at this time for Williams. There are already greater demands for more enrollment options in pre-established fields of study on campus–for example, the expansion of the computer science department or revitalization of the linguistics department. Currently, CARE Now’s demand is not in the best interest of the student body or the college’s legacy, and if administration appeases this group (which is doubtful), it will create a dangerous precedent for how college resources are allocated.

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Williams Golf Victorious Over NYU

More from the sports desk:

Though they fought hard, NYU could not catch the Williams Ephs during the second day of the Vassar Invitational. The Ephs held a comfortable nine stroke lead over the Bobcats going into today’s round but nine strokes among four counting scores is only a little over two strokes per player to make up. The Ephs still had to post a solid second day score to clinch the victory. NYU battled hard to post a 305 today, five strokes better than their first day score of 310. The Ephs lost some ground with a 308 today but were still able to hold onto the lead by six strokes. The Ephs won the tournament with a two-day total of 609, NYU placed second with 615, and Wellesley rounded up the top three with 639.

Source: https://ephsports.williams.edu/sports/wgolf/2018-19/releases/20190421rmr8ed.

I don’t know how good NYU is at golf, but it’s always impressive to hear about Eph wins, especially over larger schools!

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 1 of 5

CARE Now activists at Williams College have participated in the heart-warming chant: “I love you, I love me, I love us, I love we.” They may need to change it after two of them unloaded their vile hatred on an unsuspecting group of white liberal students. Williams College president, Maud Mandel, may soon hear a new, more accurate chant: “I hate you, I hate me, I hate us, I hate we.”

To better understand the dysfunctional culture of Williams College, I thought it would helpful to review a transcript of the anti-white rant delivered by two prominent black student leaders at the April 9, 2019 College Council meeting. The title of this series refers to a comment made by a student activist who responds to the tears of the victims by saying, “Don’t look at us with tears. I don’t want that. I want anger.”

Alarmingly, one of these students serves on a college search committee for the next Director of Dining Services.

Although the details of this controversial video have so far eluded The Williams Record, they have been reported on and discussed at a number of on-line sites including  Anonymous Political Scientist, Big League Politics, Campus WatchEphblog, Free RepublicInstapundit, Legal InsurrectionTea Party and the national-level, student-reported The College Fix.

The Williams College Council attempted to suppress access to this disturbing video by taking it off of their Facebook page. Thankfully, alert students preserved a copy and posted it on YouTube. I have adjusted the start of this video so that it aligns with the transcript presented below. I’ll add in my commentary, as appropriate, over the course of the next five days.

I’ll start by saying that the female black activist creeps me out with her controlling, manipulative behavior. When I taught at Williams one of my area of focus was child abuse and neglect. I’m hypersensitive to verbal abuse. In the following exchange, SO calls the white students d***heads. Under normal circumstances, I would think one of the co-presidents should have warned her about her inappropriate language. If she persisted, they should have asked the sergeant-at-arms to escort her out of the meeting. Instead, the co-presidents allow her to verbally abuse the white students.

Start – 50:28

SO: And that’s valid too. Like, if you want to talk, you can talk. But seems like you’all…you…you had a lot to say. So where is it now?

WH: Thank you, guys. You should have gotten your money. You got money. Then I’m very happy if you got your money.

IB: Wow. Wow. That’s crazy.

SO: Say it to me.

Student Representative: I’m sorry this is so hard for you guys. I was just at the end. You know. (PAUSE) I don’t know what to say.

At this point, I can only assume that some of the white students in the room were tearing up as a consequence of the abusive language coming from IB and SO. The speakers apparently notice the tears and use the white student’s display of emotion to further their humiliation.

SO: This is white liberal s***.

IB: This is the s***, the tears…

SO: Because nobody wants to talk. Because you had a lot of questions. You had a lot of questions. And I’ve had classes with you. I know what kind of d***heads you are. I’ve had political science with you. It’s s*** that opens up all a yo white moderate f***ing liberal bullshit. I know the type of person you are. So what do you want to say?

WH: I haven’t taken a poly sci class here.

SO: I wasn’t talking to you.

WH: I’m sorry.

I like the way the white student, WH, pushes back on SO for making an inaccurate generalization. Her d***head comment is consistent with the suggestion that CARE Now activists are attempting rule Williams College through fear and intimidation. It will be interesting to see how, if at all, the Dean of the College or the Honor Committee take action to discipline these students. Even a modest sanction might improve what Maud Mandel has identified as a culture of open antagonism. At the very least, I don’t think either of these students should have a role in the hiring process at the school.

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College Council Meeting Notes

The College Council provides a solid archive of meeting notes, going back to 2009. Still, I am very sad that it does not go back further. Who else remembers the glorious notes of Jonathan Landsman ’05?

Sadly, CC refuses (?) to make the notes for current meetings publicly available, even to alumni and local residents. Pathetic. Fortunately, we have our sources!

The April 16 minutes are available to students. The central debate about WIFI is covered fairly well.

The April 23 minutes are not available for download, even to students. But our sources are clever, so they provided some screen shots. See below the break. Example:

A full zip archive of meeting notes since 2016 is here.

Key points:

1) It was stupid for the Falk administration to change the rules and force student groups to seek recognition from College Council even if they were not seeking funding. (Falk and Co did this to make life more difficult for dissident groups like Uncomfortable Learning.) Student organizations can be trusted with many important decisions — selecting JAs, distributing funding — but not with this one.

2) Excessive student powers will be used against all unpopular groups, not just those unpopular with the Administration. By the way, BDS has yet to hit Williams in a big way. What happens when it does?

3) If Maud is smart, she will change the Student Handbook this summer to allow any student group to be created by simply submitting a form with the Dean’s Office. This will allow the group access to all the basic tools — like room reservations — that it needs to function. CC does not need to fund it, but they can’t ban it.

4) There are plenty of rich Jewish alumni that Maud will try to raise money from over the next few years. What do you think their views are on this topic?

