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Presidential search update

To the Williams community,

I write in my role as chair of the college’s Presidential Search Committee, to provide you with an update on the ongoing search process.

Many of you responded to the committee’s invitation to provide input on the search. Almost 1,700 members of our community responded to the survey emailed to all of you. Our search firm, Spencer Stuart, has received a further 135 emails from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the college so far. And many faculty, staff, and students also attended one of the twelve forums held on campus this semester, along with small-group discussions.

The committee reviewed all of this input at our fall meetings, and continues to consider contributions received through the search website. I want to thank everyone who took the time to provide insights into the qualities we should emphasize in our search, or to suggest potential candidates for the position of president. We are grateful for your help.

The committee has now posted the prospectus on the search website. The prospectus is the detailed job description provided to potential candidates for the presidency. It was developed with attention to the community input from this fall, and I encourage you to read it as time allows. Special thanks go to committee member and John Hawley Roberts Professor of English Peter Murphy for leading its development, and to the authors of prospectuses from prior searches, which provided the foundation for our document. I believe it is quite thoughtfully done.

We are now moving into the most time-intensive and most confidential phase of the search, as we identify potential candidates and begin a series of in-depth interviews. Presidential searches require a high level of confidentiality so that the best candidates will come forward with a willingness to engage in conversation. As a result, the committee will not have a great deal of information to communicate publicly between now and the announcement of a president. The members will have much work to do behind the scenes during this time, however. I hope you will continue to support them, as colleagues and friends, in their efforts on Williams’ behalf.

The williamspresident@spencerstuart.com address will remain open throughout the search process and we encourage you to use it if you have thoughts that you would like to share. While the demands of the search process make it impossible to answer individual messages, all will be read.

My colleagues and I appreciate your contributions, and your commitment to helping us find the best person to serve as Williams’ 18th president.

Yours,

Michael Eisenson ’77
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

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Here comes the taxman! (Williamstown loses)

The Senate has passed a federal tax increase on private universities and colleges such as Williams.

I have always argued that local governance should get more revenue from Williams either through a PILOT and/or a tax on real estate holdings. Dormitories and common eating/ food sales spaces compete with the local economy (rentals and restaurants). They should be subject to local property taxation.

Williams and Williamstown are inseparable, and as such, Williams relies heavily on things such as local schools, waste management, police, and fire. Williams relies on the adaptability of the local planning board to make space for growth, and the relative lopsidedness of zoning permits. Who can build and where is a college function in the cultural district.

As we like to say, “Rock, paper, college.” Not that there is anything wrong with that!

That said, the federal taxation of a place like Williams when compared to the benefit of federal tax reform on the townie (working class) populations in a place like Williamstown is inequitable. When one compares the relative economic cost (the opportunity cost) of what this federal income tax will take from Williams/ Williamstown when compared to the local benefit with regards to the local burden on working people- this is a bad deal for Williamstown Townies! Local real estate taxation has skyrocketed in the last eight years. This is not going to help Williamstown’s affordability crisis…

Looks like we are in this one together.

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[CEA] DPE Course Student Survey

Dear fellow Ephs,

Last year, the faculty of the College passed a motion introducing a new curricular requirement to replace the Exploring Diversity Initiative. Starting Fall 2018, courses will be offered as part of the College’s new Difference, Power, and Equity requirement (DPE). DPE courses examine the mechanisms, histories, and practices behind social, political and philosophical structures of difference and power. They are centrally focused around issues of difference, diversity, inequality, and/or inclusivity.
The Committee on Educational Affairs would like to solicit suggestions for topics that students would like to investigate in DPE courses.
A brief disclaimer: the DPE initiative is new, and these suggestions will contribute to the long term discussion about courses that will be offered in the future, but are not guaranteed to be developed into courses in the coming semesters.
Suggested areas of study may include but are not limited to: ability/disability, body size, citizenship status, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but should give an idea of the types of issues that might be examined in a DPE course.
Suggestions may be submitted here: https://goo.gl/forms/t2IfnEFHcZSc2JvV2The form will close 11/26.
Thanks so much for your participation!
Best,
The Committee on Educational Affairs
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Eph Community Attitudes on Sexual Assault

Dear Williams students,

 

In 2015, we collected our first-ever comprehensive survey data about sexual and other intimate violence at Williams. 64% of students participated (a response rate that has never been topped nationally), and the data helped us modify response protocols and has shaped our prevention programs over the last 2 years.

 

It’s time to look again at our progress and to see where we still have work to do, and your participation in this work is invaluable.

 

Share your perspective by taking the survey.

 

Your responses to this survey are anonymous. You can expect it to take between 20-25 minutes to complete.

 

You may find, during or after the survey, that you want to talk more about the issues raised in it.

 

  • SASS (413-597-3000)

    • 24/7

    • Confidential support from staff

    • SASS staff are myself, Carolina Echenique from Admissions, Donna Denelli-Hess from the Health Center, Jen Chuks from Athletics, Mike Evans from the Zilkha Center, and Rick Spalding, the Chaplain.)

  • RASAN (413-597-4100)

    • 24/7

    • Peer support

    • Also has walk-in office hours at Sawyer 508 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8pm-10pm. RASAN welcomes survivors and supporters of survivors to use this as a space in which they can fill out the survey if they’d like on-hand support.

  • The Elizabeth Freeman Center (866-401-2425)

    • 24/7

    • Confidential off-campus support is available 24/7 via The Elizabeth Freeman Center at.

