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Advice for EphBlog Authors

Do you want to write for EphBlog? You would be welcome!

E-mail daviddudleyfield@gmail.com (or, of you know it, my personal e-mail) with two pieces of information: the email you want to use (must work but does not need to be the email you are writing me from) and your preferred login id (which can not have spaces nor punctuation marks).

Note that the login id is visible on the site because that is how WordPress organizes all your posts. Mine is “ddf” and you can see all my posts here. So, if you want to post anonymously, don’t choose a login which identifies you.

WordPress will send a temporary password to that e-mail address along with a link to the login location, which is here and is also available at the bottom of the right-hand column, below Recent Comments. Login, change your password and create your “Display Name.” This is what will show up under your posts. Mine is “David Dudley Field ’24.” If you don’t do this, your login id will be displayed.

You are also welcome to preserve your anonymity even with me. (In fact, you can do this even if we know each other and/or you have written for EphBlog before.) Just follow the above instructions from an anonymous e-mail account. That way, even I won’t know your name, which is fine by me.

Here is some advice about where to find topics which fall under the rubric of All Things Eph.

1) The are dozens of Record articles which we fail to cover. A link to an article, along with a quotation, and perhaps some questions or comments, is a great post. Our coverage of editorials and op-eds over the last year has been especially weak.

2) The Record archives are now hosted by the College. Just type in a word or phrase in the search box. Lots of great stuff from history to post about!

3) Follow Williams College or Williams Athletics or various Williams professors on Twitter and other social media. Lots of good material almost everyday.

4) Posts about current events are welcome, but you must take the trouble to find an Eph connection. “All Things Eph” includes, for example, every tweet or public statement by prominent Ephs like Senator Chris Murphy ’96, Erin Burnett ’98 and Mika Brzezinski ’89. Post about, say, the Presidential election race if you like, but you have to “hang” your post on a comment by an Eph.

5) Post about past EphBlog topics. We now have 16+ years of archives to mine. There is a lot of good stuff there! And note that, each year, a big chunk of our readership turns over as 500 Ephs graduate and 500 first years (and their parents) arrive. Indeed, my own posting is more and more a collection of annual essays, improved over time and modeled on Professor Whit Stoddard’s ’35 legendary September lecture to first years titled “A Sense of Where You Are.”

6) Sign up for Google Alerts or a similar service. I use “Williams College” as my alert phrase. This gives me a once-a-day e-mail with virtually every mention of Williams in the press. Very handy!

Other items:

1) You are free to manage the comments in your own posts as you see fit. Authors “own” the comment threads which follow their posts and can do whatever they like there. Options include:

a) No management! You are a busy person and it is not your job to monitor EphBlog comments. This is what I do 99% of the time.

b) No (more) comments. Either at the start of the post or after the discussion has come off the rails, you can uncheck the “Allow comments” box. This does not affect comments that have already been made. It just prevents more comments.

c) Hit the “Trash” button. This removes a comment from your post and places it in the Trash. We occasionally post all the Trash comments so that folks can see what was removed.

d) Edit in place. I often just put “Deleted. — DDF” so that people can see that there was a comment (and who wrote it) and that I have deleted it. One could also put a reason, but life is short and I am usually too busy to explain myself to trolls.

2) Instead of leaving a long comment on one of my posts, I encourage you to create a new post with that comment and a link to my post. First, people don’t read the comments that much, so you wonderful prose is more likely to be seen in a new post. Second, it often helps the quality of the discussion to re-start it elsewhere.

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No Barbeque for You

Williams College graduate, Eliza Klein ’19, has been called out by Canary Mission who claims she “…has defended terrorists, supported a violent agitator and promoted the #returnthebirthright campaign calling on American Jews to boycott the Birthright Jewish heritage tour.” In a recent Tweet, Canary Mission criticizes her for a 2017 incident in which they say Klein harassed Jewish students who hosted a kosher barbeque,

On May 3, 2017, Klein wrote in the Williams college student newspaper: “By disrupting the barbeque, by writing this op-ed and by speaking out against the occupation of Palestine, we hope to destabilize the normalcy and legitimacy of supporting Israel.”

Readers of Ephblog may recognize Eliza as the student leader of Students for Justice in Palestine a recognized student organization with the faculty/staff advisor Shanti Singham, a Professor of History and Africana Studies, Emerita.

As a student at Williams, Eliza opposed efforts to bring the Chicago Principles to campus.

She also supported the efforts of the College Council to bar the Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI) from becoming a recognized student organization. This decision sparked a strong rebuke from president Maud Mandel and a successful complaint to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Currently, Williams College is being held accountable by the federal government so that it does a better job of protecting WIFI and following Title IV law and regulations.

By all accounts, Eliza was rewarded for her behavior as a student at Williams College. She is the 2019 winner of the Davis Center’s Senior Social Justice Advocate Award.