5) College Council should just make its meeting notes and livestream public. The truth will come out anyway and, perhaps more important, a public livestream encourages better behavior from your guests.

Screen shots of minutes for April 23:

Read more

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Inside the Purple Rubble

I had a chance to review the video of the April 16, 2019 College Council meeting. It looked like a bomb crater. Many of the young white men who were verbally abused by black student leaders at the April 9, 2019 meeting were notably absent. Without them, the College Council could not establish a quorum.

Williams College Council April 16, 2019

Their best idea? Reach out to the wounded members and let them know it was safe to come back? No. Not at all.

Instead, the representatives in the room jokingly recruited other students to serve as “proxies” for the missing white students. This, as any high school student would know, is not how proxies work. This scheme became even more problematic when they realized the students who have volunteered to be proxies are also the same people who will be asking for money – a clear conflict of interest.

NOTE: The Williams College Council has deleted the livestream of the appalling April 9, 2019 meeting. I’ve made a copy of the April 16, 2019 meeting. It would be great if someone would upload that to YouTube too along with a proper explanation of what is going on in it.

What was most troubling to me is there was absolutely no acknowledgement of the damage done. I saw no sense of corporate responsibility for the fact white students were basically boycotting the meeting.

One of the most cringe-worthy spectacles occurred when Bilal Ansari, the school’s first Muslim Chaplain and now the acting director of the Davis Center, addressed the students. Reading between the lines, it was clear to me that he knows Williams College would have been better off if the two black students vomiting out anti-white bigotry had worked through existing black- or minority-run campus groups instead of trying to create their own black preview events.

Ansari said that he understood the root causes of the student’s offensive tirade(s).

Nevertheless, he indicated (to the young white males who were not present) that he was there for them too. Bilal Ansari even added, as far as I can tell, they had every right to push back whenever they are targeted with racially charged verbal abuse.

I suppose that this should give well-meaning observers some comfort. If the school’s first Muslim Chaplain says it is okay for whites to resist anti-white hate speech, then perhaps no one should put up with it again.

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Williams Initiative for Israel

A student reports that “Apparently there was huge commotion at CC last [Tuesday] night. I expect this to be picked up by national news outlets as the details of what happened are revealed.” From the Record:

Last night, College Council (CC) voted 13–8 with one abstention to reject a request from the Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI) to become a registered student organization. The vote came a week after the club’s request was tabled at a previous CC meeting, and the meeting involved nearly two hours of protracted and heated debate among both CC members and a large number of guests attending.

Before the debate began, numerous members and guests expressed concerns that publicly revealing the names of those speaking, as CC has previously done to some extent through livestreams on its Facebook page and published minutes accessible to students at the College, would make students feel unsafe and prevent them from fully expressing their opinions. Several members and guests cited national news coverage of College events in recent weeks, including cases where specific students were mentioned by name, as justification for these concerns. CC ultimately decided to publish anonymous minutes accessible only to students with College emails.

This is a developing story, occurring exceptionally close to our print deadline.

The minutes are here, but inaccessible to me. Could someone post them in a comment?

The video for last week has some interesting discussion starting at the 25 minute mark . . .

“The state of Israel, at least if it’s not completely illegal . . .”

It is one thing for leftist students on campus to attack random WASPs, especially WASPs who might be Republican. But when they go after mainstream (?) Jewish organizations, they may be treated very differently . . .

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Affinity Housing, 2

The Record editorialized in favor of “affinity housing,” one of the demands made by CARE Now to both President Mandel (pdf) and the trustees. This means, more or less, reserving/restricting specific houses for/to black/Hispanic/Asian students. I have some small acquaintance with the history/politics/propaganda of Williams housing, so let’s dive in. Day 2.

Note the subhead of the Record editorial:

Creating space for minoritized students

“[M]inoritized” is not a word that I recall from 10 or even 5 years ago. When did it first become common usage at Williams? For (at least) the last 50 years, before the Great Awokening, this would have been phrased: “Creating space for minority students.” Why the change?

My guess: “minoritized” is now preferred to “minority” because a minority is what you are while being “minoritized” is something that is done to you. (Contrary opinions welcome!)

The longevity of this issue demonstrates that the call for affinity housing will not extinguish over time, so long as the College fails to address the residential needs of the marginalized members of its community.

This is the opposite of the truth. That the College has successfully resisted calls for black-only housing for 50 years indicates that it is likely to be able to do so forever. Moreover, the primary purpose of Neighborhood Housing, instituted more than a decade ago and then abandoned, was to prevent student self-segregation, primarily of African-Americans and male helmet-sport athletes. Williams does not care if black students constantly campaign for affinity housing. It has successfully stymied their preferences for five decades!

Furthermore, affinity housing has successfully been implemented by many of the College’s peer institutions, including Amherst, Bates and Wesleyan.

Evidence? If only Williams had a competent student paper which might, you know, report on what is happening at other schools. If the Amherst theme houses are so successful, then why are students only allowed to live in them for 2 years?

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Tolerate their Membership?

New Eph Parent? says:

As a parent whose child will decide this week whether to accept Williams’ offer of admission, I’d like to be encouraged by this letter, but President Mandel’s appeal to mutual respect seems like an attempt to turn back the clock. Respect is appropriate when people of good will have differences of opinion; that’s the old liberal model that those of us in Maud’s generation grew up with. But what is its place when power, oppression and “discursive violence” are at stake? If someone’s views are oppressing or harming me, why should I extend them respect? Why should I even tolerate their membership in the community?

If discourse is understood as a communal journey toward the truth, it can be respectful. If it is understood as a struggle for power it will be “intolerant and harsh.” The tone this letter laments follows naturally from what is being taught in the classroom.

Good questions!

I hope that your child chooses Williams and that you join us as an author at EphBlog!