 

Thank you,

 

Meg Bossong ’05

Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

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Problematic as Fuck

Consider this tweet from the official Williams College account:

nef

Is Neftaly really “embracing opportunities at Williams?” Consider:

Neftaly: When I visited Williams I visited under a program for minority students and students of color so when I came here I was given a picture of so many different students of color and now that Im here I felt like I was lied to because that’s not what it feels like. The students of color here a lot of times feel like were just here for the pamphlets. It’s even harder given how isolated it is. I can’t just leave campus and go to a museum. I feel the knowledge of being a minority student more prominently here. Its these struggles of realizing that yes, I feel alone or I feel different but at the same time realizing that I want to give credit to the people who care and want o make these struggles not as hard or to validate them at least. I have professors who I can go to and talk about things and they’re like yeah, you’re not crazy. That stuff shouldn’t be happening. Or even other students, just talking through and realizing like at one point last year I was thinking of transferring because I felt so alone and I felt weird because I wanted to go to all these parties in like the old frat houses but id dint feel like I belonged because I wasn’t part of the white football culture. And it’s like wanting to be a part of it but realizing that no matter how I try I will still be different if I go to those places and realizing that I wasn’t the only person on campus who felt that way or seriously thought about transferring really helped a lot. It’s sad that it’s this friendship through struggle or through going through all of these, like, micro aggressions but I think that it’s not like it’s not a reflection of what I’m going to have to go through when I’m outside of Williams anyway. It’s not just here.

Jacqueline: do you think that the average student at Williams recognizes your struggle or are they mostly ignorant to it?

Neftaly: there are groups. You have like 2200 students so you have maybe 30% are students of color but that doesn’t always take into account socioeconomic status because I think that’s also really important so like you have students of color who are very wealthy and interact more with the white wealthy students and those groups tend to be more ignorant about what’s happening or about things like microagressions. But because Williams is so small and so discussion based you usually have students of color in your classes and aren’t afraid to clap back on anything problematic that comes up in class. But at the same time some people just don’t get it and I understand because you can’t truly know something is wrong if you’ve never had to go through it or it’s not something, I don’t blame them for not being able to put themselves in my shoes because they’ve never had to. It’s important that they try and I think a lot of people here try to do it and if they don’t it’s a completely different story but most try and I think that matters.

Jacqueline: When people don’t understand or if they don’t try, how do you react?

Neftaly: My common, rather crude response to those situations when they say like I don’t get it and I’ve done my best to explain somethings to them and I feel like they’re not really making an effort to understand what I’m saying I’m like you can either take a class in Africana or Latinx studies or American studies, or you can pay me for my time to explain this to you. Otherwise, I’m out. If not, I’m not going to partake in this conversation because I don’t have to, and I don’t owe you anything.

Lots of interesting comments! Worth going through more closely?

A lot of the classes that I take are on things like racism and injustices and stuff and its part of realizing that I am a person who is effected by these injustices that I am reading about. I am also going to be on the receiving end. It’s something that recently has been more healthy for me to realize and to and to admit and to engage in rather than putting rather than put aside and hope that I won’t have to deal with it for awhile.

Are those useful messages for Williams professors to be sending to Neftaly?

It’s so bureaucratic. I didn’t realize how bureaucratic colleges were. Or how political they were. I was like wow you’re just trying to make money and here I thought you cared about me. The sanctuary campus movement, we were asking that Williams provide designated sanctuary for undocumented students and they were like we can’t do that because they’re going to come after us and ICE is going come and take our students away and we can’t do anything about it and we were like ok but you’re not promising anything else in return and they were like well talk to our lawyers about it and it seemed like they just didn’t see the urgency of it. Or for students who have parents who are undocumented, we were asking for months now to have a meeting with administration to talk about what kind of help, if any, to students if they happen to have family who is deported. In what ways can the college help us? And they said they didn’t have the funds to help and we were like that’s bullshit. You have a two-point-something billion endowment. You have money. Or they said like there are legal obstacles and it was just a lot of bullshit political excuses.

Reads like an EphBlog rant! Not that there is anything wrong with that . . .

Or all the bull shit when they come to have meetings with the students and we ask them to divest from certain things or to bring in minority therapists or bring in more minority faculty in like the American studies department. These are valid concerns and its always like brushed to the side like “considering our fiscal year budget…” or “considering what our lawyers say…” and were tired of it. I don’t believe them. Because it isn’t genuine. They’re saying something but they mean something else. The students of color here realized very quickly that it’s a very fake sincerity and you learn early on to not trust the school.

Don’t worry Neftaly! Even us old white guys have trouble trusting Adam Falk . . .

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AF ROTC: Uniforms on Campus … ( a reissue from 11/11/09)

 

RE: PTC’s post below and ROTC on campus …

 

It is still a day remembering service as I write this post. Perhaps some may not know that uniforms, if you so desired, were a part of campus life in the ’50’s,

honor air

During the war, V -12 programs were on campus and a few years later, the presence of returning vets was common.

A full complement of officers and enlisted men were assigned to Williams to serve as the faculty.

The appearance of a veteran on campus would not be new. I hope the appearance would be welcome.

 

NEW COPY ADDED TODAY Nov 1. 2017

I also found this  follow-up that I posted in 2010. The pictures have disappeared but the text asks the question:

http://ephblog.com/2010/12/03/the-55-56-all-stars-rotc-2/

And a post from PTC dated 28 May, 2011

http://ephblog.com/2011/05/28/rotc-returns-to-harvard-and-yale/

 

ROTC was an important part of a Williams education for 10% of the Class of 1956. Click MORE (below) to see the AF faculty. I knew Captain Taylor, a fine man and a graduate of the USNA.

Read more

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Turnover in Admissions

How much staff turnover is there in Williams Admissions? Three years ago, we had these 11 folks. Today, we have these 12. Only four of the 12 current admissions staff were at Williams three years ago: Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Liz Creighton ’03 (who was then deputy director of admissions), Director of Admission Dick Nesbitt ’74, Deputy Director of Admission Sulgi Lim ’06 (obviously the leading likely successor to Nesbitt) and Associate Director Barbara Robertson. Comments:

1) Normal turnover or cause for concern? I see this as normal turnover, largely consistent with the past practices of Admissions and similar to what we see at other schools. We can divide staff into two categories: permanent and temporary. The permanent staff run Admissions, determine policy and maintain institutional knowledge. The temporary staff is very young, often in their first job and/or just a year or two removed from their undergraduate years, mostly at Williams. Temporary staff understand that the position is generally held for just two or so years.

