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“Hot Takes” in the Williams Record Making a Splash on Campus

Two weeks ago, the Record released a pseudo-satirical opinion piece, a bullet point list of what are being called “Hot takes from a white guy with an annoying mix of confidence and insecurity” written by Nate Munson-Palomba ’21. The list, touching on a wide range of Williams social issues, has caused quite a stir to say the least, because it isn’t perfectly clear which points are jokes and which are serious opinions of the author. Conversations about the piece have gone around on Facebook, Instagram, and in dining halls across Williams. The full list can be seen below:

● The athlete-nonner divide is driven by nonners (insecurity).

● “The Williams Swivel” says the most about Williams social life.

● Attractive white female athletes run this school.

● White guys should try to wear clothes when they’re going out that aren’t checkered button-downs, basketball jerseys or Hawaiian shirts.

● Endurance athletes are essentially nonners.

● The lack of bars has made social life better and more inclusive.

● CC will be the comeback story of 2022.

● Comedy is the clout of nonners.

● 66 is underrated.

● About half of Williams’ problems are intractable because of geography.

● You haven’t seen Williams until you’ve been exercising in Lower Lasell when the entire football team is there.

● The phantoms are having more fun a ton of the time.

● A refrigerator door could be a housing coordinator.

● Class defines Williams.

● Adams Falk’s I am Williams poster that says, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you” actually defines Williams.

● If you’re doing all your reading, most Div. II majors are as hard as Div. III; the only thing is almost nobody is doing that.

● OSL is the shadow government of Williams.

● The only enemy that will unite humanity is non-human.

● Rugby is the last frat.

● Male helmet sport athletes are smarter than everyone else thinks they are and less attractive than they think they are.

● One of the worst social places to be at Williams is a short, unattractive guy who likes sports but isn’t good at them.

● Juul culture is the most communitarian Williams gets.

● The only true protest act of Williams is to unenroll.

● There’s no better way to torpedo your social clout at Williams than to write a sendy op-ed.

The following week, the Record included a second list written in response, called “Confessions from a Black Lesbian with a powerful mix of Confidence and Security” written by Rachel Porter ’21. It is a roughly line-by-line response to the points made in the earlier article:

● The athlete-nonner divide is driven by athletes who like to shout at parties something along the lines of, “If you aren’t on one of these three sports teams, or I can’t sexually objectify you because of my toxic masculinity and my inability to see women as people, then get out of this space that was formerly used as a social meeting place for a variety of people because I am insecure, sexist and enjoy bigotry.”

● “The Williams Swivel” isn’t limited to Williams. It’s called having situational awareness.

● Women/Femme-identifying people of color do the most for this miserable school and look absolutely fierce while doing so. Whether or not they fit the confining and limiting criteria of “attractive” is irrelevant to me. Because I don’t value people solely based on their physical appearance.

● Haouxsey is overrated.

● Sometimes you have to wear your worst clothes to parties when there’s a good chance of mysterious filth being spilled on you at any moment.

● My brief foray into syndicated athleticism has led me to believe that running is one of the most intellectually and physically challenging sports to participate in. You know, because it actually requires concentration and tenacity. Weird.

● The lack of bars in this town is the reason why there is a dispensary down the street. Trends follow the money.

● The College’s many bureaucratic groups fight over the definition of inclusion every day. Because apparently not being complicit in structures of oppression isn’t an easy task.

● The Williams Record will be the comeback story of never.

● Shoutout to College Council for giving us the take the money and run option.

● Houcksey is overrated.

● The Williams Record is officially the Pastiche of Williams. (If you know, you know).

● Try to lock me up for being funny. I’ll film you. You better Mirandize me first.

● Black people are underrated. Period.

● We go to school in the middle of some mountains. Ahem.

● You haven’t seen Williams until it’s 3 a.m. at “X dorm close to Mission” and “INSERT BLANK HERE” team is ready to blast Mo Bamba and scream the N-word until they get tired (they don’t really emphasize cardio at this school).