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Affinity Housing, 1

The Record editorialized in favor of “affinity housing,” one of the demands made by CARE Now to both President Mandel (pdf) and the trustees. This means, more or less, reserving/restricting specific houses for/to black/Hispanic/Asian students. No one knows more about the history/politics/propaganda of Williams housing than I do, so let’s dive in. Day 1.

Start with the Record:

Affinity housing, the third of CARE Now’s 12 demands, has been advocated for by students as early as 1969, when the Afro-American Society, which occupied Hopkins Hall in demonstration, named affinity housing as one of its demands.

Has anyone at the Record talked to someone who could explain this history? I doubt it! Although I occasionally hold out hope for individual reporters, like Arrington Luck, the Record, as an organization, is positively amateurish in its refusal to seek out knowledgeable sources. It is true that, for 50 years, students have wanted racial segregation in housing and the College has refused to provide it. Does that tell you something? It should!

The College did not respond to the Afro-American Society’s demands and has continually ignored such demands.

How stupid is the Record? The College has “respond[ed]” to these demands over and over and over again. The answer is always the same: No! If you choose to come to Williams, you are going to live in a building with students of a different race. Don’t want that? Go elsewhere.

We at the Record wholeheartedly support establishing affinity housing at the College.

Doesn’t the Record understand how Williams works? If you want actual change — as opposed to the childish pleasure of virtue-signalling on the front page — you support the creation of a high-profile committee.

[W]e must recognize that the College is a predominantly white institution in which students of color often feel tokenized, both in their residences and more broadly on campus.

Is the College really a “predominantly white institution” and, if so, how long will this continue? Whites, in the latest class at Harvard, are a minority. There are more Asian-Americans than whites, in raw numbers, at the highest levels of high school academic achievement. An actual news organization might, you know, do some reporting on this topic, might point out that, in the Williams class of 2022 (pdf), only 263 of the 533 students are white, non-Hispanic Americans. That is only 49%. White Americans are already a numerical minority among Williams first years.

The reason that black/Hispanic students “often feel tokenized” is, first, because the people that run Williams are, on this dimension at least, not very good at their jobs and, second, because these students often are, precisely, “tokens.” At least 50% (probably closer to 90%) of the black/Hispanic students at Williams would not have been accepted if they did not check that box.

Complete Record editorial and CARE Now demands below:
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Inside the Purple Rubble

The College Fix is linking to an article at Inside Higher Ed which reports that the committee created by President Maud Mandel last fall to make the school “both intellectually open and inclusive” plans to “focus on persuading, not ordering, student groups to avoid controversial speakers.” According to the committee chair, Prof. Jana Sawicki:

The goal is to not restrict who can speak on campus but to prompt the students who invite those guests to consider whether they have academic value and whether individual speakers’ views would offend minority students or make them feel harmed, she said, adding that speakers brought on campus by student groups are generally the most controversial.

One idea the committee floated was involving faculty advisers to student clubs in more of the discussions about which speakers to invite to the campus, Sawicki said. If a student group wanted to host a controversial speaker, the adviser could talk with the club members about whether they’d thought through how the speaker’s views would affect their peers, she said. The advisers, who currently are not involved in club operations, would never stop the students from hosting a speaker they wanted, Sawicki said.

The committee’s recommendations strike The College Fix as unrealistic. How, for example, can the school promote freedom of speech if the goal is to not offend minority students who have shown themselves to be intolerant of the views of even their white, liberal, elected student council representatives? One student was so offended by having to ask for funding for a black preview event that she went back later and called the white student representatives “d***heads.” As The College Fix reports:

Black student activists at Williams College are no shrinking violets. They took over a recent student government meeting, unloading a string of vulgarities against elected student leaders for allegedly favoring white students with more funding than black students get.

They used anti-gay and even anti-black language, if you can believe it: “to be here [at Williams] is like sucking white d*** every f***ing day.” “We want some money to f***ing cook some fried f***ing chicken and be n***ers.”

Williams College asks students not to invite speakers who ‘would offend minority students’

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CARE Now Demands

A fellow student commenter requested that I upload CARE Now’s 12-point request to President Mandel, emailed to the student body on April 17th. I won’t add anything to the discussion at this time, but I encourage all to read:
Letter to Maud

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Eph Pitcher Named NESCAC Pitcher of the Week

Some news from the sports desk:

College junior Rebecca Duncan (Simi Valley, CA) has been selected as the New England Small College Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week for play ending Sunday, April 21.

Duncan tossed a one-hit shutout in a 2-0 win over Amherst to allow the Ephs to clinch the NESCAC West Division. She did not allow a Mammoth hit until the sixth inning and finished the game with four strikeouts.

She is currently 10-2 from the circle with a 2.20 ERA while batting .324 this season with 2 home runs, 18 RBI and 18 runs scored.

The Ephs have won 15 straight games and clinched the NESCAC West Division crown Sunday. They are in action at home Wednesday for a doubleheader with Smith College beginning at 4 p.m.

Source: https://ephsports.williams.edu/sports/sball/2018-19/releases/20190422ohx70h.

This has been a good season for the Williams softball team, which could prove instrumental in Williams’ quest for a 22nd Directors Cup.

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Segregation Now!

Negative press for Williams College just got worse. Breitbart called national attention to the efforts of the editorial board of The Williams Record to promote segregated housing for black students on campus.

The editorial board for the student newspaper at Williams College is calling on the school implement racially segregated housing in order to make the college “a less harmful place” and become “a more inclusive institution.”

Williams College’s student newspaper echoed a proposal by a student group called Coalition Against Racist Education Now (CARE Now), which called on the school to implement racially segregated housing in order to make the college “a more inclusive institution,” according to The Williams Record.

CARE Now had recently released a list of twelve demands in an open letter, which included calling on the school’s trustees to fulfill their “obligation to the well-being and safety of its students, faculty and staff” by separating minority students from the rest of the campus body in order “take steps toward becoming a more inclusive institution.”

Breitbart’s reporting appeared just as The College Fix published a link to a controversial video in which two black student activists demanded their activities be funded with minimal control or supervision by the majority white College Council.