John C. Drew, Ph.D., is a former Williams College professor. He received the William Anderson Award from the American Political Science Association for the best doctoral dissertation in the nation in his field in 1989. He contributes to American Thinker, Breitbart, Campus Reform, The College Fix, and WorldNetDaily. 

 

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Short Leash

U.S. Department of Education to avoid an investigation into the manner in which the College council rejected a new pro-Israel group, Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI), in April 2019. JNS reports:

“This Agreement contains no findings of fact, does not constitute an admission of liability on the part of the College, and does not represent a determination by OCR that the college has violated Title VI or its implementing regulations or otherwise engaged in any discriminatory conduct,” stated the agreement, obtained by JNS.

The Massachusetts school pledged that WIFI will be “afforded the same rights and privileges as registered student groups approved by the College Council,” and that it will treat the student organization “in a nondiscriminatory manner” in that the student government evaluates “WIFI requests for and provide financial assistance and other benefits” as such.

The school must submit documentation to demonstrate that it is complying with the “same rights and privileges” clause by Nov. 1, and subsequently do so in 2020 by Feb. 1, June 1 and Nov. 1.

By June 1, 2020, Williams must submit documentation showing that it is complying with the clause that the student government evaluates WIFI financial assistance and other requests in a nondiscriminatory manner.

Reviewing what we know of the agreement that Maud signed, it appears to me that the school was in no hurry to dispute the complaint that it had violated Title VI law and that it was okay living under a temporary period of intensive federal scrutiny in order to bring this matter to a close. Will this be enough to protect WIFI students? It seems unlikely that additional federal accountability will be enough to protect the pro-Israel students who have been the targets of on campus hostility at least as far back as April 2017.

All in all, it will be an entertaining spectacle. I’m looking forward to seeing how Maud will bring the aggressively anti-WIFI College Council into compliance with the new federal accountability measures. Where’s my lawn chair and my kosher barbeque?

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Bullet Dodged

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – According to a report in the Jewish Journal, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has decided that the school did not violate Title IV when the College Council denied recognized student organization status to WIFI. Nevertheless, the OCR has created a number of stipulations which the college will need to follow moving forward according to Williams College Director of Media Relations Greg Shook.

As far as I can tell, the new stipulations will reduce the power and independence of the College Council. In particular,

“Williams will ensure that College Council, first, affords WIFI the same rights and privileges as any other Council-approved RSO; and, second, evaluates WIFI’s future requests for financial assistance and other benefits fairly, and allocates resources in a nondiscriminatory manner,” Shook said. “OCR provided helpful advice to develop this resolution and plan, and we’re grateful for their partnership.”

The Jewish Journal reports a statement from StandWithUs Legal Department Director Yael Lerman who said, “StandWithUs thanks the Office of Civil Rights for taking the time to investigate the Williams College matter and take allegations of anti-Semitism seriously. We appreciate that OCR is looking into protecting Jewish students facing discrimination. We hope that this will be a deterrent to those looking to spread hatred and misinformation against Jews and pro-Israel students.”

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Uncomfortable Wearing

Bachelorette – 2019 contestant Dylan Barbour ’16 has stirred up social media due to his leverage of a salmon suit jacket. Alert viewers have noticed that four of the men competing for the lovely Hannah Brown’s heart have worn what appears to be the same pinkish jacket.

Twitter is ablaze with comments about the blazer. So far Jed Wyatt, Tyler Cameron, Dylan Barbour ’16, and Connor Saeli have been spotted wearing the now famous salmon colored jacket. Unfortunately, a female Twitter user took a cheap shot at the fellows and teased them for being members of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Salmon Jacket.”

Dylan, 24, took a B.A. in English from Williams and minored in leadership studies. He was on the football and track team. Before becoming a tech entrepreneur, Dylan was an associate at Morgan Stanley. So far, we have no evidence if Dylan is a regular reader of Ephblog.

Hannah, 24, attended the relatively easy to enter University of Alabama where she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in communications. Given the gap between their educational credentials, they may not have much to talk about. Still, Hannah did go on to become Miss Alabama USA in 2018. By all accounts, she used “…this platform to help others.” So there’s that.

 

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Melania’s Replacement

Thanks to O, the Oprah magazine, we can learn more about Amy Sanders O’Rourke, ’03. As you may know, she is the wife of the increasingly less popular presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke. Amy was a psychology major at Williams where she also took a minor in Spanish.

Amy comes from an exceedingly wealthy family but, most likely, she isn’t really an heiress to a billionaire. Amy’s father, real estate magnate William Sanders, sold one of his companies to General Electric for $5.4 billion in 2002. Forbes estimates his net worth at about $500 million. So he is a half-billionaire. Nevertheless, Amy has a trust fund that totals about $5 million.