● The world and even sad little Williams can be a fun place when you have friends that you aren’t forced to hang out with. There are many people at this college that value the happiness and the pleasure of building platonic relationships that aren’t solely transactional or based on doing some particular thing. Crazy right?

● Houckxsoeuy is overrated.

● But can a refrigerator door provide emotional and even physical labor to adult children? I don’t think so.

● The definition of inclusion might also lead you to a definition of intersectionality. Take note.

● There are a lot of things that define Williams. That’s why they have those cute little posters in Schow.

● The only thing almost no one is talking about is which major is harder than the other. Because there’s a good chance they’re doing their work.

● Hockeysee is overrated.

● The gay agenda is the shadow government of Williams.

● I respect people who believe in aliens. Takes a lot of courage to admit that.

● How do you quantify being attractive, and how do you quantify being smart? Can you be both, or is it one or the other? Will I get the answers on reddit?

● One of the worst social places to be at Williams is a tall “athletic” male that is decent at sports but can’t pursue them after college because he’s not actually that good. Road ends here pal (insecurity).

● Sometimes people read books to learn how to make the world a better place.

● Sometimes they don’t have the opportunity to read as many books as they want and they still make the world a better place.

● Hiouuxseauy is overrated.

● So is poorly disguised satire that merely acts as a way for certain people to say the strangely nefarious, coded thoughts in their head they are too afraid to say out loud. Yes it’s okay to not know everything, but if you can read and you have access to the internet, you should know that there is a powerful tool called an internet search engine. Yes, you can use it to find the definition of satire AND what constitutes as offensive.

● Yes, people deserve to have their own opinion, but know some people cannot be silenced when attempting to express theirs (security). Trivializing serious matters related to race, gender, class and sexuality can result in some pushback. Know that.

Both lists provide an interesting window into the kinds of discussions taking place at Williams College in 2019.

Alumni of all ages, how many of these “hot takes” were true in your days at Williams? If at all, to what degree have things changed?


Invitation Mystery

Charles Osgood invited Agnes Crossman to the 1904 Williams Commencement.

Are you an aspiring fiction writer? Craft the story of Charles and Agnes. We could serialize at EphBlog. Surely you recall the first book which started out as an EphBlog post series 15 years ago!

Which events from that graduation celebration should Maud Mandel bring back?

Let’s start by writing “base ball” instead of “baseball.”

By the way, there is a great Williams senior thesis to be written about the Cuban Giants and their time in Williamstown. Who will write it?

[Thanks to a family friend for passing this along.]


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

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


“Williams Students are so Annoying!”

I chanced upon this complaint just the other day. Curious (and partially offended, as affection for one’s alma mater affects even me), I asked for some elaboration. The friend of mine, who attends another respected liberal arts college and didn’t know I attend Williams, responded:

“They’re arrogant. Whenever their team shows up to multi-school events, they think they can coast by on brand-name and being kinda smart. They’re so exclusive, too!”

or something like that.

I told them I was one of those students. The blush on their face was something to behold! I needn’t fear, they said, I’m not like the average student they had met.

Fair enough. But it got me thinking–do I really disagree with them? They’re not stupid, and the stereotype of the Williams jock had to emerge from somewhere. Personally, I do smell a scent of smugness in the purple bubble. I don’t think it’s a conscious thing. I get along well with the Williams marathoner, the mathematician, the musician, or any commingling of the personalities present. It’s more just a certain narrow-mindedness.  We appreciate how Williams College shapes the world, but we simultaneously neglect how much the world shapes Williams College.

I don’t think this mindset is as pronounced in other liberal arts campuses. That thought is subject to change, however.


Housing alternatives open at other schools in light of suicide …

As forwarded to me by a reader:

The tragic occurrence at Rutgers prods some colleges to open roommate selection opportunities.