As a prominent black student leader told the student representatives: “Sure we got the money. But we are sick and tired of having to beg, steal, barter, go into every f***ing office, suck some more d*** just to ask for some s***. That’s crazy. Just so we can get more community. We did not ask to interrupt this space. But you have some way of intruding in ours.”

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Make Class/Professor Evaluations Available

Why doesn’t Williams have something like the Harvard Q Guide?

The Q evaluations provide important student feedback about courses and faculty. Many questions are multiple choice, though there’s room for comments as well. The more specific a student can be about an observation or opinion, the more helpful their response. Q data help students select courses and supplement Harvard’s Courses of Instruction, shopping period visits to classes and academic advising.

Faculty take these evaluations seriously – more than half logged on to view their students’ feedback last spring within a day of the results being posted. The Q strengthens teaching and learning, ultimately improving the courses offered at Harvard.

All true. The Q Guide works wonderfully, both providing students with more information as they select their courses and encouraging (some) faculty to take their undergraduate pedagogy more seriously. Consider STAT 104, the (rough) Harvard equivalent of STAT 201 at Williams. The Q Guide provides three main sources of information: students ratings of the class, student ratings of the professor, and student comments:

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Background Information (comments welcome):

1) Williams has Factrak, a service which includes some student evaluations.
FT

See below the break for more images. Factrak is widely used and popular. Representative quote:

Factrack is super popular here — sigh is dead wrong. Any student serious about their classes spends some time on that site during registration periods. I’ve also found the advice on the website to be instructive. Of course, it takes some time to sort out who is giving levelheaded feedback and who is just bitter about getting a bad grade, but once you do there is frequently a bounty of information regarding a particular Prof’s teaching style.

2) Williams students fill out student course survey (SCS) forms, along with the associated blue sheets for comments. None of this information is made available to students.

3) Nothing prevents Williams, like Harvard, from distributing this information, either just internally (as Harvard does) or to the world art large. Reasonable modifications are possible. For example, Harvard allows faculty to decline to make the student comments public. (Such an option allows faculty to hide anything truly hurtful/unfair.) First year professors might be exempt. And so on. Why doesn’t Williams do this?

  • Williams is often highly insular. We don’t make improvement X because we have never done X, not because any committee weighed the costs/benefits of X.
  • Williams cares less about the student experience than you might think.
  • Williams does not think that students lack for information about courses/professors. A system like Harvard’s is necessary for a large university. It adds little/nothing to Williams.
  • Williams faculty are happy to judge students. They dislike being judged by students, much less having those judgments made public.

Assume you were a student interested in making this information available to the Williams community. Where would you start?

On a lighter note, EphBlog favorite Professor Nate Kornell notes:Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 2.35.50 PM

Factrak screenshots below the break:

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Culture of Open Antagonism

One of my favorite conservative blogsites, Instapundit.com, has helped spread the word about what Maud Mandel has referred to as a “culture of open antagonism” at Williams College. Glenn Reynolds posted:

They told me if Donald Trump were elected president, America’s institutions would become hotbeds of racism and hate. And they were right! Black students explode in anger at white students in vulgarity-laced rant (VIDEO).

Plus: “We try to create space for us, it don’t work. We want some money to f***ing cook some fried f***king chicken and be n*****s for once, it don’t work. I just don’t get it.”

The folks who commented on Reynolds’ above post seem to a better grasp of the origins of this culture of open antagonism than she does.

The message, boiled down: “Give me money, and don’t ask any questions about it, or I’m going to brand you a racist.” These black students don’t ultimately care that they got the money. Instead, they are making a bid to rule the campus with fear.

This is the environment the Left is creating. It is ugly and chilling.

No one in the room had the decency to tell him his behavior was inappropriate and he should come back and speak when he calmed down? We are raising a generation of kneeling subjects…

 

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Maud on Campus Relations

An email from President Mandel this morning:

Williams students, faculty and staff,

I’m hearing from people throughout our community, representing a wide range of backgrounds and viewpoints, who are upset by some breakdowns in campus relations. Their perspectives are diverse: some are concerned about racism, others about a culture of open antagonism, and many about both of these and other issues, as well. The one thing many people seem to share is the sense that we have a problem at Williams.

I also see evidence of prejudice, insensitivity and disrespect. One recent example, not widely known, came late last week when someone tore down posters for a panel organized by Professor Joy James with two mothers from Chicago who were described in the poster as having lost their children to police violence, and who now organize for justice and love. There’s no conceivable justification for trying to undermine such an event. I’ve now learned that other posters and banners with political and social messages were also torn down or damaged this weekend. During a turbulent year especially, these acts seem symptomatic of bigger problems.

I’ve chosen recent examples, but the year has been punctuated by many concerning interactions for people of all kinds. My message today is not about apportioning blame. It’s about our overarching need to get back to a productive way of handling our differences.

The issues over which people are disagreeing right now are serious and valid. They’re also not just “Williams problems”: Campus attention to race relations is connected to national and global injustice. Conflicts over speech and speakers are roiling many schools. Work on affinity housing points to wider challenges with balancing integration and the right of free association. Tensions over how we disagree are characteristic of a societal problem with public discourse. A school like Williams absolutely should discuss these complex and important issues. When we do, conflicts will necessarily and even productively arise. Our goal shouldn’t be to avoid disagreement or dissent, but to develop ways of engaging in it without losing respect for each other as people.

I hope we can model this ideal in classrooms and dorm rooms, offices and alumni gatherings, joining in a campaign to improve our culture. Some people have expressed frustration that processes like Strategic Planning won’t make this happen quickly enough. I share the sense of urgency, but meaningful change often does take time: Time to make sure all points of view are surfaced, listened to and considered. Time to educate people on new ways of working and healthier ways of engaging with others. Time to figure out which investments will make the biggest, most sustainable impact on issues we care about. Organizations like Williams can do this deliberate work without sacrificing our ability to address more immediate challenges.