On their first date, Beto took Amy to Mexico. They visited the famous Kentucky Club Bar in Juarez, Mexico which, in legend at least, is the birthplace of the margarita. After visiting the bar, they were stopped by a camera crew who asked the couple to kiss. Beto, however, got out of the situation by saying that he and Amy were siblings. Ten months later, they married. They have three kids: Ulysses, 12, Molly, 10, and eight-year-old Henry. In the Christmas card picture above, Molly is featured wearing a Williams College shirt.

 

 

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Both Sides Now

The Berkshire Eagle has published an opinion piece by Joseph Moore ’20, one of the students who led the effort to deny WIFI equal status as a recognized student organization (RSO). He is a comparative literature major from Stroudsburg, PN.

Joseph Moore: It wasn’t WIFI that was denied free speech

The gist of his article is that anti-WIFI activists were unquestionably right in seeking to discriminate against WIFI because it was supporting “literal crimes against humanity.”

Moreover, the real problem now has nothing to do with the fact that the school is in danger of losing its federal funding. For Joseph, the real problem is how the nation-wide, nearly unanimous blow back from center-left news outlets and right-wingers has made anti-WIFI activists reticent to promote further discrimination against WIFI.

What can I say? Mission accomplished!

 

 

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Beyond the Purple Rubble

There is a lot of media attention focused on the U.S. Department of Education’s investigation of Williams College. Many of the articles are based on the original reporting by The College Fix. Here’s some of the most prominent headlines.

Geller Report: Williams College under federal investigation for discriminating against Jewish students

Newsweek: WILLIAMS COLLEGE INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION AFTER STUDENTS VOTE AGAINST PRO-ISRAEL GROUP

Jewish News Syndicate: US Department of Education studying Williams College for possible discrimination

The Jerusalem Post: AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATE WILLIAMS COLLEGE FOR REJECTION OF PRO-ISRAEL GROUP

Breitbart: Williams College Faces Federal Investigation for Discrimination Against Pro-Israel Student Group

The most interesting comments from the Geller Report are shown after the break.

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Sins of the Students

Jenni Fink at Newsweek has published an article on how the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) initiated an investigation into Williams College after a law professor alerted them to how the College Council discriminated against pro-Israel students.

NEWSWEEK: WILLIAMS COLLEGE INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION AFTER STUDENTS VOTE AGAINST PRO-ISRAEL GROUP

Fink’s story breaks some new ground. First, it appears that this issue is occurring elsewhere too. In April 2019, pro-Israel students hit New York University with a complaint to OCR claiming that school violated Title VI too.

Second, Fink reports on the motivations behind the report. “In my experience,” said David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University, “Jewish professionals on campus aren’t sufficiently assertive in such matters, and students have lots of others things on their plate, so I figured that if I didn’t do something, no one would.” Bernstein seems to get the on-campus climate. His observation is consistent with the school’s tepid initial response, seemingly endorsed by Rabbi Wax, that WIFI would enjoy separate and almost equal rights. Bernstein calls the situation “…a pretty open-and-shut case of discrimination.”

Third, Fink’s article describes the procedures involved.  “If OCR finds the organization failed to comply with the law, the first step is to negotiate a voluntary resolution agreement, which outlines specific remedial actions,” she writes. “In the event an organization rejects a resolution agreement, federal financial assistance can be withheld or the case can be referred to the Department of Justice.”

Fourth, Bernstein seems pretty insistent that Williams College acknowledge the gravity of the situation.

Bernstein credited Williams College with taking steps to mitigate the situation, but said it wasn’t solely an issue of poor procedures. He said it went past a “misgovernance problem” and was a problem of anti-Semitism, which required the college’s acknowledgment to alleviate.

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Two Track Attack

Roz Rothstein, the CEO and Co-Founder, StandWithUs sent Maud Mandel a letter dated May 30, 2019 complaining about the school’s two track system for approving student organizations. In Rothstein’s view, the school needs to end the role of the College Council in making these decisions. Without this change of policy the school will be unable to avoid the sort of discrimination which has provoked an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights into Williams’ conduct. Rothstein writes:

We therefore recommend that you take this opportunity to clarify the College’s policy in granting RSO recognition and formally adopt the policy on the Student Life website as the College’s official formal policy. In doing so, you will reduce the likelihood of similar bigotry and discrimination from reoccurring on your campus. Additionally, you will send a clear message to your student leaders that abuse of their power will not be tolerated and will be met with consequences.

So far, it appears that the administration has rejected Rothstein’s recommendation. This at least is what The College Fix is reporting regarding its conversation with Rothstein. The full letter is below the break.
Williams College refuses to change process that led to rejection of pro-Israel group

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Federal Case

According to a report by The College Fix, the U.S. Department of Education is now investigating Williams College over charges it violated anti-discrimination law when the College Council refused to approve WIFI, a pro-Israel student group. The complaint against the college was filed by David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University, on May 2, 2019.

