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Memories of the Purple Pub

Greetings Fellow Ephs!

My name is Fiona Moriarty and I am a current junior History and Art History major and I am in desperate need of your help! I am currently taking my junior seminar for history entitled Documentary practices by Professor Leslie Brown and the entire semester has been based around a group project. This group project was to document the history of an establishment on Spring Street and my group chose the Purple Pub. This is where your help comes in. We would really appreciate if you could either post (in the comments below) or email me (fmm1 at your memories of your times at the Purple Pub through the years. All memories good and bad and especially anything about the management, food or atmosphere are appreciated. These quotes will be used for our final project which is a website that will document the history of the building in a creative way. Email me with any questions, comments or photos, and just to reiterate, we sincerely appreciate your help!


(image credit to bloodbubb1e)


QSU Occupies Hardy House

From a QSU Member

I am of the camp that is generally happy with the culture here at Williams. Is occupying Hardy an overreaction to someone painting “XXXX” on the wall… once? Let me be the first to say YES. What we’re doing is using this incident as a springboard, as leverage, to build a Williams that we want, we are truly Claiming Williams. The status quo is pretty good, in my opinion, not many people are getting attacked or harassed on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean things can’t be better. We can make happen in a week what has literally been fought for for decades. That’s why I’m going to Hardy right now, because the stars are finally aligning: interim, very friendly president, homophobic incidences, Queer politics in the news, etc… This is a very, very ripe fruit and if we don’t carpe, we might not get another chance.

To the Williams Community,

The recent homophobic incident on campus has brought to light both historical and current issues regarding gender and sexuality at Williams College. Currently there is no designated space for a Gender and Sexuality Resource Center to address these issues. We students believe that this is a necessary addition to the network of student resources at the College. The presence of such a Center would provide students with a fixed place to go for support such as the counsel of other peers, the Queer Life Coordinator, printed information, or sexual health resources. The space would be utilized by currently existing groups such as the Women’s Center, the Queer Student Union, Anything But Str8 in Athletics, and other groups invested in these issues. The establishment of this center would create a more permanent space in which these groups could work with the College administration (including the Deans’ Office, the Office of Campus Life, the Admissions Office, the Career Planning Center, the President’s Office and the Health Center). Read more


From Davenport ’10, in response to Hill ’11, and others

By Emma Davenport ’10

“Bernard Moore has easily been the preeminent academician in, and has added immeasurably to, the strength of the Political Science department at this College for the past year… Professor Moore’s consistently high student ratings, his acclaim and scholarly distinction speak volumes in testifying to his pedigree as an educator.” ~Rhassan

While I respect your comments regarding the inspiration Moore is for you, the two statements of yours that I quoted above really question your credibility on this. You don’t have to ask a student who disapproved of him as a professor to be appalled by those statements. Scholarly distinction? Preeminent academician? Pedigree as an educator? I understand that he wrote a powerful bill, and has done scores for those individuals (and society who benefits from not having a consistently imprisoned population). He deserves props for that. That said, that doesn’t make him an academic and it doesn’t make him a great educator – the latter the most important for me at Williams. Could you show us some of his published articles in political science magazines, get some colleagues of his in academia who agree with your statement, or maybe show us any sort of recognition he has ever had for being a so called amazing educator?

You have reminded me, Rhassan, that I am airing certain grievances though they are by no means personal. If I had never taken a class, I wouldn’t care. Instead I would probably wonder what could have driven him pathologically to for twenty years lead a life of lies and fraudulent behavior. I would feel more sorry for him. And that is the job for someone. Someone who doesn’t know him in the educational context. But mine is to say it straight. So far every other student who has aired an opinion of him on either wso or ephblog has come to the opposite conclusion of you Rhassan. I’ve talked to others in person who would prefer to be on the DL. Can you bring some more evidence or voice to the table to corroborate your extra high assessment of him as an academic and an

We have an amazing institution and brilliant, talented, and caring faculty at Williams. That’s why I’m complaining about this professor. If anything, I hope Williams just sees this as more reason to ensure they hire or re-hire someone who convincingly shows that they are interested in their students LEARNING.

From Will: I’m quoting all other ephblog comments from students in the extended post:

He’s too new to be on factrack, but the reports are accurate. He spent most of his time in DC, away from his students. An interaction I had with him last semester – in his Judicial Politics class, he had a final paper (15 pages) that was worth 40% of he course. I turned it in, and had a conversation with him afterward, in which he confirmed that he had ‘decided” to give me an A 2 weeks prior, and was not going to be reading my paper at all.