The way each of us acts affects the community as a whole. If we’re intolerant and harsh, it sets a norm for how we’ll be treated in return. To make Williams instead a place where everyone is valued, we’ll need to treat each other with respect when differences inevitably emerge. It’s up to each one of us, and all of us as a collective, to make it so.

Maud

This email is honestly fantastic. Thus far this year, Maud has been very controversy-averse (and I can’t blame her, in this environment), so it makes sense that she tries to appeal to all groups in this message. It is a shame that she does not refer directly to the CC meeting, but this would not be in her own interest.

That being said, it is doubtful that this message will accomplish much among the student body. Those who most need to internalize this message will assume they are not the ones being discussed. It would be wonderful if students could collectively hold each other more accountable henceforth.

This is a good move for administration. It may allow for administration to gradually become less tolerant of the abuse that has become typical of the more radical left groups on campus.

I’d love to hear what others think of Maud’s email.

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“Why Aren’t You Listening?” — Full Livestream Reupload

For anyone who cares about the past, present, and future of Williams College, this video is a vital historical document of campus life in 2019. College Council’s decision to remove it from their Facebook page was, I assume, an unfortunate concession to student activist demands that all this stuff be kept under the table. I’m a current student who luckily saved a copy of the livestream from that meeting just before they took it down this weekend.

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Listening at the Great Awokening

The great Darel E. Paul, professor of political science, published a well-researched and thoughtfully organized article at Areo on how the new identity politics has taken hold at schools across the nation. He connects the dots which show how identity politics has become a staple at schools as different as Williams, Sarah Lawrence, Evergreen State College and Yale.

Listening at the Great Awokening

Colleges and universities across the English-speaking world are caught up in the enthusiasm of a Great Awokening. Its dogmas are structural violence, systemic racism, racial stress, white privilege, white fragility, implicit bias and microaggressions. From the University of Missouri to Evergreen State College to Sarah Lawrence College and beyond, faculty and students are ablaze with the fire of social justice.

In Paul’s view, liberal arts colleges are particularly likely to get wrapped up in the dogma of critical race theory because they lack – by definition – traditional STEM programs like business, medicine, engineering and agriculture. He reports that predictably “…this spring the Great Awokening finally came to my home institution, Williams College.” Unfortunately for Williams, Paul writes that the school seems unpleasantly close to being another Evergreen State College.

Administrators and other campus leaders have encouraged white members of the college community like myself to listen. Over the past two months, I have striven to do exactly that. In fact, I’ve done quite a lot of listening (and reading). I have spent dozens of hours listening at meetings and reading copious documents produced by activist students and faculty. I have also watched videos and read documents resulting from the racial blowups at Yale University in 2015, Evergreen State College in 2017 and Sarah Lawrence College in 2019. Listening to these views from multiple campuses helped me realize that what seems to be a local discourse responding to local issues is actually a local manifestation of an international social, political and ideological phenomenon. All the accents and cadences of critical race theory can be identified. Williams, Sarah Lawrence, Evergreen and Yale could really be Any Residential College in Any Town.

Paul notes that the folks promoting critical race theory are ultimately leading us into a Soviet Union style educational system where truth matters very little. All that matters is whether research and teaching supports the dominant ideology.

Just as critical race theory can destroy knowledge, it can likewise destroy institutions premised upon the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge. Thanks in large part to the influence of critical race theory, Evergreen State College melted down in Spring 2017. The concrete results of that meltdown included numerous faculty resignations, a catastrophic collapse in enrollments, layoffs, budget cuts and worldwide humiliation. Every institution of higher education should learn the lessons of Evergreen, for history is wont to repeat itself―the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Areo is an opinion and analysis digital magazine focused on current affairs — in particular: humanism, culture, politics, human rights, science, and free expression.

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The Purple Rubble

The College Council has removed from its Facebook account a controversial video. This video captured an example of profane, incendiary, anti-white bigotry directed at white student representatives by one of the most prominent black student leaders at Williams College on June 9, 2019.

The video featured a long, stream-of-consciousness rant saying, in part, “…to be here is like sucking white d*** every f***ing day.”

“You want a discussion and dialogue. Here’s the f***ing dialog. We don’t have dialogue, because every time we try to talk to you we get shut down by the white moderate, white liberal bull***t.”

A link to the video was published on Ephblog on April 15, 2019. A partial transcript appeared at the Anonymous Political Scientist blog on that same day. Finally, The College Fix published a link to the video on April 19, 2019. The College Fix is a national-level conservative website where student journalists write on topics in higher education.

NOTE: A heavily redacted transcript of the June 9, 2019 meeting is still available at 4_9 Minutes.

According to the Williams Record, black student activists planned a demonstration to protest their treatment by the College Council. It was canceled, however, after links to the video rant were published at various on-line sites.

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Why Aren’t You Listening? – A Student’s Perspective

For those who have not seen yet, The College Fix published an article the other day on the recent College Council meeting, which featured an, er, interesting exchange between fellow students. The article contains a partial transcript and link to the video feed from the meeting.

We ought to frame this meeting in its larger context: Students requested money for a Black Previews event from CC. These students were questioned thoroughly about the nature of the event and the money requested. They were ultimately granted the money necessary. That is, these students went through the same process as all do when requesting money.

I can’t imagine anyone would regard navigating the bureaucracy of College Council to request funds a particularly delightful experience. Many clubs have been the cause of the creation of subcommittees to monitor their funding, and many, too, have seen their budgets slashed. Let us disregard, then, the fact that Black Previews is an event that merits its own debate–these black activists were angry because they faced the same process as every other student does, and they responded with what can only be described as the verbal abuse of their classmates.