Williams College under federal investigation for discriminating against Jewish students

The full text of Bernstein’s complaint appears after the break. As The College Fix reports:

The College Council voted to deny WIFI recognition as an official student organization during a secretive and controversial meeting April 23.

It was not livestreamed as usual, and speakers were not identified by name in the meeting minutes. An April 9 meeting that was livestreamed had drawn national attention because black student activists went on a profanity-laced rant against white students.

According to The Williams Record, WIFI was the first applicant in more than a decade to be rejected despite meeting all required bylaws.

According to a letter that Bernstein received from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in Boston, he retains “a right to file a private suit in federal court whether or not OCR finds a violation.”

David E. Bernstein, 52, is a law professor at the George Mason University School of Law where he has taught since 1995. He focuses on constitutional history and the admissibility of expert testimony. He is a contributor to the influential conservative legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy. He is a graduate of Yale Law School, where he was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal. He took a B.A. degree summa cum laude with honors in History from Brandeis University.

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The Eagle Has Landed

The Berkshire Eagle has published a story on the WIFI free speech conflict. It interviewed some student leaders and broke new ground.

Council members Solly Kasab and Lance Ledet took issue with the discussion and voting process.

“The way the April 23rd meeting was run was ridiculous,” said Kasab, vice president of communications for the council, as well as treasurer of WIFI.

Kasab and Ledet said the way one co-president called on speakers, favoring one side of the discussion, was unfair. And both found it troubling that only three council members spoke during the meeting and that votes were secret.

Ledet termed the decision “absolutely politically motivated” and voted for WIFI to become a club. Ledet sees larger issues as well.

“Regardless of individual beliefs over whether or not WIFI should have become a club, I think everyone can agree that the debate highlighted how unrepresentative College Council is of the broader student body.”

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How Bureaucracy Causes Problems

Below the break is, I think, the last update from Williams about the WIFI situation.

The central lesson for President Mandel is that, if she wants to help out herself and future Williams administrations, the RSO (registered student organization) bureaucracy/forms should be removed. Go back to how things were done prior to 2010. (Thanks Adam Falk!)

Students have rights, organizations do not. If you want to reserve a room, request funding, set up a meeting, then you, as an individual Williams student, have the right to do so. From the College’s point of view, you do not need to be certified as an RSO to do anything. The main reason for this change is that it removes the likely-to-be-abused power from College Council to block the creation of student groups like WIFI.

The College should no more be in the business of certifying that an official student group exists than it certifies that official student romantic relationships exist. Students form groups. Students date. Williams should stay out of both.

If you have something, like the RSO designation, that is likely to be abused and which serves no purpose, then get rid of it. The Williams of (at least!) the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s managed to survive without such nonsense. Go back to the rules of an earlier era.

Nothing prevents the College Council from coming up with its own rules about who it wants to fund and why it wants to fund them. And that is OK! Many groups want money from CC and don’t get it. The College can, at any point, step in and fund any group for any reason.

For those interested in a bit of history:

I was one of the founders of Uncomfortable Learning and can shed some light on that decision. We spent a significant amount of time speaking with the Williams administration before making the decision to operate as an independent group, but one that looked to partner with other groups on campus like the Debate Union.

We made the decision to be independent as if we had registered, the Williams administration would have imposed a set of requirements on Uncomfortable Learning that would have prevented us from accomplishing the goals of UL. UL’s ambition has always been to promote dialogue and encourage people to consider perspectives and arguments that are not common at Williams. Administrators at Williams would have only allowed Uncomfortable Learning to register if UL was run by a 10 to 15-person board made up of many groups on campus. While UL has actively looked to involve other groups on campus, the structure required by the Williams administration would have kneecapped UL from the start. That structure would have just replicated the mindset at Williams while UL was looking to question that very mindset. As we have seen recently, there are people at Williams who react negatively when their world view is questioned, and we could not take the chance of having those people run UL.

During this era, people like Professor Sam Crane were happy to use the College’s rules/bureaucracy to torture unpopular groups like Uncomfortable Learning. That was evil in-and-of-itself. But, perhaps worse, that abuse set the stage for the CC/WIFI disaster. Once you create a process/rules for punishing groups (like UL) whose views you disagree with, don’t be surprised to see that same process/rules turned against groups (like WIFI) with whom you agree.

Background links here, here, here and here.

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K.C. Johnson on WIFI

K.C. Johnson, a former Williams professor, has written a detailed description of the WIFI saga for The Tablet.

Separate and Unequal for Jewish Groups on Campus

He pulls the whole matter together including the chronology. He hits many of the salient points that caught my attention including a truly bizarre Williams Record article, signed by 11 anti-WIFI activists, saying “The state of Israel does not need a student group defending its ‘right to exist’ on this campus any more than we need to ‘defend’ the rights of wealthy, straight white men.” What?!