Gender-neutral housing has been approved by the college following recommendations and discussions last March, 2010. as reported in The Record

The Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL) and College Council (CC) both advocated gender-neutral housing last fall, following its proposal by the Queer Student Union (QSU). “I think there is a good chance that the NRC would have gone this direction anyway,” said Colin Adams, chair of the CUL and member of the NRC. “But the fact that CUL and CC supported and pushed for gender-neutral housing certainly helped to bring it to the forefront for consideration.”

And as reported int The Record

In a campus-wide e-mail last week, Campus Life also announced that a gender-neutral housing policy has been approved by the College. According to the e-mail, upperclassmen can choose to live in a double with another student regardless the students’ genders, as long as both students agree to the housing arrangement. Gender caps will apply as usual to all dorms. The e-mail clarified that the gender-neutral housing policy is optional and unless students of opposite genders decide to live together, housing placements into doubles will otherwise be based on same-gender placements…

“I’m pleased that the College can go forward with gender neutral housing,” Dean Merrill said. “It’s been an issue that students have been talking about for at least as many years that I’ve been dean. There’s been a lot of student effort, both here, and around the country, and I’m glad that we can be part of a growing number of schools that offer it.”

What changes do you see on campus that might relate to previous comments in the I am Fine posts below on the Williams experience? Additive to? Subtractive from?


“I Am Fine”

Ed note: Originally appeared 23 February, 2011
As a recent alum, I’ve been a part of conversations with friends about the sensitive topic of “not loving” Williams. A few of us felt disillusioned or periodically depressed, but there was also an impressive amount of us that shared sentiments of hopelessness that resound in this Crimson Newspaper article. It’s a great piece about accepting that the “brochure” Williams doesn’t exist 24/7 and that most importantly, talking about how you’re feeling can open up amazing discussions and friendships.

In the wake of the “I am Williams” issues, I think a lot of good discussion could also come out of accepting this truth, instead of trying to pinpoint whether the unhappiness comes from racial/class etc., perhaps the students could simply try to acknowledge that it exists for some Williams students, regardless of their background.


They’re Not Fine Either.

In a follow-up to my previous post about the Harvard Crimson’s article, here is a link to the Williams Record’s respective article. An interesting spin with the Williams touch most of us can probably recognize.

I certainly do not miss the days of stress-competition… the memories of sleep deprived days are painful and quite frankly, not fun to remember. There is certainly a dark side to most “high-expectation” colleges. My experience reminds me of how quickly parties can become weekend binges, which can easily spiral into alcohol abuse. Dedicated studying can turn into poor sleeping habits, which can morph into ritalin dependence for that added “edge”. Etc, etc. I hope that these articles can spur conversation about students’ stress levels and how, more often than not, we’re not fine.

Hopefully the campus’ level of awareness surrounding this quest for perfection has risen as a result of the Harvard Crimson and the Williams Record articles.


Williams first season of Basketball national competition – ’54-’55 …

As reported on the Williams Athletic site, it was many years ago (funny, it doesn’t seem that long ago) that an Eph team was in a national tourney – the NCAA.

I mention this as a part of background and color to this weekend!

Tony Moro ’55 and Ron Wilson ’55 were the stars along with Bob Buss ’56. There was one loss, a heart-breaker to Amherst.

This reminiscence from Tony Moro in January 2008:

… memories of when Amherst stopped our 1955 undefeated record by beating us on their home court. The defeat was largely my responsibility.

A couple of days before the game I had been horsing around with Marco in the TDX living
room before lunch and managed to badly sprain two fingers in my right hand.

This did not enhance my shooting performance that evening and we ended up
kissing off our 14-game streak of wins. On the last day of our season we
got a measure of revenge and beat Amherst on our home court, which was
satifying, but did nothing to regain for us the undefeated season.

As a footnote, I also had horsed around with Marco and ended up with a broken wrist and a cast in a peculiar position which made it difficult to dress for dinner in a coat and tie. Marco’s study mate was the first Williams wrestler to compete in the nationals.

