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Update on Diversity Initiatives

The following message is from Michael Reed, sent to williams-students and williams-personnel:

To the Williams Community,

Williams has made some changes in how we work on issues of diversity and inclusion that I would like to inform you about.

I am particularly pleased that Wendy Raymond, Associate Professor of Biology, has agreed to serve in the new position of Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity. While continuing her teaching and research, Wendy will use course-release time to work with my office as we assist departments and offices across campus in making Williams a place where everyone, whatever their background, can thrive. She is already known on campus and nationally for her work on developing ways to support students from underrepresented minority groups in the sciences. I very much look forward to having her be part of our Office for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity.

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Alumni Diversity

The section I am discussing starts on page 69.

As part of the Diversity Initiatives Self Study, Paula Moore Tabor, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, writes about

1. “How the undergraduate experience for many students of color is less rewarding than it is for their White counterparts,”

2. That “this sense of dissatisfaction lowers the desire of minority alumni to re-engage with Williams, particularly without the support of other graduates of color,”

3. And how “affinity connections after graduation help to promote reconciliation.”

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Learn Some History

Focussing on the positive with regard to the College’s Diversity Initiatives, I am trying to make a few minor suggestions. Thanks to Jim Kolesar ’74 for including the first on an Eph Style Guide. Here is the second.

There should be chapter in the report, perhaps in the Context section, about the history of diversity issues at Williams. This would be wonderfully informative as well as serving to set the stage for the analysis that follows. It is very hard to have an informed opinion about the issues involved with diversity unless one knows the history. Although it is always interesting to hear about older controversies — the exclusion of certain types of Ephs from fraternities in the 1950’s, say — I am much more interested in the last 35 years or so.

So, give us 5 or so pages about every significant diversity-related event from the takeover of Hopkins Hall through Nigaleian. Recent examples from what should be included would be Barnard/VISTA, the KKK cookout and Madcow. Quote the original materials. Reprint articles from the Record, both news and opinion pieces. Interview the participants. Tell us the history.

Williams can’t move forward unless it knows where it has been.

UPDATE: The suggestions section of the Diversity Initiatives site is surprisingly good. One Eph notes that “Robert Gaudino, widely regarded as one of the best educators ever to be part of the Williams faculty, published a paper on “Uncomfortable Education,” explaining why he always kept students off-balance . . . ” It would be good if the report included prominent essays like this from Williams’s history.

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