K.C. moves the narrative forward when he dissects some of the key arguments made before the College Council. He writes,

Though constricting the spectrum of acceptable positions on Israel would seem to undermine principles of free speech, a WIFI critic explained otherwise. “It’s really important,” he reasoned, “for us all to take a moment to just think about what ‘free speech’ and ‘democracy’ actually means.” Two sides should present “clashing free ideas,” after which the council should “vote in what we think are the best ideas and for us to vote out what we think are ideas we think are worthy of being discarded.” Defining free speech as tyranny of the majority is a mainstream view on too many contemporary campuses.

K.C. Johnson expresses gratitude for the way Maud eventually went all out to protect and fully fund WIFI. Nevertheless, he sees this as a national-level conflict which will continue to worry us.

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Toxic Self-Absorption

Shane Beard ’21 posted a short video on YouTube where he interviews one of the CARE Now leaders who unleashed a widely publicized, verbally abusive rant against white male students. Later, Shane uploaded the full hour and a half conversation too.

The interviewee comes across as hopelessly self-absorbed. He seems eerily unaffected the destruction he has caused including the humiliation he inflicted on his victims, the shame he brought to the college, and the grave damage he did to his CARE Now brand.  As he says at 28:58 in the full version, “I don’t even think for a moment that I did anything wrong.”

Ultimately, the most disturbing thing about his vulgar, hateful tirade is no one at the College Council meeting called him out, told him to stop, or ejected him from the room. The viral video of this event is useful to the nation. It illustrates the extent to which the anti-white ideology taught and tolerated at Williams College has created a toxic culture that is unhealthy for white male students.

As I have said elsewhere, no one should be forced or shamed into listening to verbal abuse. No one.

 

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Maud Reverses CC’s WIFI Decision

WILLIAMSTOWN – Maud Mandel has formally recognized Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI) according to an addendum to an existing article at Forbes.com. Moving forward, WIFI will hold the status of a recognized student organization (RSO). Forbes reports staff identified an alternative pathway for recognizing WIFI which involved a team of administrators and a single representative from the Williams College Council.

This action took place after Maud’s initial, tepid response which said WIFI would receive almost the same advantages as RSOs on campus. It was foreshadowed by a stronger, revised presidential statement which asserted WIFI would be receiving all benefits given to RSOs and that it would be treated equally. The statement from the Williams College Director of Media Relations appears after the break.

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Junior Fascist League

At the Boston Herald, Jeff Robbins has added his voice to the recent condemnation of the College Council. He breaks some new ground by pointing out the arguments some students made against approving WIFI met standard, internationally recognized definitions of anti-Semitism.

Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. State Department had promulgated definitions of anti-Semitism that included “the delegitimization of Israel,” including “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.” The Obama administration joined 30 other nations in issuing the Stockholm Declaration, which included within the definition of anti-Semitism, “claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

Robbins isn’t shy about unleashing his judgement on the College Council. “In blocking pro-Israel students from having their own voice on campus, the Williams College Council has conducted itself more like the Junior Fascist League than the progressives they ardently believe themselves to be.”

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Fox News Takes on Williams Record

It looks like Rep. Jason Chaffetz took a shot at the Williams Record while he was guest hosting the Ingram Angle on April 22, 2019. The issue was the editorial board’s endorsement of affinity (segregated) housing.

 

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WINK Requests RSO Status

I just noticed this terrific tweet from the observant ex-Williams professor KC Johnson. Two new student organizations are being promoted through on-campus advertising – Williams Initiative for North Korea (WINK) and the Williams Initiative for Saudi Arabia (WIFSA). My prediction? Heads will roll.

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Maud Rescues WIFI

According to The College Fix, President Maud Mandel has toughened up her statement regarding the status of Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI). Now, she refers to the benefits available to WIFI as “all” instead of “most.”

This was not the only difference.

Original

Even without CC approval, WIFI or any other non-CC organization can still access most services available to student groups, including use of college spaces for meetings and events.

Revised

Even without CC approval, WIFI or any other non-CC organization can still access all services available to student groups, including use of college spaces for meetings and events, and we are guaranteeing them exactly equal resources.

As I see it, Maud has nullified the College Council’s decision by asserting she will be guaranteeing WIFI “exactly equal resources.” It appears this new language is designed to shield Williams College from a Title VI discrimination charge which might cause it to lose federal funding.

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Requesting evidence is violence

The Record’s final edition for the year came out on Wednesday, featuring several opinions. A couple of them appeared to respond to Professor Luana Maroja’s recent op-ed, “Refuting claims of institutional violence: Analyzing evidence of racism at the College.” Professor Maroja has historically been an advocate for free speech at the college, and her article’s thesis was simple: There is not sufficient evidence for claims of institutional racism at the college.