Another anecdote:
We were preparing for our Moot Court, and he asked us to explain how the selection of judges to the 9th circuit or something worked. We, having learned NOTHING over the course of the semester, had no good answer for him. He exclaimed, “But this is a judicial politics course!” as though by virtue of the course’s title we would have absorbed the information without him having imparted any knowledge.

Unfortunately, he gave out great grades, so students gave him so incredible evaluations. Sad.

PSCI Major II:
I don’t know about that. I’m under the impression (as well as many others I’ve talked to) that Williams only kept him around because of his ability to get important people on campus.

I was assigned to Moore’s section in my “Intro to American Poltics” class. During the first class, he was so horrible that at least half of the class walked out during the first half hour. I stuck around for one more class, realized the first class was not a fluke, walked out and switched into another professor’s section. He was truely the worst Professor I had ever been in contact with at Williams.

I had a somewhat more complicated experience with the man than those stated above.

To be sure, he was one of the single most disorganized, scatterbrained professors I have ever had at any level–when I got one of the book reviews back (one I’d put a fair amount of work into), he returned only the first of the 4 pages with no comments beyond the grade, and didn’t seem aware that there had been any more to it. I never heard anything at all about the 20pg. final paper I turned in. In class, he had a tendency to divert away from the main topic and have us talk about the election instead. So he was not, by any estimation, a particularly good prof.

With all that said, I did interact with him a fair amount outside of class and he was by no means a bad guy. For one thing, he did clearly know his shit–he seemed to take his legislative job seriously enough, at least, to know the intricate details of all the legislation moving in congress at any given point. He was friendly, at least to me, and he did go out of his way to say when he thought you were making a good contribution to class, and the chance to interact with the CBC members was really pretty incredible. Furthermore, whatever you think of the man (and right now, I am pretty angry at him), the Second Chance Act was a good and important piece of legislation.

None of that, though, excuses the kind of fraud he was engaged in. He espoused good ideals when I talked to him, but clearly he was at his core a pretty flagrant hypocrite, particularly in that he spent so much of his time arguing that criminals could be rehabilitated, even as he continued to commit crimes himself.

Moore was BY FAR the worst “teacher” that I have ever had during my Williams career. Despite receiving an A (I too was told ahead of my gigantic final research paper that he would not read it and that I would get an A anyway) I wrote a scathing review for the PSCI department. I also took my complaints to Professors in the department but got little sympathy from them.

Moore had NO INTEREST in teaching us anything at all and spent more time recounting the “very close friendship” that he has with Barack Obama and telling us all about how Obama, Pelosi, Reid and every Supreme Court Justice who has ever served where going to come visit campus “in the next few months.” He would them other thinly veiled excuses for why his “close friends” did not come. I actually had a conversation with a student in our class about the possibility that Moore was an obsessive compulsive liar – which now seems to make a lot of sense.

One terrifying anecdote: During the semester we were supposed to do two “book reports,” each wroth a good proportion of our grade. I handing both of mine in early in the semester to get it out of the way and ACTUALLY put work into them because at that point I didn’t understand how useless he was as a professor. I got them both back (graded and clearly unread) and thought nothing else about it. In the last day of the semester (when I could easily have been out of town) I received a very scary and formal email from him saying that I was missing an assignment and that I should see him promptly to avoid failing the class. I, of course, FREAKED OUT… went running over to his office, terrified and near tears, worried that his gross incompetence was about to earn me a failing grade. I had, fortunately, emailed myself the paper to print at the being of the semester so I showed it to him in my email files, which shows the date sent to be printed. He basically responded with a shrug saying “well if I never got it…” to which I responding saying that he had actually handed it back to me with a grade on it! He basically told me there was nothing that I could do. I left in tears. About an hour later he emailed me a one sentence long note saying that he realized that he had made a mistake and that he found the record of my paper. I’ve never forgiven him for this.

Williams College is supposed to be about offering quality TEACHING over all else. I feel that I was deprived of part of my Williams education by being in that class and the A in no way makes me feel better about this loss. The fact that we was allowed to remain after students evaluated him the first semester SHOCKS and saddens me.


I took his class in the Spring last year. I only took it because it looked like it might be relevant to my post Williams life. I agree with Emma on this one. He was completely inept, and the entire class would often make fun of him before and after class. I remember that specific instance in which he said “This is a judicial politics class,” as if he expected us to learn from some sort of osmosis. I routinely kept track of the amount of times he was on his blackberry during class. I assigned 1 point for each time he was checking it/typing away on it and 2 points for every 30 seconds he was talking to someone. I still have the notebook in which he once got 20 points on that rudimentary scale. This should point to the complete lack of meaningful discussion and teaching. Everyone I talked to wrote scathing reviews of his performance, and absolutely nobody respected him as a teacher. He had no lesson plan, and the amount of laptops that students brought to class increased exponentially as the semester progressed. Obviously they were just doing crosswords, playing boggle, and watching youtube videos. It was quite obvious he was only kept around for his connections to the political world.