2) The main purpose of temporary staff is to help with recruitment. If you want to enroll more students of type X, then it helps (most people think) to have people of type X doing the recruiting. Temporary staff are also often expected to travel more and/or show the flag at less important events.

As we have explained, Williams Admissions, like all elite admissions, is a well-tested, thorough process that does not depend very much on the people reading your recommendations letters. Once the key policies are set, you could replace the current set of readers with an entirely new set and still get 95%+ the same results. And that is OK! I would not want a process that was overly affected by the whims of the specific people who happen to work in admissions this year.

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Family Days 2017, OCTOBER 26 – 29

Dear Students,

I hope this note finds you well.  As you may know, Family Days begins this Thursday evening with a wonderful Davis Center talk by Dr. Monique Morris.

If your own family plans to visit this weekend, we greatly look forward to having them here at Williams and expect it will be a great opportunity for them to gain a better sense of your own undergraduate experience.

And if your parents won’t be attending, please know that you’re in good company with the vast majority of your fellow students. While many families enjoy family days, a great many more don’t attend. For some, the time and expense to travel to Williamstown are too great. (And let’s face it: though Williams is a beautiful place, it’s far away from where most people live!) For others, there are other points in their students four years at Williams—from a special sports event or musical performance to Commencement—when a visit make more sense.

In any case, it’s a great weekend packed with lots of things to do, with family members or just with fellow students. View the entire weekend program here and enjoy!

All best,
Dean Sandstrom

Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
Williams College
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Rehire Robin and Kristine Petition Update

As of this posting, the petition, with a new target of 5,000, has now reached 3,336 signatures – more than the number of students on campus at any given time! When was the last time a current student lead petition got this many signatures from the Eph community?

Carl Sangree ’18 updated the description:

Things to do in the short term:

Donate to the Gofundme, which will directly benefit Robin and Kristine.

https://www.gofundme.com/support-robin

Email Steve Klass, who helps oversee dining services employees ( sklass@williams.edu ) and other Williams officials who may listen.

The GofundMe fundraiser, set up yesterday, has already broken its $2,000 goal ($2,555 as of this posting).

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Rehire Robin and Kristine

A petition by Carl Sangree ’18 to rehire fired dining services attendants Robin Alfonso and Kristine McLear has, as of this posting, garnered 1,628/2,500 signatures since it was posted five days ago. Earlier this morning, the petition broke its initial goal of 1,500.

My friend Robin Alfonso was fired from Williams College this summer. If you don’t know her by name, you probably knew her as “the ridiculously friendly Whitman’s snackbar lady.” Williams security accused her of smoking marijuana with students at the Mt. Hope Mansion during last year’s senior week, despite the denials of both her and students she was with. The administration fired her nonetheless, ignoring her fifteen years of faithful work without any prior incident. She is just as important to our community as any student or professor, yet she has not been treated with any level of fairness.

She is the main caregiver for her grandson and now is deprived of what was already a modest income. Her life has been effectively ruined, and she is extremely distraught even several months after the incident. She truly cherished Williams students and her job.

Williams is very keen on enforcing its drug policy but only seems to punish the most vulnerable members of our community. Please sign this petition so that I can help appeal Robin’s egregious termination at the hands of our college’s administration. Whatever punishment they believe she deserves has been served by her many times over.

Whenever I was having a bad day, I could count on Robin to cheer me up, and I know this was true for many others as well. Now she needs our help — let’s make this right.

UPDATE:
After writing this petition, I learned that another employee was treated just as unfairly as Robin as part of this same incident. Kristine McLear was also fired due to these same allegations and also claims she was never given a fair chance to defend herself; like Robin, she was presumed guilty. When I present this petition to administrators, I will also be arguing for Kristine. Kristine was a faithful employee and cherished just as Robin was.

No response from the administration yet. And we still have to talk about how former Williams Campus Security officer Joshua Costa and former employee Brian Marquis were terminated for blowing the whistle on the administration’s more, uhh, questionable behavior.

Edit: Last year, the Record profiled Robin Alfonso.

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It’s Moutain Day!

The mountains call us
In their sun-dappled splendor.
Let’s get out and play!

Adam Falk
President and Professor
Williams College

From Scott Lewis, Director of the Outing Club:

Visit  http://woc.williams.edu/ to see the list of hikes and on-campus events AND to check for any updates should the weather suddenly change!

Mountain Day is a celebration of community and place.  We would like to emphasize that Mountain Day is a day off for enjoying company, music, the all campus picnic and the splendor of our surroundings!
(A huge thank you to Dining Services for all their work on this day)

Mountain Day Accessibility Vans
Full transport to Stone Hill and Stony Ledge on Mountain Day is available- there will also be seating at both locations. Please email Phacelia Cramer (pjc2) with questions or to reserve a seat on the vans to Stone Hill, Stony Ledge, or both!

A quick highlight reel of the schedule:

10 a.m. – hike from Chapin to Stone Hill, performances by student groups, refreshments provided

11 a.m – 1 p.m.  community picnic on Chapin Lawn
Administrative offices should consider closing for an hour to enjoy this campus-wide celebration.

12:30 p.m. – bus transportation to Stoney Ledge and Hopper trailheads (buses parked along Mission Park Drive behind Chapin Hall). Since the bus will not bring you directly to Stoney Ledge, please be prepared for changing weather and temperatures as you hike up AND down the mountain 2 miles each way. You should have hiking shoes for wet, muddy, slick terrain and bring a filled water bottle!

2:45 p.m. – Stoney Ledge performances by student groups, refreshments provided

4:45 p.m. – bus transportation from Stoney Ledge and Hopper trailheads to Mission Park Drive

Hope you can all seize the day and take time out to be outside!!