Two opinions this week sought to provide an argument for structural racism at the college. Professor of geoscience Phoebe Cohen wrote the more compelling of these, at least trying to provide evidence for racism. She begins her article with the following:

I am white. I am racist. I am not proud of this fact, but I have accepted it. Acknowledging that I am racist helps me to become, I hope, less so. I catch my instinctive thoughts and ask them why they are there. Why am I feeling annoyed, fearful, dismissive in this moment? When someone in my community at Williams tells me they feel unsafe, and my first instinct is skepticism, I know that it is a fallacy to say that I’m skeptical because of my training as a scientist. Instead, it is because I don’t want to believe that my colleagues are racist, sexist, transphobic. Not believing it doesn’t make it true. I am a white person raised in a racist, white supremacist country. Every day I have to make a conscious decision to fight against that and to challenge my own thoughts and biases. 

Truthfully, I would expect more out of a scientist. Skepticism is never a fallacy; it should be the instinctive response to any claim. What is a fallacy, however, is blindly accepting anecdotal evidence as statistically significant.

Professor Cohen spends a large part of her article describing racist events outside of Williams and employing definitions of racism, white supremacy, transphobia, etc. that are strictly unscientific (if they cannot be refuted and their validity is contingent upon diagnosing their opponent, they are scientifically meaningless). She finally hits a note, however, in her discussion of microagressions:

As a scientist, I love to go to the literature. I pull up Google Scholar and what I find confirms what I am telling you. People are racist and full of biases. And while it may be true that people don’t often get punched in the face on our campus, that does not mean that violence does not occur. What happens more often are the much maligned “microaggressions.” The thing is, even if you don’t want microaggressions to matter, they do. The research backs this up, but so do the experiences of our own friends and colleagues.

However, this point is mostly trivial. Of course microagressions and implicit bias exist; nobody is denying this fact. Tribalism is unfortunately a very instinctive trait among humans. However, it is important to remember that this bias exists among all groups. In fact, I would argue that whereas there is only implicit bias toward minority groups on campus, there is very explicit bias toward majority groups; people are not afraid to say they hate or do not trust white men. All individuals should seek to be aware of our biases. However, implicit biases and microagressions are a far cry from the much more alarming claim of “structural violence,” which merits stronger evidence.

While I disagree with Cohen’s article, I thought it was at least a thoughtful contribution to the discussion. Students were not so thoughtful. The op-ed titled “Bearing witness to aggression against faculty of color: Calling for accountability from the College for structural racism” features a number of bizarre claims. I won’t recreate them in full here. However, we need to draw attention to one sentence in particular:

The constant request for more evidence of racism is also violence because it invalidates the ways in which racism harms our mental health and our bodies.

This is the absolute worst response possible to the debate, but, unfortunately, is the crux of most of the arguments of the Social Justice Warriors. No matter how true your claim is, dogma is bad. These students could have discovered a unified theory of science, and this dogma would still be terrible. In what world is it good journalism to equate basic scientific inquiry to violence?

The lack of ideological diversity is already a problem at institutions like Williams, but nothing fatal. An attack on scientific methodology and healthy discourse, however, is a much more dangerous development. Consider that, additionally, students on campus have been calling for Professor Maroja’s op-ed to be taken down because it is disrespectful to minority communities. A plea for free speech is now ironically being attacked by suppression of free speech. Of course, the college will not dignify this suppression of speech (Mandel’s recent WIFI statement proved that she is not a pawn of these activists). But it remains unsettling that a growing number of students are adopting this philosophy and dogma is now the social norm.

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Fear the Canary 2 of 2

The College Council meeting of April 23 went dark because guests feared their comments against the recognition of a pro-Israel club, Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI), might land them on a list maintained by Canary Mission.

I reviewed their site and it seems like a fair and unobjectionable effort to me. For the most part, the errant students it calls attention to are generally posting anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi, pro-Hitler comments on their Twitter feeds. All Canary Mission does is capture a screenshot of these comments and then publicize them at their site.

The most famous Williams College graduate to earn a biography at Canary Mission, Sumaya Asad ’16, landed there largely because of an article she co-authored which indicated it was best to think of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians as an example of apartheid.

This doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that would keep anyone out of a job or a graduate school. It might actually get you advanced in some social circles. You can see Sumaya Asad’s profile here.

All in all, it doesn’t take much to land a student on Canary Mission. The site’s code of ethics sets low and broad standards for ending up on their list including  “promoting or enabling BDS in any of its forms.” Williams College students who are fearful of Canary Mission are probably overreacting.

They don’t have anything to fear as long as they are not tweeting out stuff like “Europe would have been a lot better if Hitler won” or  “Jews are the root of all evil.”

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Fear the Canary 1 of 2

WILLIAMSTOWN – The Williams College Council has made efforts to hid its meetings from public view after a bigoted anti-white rant received coverage from on-line sites including The College Fix, Instapundit, and Legal Insurrection.

One of the reasons for the total blackout of the April 23 meeting is some of the students feared their comments would appear at Canary Mission. This is a website that “…documents people and groups that promote hatred of the USA, Israel and Jews on North American college campuses.” The students feared being identified as one of these haters by Canary Mission might impact their careers or their ability to travel to Israel in the future.