Hill ’11, in Defense of Moore

By: Rhassan Hill
rlh1 (at) williams (dot) edu

My name is Rhassan Hill ‘11. I am a student and long-time friend of Professor Moore as well as a participant in Bernard Moore’s Fall ‘09 class, Black Leadership. I took a few moments tonight to speak with my friend Professor Moore, and will be the first to speak up in his defense.
Firstly, I’d like to say that Bernard Moore is a great inspiration to students of color on this campus, in particular black males. As the author of the Second Chance Act, signed into law by former President Bush, the organizer of such forums as the Congressional Black Caucus event last year, and the upcoming Black Leadership forum, Bernard Moore has easily been the preeminent academician in, and has added immeasurably to, the strength of the Political Science department at this College for the past year.

The quality of Professor Moore’s classroom instruction has been of the highest degree for the year I have known him. Anyone testifying to the contrary is either being disingenuous, airing personal grievances, or, worse, consciously perjuring this great man. I am willing to place my integrity as a member of the Williams community on the line in defense of the above statements, and will challenge, to the administration or otherwise, allegations to the contrary. Professor Moore’s consistently high student ratings, his acclaim and scholarly distinction speak volumes in testifying to his pedigree as an educator.

There is, at least in theory, a creed with regard to the Williams community that holds privacy in the highest esteem. I am outraged at the crass and blatantly intrusive behavior of some supposedly mature members of this community. As Professor Moore is not available to assert his right to privacy, I will assert it for him. Professor Moore, as a member of the Williams community, deserves his privacy. If members of the Williams community were to speak of me in the same way in which some community members have spoken of Professor Moore, I’d be enraged.

Before you rush to judgment regarding the allegations Professor Moore faces, I offer words of caution: Professor Moore’s support in the black community at Williams runs strong and deep. The African American community, and myself in particular, will not allow the lynching of Professor Moore’s reputation and racial insinuations readily appearing in commentary to continue. We will stand in his defense. I say this not in a partisan manner, but as someone who does not want to see this matter metamorphose into an open racial confrontation.

Lastly, Professor Moore has asked me to extend his thanks to those who stand in support of him. The matter has been greatly exaggerated by individuals not in the know, a tendency when people speak of matters in which they have no interest. I join supporters of Bernard Moore in extending well wishes to the individual responsible for a substantial portion of our personal and intellectual enrichment. If any of you will be in Washington over Thanksgiving break, Professor Moore invites you to contact him.

Rhassan Hill

Note from Will: If anyone wants to comment on this with a response post, e-mail me. Comments will NOT be blocked for this post.


An Open Letter to the WPD from a Senior.

Dear Mr. Johnson,

Tonight I was embarrassed to be a resident of Williamstown. As I was leaving the First Chance party (for Williams College seniors, the vast majority of whom are over 21 years old), I was harassed by a WPD officer. I do not know his name, because upon my asking of his name and badge number he only offered expletives and threatening phrases. However, he did curse at me several more times (Asking about how my job opportunities would suffer after me possible getting a felony, which I did not deserve as I had simply asked him, without any malice in my voice, why the party had been broken up and then not been allowed to give out alcohol to 21-24 year olds after 11:45 pm, which can be verified by the many people) and threaten me with physical violence, to the point that I feared for my own safety. I did not expect this unacceptable behavior, as my experiences with WPD have been very positive until this point. However, this person was an embarrassing outlier to the normally exemplary WPD force, and I would greatly appreciate an opportunity to point out the officer who stepped beyond his normal bounds, since I believe that WPD is, for the most part, a very understanding group. Thank you for your understanding and continued protection of Williamstown.


(name redacted after request)


A Senior’s Experience in Biology

(I was sent the following as a comment to this post on Biology at Williams, but thought there was enough here to merit a guest-post. -Will)

While I may not know much about the biology programs at other top liberal arts / ivy league schools, I have majored in biology at Williams and can give my view on the program.  My first biology course was through the Summer Science Program 2005.  This is a small (~25 students) program for low income and minority students interested in majoring in the sciences.  Not everyone is eligible, but I highly recommend this program if you are invited.  You will receive a postcard in the mail asking if you are interested.  The students live in the dorms on campus over the summer for 6 weeks and take classes by Williams professors to review/learn high school material.  It really helped me to ease into college by giving me the opportunity to take classes, meet new people, and manage my time without the pressure of a GPA.  The approach to biology was completely different from my high school classes.  In high school I was expected to memorize facts and terms, but at Williams, we were given essay questions about biological functions.