Marco ’56 – his real name will not be used, lacrosse, football, and wresting – is now an investor living in Zug, Switzerland. His brother ’54 is an investor living in London and an ardent supporter on international tournament bridge.

Huh! Does this belong under Senior Mom’s post “When I think of Williams”?


On the bill at Williams? Who’s the booker?

Note found on a paper napkin at Lindy’s

Booking the school circuit: what a way to make a living! Even harder at a place like Williams where you don’t even know who’s on first, what with all the overlaps. I mean All Campus Entertainment (ACE), is it all-campus, some-campus, off-campus? You’d think the home of the Williamstown Summer Festival would have the answer inbred in their genes!

I had this balloon folder, Bob Rollins, he could a gone to the top I said to him If you take my advice, you’ll become one of the great balloon-folding acts of all time! Really, ’cause I don’t just see you folding balloons in joints. You listen to me, you’re gonna fold balloons at universities and colleges. But not Williams, I couldn’t figure out the system.

So if anybody reads this on campus who knows somebody I got this singer. My hand to God, she’s gonna be at Carnegie Hall. But you – I’ll let you have her now at the old price, OK? Which is, which is anything you wanna give me. Anything at all.

(Ed note: This seems to bear some resemblance to Broadway Danny Rose)


What Kind of Lectures?

Over at WSO, Zach Ferguson ’13 of the Lecture Committee is seeking input from students about who they should bring to campus:

[W]e thought it might be helpful if we reached beyond the four students who currently serve on the committee and asked the general student body at Williams . . . . Specifically:

1)How have this year’s lectures compared to those of previous years?

2)What lectures/speakers from the past were particualrly memorable, and why?

Read more


OR …


Alums Rock Good(rich) Sat 15 January …

Alum musicians play for a night at Goodrich!

Darlingside is Don Mitchell ’06, Auyon Mukharji ’07, Dave Senft ’07, Harris Paseltiner ’09, and Sam Kapala ’09.

Pop sensibilities unconstrained by the pop aesthetic push Darlingside outside the realm of trendy, safely beyond the obnoxious trifling of those who wear their music tastes on their sleeves as a mere fashion accessory, and into deeper and more enduring places. Ampeater Music

Hear ’em at

Caitlin Canty ‘04 will open.

“New York-based songstress Caitlin Canty creates the bittersweet, but rare variety of acoustic folk pop that could make even the most callous barfly both weep and sing along in one three-minute tune.”- David Coffey, Daily Collegian

She has worked with Darlingside. Read more


The Village Beautiful or Company Town?

An interesting discussion has broken out between PTC and esoskin under “Upcoming Concerts at Clark”. It is about monopolies, the extent of control eventually achieved, and the role of government.

While scrip has not yet been introduced in Williamstown, it is the lede to catch your attention. And some mention of the College attitude toward the Pownal Biomass plant has been cited,

This discussion occurring as it does within comments about events at Chapin deserves to be set out as a post. In no way is this perceived as a distraction from the Winter Seminar below. In fact it might be an interesting ‘compare and contrast’ between the published views of the governance of pedagogy by those responsible and the perceived governance of the college community by those same worthies.

Your comments are welcome. The starting discussion is below the fold.
Read more


It’s easy to be #1 when you’re not sick and poor …

and fortunately for me coming of age after WWII, this was the case … yes, even for middle-class working stiffs like me.

And the Williams education of the ’50’s helped shape my views so that I could understand and enjoy what was my right.

A South American pattern of 90/10 ownership emerging in the States and a more than equal world-wide playing field of health and money present challenges to the elite colleges to help prepare graduates for this tougher game. The question has been discussed here on the blog.

David Brook’s in his opinion piece this am in the NYT asks this question with an answer.
Ben Franklin’s America:
But as interesting as the answer is the presentation of the question:
Everybody knows I’m a sucker for a visual that hits home. That is why I sometimes grow impatient with seemingly endless discussions and parsings here on the blog. Blame it on being an Art History major.