The College Council went even further to shield students from the consequences of their behavior according to Nicholas Goldrosen who reported as follows in the Williams Record:

The minutes for the April 23 meeting ended up being completely anonymized for the discussion of the WIFI club proposal. Guests were referenced by number – for example, “Guest One” – and CC members’ comments were also anonymous. The final vote was taken by secret ballot.

A week later, the parliamentarian reassured the College Council that he had not memorialized in the minutes two anti-Semitic comments he witnessed at the April 23 meeting. His comments appear in the livestream of the April 30, 2019 College Council meeting at about 6:05.

NOTE: Instapundit locked on to this story on May 7, 2019. They posted a copy of the 4_30_19-Minutes which include a transcript of the parliamentarian’s comments.

ALSO: Canary Mission has noticed what’s going on at Williams College. One of their tweets states

@WilliamsCollege student council rejects pro-Israel club,1st time in years the Council voted vs. a club that met criteria of its bylaws: “WIFI’s application for registration was rejected not because of mere political views,but because of anti-Semitism”

 

 

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Coyne to the Rescue

Some of the best commentary about Williams College is now coming from a distinguished scholar, Jerry Coyne, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. In  Williams College Melts Down in a Big Way, he takes on three top issues:

  1. Push back from a black female campus safety and security officer, Nancy MacCauley. As far as I can tell, Ms. MacCauley is schooling the CARE Now haters, saying they are way off base regarding their complaints about CSS.
  2. Two leftist professors have an open argument about racism. As Coyne writes, this controversy is actually funny because of the way the combatants exaggerate the severity the kerfuffle. OMG! Two students described it as “egregious faculty-on-faculty aggression.”
  3. Denial of RSO status for WIFI. Here, Coyne, a secular Jew, complains about the tepid defense for WIFI offered by both Maud Mandel and the school’s Jewish Chaplin, Rabbi Seth Wax.

Coyne is trying to be helpful. If the school fails to heed his warnings it will most likely do an armstand dive into a deep pool of the nonsense that is drowning Evergreen State College. Williams College need to listen to him and take a step back from the edge.

 

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Sign to Protect Free Speech

Just noticed a petition circulating on Twitter. It reads as follows:

Sign to Protect Free Speech! The College Council (CC) at Williams College refused to approve a Jewish student group, all in an attempt to censor free speech. We call on the college to overrule the CC’s biased decision. Sign the Petition Here

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Occupy Hollander

On April 17th, a white faculty person enacted extreme hostility and aggression towards an Asian American professor in the middle of Hollander Hall. This latest instance of violent racism is unique only in that there were students there to witness it. Faculty of color [FoC] deal with racist shit every day, and we will probably never know the full extent of what they have to put up with. So, we are calling on the entire community to show up and express overwhelming love, gratitude, and support for all of our FoC mentors. We are also calling for accountability from President Mandel, administrators, and faculty to redress the violences against people of color, including FoC, at Williams College.

WHAT WE ARE DOING:
Rain or shine, we are going to stand outside Hollander and protest the continued lack of institutional support for Williams FoC. We will be holding signs and handing out flyers. And with just as much energy, we’re going to let our FoC mentors know how much we love and appreciate them.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Occupy Hollander with us. Hold posters with us. Hand out flyers with us. Chant with us. See us. Spread the word.

1) Can readers provide more links and details? I am piercing this together from various anonymous e-mails, but I may be getting important details wrong. For starters, is this organized by CARE Now?

2) Is this a protest or an occupation? Williams is happy to have students protest all day long. Williams would get very nervous/upset if students were to actually “occupy” Hollander and/or prevent, say, faculty from getting to their offices.

3) The Record article about the incident is excellent. Kudos to reporters Samuel Wolf and Jeongyoon Han!

The incident began slightly before 4 p.m., when [Professor Dorothy] Wang and Kasulis were walking through Hollander Hall and saw [Professor Katie] Kent [’88]. Kent was on her way to the department’s first meeting of the semester, and Wang asked Kent whether that meeting would include discussion of Love. According to Wang, Kasulis and Zheng, Kent reacted immediately and negatively, saying that sufficient conversations around Love had already been held.

“Professor Kent got immediately irritated,” Kasulis said. “She took a defensive posture. She raised her voice.” When Wang mentioned the particular relevance of Love’s departure for the English department, given Love’s critiques of feeling unsafe and unwelcome, Wang said that Kent responded, saying, “‘She was talking about the College, Dorothy. She wasn’t talking about the department; she was talking about the College.’”

For Wang, that statement was emblematic of what she sees as the English department’s continual inability to reconcile with its historical and present-day manifestations of racism.

Kent briefly left after making that statement, and Wang said to Kasulis, “This is why I disaffiliated from English.” Upon hearing Wang’s comment, according to Wang, Kasulis and Zheng, Kent immediately turned around and made an incensed statement closely resembling, “Are you talking shit about me to your students?”