Fall of my freshman year, I began working in a biology lab.  This was considered my work study job, so I spent about 8-10 hours per week in the lab.  The professor worked side-by-side with me teaching me the techniques of the laboratory.  I do not know about other liberal arts colleges, but at ivy league and big research universities, you will never even see or talk to the principal investigator (head of the lab).  But here at Williams she was the one training me at the bench top.

I had many meetings with my professor where we discussed my interests in the subject.  She developed a research project that fit my interests, and I started a large bioinformatics research project on my own.  Now, I may not have designed this project, but I said that I was interested in bioinformatics and she told me some of the questions she would be interested in studying from a bioinformatics approach.  I continued this research throughout the rest of freshman year and even discovered a few new, previously unknown genes.

In the summer of freshman year, the Williams biology department purchased a real-time PCR machine.  This machine is one of the most state-of-the-art, cutting edge technologies, and Williams had just purchased one.  They were looking for students to be trained to use it.  In a discussion with my professor, we decided it would be complementary to the research I had been doing.  I could measure the expression levels of the genes that I had just discovered.

I spent the next year on this project.  My professor took me and several students in her lab to a few conferences.  We were the youngest people there!  It was lots of schmoozing with big name scientists.  Everyone we talked to said “and which Ph.D program are you in?”  We had to say “Actually, we’re freshmen at Williams College.” It made us realize just how lucky we were to be studying science at Williams.  I spent a lot of time on my new project, and I eventually became first author of an article published in the scientific journal entitled Gene.

I have had a great experience in biology at Williams.  I have TA’d for a genetics class, something that only graduate students would be able to do at a research institution.  I have had the opportunity to actually do research for a professor with whom I have a good relationship.  At large, research universities you would be diluting solutions, or ordering supplies.  Here at Williams, we are using cutting edge technology, accompanying professors to conferences, and co-authoring journal articles.  I have no doubt Williams has many great opportunities in the biological sciences.

This press release has more information about my specific research (for you biology geeks out there).

For more information on science research at Williams, there is a yearly publication that includes research the faculty and students have done over the year.  It can be found here.

We have also have a fairly new science center that connects all of the individual science departments.

Best of luck!

Kimberly Elicker
Biology and Math major ‘09
09kse (at) williams (dot) edu


A Guest Post

My name is William Lee and I am a sophomore from Brooklyn, NY. I serve on the Lehman Council for Community Engagement, and we are working very closely with Lindsay Moore ’09 to push for greater institutional support for student engagement with public affairs and community service. We were wondering if Ephblog could raise this issue in a post.

Last Wednesday, the Record published an op-ed by Laura Christianson and Janna Gordon, also on Lehman, which very succinctly explains what we are doing. There seems to be a general sentiment on campus that Williams students could be doing so much more with public affairs and community service, and that there is a severe lack of institutional support for students who do this kind of work. Currently, Williams’ Center for Community Engagement employs only one part-time staff member, and simply does not have the capacity to effectively coordinate resources and expertise for students. By comparison, schools like Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury and Hamilton have endowed, multi-million dollar Centers for Community Engagement that employ up to eight full time staff members. The amazing work that Williams students do now with public affairs and community engagement could be exponentially greater and more closely integrated into the Williams experience if the College made an institutional investment in supporting student activism and service.

We are collecting student signatures for a petition that Lindsay Moore will present at the next Board of Trustees meeting on Oct 16. So far, we have 250 names, and we aim to reach our target of 700 signatures by Sunday. We would also greatly appreciate it if alumni could show their support and sign the petition as well, and we were wondering if you could mention this in an Ephblog post.

Links: Record op-ed. There will be another article in tomorrow’s Record about our efforts.

Online petition: Setting the PACE for Excellence in the Liberal Arts: Public Affairs + Community Engagement at Williams

We are extremely interested in listening to what alumni think about this, and Ephblog is the perfect forum for doing so. We are also collecting testimonials from students and alumni expressing their frustrations with the lack of institutional support for student involvement in public affairs and civic engagement. If you or any alumni you know would like to contribute testimonials to the report we are presenting to the Board of Trustees, we are more than happy to include them. (Anywhere from a couple of sentences to several paragraphs suffices.)


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