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Presidential Search Update

Dear Ephs,

Over the past two weeks, we have heard from many of you with thoughts and opinions about what to look for in our next President. We are winding down the input gathering phase but wanted to highlight a couple of final ways to engage with the process.
  • Fill out this survey! Information provided here will be used to help draft the job description. Please fill it out by midnight on October 18.
  • Stop by our table in Paresky tomorrow and Thursday at lunch! We will be there from 11:45 to 1:00 both days.
  • Email us! You can even just reply to this thread.
  • Have another idea? Let us know! We always want to hear how we can best get your opinions.
Thank you to all those who have already spoken to us, wrote a sticky note or sent an email! We have had many interesting conversations and look forward to many more.
Enjoy the short week!
Sarah Hollinger and Ben Gips
Student Representatives, Presidential Search Committee
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Survey for Williams presidential search: Please participate

To the Williams Community,

I write to follow up on my letter in early September regarding the search for Williams’ 18th President. The Presidential Search Committee has begun its work, with the assistance of a senior team from Spencer Stuart, a national executive search firm with expertise in higher education leadership searches, whom we retained to assist in the process. Members of the Committee along with the Spencer Stuart team have held a series of on-campus forums with faculty, staff, students and alumni in order to answer questions and, especially, solicit ideas from the Williams community regarding the search. As I indicated in my last note, information about the Presidential Search Committee, Spencer Stuart and, as we proceed, other matters related to this important work can be found on our search website.

As another important step in the input gathering phase, the Committee has prepared a survey to allow the broadest possible participation from our community. I encourage you to use it to share your views, which will help guide the drafting of a prospectus to be shared with potential candidates, and also help to guide the Committee in the process of interviewing and of refining the candidate pool. In order to be able to incorporate your input, the Committee asks for a few minutes of your time to complete the survey by October 18th.

In addition, the Committee welcomes nominations for the position. If you would like to suggest a candidate, please send an email with any supporting materials to the confidential address: WilliamsPresident@spencerstuart.com.

On behalf of the Presidential Search Committee, we thank you for taking part in this survey and look forward to updating you on our progress over the coming months.

Sincerely,

Michael Eisenson ’77
Chair, Williams College Board of Trustees

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transitions in the Dean’s Office

Dear Students,

I hope this note finds you well, as fall officially begins.  I am writing to let you know about some important transitions in the Dean’s Office.

As you may have heard, Ithaca College just announced yesterday that Rosanna Reyes Ferro will be joining their campus as Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Life. Dean Ferro is excited about this wonderful opportunity, and we could not be happier for her.

At Williams, Dean Ferro has strengthened our programming for first generation students in innumerable ways, developed and nurtured leadership positions for our students, built strong collaborations with partners from all corners of the campus, and enriched the lives of countless students.

Along with Dean Booker’s departure earlier this month, Dean Ferro’s move leaves the Dean’s office with some serious shoes to fill. Both of them have been incredibly talented, effective, generous, and beloved members of our team, and they will be greatly missed by faculty, staff and students alike. In addition to their broad skill sets in advising, mentoring, and supporting all of our students, they have each played key roles in building our programming for first generation college students, as well as deepening our collaborative work with the Davis Center and the Chaplains’ office. Their dedicated work has built a strong foundation that we are committed to sustaining and strengthening as we move forward.

In the weeks to come, we will be searching for two new deans in our office. This offers an opportunity for us to expand on our existing strengths, and also to enhance the services we currently provide.  We will be thinking intensively about the diversity of our staff as we conduct our search. We know how crucial it is for our staff to reflect the wide range of experiences and backgrounds that make the Williams community so wonderful.

During the transition process, rest assured that the Dean’s Office will be providing our full array of services, including individual advising sessions, walk-in hours, crisis management, and programmatic offerings of many kinds. In addition, we will be working closely with the student leaders of our First Gen Program to ensure that all of its events, discussion groups, and funding opportunities continue to run smoothly.

All best wishes,

Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College, Hales Professor of Psychology

Rachel Bukanc, Senior Associate Dean of the College

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Presidential Search Thoughts and Opinions

Dear Ephs,

We hope your week is getting off to a smooth start! Together, we have the important task of helping choose the next President of Williams College. We need to hear your input and ideas to represent you!

Over the coming weeks, we will be reaching out to you in several ways such as:

  • A kickoff event on Thursday at 7PM in Baxter where you can speak directly with us and representatives of our search firm, SpencerStuart, while enjoying a free gelato sundae bar!

  • Poster boards around Baxter where you can add your voice by grabbing a sticky note and answering specific questions about what you want to see, starting tomorrow at lunch

  • An online survey tool where you can provide more in-depth suggestions about what matters to you (coming soon)

  • An email address for nominations and other specific feedback that will go directly to the SpencerStuart team at williamspresident@spencerstuart.com

  • More full-campus forums and events, where anyone can speak directly with us and other students about their thoughts (coming soon)

  • Opportunities for smaller meetings and conversations with us and/or the SpencerStuart staff (email us if you or your student group are interested!)

We are very grateful for your support in helping us take on this task. You will be hearing more from us soon and feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.

See you on Thursday night!

Sarah Hollinger ‘19 and Ben Gips ‘19
Student Representatives, Presidential Search Committee
shh1@williams.edu, bwg1@williams.edu

Edit: This was sent yesterday, at 3:31 pm.
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The Death of Faculty Governance at Williams

Note this Record interview with Falk:

Falk demurs on the notion that the College has grown more bureaucratic, emphasizing his belief that the goal of any hiring and reorganization was directly tied to the betterment of the community. “There had been great growth in the endowment in the previous decade [before I was president] and I think that it had put the College in a position where we didn’t have to make the same kind of difficult choices between different funding priorities that we would have to make once the endowment dropped 30 percent,” Falk said. “And we are just a more complex operation then we used to be. We have a debt portfolio of $300 million. We have a complicated [human resources structure], a complicated facilities operation, a childcare center, a controller’s office and auditors that are doing more and more sophisticated work. A lot of that is really hard work for a faculty member to rotate in every few years and do as effectively as someone who’s a really strong professional.”

The (anonymous!) faculty member who points out this passage asked some (rhetorical!) questions:

Falk’s opinion of faculty governance is on full display here. He clearly prefers a “really strong professional” to make the “difficult choices between different funding priorities.”