But do watch the four minute presentation on youtube! What a great way visually to make a situation readily visible and understandable!

Alas, as everybody also knows, I won’t have any answers.

But I would be interested in yours!


Where does the time come from?

After reading this comment from Anon ’89er:

Time for some rugbyblogging! I just checked and it looks like the White Dogs finally updated their website, the first time since 2007. As long as nobody is set on fire it ought to be a good season.

I decided to check out the WRFC (Williams Rugby Football Club) website . Its not a bad site, but it clearly isn’t updated on a particularly regular basis. But I certainly can’t fault the team or the current WRFC members for that. I know its a lot of work/time to constantly add new material to a website.

When I was at Williams, I rarely felt as though I had a lot of spare time on my hands (although in hindsight, I guess I really did). I spent my time going to class, studying/writing papers, going to practice and games and parties, and eating and sleeping. I spent some time playing computer games, watching TV (especially on Sundays) and reading books and the newspaper. Occasionally we would play some snow football, or go skiing or golfing. I didn’t spend anytime surfing the Web (for our purposes, it did not then exist), blogging, sending e-mail (I had a VAX account my junior year which I did send a few e-mails with), or using Facebook or Twitter or other social media (which of course did not exist at all).

And yet today’s students at Williams collectively seem to spend a fair amount of time doing all of these things. Where do they get the time? What do they do less of? Sleeping? Watching television? Hanging out with their friends? Studying? I would guess there is less television time, but its only a guess. Can anyone suggest the real answers?


Williams Conversations

Shortly after I graduated from Williams, when I was studying at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Germany, I approached a professor lecturing on Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival to ask her about a concept in that epic (I believed was) similar to one in Beowulf. “Approach” may not be the best way to describe how I sought to contact this scholar. It was more like chased down. I had to rush after her at the close of the class. Unlike her peers in the Purple Valley, she did not stay after to field questions from students, leaving almost immediately after she excused us.

When I did track her down, she seemed almost stunned by my intellectual interest in the epic–and the comparison I was making (without her prompting) to another great medieval poem.

One could say that is the difference not between Williams and the university in Freiburg, but between an American and a European university.  And to be sure, I often enjoyed conversations with professors at  the various graduate institutions where I have studied on this side of the Atlantic, even dropping by to visit a law school professor when I was in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend.

Yet, we didn’t just have conversations with our professors at Williams.  We often had spirited exchanges, touching on the subject matter of our courses, student life at a small college and even about our career goals or the news of the day.

I was reminded of that when I related the above anecdote to Gail Henderson ’86 while visiting her in Charlotte Monday night.  And like our days at Williams, we ended up talking well into the night, sharing stories of our lives since college and discussing the various challenges we have faced over the years.   Read more


Gym Class Heroes for Spring Fling

Gym Class Heroes is playing during Spring Fling. This is their most popular song. I’m interested to know what sorts of bands played when alums were in college.



On the heels of previous Ephblog discussions about binge drinking and efforts to reduce its frequency on college campuses, a new study from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management found that some public service announcements targeted at students are not having the desired effect.  Quite the opposite.

It has long been assumed, of course, that guilt and shame were ideal ways of warning of the dangers associated with binge drinking and other harmful behaviors, because they are helpful in spotlighting the associated personal consequences. But this study found the opposite to be true: Viewers already feeling some level of guilt or shame instinctively resist messages that rely on those emotions, and in some cases are more likely to participate in the behavior they’re being warned about.

The reason, said Kellogg marketing professor Nidhi Agrawal, is that people who are already feeling guilt or shame resort to something called “defensive processing” when confronted with more of either, and tend to disassociate themselves with whatever they are being shown in order to lessen those emotions.

(Example via Gawker.)

The full study will be published in the Journal of Marketing Research later this year.  Until then, one of the study’s authors has some advice for this attempting to deter students from binge drinking.

