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Williams College To Pursue “Strong Pro-Speech Policies And Principles”


An interview that might interest people.


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#1 Comment By Whitney Wilson ’90 On July 4, 2019 @ 10:43 am

Thank you for posting. I also really enjoyed the Bob Ryan piece.

#2 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On July 5, 2019 @ 9:17 am

1) This is impressive interview. Maud is much more “presidential” than Tiku, who totally flub this format (and interviewer) last year.

The interviewer was fairly awkward and clueless, as he was with Majumder. Was he fed these questions by the College?

2) Maud used the phrase “freedom and equality of opportunity” as the goals of Williams and the Ad Hoc committee. I suspect that this was a simple misstatement, although it might be interesting to re-frame the debate in this way. Later this became “free inquiry and inclusion,” which I suspect is the phrasing she meant.

3) Maud claimed that there was “very little support” for no-platforming or disinviting speakers. Only a “small minority” wanted this. This is a bit of lily-gilding. 20% is not a small minority!

4) Maud left no doubt that free speech as won at Williams. We will have “strong pro-speech policies and principals” as specified by AAUP and PEN.

5) Interesting aside about the student handbook being a “legally binding document” under Massachusetts state law. Looks like the College justified (to whom?) its special treatment of WIFI with reference to an obscure provision in the Handbook.

#3 Comment By purple & gold On July 5, 2019 @ 9:30 am


1) I doubt that the interviewer was fed any of the questions, especially considering that Maud asked him to clarify once or twice and that her responses didn’t sound as rehearsed. Or they’re just great actors. But I doubt the College would be that dishonest.

2) I’m guessing it’s a misstatement. Equal opportunity is a different discussion that’s centered around making sure all kinds of students can succeed at Williams.

3) I agree that 20% is not insignificant, but I’m also willing to bet that it would be a higher number at peer colleges that are more liberal (Amherst, Pomona, Swarthmore).

4) Yes, she was pretty clear about this. Goes against the narrative pushed by certain people who for some reason have explicitly anti-Williams agendas (most notably JCD and Jerry Coyne).

5) Not sure about this either. Maybe it was just a procedural thing.

#4 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On July 5, 2019 @ 9:48 am

> But I doubt the College would be that dishonest.

It is not “dishonest” to provide interviewers with background and prep. In fact, it is standard!