There may be some very real problems with College Council, but to discuss these with the rhetoric of racism is irresponsible and exploitative: Irresponsible because it is a disservice to the real instances of institutional and intentional racism both on campus and beyond. Exploitative because it takes advantage of the social norms in place and the average student’s desire to be agreeable and, well, not racist. Any disagreement, any objection to this abusive diatribe would have immediately been deemed racist, and this was no subtlety in the rhetorical strategy of the two speakers. “You want to have free speech? You want to have a debate?” Isaiah says at one point. “You want to be racist? Say some s*** now.” They then correct themselves to say that their offer to respond was sincere, and when someone does respond to them–to express his remorse for their struggle–the activists proceed to liken the heads of their fellow students to a bunch of reproductive organs. Tough to respond when the person you’re talking to believes your speaking up (even if you’re on their side!) is also an indication of your being racist, and they respond with puerile (but perhaps still hurtful) insults.

What is most lamentable about this whole debacle, however, is that the students not only accept this kind of attack, but dignify it. One student cites the “moving” nature of the speech as a reason to discuss it further. Another merely says he is glad the activists received their money after the quality of his eyesight is called into question (“Are you blind?!”). Another claims the CC bylaws are violent to people of color. Dignifying students like these grants power to this type of discourse. Students at Williams have a responsibility to preserve a respectful exchange of ideas among a student body that contains some of the brightest minds of our generation. As the political climate becomes dominated by tactics of intimidation and antagonism, we sacrifice perhaps the most noble quality of our campus: its ideological diversity and the exchange of those ideologies.

It is a fascinating time of political discourse at Williams and similar institutions. Coming from a hometown that was plagued with conservative and religious dogma, I realize now the parallels between the radical left and evangelicals of the south. I do hope this is a short-lived fad rather than the beginning of a longer trend, though history would indicate otherwise.

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The Left Eats Its Own Café

Over at The College Fix this morning, there is an article by Rory Walsh reporting on the  shocking livestream video posted on Facebook by the College Council.

Black students explode in anger at white students in vulgarity-laced rant (VIDEO)

In his article, Walsh provides us with redacted examples of the profane language used by I.B. as he called out liberal white student representatives for the way they dealt with an earlier request by S.O. for funding for a preview event for black students.

“… It’s time for you’all to figure this sh*t out and check yourself because I’m really losing it,” he said. “We are f***ing tired of having to come and beg and suck d***. And of course when we come and do it we face problems all the f***ing time.”

“… Every time to be here is like sucking white d*** every f***ing day,” he said. “Closing our mouths every f***ing day just to be here. And if we dare ask for a little bit of time, money and space we gotta suck some more d***. … It is so frustrating. It’s so tiring … to be here. To deal with you’all.”

“We keep our heads down, it don’t work,” he said. “We try to create space for us, it don’t work. We want some money to f***ing cook some fried f***king chicken and be n*****s for once, it don’t work. I just don’t get it.”

Walsh cites comments I made at my Anonymous Political Scientist blogsite too. He notes I had observed the video “…is an excellent example of the sort of political abuse that tore down Evergreen State College.”

Walsh reports that The College Fix attempted to reach several members of the College Council as well as administration for a statement. They have yet to respond.

The comments on Walsh’s article are generally adverse to the student activists.

Another tasty serving at The Left Eats Its Own Café.

What the Alt Left doesn’t understand is that white people aren’t out to get black people; they are just exhausted with them. They are exhausted by the social pathologies, the violence, the endless complaints, the blind racial solidarity, the bottomless pit of grievances, the excuses, and the reflexive animosity.

Williams is about as left wing as a functioning college can be. Blacks need to move across the river to SUNY Albany.

You’re not trying to create a community. You’re trying to create a segregated, black racist bubble. The campus in its entirety is your community, and if you don’t like it, you can always transfer.

Just for the record: I’m not Black and I love fried chicken.

According to his biography, Rory Walsh studies industrial labor relations, American politics, and business at Cornell University. He has interned for former New York Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. After completing his undergraduate degree he plans to study law and business.

 

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Restoring Free Speech

From The Wall Street Journal last month:

While opinions differ sharply about President Trump, everyone can agree he speaks plainly. On Thursday he issued an executive order supporting free speech on campus.

It is too early to say how much good the president’s executive order will do, but it was long past time for the federal government to face up to the rot of political correctness and intolerance that is subverting the American educational establishment. There are some points of light. The so-called Chicago Statement, for example, named for a declaration of principle from the University of Chicago, embraces open and robust debate even about subjects that “some or even by most members of the University community [find] offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed.” Several institutions have endorsed that document.

But many others, including some of the most prestigious, reject it outright. Students and professors at Williams College, confronted with an initiative to adopt the Chicago principles last year, took “grave issue” with its “premises” and warned of “the potential harm it may inflict upon our community.” You might have thought that supporting free speech was an obvious good. Not so fast. The Williams activists declared that the notion “has been co-opted by right-wing and liberal parties as a discursive cover for racism, xenophobia, sexism, anti-semitism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and classism.”

The authors of the Williams counterpetition made a show of demanding greater diversity at the 226-year-old Western Massachusetts school. But it’s long been obvious that calls for “diversity” usually amount to demands for strict intellectual and moral conformity on contentious issues. By that inverted standard, a campus is more “diverse” the fewer voices it tolerates.

This is precisely the situation that the president’s executive order promoting free speech on campus is designed to address. That its effect is likely to be more hortatory than coercive may be an advantage, not a liability, since serious reform of these institutions will come about not from the imposition of a law but a change of heart. The prospect of losing federal dollars is one sort of incentive. The spectacle of those passionate, articulate and besieged young students may prove to be an even greater one.

The only “change of heart” I have seen at Williams over the last 30 years is an ever-increasing restriction about what students, or their invited guests, are allowed to say. Will Maud Mandel change that? I don’t know. Any rumors on how the process is going?

Meanwhile, things have gone from bad to worse at Middlebury:

Middlebury College has canceled [yesterday] a campus speech by conservative Polish Catholic philosopher Ryszard Legutko in response to planned protests by liberal activists.