Ms. Agrawal suggested two fixes for PSA makers. The first involves media: Ads placed in more-positive surroundings — such as in a sitcom or a positive magazine article — have a better chance at resonating than those placed in tense or negative contexts. Second, she said, anti-alcohol groups would be better served focusing their messages around how to avoid situations that lead to binge drinking than on the consequences of the behavior, because attempting to shame people out of binge drinking doesn’t work.

I don’t know if the health center or anyone else on campus has been employing PSAs of this type around campus.  If anyone in Williamstown has seen anything on this score, feel free to chime in.


The Once and Future Log

In what seems like a twice-per-decade occurrence, students are involved in an effort to revitalize The Log, which, apparently, has lay virtually dormant since 2007.  Sometimes these efforts will go strong for a year, but inevitably interest / enthusiasm seems to wane as the generation motivated enough to establish a new tradition (which oftentimes is quite popular) graduates.  More details, and a petition drive, can be located at the Willipedia page on point.

If President Falk wants to make an instant impact on campus, some creative thinking about how to better utilize one of the very best, if not the best, social spaces on campus would be a great place to start: in particular, some sort of mechanism to keep momentum and funding in place from year to year would be ideal … perhaps using The Log more during the early weeks of First Year, to establish its value early on in students’ tenure at Williams.  No student space has remotely the same character or history, not to mention a perfect location on Spring Street.

Fortunately, it seems like there is a lot of student enthusiasm and commitment behind this latest effort.  Maybe Ephbloggers with fond Log memories could share their thoughts on the best past uses of the The Log?  A history of what has worked, and what hasn’t, over the years at the Log might help guide current students in their efforts.  The biggest problem will, of course, always be the drinking age, which is what destroyed the Log as a central part of campus social life, to begin with.  Any viable plan for the Log HAS to feature a wide array of options that will be equally attractive whether or not alcohol is involved.

I believe that weekly Pub Trivia, mentioned in the WSO thread, is a great idea that would attract a lot of students to the Log.  In the fall, football and pizza / wings Sundays would likely be popular; so would, I imagine, a March Madness set-up.  Anyone else have thoughts for ideas that would attract those under and over 21 alike?


And you thought Williams had a drinking problem…

This American Life visits Penn State (MP3 download)

Episode summary


America Party

Katherine Tandler ’11 writes from Exeter College:

Another highlight of the term was “America Party.” Contrary to popular belief, Americans are quite well-received in the United Kingdom – well, at least among the student population. The Williams kids, noting this enthusiasm (which often manifests itself in Spaghetti Western interpretations and hilarious attempts at New York accents), planned and threw an America-themed party, complete with American music (from John Cougar Mellencamp to Miley Cyrus) and real red SOLO cups “like in American teen movies!” Aside: SOLO cups do not exist in England and had to be smuggled in via guests who were visiting from the States. Many thanks to the Victor family for somehow managing to squeeze about 100 of them into their luggage.

Overall, the party was a great success; the Brits were introduced to beer pong, and the Americans were given the chance to taste what they had been missing while in England these past few months: a comforting, if not a little nostalgia-inducing experience.

Read the whole thing.

(via Will Slack ’11)


Ladybug horror

On WSO, there is a lengthy discussion on the infestation of ladybugs (and GERMAN COCKROACHES?) inside student dorms. This seems to be a regional national infestation. The Wesleying blog reports a swarm at Wesleyan University (with photos). In addition to Williamstown, MA and Middletown, CT, a look at Google News shows reports of ladybug swarms from New Jersey, Indiana, Middlesex County, MA, Urbana-Champaign, IL, NH and RI, Williamsport, PA, and Andover, MA

Parent ’12 asks: “Are these complaints familiar? And, any suggestions about how to get the problem remedied.”