Exactly right. Most Williams presidents are remembered, at most, for one thing: Sawyer abolished fraternities. Chandler created Winter Study. Oakley instituted tutorials. What will Falk be remembered for 30 years from now? Tough to say, but one contender is: Put the final nail in the coffin of faculty governance.

Is it truly the case that students and faculty are comfortable with having unaccountable administrators in charge of the really difficult decisions?

Students don’t care, obviously. Faculty (like my correspondent!) love to complain but, when push came to shove, they did nothing of substance. Recall the “alignment” (pdf) that Falk outlined 7 years ago this week. I devoted nine days of discussion to explaining what this meant: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Read it if you want to understand the past/future of faculty governance at Williams. Short version: Faculty governance has decreased each decade at Williams for at least the last 50 years. Falk accelerated/completed that change.

Does he really have such a low opinion of the faculty who have taken on administrative roles?

That is unfair. Falk loves Dukes Love and Denise Buell and Marlene Sandstrom. There are a dozen or more faculty at Williams who want/wanted those jobs. Falk turned all of them down, in preference for the ones he picked. But, at the same time, Falk (and the trustees!) want to pay Chilton/Puddestar/Klass two or three times as much money Love/Buell/Sandstrom and give the former much more power.

If so, what is his opinion of the other faculty and their voice in charting a path for the College?

They should shut up. There are a dozen (or a score? or more?) faculty at Williams that Falk has never had a meaningful one-on-one conversation with.

In any organization, the power lies with a) the people paid the most and b) the people who spend the most time talking with the boss. At Williams, a) and b) describe the senior administrators, not the senior faculty.

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Update on defacement of class banner

To the Williams community,

After seeing my campus message this afternoon about the defacement of the class banner in the ’82 Grill, students came forward and shared relevant information with Campus Safety. As a result, we are now confident that the “KKK” symbol was present on the banner as of last spring, and potentially earlier.

I want to thank those who reached out to communicate with CSS. They significantly aided the investigation. It does not eliminate the harmful impact of the incident. But it demonstrates the kind of community effort needed, in our continuing fight against racial hatred and other forms of bias.

Adam Falk
President

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Defacement of class banner in ’82 Grill

To the Williams community,

Just after 11:00 PM on Friday, September 15, Campus Safety and Security (CSS) received a report from a student who noticed that someone had defaced the Class of 2019 banner in the ’82 Grill by writing “KKK” among the names, in the same color of marker. I am attaching a photo of the banner, with the letters circled, so you can see it for yourself.

Campus Safety and Security staff notified the Williamstown Police, who photographed the site. CSS then promptly took the banner down and secured it. They are now working to try and determine the timeline and identify the perpetrator. Anyone found to be involved will be held accountable.

The banner was originally signed in Fall 2015. The small size of the letters and the dim lighting of the display space mean we do not know whether the act was committed recently, or went unnoticed for some longer period of time. Anyone who has information they think may be pertinent should contact Campus Safety at 413-597-4444.

If you have experienced an incident of bias or are aware of one, please report it immediately. If you are unsure whether a specific incident constitutes bias, you can find information about our policies and community standards on the Office of Diversity and Institutional Equity website.

The symbol “KKK” has long been used as a weapon, to intimidate and instill fear. We cannot yet know the writer’s intention, but the nature of a weapon is that it does harm regardless of intent. When someone inscribed those letters, or defaced the banner with them afterwards, they harmed our community. The fact that the investigation is ongoing should not delay us from turning to each other to offer help and care.

Adam Falk
President

 
Attached photo:
Banner

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Information about a Recent Campus Incident

From: Marlene Sandstrom
Date: September 10, 2017 at 6:49:14 PM EDT
To: WILLIAMS-STUDENTS@LISTSERV.WILLIAMS.EDU
Subject: information about a recent campus incident
Reply-To: Marlene Sandstrom

Williams students,

We write to inform you of a campus incident earlier this week that you should be aware of.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, two students defaced the door of their friend’s dorm room by painting on it. (We are not disclosing the dorm because the conduct process is confidential.) One of the two students wrote “I like beer.” The second student painted a swastika, and then quickly covered it with more paint to make it illegible. The students then removed all the paint from the door.

The student who painted the swastika reported to campus authorities what they had done. The college has begun disciplinary proceedings, and the student will be held accountable under our campus code of conduct. In addition, we will continue speaking directly with the students who were involved or immediately affected in the dorm where the painting occurred.

None of the people directly involved felt targeted as a function of their identity. For that reason we instigated our investigation and conduct processes without initially making a larger campus announcement. However, several JAs have reported that other students who heard partial accounts of the incident were concerned, especially in the aftermath of Charlottesville and other troubling events. Understanding their concerns, we want you to have full information about what happened and know what steps are being taken, and to assure you that we have no basis for thinking the incident points to an ongoing threat.

Defacing our campus is unacceptable at any time. But the use of a swastika, even as a “prank,” shows a lack of sensitivity to how that symbol has been used as a weapon of intimidation and hatred, both historically and in recent incidents around the country.

If you want support, or if you have questions, please contact the Dean’s Office, the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity our Chaplains, the Davis Center or Wellbeing Services. And if you have experienced an incident of bias or are aware of one, please report it immediately so the college can step in.

Williams is a place where we all come freely to learn and live. It is at its best when we live up to the college’s values and make everyone feel equally welcome. This is a moment to reaffirm that commitment. We assure you that we are doing our part, and hope you will join with us to stand for Williams as a place of inclusivity and respect.

Marlene Sandstrom
Dean of the College

Leticia Smith-Evans Haynes
Vice President
Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity

Stephen Klass
VP for Campus Life
Williams College

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I am Williams

Our friends at the Williams libraries need to read EphBlog more often! The author is Professor of Rhetoric Carroll Lewis Maxey and the date is sometime before 1926. Background here.

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Looking forward to our semester ahead

To the Williams community,

Welcome back! As you heard over the summer, this term will be my last at Williams, before I move to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in late December. I’ll miss a lot about this place, but what I think I’ll miss the most is our sense of community—the fact that everything we achieve we achieve together.