A professor of philosophy at Jagiellonian University and a member of the European Parliament, Legutko was scheduled to speak Wednesday at the Vermont college’s Alexander Hamilton Forum, delivering a lecture entitled “The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies.”

The liberal activists took issue with Legutko’s pointed critiques of multiculturalism, feminism, and homosexuality, calling them “homophobic, racist, xenophobic, [and] misogynistic.”

“Inquiry, equity, and agency cannot be fostered in the same space that accepts and even elevates homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic discourse,” they demand. “Bigotry of any kind should not be considered a form of inquiry.”

The chairmen of both departments denied the activists requests, defending the event on grounds of academic freedom. But hours before the event was scheduled, Middlebury Provost Jeff Cason and Vice President for Student Affairs Baishakhi Taylor sent a campus-wide email indicating the lecture was canceled.

NESCAC schools may have started by banning people like John Derbyshire. They are now banning (right-wing) members of the European parliament. Where will this end?

I am having breakfast with one of the most powerful Middlebury alumni on Friday. What questions should I ask him?

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Choose Williams Over Harvard

In celebration of previews, reasons why you should choose Williams.

There are several hundred high school seniors¹ who have been admitted to both Williams and Harvard (and Yale and Princeton and Stanford and . . .). Fewer than 10% of them will choose Williams over these more famous schools. Some of them are making the right choice. They will be better off at Harvard, for various reasons. But at least half of them are making the wrong choice. They (you?) would be better off at Williams. Why?

1) Your professors would know your name. The average Harvard undergraduate is known by name to only a few faculty members. Many students graduate unknown to any faculty. The typical professor at Harvard is primarily concerned with making important contributions to her field. The typical professor at Williams is primarily concerned with educating the undergraduates in her classes. Consider this post by Harvard professor Greg Mankiw, who taught EC 10a/10b, the equivalent of Williams ECON 110/120, to over 750 students each year.

Being an ec 10 section leader is one of the best teaching jobs at Harvard. You can revisit the principles of economics, mentor some of the world’s best undergraduates, and hone your speaking skills. In your section, you might even have the next Andrei Shleifer or Ben Bernanke (two well-known ec 10 alums). And believe it or not, we even pay you for this!

If you are a graduate student at Harvard or another Boston-area university and have a strong background in economics, I hope you will consider becoming a section leader in ec 10 next year. Applications are encouraged from PhD students, law students, and master’s students in business and public policy.

Take a year of Economics at Harvard, and not a single professor will know your name. Instead, you will be taught and graded by (poorly paid) graduate students, many with no more than a BA, often not even in economics! But, don’t worry, you will be doing a good deed by providing these students with a chance to “hone” their “speaking skills.”

2) You will get feedback on your work from faculty at Williams, not from inexperienced graduate students. More than 90% of the written comments (as well as the grades) on undergraduate papers at Harvard are produced by people other than tenured (or tenure track) faculty. The same is true in science labs and math classes. EC 10 is a particularly egregious example, but the vast majority of classes taken by undergraduates are similar in structure. Harvard professors are too busy to read and comment on undergraduate prose.

3) You would have the chance to do many things at Williams. At Harvard it is extremely difficult to do more than one thing in a serious fashion. If you play a sport or write for The Crimson or sing in an a capella group at Harvard, you won’t be able to do too much of anything else. At Williams, it is common — even expected — that students will have a variety of non-academic interests that they pursue passionately.

4) You would have a single room for three years at Williams. The housing situation at Harvard is horrible, at least if you care about privacy. Most sophomores and the majority of juniors do not have a single room for the entire year. Only at Harvard will you learn the joys of a “walk-through single” — a room which is theoretically a single but which another student must walk through to get to her room.

5) You would have the opportunity to be a Junior Advisor at Williams and to serve on the JA Selection Committee and to serve on the Honor Committee. No undergraduate student serves in these roles at Harvard because Harvard does not allow undergraduates to run their own affairs. Harvard does not trust its students. Williams does.

6) The President of Williams, Maud Mandel, cares about your education specifically, not just about the education of Williams undergraduates in general. The President of Harvard, Larry Bacow, has bigger fish to fry. Don’t believe me? Just e-mail both of them. Tell them about your situation and concerns. See who responds and see what they say.

Of course, there are costs to turning down Harvard. Your friends and family won’t be nearly as impressed. Your Aunt Tillie will always think that you actually go to “Williams and Mary.” You’ll be far away from a city for four years. But, all in all, a majority of the students who choose Harvard over Williams would have been better off if they had chosen otherwise.

Choose wisely.

¹The first post in this series was 15 years ago, inspired by a newspaper story about 18 year-old Julia Sendor, who was admitted to both Harvard and Williams. Julia ended up choosing Williams (at least partly “because of the snowy mountains and maple syrup”), becoming a member of the class of 2008, winning a Udall Foundation Scholarship in Environmental Studies. Best part of that post is the congratulations from her proud JA.

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A Large Animal Moves Slowly

This is some of Zach Wood’s ’18 best writing:

“Confidence is the memory of performance,” he told me. I didn’t realize it then, but this pithy observation was just another of many memorable aphorisms from George E. Marcus.

We were hanging out in Professor Marcus’ den, arguing over Kobe Bryant’s rightful place in NBA history and watching playoff basketball. His was a man cave populated with hardcovers, mineral specimens, and substantial artifacts acquired from foreign travel with his wife. I had recently received galleys of the manuscript for my first book, “Uncensored,” a memoir about my life and naturally Professor Marcus was among the first people with whom I shared a copy.

Per usual, he finished it a few days later and sent me an attentive email that reminded me of how lucky I am to have him in my corner. This was the second time we’d had an opportunity to chat about “Uncensored” and knowing some of my concerns, Professor Marcus told me about his time at Columbia University, rowing as an undergraduate. He explained what being an oarsman meant to him as a young man — how the rigors of sport fostered fraternity, spurred strain against physical reach, in turn, bolstering self-confidence. “Confidence,” he said, “is neither fixed nor immune to changing circumstances.”