I have not seen a ladybug infestation at Williams, but recent alumni will recall the caterpillar infestation that hit campus in spring-summer 2006. As the 2009 class history recalls: “It was the attack of the caterpillars in Billsville. You probably could have crossed the entire campus without setting foot on pavement or grass – that’s how thick the blanket of caterpillars was that spring.”

So, to current students: at least you don’t have strings of caterpillars dangling from trees, ending up on your face and clothes whenever you walk underneath a tree. They basically destroyed every green leaf on campus.

This is all probably the fault of global warming. Or secret government experiments.

Since Parent ’12 asks for remedies: I seem to recall that one enterprising student set fire to the caterpillars using a lighter and a can of either hairspray or WD-40. Something to consider, though the fact that the infestation this time appears to be indoors may complicate things.

Gross pictures of the caterpillar infestation here, here, and here.

Request to students currently on campus: Please post pics of the ladybug infestation!

UPDATE: They’ve hit Swarthmore. Is nothing sacred? (thanks to hwc!)


How RPI Got Swine Flu

From the Albany Times Union
Your hands are washed and you’re sneezing into your arm while you stay 6 feet away from anyone who looks sick. Now the H1N1 has another way to lay you low: no more beer pong.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is asking students to curb the sharing of cups after a group of students contracted the swine flu during a weekend of drinking games, according to Dr. Leslie Lawrence, medical director of the school’s health center.

I find this simultaneously hilarious and frightening. Swine Flu seems controlled thus far on campus.


Tufts to Students: Cut That Out!

Enough was enough, apparently.  After receiving “a significant number of complaints last year from residents bothered by their roommates’ sexual behavior,” Tufts has banned dorm room canoodling when roomie is present.  The policy further states that “any sexual activity in the room should not interfere with a roommate’s privacy, study habits or sleep.”

It wouldn’t be a new regulation from a campus life organization if there weren’t some doublespeak involved, so here’s Office of Residential Life and Learning’s Carrie Ales-Rich on why this new policy really isn’t a policy at all:

The sex policy, Ales-Rich said, is intended as a tool to facilitate conversation and compromise between roommates, rather than simply proscribe behavior. Ales-Rich emphasized that ResLife hopes students will be able to resolve the issues on their own instead of allowing conflicts to reach a point at which the office has to intervene.

“We want to make perfectly clear that we do not want to hinder someone from engaging in any personal or private activity,” she said. “But when it becomes uncomfortable for the roommate, we want to have something in place that empowers the residents to have a good conversation with the roommate.”

Yes, because those conversations always go better when one sophomore can threaten the other. Also note that the Tufts administration apparently did not consult the student government or really any students before it made the change.

ResLife saw a need to take the lead in addressing the issue due to its sensitive nature, according to Ales-Rich. “We found in the past that when it comes to sexual activity in the room, students find it an uncomfortable topic to talk about,” she said.

In short, Tufts bureaucrats don’t think their kids have the capacity to talk about sex, so they unilaterally created a new set of rules, which won’t have to be enforced because kids will talk about sex amongst themselves.

No word yet on whether the new policy will cover ties on doorknobs, condom theft, or threesome remorse.


RIP, Lobster Dinner

Banned from WilliamsOne of the most anticipated days of the year at Williams is the annual harvest dinner, where they served, among other things, lobster. This seems to have come to an end. A comment left by an ’09 on Speak Up led me to WSO:

Show Me The Lobster

…tomorrow night, harvest dinner.

Whatever happened to tradition? To honor?! To liberty?!?!?!

A look at the Dining Services website confirms it. Lobster is off the menu:

Locally produced cheddar cheese and crackers
Green River fresh apple cider
Pickled vegetables from Peace Valley Farm
Peace Valley greens with balsamic vinegar
New Englad clam chowder
Peace Valley green bean salad
Mystic haddock fresh baked with lemon garnishing
Hudson Valley chicken
Sea Vegetable Stew made from Peace Valley and local farm crops
Fresh and locally grown corn on the cob
Peace Valley harvested fingerling potatoes
Williams College freshly baked rolls
Williams Bake Shop fresh apple crisp made with Apple Barn apples
Williams College homemade vanilla Gelato

Now, I have never really cared for lobster, considering it an icky bottom dwelling sea bug. But non-lobster eaters such as myself always had the option of a strip steak instead, which left more lobster for our lobster eating brethren. However, the steak has also disappeared from the menu. The only proteins on there seem to be chicken and baked haddock. Baked haddock?! You might as well cancel Harvest Dinner altogether at this point.