Katie Kent ’88 didn’t put up with bullcrap 35 years ago and she isn’t about to start now! Does this incident deserve a controversy name? If so, “Talking Shit” seems like the obvious winner!

The first meeting of the English Department in 2019 is occurring in May?

The students involved, Jamie Kasulis and Emily Zheng, wrote this op-ed.

I could spend three weeks parsing these (amazing!) articles. Should I?

Record articles 1 and 2 below the break:
Read more

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Total Meltdown

Nicholas Goldrosen, managing editor for the Williams Recordreports to his readers some of the reactions to the bigoted anti-white tirade unleashed by a leading CARE Now activist during the College Council meeting of April 9, 2019.

“One YouTube video by a white nationalist commentator featuring the livestream gained over 100,000 views as of yesterday,” wrote Goldrosen.

He is referring to above video created by James Allsup, 24. This video has received 4,698 comments and 133,114 views as of May 7, 2019. Allsup describes himself as a “paleoconservative” and a “right-wing libertarian.”

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Title VI Complaint Form

This is the proper form used to file Title VI complaints.

Notice of Complainant and Interviewee Rights and Privileges

It looks like the crucial issue is whether or not you’ve been treated differently from other people.

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Title VI Violation?

A source passed on this complaint (doc):

I am writing to file a complaint against Williams College for discrimination against Jewish students in violation of Title VI and related Department of Education regulations.

My allegations, supported by an account in the Williams College student newspaper, available here, https://williamsrecord.com/2019/05/cc-rejects-williams-initiative-for-israel/ are as follows:

Williams College is an institution of higher education that receives federal funds, and is subject to Title VI.

Williams College has a student government known as the College Council (hereinafter, CC).

As an official arm of the college, actions by the CC are covered by Title VI.

And so on.

1) Any lawyers prepared to opine?

2) Am I correct that Ken Marcus ’88, the Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, is the official to which this complaint will ultimately flow? If so, is that connection good or bad for Williams?

It might be good in that Ken is well-disposed toward Williams and won’t want to see us embarrassed. If you agree with CC’s decision, it might be bad because Ken is someone who is highly unlikely to be sympathetic to CC.

This complaint might be very good if you are Maud Mandel. You now have the perfect excuse! Just say, “On advice of counsel, and with respect to the Title VI complaint, Williams has decided to remove student organization recognition authority from College Council. All student groups will, henceforth, be recognized, or not, by Williams itself.” Problem solved!

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Outside the Purple Rubble

1. WIFI Discrimination Scandal. The news about the Williams College Council’s decision to deny WIFI’s request for RSO status continues to ignite protests. Ironically, Maud Mandel has become both a hero and a villain in this matter.

Jewish Journal: StandWithUs Calls on Williams College to Formally Recognize Pro-Israel Group

Letter: Academic Engagement Network’s Complains to Maud Mandel

Breitbart: Williams College President Blasts Student Government for Rejecting Pro-Israel Group

The Berkshire Eagle: Mark G. Yudof, Michael Atkins and Miriam F. Elman: Williams must accept pro-Israel student group

The College Fix: Williams College tolerates ‘de facto discrimination’ against pro-Israel student group

Fire: Williams College Council denies recognition to pro-Israel student group

Forward: Williams College Council Votes Against Recognizing Pro-Israel Student Club

Letter: Zionist Organization of America

Campus Reform: Mass. college council rejects pro-Israel student group

The Times of Israel: College president ‘disappointed’ after student council rejects pro-Israel group

Inside Higher Ed: Pro-Israel Student Group ‘Silenced’ at Williams

Hotair: Student Government At Williams College Refused To Recognize A Pro-Israel Group

2. Affinity Housing. Andrew Sullivan chimes in on the April 9 rant and the new segregation movement at Williams. Look for the second segment of this article. Jerry Coyne, a biologist at the University of Chicago, is also maintaining a focus on the antics of Williams.

Andrew Sullivan: The Deeper Risk of Radical Multiculturalism

Jerry Coyne: Black students at Williams College favor self-segregated housing

3. Free Speech. Professor Luana Maroja’s concerns about her ability to teach biology on a woke campus inspire additional comments, again from the prolific Jerry Coyne.

Jerry Coyne: A Williams College professor describes her school’s fight against free speech

4. Fighting Professors.  Katie Kent and Dorothy Wang got into a public dispute about racism. One students was so traumatized that they think about the altercation in the middle of the night.

College Fix: Two professors got in an argument in a hallway. Student activists want the white one fired for ‘violence.’

Jerry Coyne: Williams College melts down in a big way

5. CSS Fights for Redemption. Nancy MacCauley, a black campus safety and security (CSS) officer, pushes back against the CARE Now leaders who are offended when CSS does its job.

Jerry Coyne: Williams College melts down in a big way

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