Even over this last summer, we’ve continued the work of building our community and strengthening support for it. To cite just a few examples, this fall we’re welcoming twenty-two new tenure-track faculty into one of the finest cohorts of teachers and scholars in the world. We’re also celebrating the most diverse entering class in Williams history, and one of the most highly-qualified. We’re approaching completion of the first phase of the Science Center project, a vital home for teaching, learning, and research. We’ve opened a bookstore that’s bringing new energy to Spring Street—as will the new Williams Inn when it opens in 2019. And we’re making tremendous progress on the Teach It Forward campaign, with more than $560M raised so far, and thousands of Ephs giving time as mentors, volunteers, and more.

As we start this semester, the energy on campus is palpable. But so is the uncertainty. We’re coming together after a summer that laid bare—in Charlottesville and elsewhere—troubling fault lines in our national community. Then, last month, Hurricane Harvey further tested America’s resilience. There were Williams people caught in both storms, or personally affected by them. My heart goes out to them, as I know yours does, too.

It turns out the Purple Valley isn’t really a bubble at all. What happens in the world affects us here. If the nature of that impact is not yet clear, then we should take this time to think ahead about who we’ll want to be, and how we’ll want to act, in those moments when our values will be tested.

One of the great strengths we can draw on in such work is our commitment to each other. That doesn’t mean we need to think alike. Williams is a place where we respect, explore, and engage with differences. When we disagree, we aim to do so intelligently, openly, and with integrity. But there’s one proposition that isn’t up for debate: that every member of this community is of equal worth and has an equal right to be here. This simple truth is the essential value on which our community rests. Williams accepts students of all backgrounds who are committed to higher learning, and strives to sends them into the world as thoughtful and effective and moral people. Especially in light of the events of the past year, we should recommit ourselves to this purpose as we gather anew this week. Let’s look at what has happened in the world and think about how we’re going to meet the challenges ahead.

Much will become possible if we work together. Williams is a place where every person can and should bring their fullest self to our community, and where we should aim to contribute as much to this place as we draw from it. That’s what I’m going to commit to making possible in my last semester in the Purple Valley. I hope you’ll join me.

 

Adam Falk

President
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Drop/Add is now open– It’s time to explore courses!

Greetings, Ephs!

Welcome to Fall 2017 Drop/Add period! This is an opportunity to think about all we can explore and learn in the upcoming semester as we prepare to begin classes.

It’s time to make the most of Your 32 courses.

Many of your professors and classmates––and even President Falk––have been changed by one course they took outside of their comfort zone. They made the most of their 32. You can hear their stories in this short video.

As you’re solidifying your courses for this fall, you may want to consider:

  1. Taking a class in every division. This help you complete your divisional requirements, and it will encourage you to have a diverse schedule.
  2. Taking a class in a discipline you have never studied before. There are so many departments at Williams, and all of them are incredible! Try something new––perhaps you’ll fall in love with astronomy, or theater, or sociology, or any other discipline.
  3. Taking a class that uses different teaching methods. Never taken a course with an experiential component? Always wanted to try a lab course? This fall could be your semester to take a course in a totally different format.

Your 32 courses are an incredible opportunity to explore interests, challenge yourself, and learn about incredible topics. Take a risk. Try something new.

And, email professors to learn more about their courses! Professors often welcome students who are “shopping” courses to drop by their class on the first day. If you are interested in exploring a course by attending the first class meeting, contact the professor ahead of time. There is even a handy guide to help you write these sometimes-daunting emails.

This advice, we hope, is as true for first-years as it is for seniors. It is never too late to try something new.

These are Your 32.

They are Your Chance to Explore.

Drop/Add ends on September 15th. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you!

Yours in a love of course exploration,

Arielle Rawlings ’18
College Council Vice President for Academic Affairs
Stephanie Caridad ’18
Student Chair to the Committee for Educational Affairs
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Today’s DACA announcement

All campus email from Adam Falk, Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 12:04 PM:

 

To the campus community,

This morning, Attorney General Sessions announced the cancelation of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Under DACA, since 2012, people who entered or were brought into this country illegally while minors have been eligible for a two-year, renewable deferral from deportation, as well as a work permit. The cancelation means the program will no longer accept new applications. It has also created uncertainty about the status of the more than 800,000 people who already hold DACA deferrals or permits.

Given this uncertainty, I want to affirm some important commitments Williams has already made to our community:

Staff who are aware that someone on campus needs help in light of the DACA cancelation will reach out to them privately with offers of support. If you need assistance, please contact the Dean’s office, our Chaplains, the Davis Center, or Counseling Services. This can be done confidentially.

Williams will not provide student or employee information to government agencies or their officers unless presented with a legitimate court order. Such agencies and people are also prohibited from conducting interviews, searches, or detentions on campus without a warrant or probable cause. You can always call Campus Safety at 413-597-4444 if you see anything you are unsure of.

Anyone admitted to or employed by Williams is a welcome member of this community, entitled to full rights, services, and protections. We will not tolerate bias or prejudice toward our people on the basis of DACA status or other identity attributes. If you experience bias or see it happening to someone else, use the reporting feature on the Williams: Speak Up! website to let the college know so that we can intervene.

We will continue to work with our colleagues in higher education and our legislative delegation to advocate for protection for undocumented students.

Many Williams faculty, staff, and students came here from other countries, or are the children of immigrants, as am I. We are all better off for their decision to make Williams their home. Faced with this latest news, we will begin where we always begin in such moments: by living out our values, and caring for those around us.