Indeed. Any readers with George Marcus stories? EphBlog has always been a fan.

“Every opportunity can be used to exercise a particular muscle.” He reclined on the backrest of his sofa, fingers interlaced behind his head, ankles crossed over the coffee table — as I digested the subtler implications of what he said.

I first met Professor Marcus, professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at Williams College, during the fall of my sophomore year. I was the only student that semester who signed up for his tutorial, “The Holocaust: Challenges of Knowing.” Rather than canceling his course and dismissing my interest, he welcomed me. He proposed that each week we write and present papers to each other. One of us would write a five to seven-page paper, the other a two-page critique. Once a week we would meet in his office to read our papers aloud, take our gloves off and swing with abandon. The following week we would alternate.

How many Williams professors would do that? Have many have? Tell us about them! They deserve all the praise we have to offer.

I had never had so much fun in my intellectual life. Surgical and concentrated in print; Professor Marcus argued energetically and good-naturedly in person. He gloried in playing devil’s advocate as much as I did, and he was singular in his ability to capsulize complex ideas and distill them using real-world examples. I remember once asking him if there was an upshot of the territoriality theories in environmental psychology and he gave the example of seating behavior in a typical classroom. “You see people voluntarily sit in the same seat every day and people begin to notice and tacitly accept the arrangement,” he remarked. “It’s a way of trying to regulate and control our relationships with other people in shared spaces.” Possession and predictability usually comfort us, so we seek them, he said.

Intellectually, however, Professor Marcus enthusiastically sought discomfort. He encouraged me to look at the data, to be suspicious, and qualify my interpretations of reality. He taught me that while evidence matters, many theories are underdetermined, so our conclusions should be framed as tentative, provisional, measured and context-dependent. Though not infrequently, Professor Marcus harbored zero misgivings about entertaining extraordinary leaps of the imagination, so long as they were subject to debate. After all, he still believes Bill Russell is the greatest basketball player of all-time. Not to worry: I’ll persuade him eventually.

When we finished watching the Celtics (his favorite team) beat the Cavaliers, we made our way to the kitchen for dinner where his wife, Lois, enriched our conversation with humorous insight. The three of us discussed culture and politics over white wine and delicious fish with mixed vegetables before devouring some of the finest chocolate chip cookies I’ve tasted. Soon enough, I gathered that while I had learned much from Professor Marcus, I could learn even more from his wife. Two hours later, it was almost 10:30 p.m. and we seemed to grudgingly concede that sleep should count for something.

Williams should care much less about research productivity in its faculty hiring and promotion, and much more about a willingness to engage with undergraduates.

On my way back to my dorm, I thought to myself: those eight hours spent with the Marcuses in their beautiful home had to have been among the most meaningful of my experiences at Williams. As I make my way through life after college, I think often of my teacher, mentor, and friend. In class, his command of material was keen and ruthlessly composed; his nonverbals even and deliberate, but impactful — the way a large animal moves slowly. I hope that beyond his weighty contribution to political science, George Marcus will be remembered for the difference he made in the lives of his students.

Exactly right. As long as a single student remembers me, I will never die.

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Why Aren’t You Listening? – Partial Transcript

I have loaded a partial transcript of some of the most offensive and extreme comments made at the CC meeting. I created it by leveraging the Word document posted on Ephblog and then reviewing the video. It is shocking stuff. There is evidence in this video of a lot of dysfunction including the efforts of one speaker to shame student representative Tristan Whalen for seemingly not listening respectfully enough to a stream-of-consciousness tirade of anti-white bigotry.

To his credit, Whalen defended himself. He requested that he be treated in a courteous manner as he responded to the attackers. He pointed out that he had been listening and that what he was writing up were his own notes on the attacker’s comments. At any rate, I will not post the transcript here. It is quite offensive. You can access it over at my Anonymous Political Scientist blogsite here.

The only other thing I would like to add to the discussion is the manner in which the speaker, Isaiah, is permitted, without any complaints, to use the N-word, use foul language, articulate racial stereotypes, and endlessly refer to ****-sucking. In Isaiah’s view, simply being polite and following normal procedures is tantamount to working as a cheap prostitute on a busy thoroughfare. My sense is this was all an expression of his power over the group. It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine that a white student saying the exact same things would be given such deference.

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Why Aren’t You Listening?

Nishant writes:

Can we have a post on that crazy video that anon eph frosh posted? It needs multiple daily posts from David. I am serious.

Video here. (Is there a way to embed this? Or at least make it accessible for readers who don’t use Facebook?) The action starts, apparently, at the 30 minute mark. Here (doc) is a (heavily?) edited transcript.

Background seems to be a (successful attempt?) to get CC to partial fund some events at Previews this week which are focused on African-American admitted students. Alas, there were still some CC critics with more to say:

Isaiah: I know that the funding for this has already been supported, but I am appalled by how this was handled. *many expletives* I’m looking at this budget and I’m seeing all the ways white men are getting resources and community afforded to them, and whenever black students come and try to make spaces for students on this campus, we are stopped at every. single. Level.

Oluseyi: you, Tristan Whalen. Why aren’t you listening?

Isaiah: now we are writing. Every time we start speaking, ears close. *many more expletives* You have half a million dollars. How many % of the budget is black previews? .42% Every time we start talking to you we get shouted down by the white moderate, white liberals. You come here, you have $3billion dollars to your name. Why is CC not diverse? Because if we dare try to run, try to be in this space… we have to be with people like you. I just don’t get it. We keep our heads down. Yeah, we got the money, but we are tired of this. I refuse –– no more. You want to have free speech, you want to be racist, open your mouth now.

Since my fan club wants a series on this, a series is what you will be getting! Although probably not this week. What should the scandal controversy name be? “Black Previews”?

Could our readers tell us who the dramatis personae are?

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