This is the most serious casualty of the cost-cutting, by far.

UPDATE: Hey Dining Services – lobster’s a bargain right now. Prices are down by almost 50% from two years ago.

(thanks to hwc for the image. Original here.)


Amherst, Trinity Among Nation’s Most Douche

Bravely wading through any number of potential pot-kettle issues, Gentlemen’s Quarterly presents to its readers a feature for the ages: “America’s 25 Douchiest Colleges.”  You can see it here on GQ’s Web site in all its glory, or to get a look at how it ran in the magazine, check here.

The question isn’t whether you’re a douche bag when you go to college. We were all kind of douche bags when we went to college, if we’re going to be honest about it. No, the question for America’s youth is: What kind of douche bag do you aspire to be?

First of all, speak for yourself, GQ.  Second, um, what?  Most folks aspire to no such thing.  (As always, there are some exceptions.)

Third, at the very least they got it right.  Trinity cracks the list at No. 21, but the kicker is Amherst at No.7, though the rationale doesn’t exactly do us any favors.

Home of: The “I Went to a Small liberal-arts College in Massachusetts” Douche
Affectations: Quiet sense of superiority; intense desire to be surrounded by 1,700 people almost exactly like you; Choate soccer jacket.
In ten years, will be: Smart policy guy at State Department that no one listens to.
Douchey mascot: Lord Jeffrey Amherst.
Problem with douchey mascot: Distributed smallpox-infested blankets to Native Americans.

Hmm.  Good form on the bioterrorism reference, I suppose.  The cynics among us may claim that this is simply a name recognition problem for Williams, but I like to think GQ is onto something.


I Miss College – Nerd Edition

So I saw another interesting tidbit in our Williams feed to the left, and it made me think of Jeff’s post from last week about missing the giddy, crazy, time-wasting fun of the end of the school year.

I’ve subtitled this the “nerd edition” because what caught my eye is not so much of the make-out-in-the-library or play-trivia-all-night category.

Former astronaut and SenatorJohn Glenn (D-Ohio) will be speaking with Karen Kwitter, Ebenezer Fitch Professor of Astronomy, as part of the commencement extravaganza of events.

How cool is that?!

I was definitely the type to go listen to the amazing visiting speakers/support my friends at performances/attend the sporting events all in lieu of doing my reading.  Ah, those college days!

Check out the press release for more info about Glenn’s support of public service and Kwitter’s pretty impressive background.


I Miss College

Where else can one have a water balloon fight, patrol for bears, engage in random library hook-ups, debate the meaning of a liberal education, and of course, play trivia all night, all while you SHOULD be studying for final exams?


On College Visits (for accepted seniors and exploring juniors)

The Background
With Previews coming, I thought it might be worthwhile to elaborate on my own Williams visits. Though my earlier post didn’t suggest it, I did make a visit to Williams. After a grand northeast college tour of six well known schools that all failed to make a positive impression, including an Amherst tour guide snickering about the temporary freshman dorms during a renovation, I was unsure if my desire for a small liberal arts education would actually go anywhere. Read more


A rough comparison

This post compares campus leadership opportunities today to those on campus 54 years ago. Background here. I’m going to strike-through organizations that didn’t exist in ’55, and add organizations that don’t exist now in italics. The exercise is largely meaningless in terms of useful data, but still interesting. Note that I haven’t included everything from now or then, just orgs that I think required leadership and played an active role on campus.  For the list, click Read more


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