Sincerely,

Adam Falk
President

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Coming Soon: New Williams Online Housing Portal

Dear Students,
Over the past year, OIT and OSL have been working with a company named StarRez, to build and produce a centralized, cloud-based mechanism for student housing data management & room assignment/selection processes. We plan to use it for student housing selection for the first time for the August Mini-Lottery, so I wanted to share a little bit about it with you now.
Access for students will take place via a portal on the OSL website, using your Williams sign-in (like PeopleSoft). On that site, you will be able to participate in eligible housing selection & change processes, submit Special Housing Considerations information, see building rosters, view floor plans, create or join pick groups, etc. Most future room selection processes will be conducted online via the portal rather than in-person – including the large room draw we’ve held in Greylock in April the past many years. This means that you’ll be able to select your new room from the comfort of your current room. Or from Paresky. Or Sawyer Library. Or Tunnel City. Or New York City. Or London. You get the picture – wherever you are, if you have an internet connection, you can access the portal and participate.
Most housing processes will have the same parameters as they have in the past. One notable exception is that during a room selection process, there will only be a start time for groups to select based on their pick order, and not a by-group end time. This means that if you have a 3:30pm selection time and you forget about it until 4:15pm, it’s OK, you can still go in and select a room (until that entire room selection process ends and the selection portal closes).
We expect to learn a lot as we use the new system this first year, and we ask in advance for your patience as we do so. There may be times that we reach out to you to help us assess aspects of the system as well.
For now, we just wanted to let you know that this is coming; more details will be shared with you as we get closer to the August Mini-Lottery, including a link to the portal and instructions on how to access & use it. In the meantime, we hope you’re having a wonderful summer break.
 

-Doug

 
Douglas J.B. Schiazza, Director
Office of Student Life, Williams College
pronouns: he/him/his
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Fellowships Office, Welcome Back & News

Summer Fellows

If you received a summer fellowship, remember that your written report is due tomorrow, August 31.  Send to me as an word document attachment to email following the guidelines sent earlier.
 Upcoming Fellowship Deadlines & Info sessions 
 
Fall is a busy time of year for applications from graduating seniors! You can see campus and national deadlines on our webpage https://fellowships.williams.edu/    Also please read the Daily Messages for calendar updates or additional info sessions to be scheduled.
Coming up soon:
September 5, 5pm – Info session about the Fulbright research grant, Hopkins Hall 105
September 7, 5pm – Info Session about the Fulbright English teaching assistantship, Hopkins Hall 105
September 7, 5:45 pm – Info Session about the Watson & Chandler Fellowships, Hopkins Hall 105
September 11 – campus deadline for Fulbright research & study grant applications
September 18 – campus deadline for Fulbright English teaching assistantship applications
September 18 – Fulbright recommendations and foreign language evaluations are due online
October 10 – Campus deadline for Watson and Chandler Fellowships.  For access to the online application contact Lynn Chick
October 10 – Campus deadline for the Luce Scholarship
October 11 – Gates-Cambridge Scholarship deadline for US citizens
October 16 – Campus deadline for the Churchill Scholarship
October 24 – deadline for the Dr. Herchel Smith (Cambridge) and Donovan-Moody (Oxford) fellowships
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Winter Study 99, Roche Fellowship and Winter Study Travel Courses

FRIENDLY REMINDER!

 

The deadline to submit a Winter Study 99 proposal, apply for a Roche Fellowship or Winter Study Travel Course is Thursday, 28 September. All pertinent forms can be found online.

 

Winter Study 99s

(Note: there will be a 99 Workshop at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, September 12th in Hopkins Hall 002.)

 

Roche Fellowship for Winter Study 99 Research Projects and Theses

For Winter Study, any upper class student who is pursuing independent research either through a Winter Study 99 research project, or through a thesis, is eligible to apply.

 

Preference will be given to juniors for whom a proposed Winter Study 99 research project will catalyze a full-year honors thesis and to seniors doing a thesis or for whom a proposed Winter Study 99 research project will be their last opportunity to undertake advanced independent research at Williams. Sophomores for whom the project might catalyze an independent study on the same or related topic are also eligible. Proposals are not limited to any specific academic discipline.

 

Winter Study Travel Courses

 

Financial Aid is provided for 10-100% of the travel course costs based on the student’s level of financial need. Students receive notification of the percentage of their eligibility via email in late September.
(Note: Most travel course instructors will be holding informational meetings before the registration deadline. If you are on leave for fall semester, you should contact the instructor directly as soon as possible to express interest in his/her course. If you plan to be on leave FALL and SPRING semesters, you are not eligible to participate in a travel course.)

 

IMPORTANT: you can only apply for 1 travel course OR 1 99. If you apply for a travel course and are not admitted, you will be expected to register for a regular winter study course. YOU CANNOT APPLY FOR A LATE 99. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding the registration process for Winter Study 99’s, the Roche Fellowship, and/or Winter Study Travel Courses.

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Information for Returning Students

Dear Students,
I hope you are having a wonderful summer.  We are busy planning for fall – just a few more weeks until the Class of 2021 arrives – and I’m very much looking forward to your return to campus and to our community.  There are many questions you may have brewing at this point – about keys and cars and transportation and room openings and many other things.  We have a website which we hope will offer most of the answers, here.  Of course, if none of the links there answer your questions, we are here and happy to talk and figure things out.
I’m wishing you a joyful remainder of your summer and safe travel back to Williamstown.
All best,
Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
Williams College
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Williams presidential search news

To the Williams Community,

I hope you are all enjoying the last days of summer, and looking forward, as I am, to the new academic year.

As you know, President Adam Falk recently announced that he will leave Williams at the end of December to become president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In my role as chair of the college’s Board of Trustees, I have been asked by the Board to lead our search for Adam’s successor. I am writing today to inform you of our considerable progress in organizing the process, and to share with you our plan for interim college leadership beginning in January of 2018, which was approved by the Board of Trustees yesterday.

First, I am pleased to inform you that Protik (Tiku) Majumder, Barclay Jermain Professor of Natural Philosophy and Director of the Science Center, has graciously agreed to serve as interim president, starting January 1, 2018, and continuing until the new president is in place. Tiku has an outstanding record as a Williams teacher and mentor, scientist, and faculty leader, and just as importantly has earned wide trust and respect across the Williams community. Our objective was to find an interim president with a keen understanding of our institution; a love of Williams, of its students, and of its faculty; enormous patience, tact, and insight; and an ability to respond with intelligence, compassion, and calm to the inevitable challenges that will arise from time to time. Tiku has each of these qualities, and many more. He will do a superb job of keeping Williams on track, and I ask you to join me in thanking him and supporting his leadership.

Second, we have formed a Presidential Search Committee whose charge will be to present to the Board of Trustees one or more exceptional and thoroughly vetted candidates to become our next president, and to ensure that every member of the Williams community has an opportunity to give input with respect to qualities that we should be seeking, as well as to offer nominations. The Search Committee includes representatives from every sector of our community: students, staff, alumni, faculty, and trustees. Several members are also Williams parents. As their backgrounds indicate, each brings deep involvement with the College. Service on the committee will require significant time and effort, and I am personally grateful to the members for their dedication to Williams and their willingness to take on this essential task.

The members of the committee are:

Michael Eisenson ’77, Trustee and Chair of the Search Committee
O. Andreas Halvorsen ’86, Trustee
Clarence Otis, Jr. ’77, Trustee
Kate L. Queeney ’92, Trustee
Liz Robinson ’90, Trustee
Martha Williamson ’77, Trustee

Ngonidzashe Munemo, Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity and Associate Professor of Political Science
Peter Murphy, John Hawley Roberts Professor of English
Lucie Schmidt, Professor of Economics
Tom Smith ’88, Professor of Chemistry
Safa Zaki, Professor of Psychology

Chris Winters ’95, Associate Provost

Jordan G. Hampton ’87, President, Society of Alumni
Yvonne Hao ’95, alumna and Trustee Emerita

Ben Gips ’19, student representative
Sarah Hollinger ’19, student representative

Keli Gail, Secretary of the Board of Trustees and principal staff to the committee

Third, the board has retained the firm Spencer Stuart as consultant, to help manage the search process. Spencer Stuart has been involved in numerous recent and successful academic searches at the highest levels, and is very well positioned to help the committee in its work. Searches like this are complex and sensitive, and we expect to benefit greatly from their expertise, specialized resources, and pool of outstanding candidates.

The Search Committee will begin its work shortly, and we will announce opportunities for community input as these are developed. As a first step, we have created a website where you can find information and materials related to the search. We will add to the site as additional materials are available, as further process steps are scheduled, and as we have news to share. Our future email updates will link back to this site as the place of record for search news.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to again thank the members of the Presidential Search Committee for the work they are about to do, and Tiku Majumder for his service as interim president. I also want to convey to our entire community our enthusiasm and optimism as we set out to find the 18th president of Williams College.

Sincerely,

Michael Eisenson ’77
Chair, Williams College Board of Trustees

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All Campus Email: Mattresses and Box Springs from Home

Hello all,

Welcome back for another great year at Williams College. I want to take a minute to make you all aware of an existing Bed Bug Policy here at Williams and how it may impact you.

The following guidelines were developed in collaboration between Williams and a professional pest control company. Student Life and Facilities offices consistently observe these guideline and partner closely with students in detection and remediation.

The most important role you, as a student, can play is in preventing bed bug infestation in the first place, and the principal means of prevention is to leave your own mattress at home. The mattresses that Williams provides are bed-bug free: most of them are made of tightly woven material that has no exposed standing seams and therefore no place for beg bugs to hide, and all of them will be similarly covered shortly. They do not contain any chemicals or pesticides. Mattresses from home carry no such guarantees and therefore are no longer allowed in campus residences.

Thank you for your continued help in keeping Williams College a healthy environment to live and learn in.

Best,

Dan


Dan Levering, Assistant Director of Custodial Services and Special Events
Williams College
60 Latham Street
Williamstown MA, 01267
(413) 597-4466

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Jews at Williams, 11

Jews at Williams: Inclusion, Exclusion, and Class at a New England Liberal Arts College by Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft is both an interesting read and a source for dozens of fascinating anecdotes. Let’s spend a month or so going through it. Today is Day 11.

Jews at Williams, like their counterparts at other institutions, were subject to anti-Semitic treatment during this period, ranging from verbal abuse to exclusion from fraternities and clubs. However, the label “anti-Semitic treatment” may obscure more than it clarifies.

Indeed. Like many of the comments/observations that are labelled as “racist” at Williams today, some of these comments/observations are just simply the truth. Consider:

praise for the imagined business sense of the Jewish people,

What PC nonsense! Is Wurgaft seriously suggesting that “Jewish people” aren’t more successful in business than non-Jewish people?

Imagine that you were a 1950s Eph, perhaps minding your own business, hanging out at the Deke House, and you happened to mention that Jewish people seem fairly successful in business. Perhaps you even dared to praise Jews and/or Jewish culture for this achievement. Then the Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft of the era comes by and attacks you for antisemitism! That would be fairly annoying!

Especially when, today, you notice that the last 50 years have proved that your (allegedly!) antisemitic observation was spot on. Around 1/3 of the member of the Forbe 400 are Jewish, the vast majority of whom made their fortunes over this time period. Sure seems like “Jewish people” might have better than average “business sense.”

The same PC nonsense, of course, happens at Williams today to any student who happens to notice, much less publicly comment on, much less actually praise, the strong performance of Asian-Americans on the SAT.

This is a war — not so much against antisemitism or against racism — but against noticing true facts about the world.

The exclusion of Jews from upper-class social facilities, for example, was prompted by proprietors’ (not entirely unreasonable) fears that a marked Jewish presence would drive out their traditional WASP clientele.

I am, in theory, sympathetic to this argument. Perhaps one reason that Harvard/Yale/Princeton are more successful than Columbia today is that the former discriminated much more heavily against Jews than the latter? I don’t know but the case could be made. Is Williams smart to discriminate against international students for similar reasons? Recall Jim Kolesar’s ’72 argument more than a decade ago:

But a college that gave itself over to educating mainly international students, which is eventually what would happen given the numbers, would have a significantly different mission, very different standing with U.S. prospective students, and greatly altered relationship with government, donors, etc.

Is Williams smart to have a quota for international students?

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