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Where’s My Safety?

There is so much going on at Williams that I am losing the ability to follow it all. Apologies to all our readers!

1) The above screen shot is from this flyer (pdf) that went up in Paresky last week. Does anyone have a higher quality version?

2) The College Council minutes (doc) are also filled with interesting material. Pick out your favorite parts and leave them in the comments. Example:

There are a lot of real concerns about equity here given the fact that there are sites like Canary Mission that was not at all mentioned in Lance’s first minute notes. That website was mentioned a variety of times specifically because its a giant website that a current student at Williams is on. Someone reported her due to her Jewish Voices for Peace activism. She is now on there. She can no longer enter the country of Israel because of that. When she is looked up by employers there is a website that says she is anti-semetic even though she is Jewish. It is a tricky situation here when one side of the debate is being attacked and surveilled and being nationally seen in this way.

Indeed, it is much more dangerous, at least from a career-perspective, to voice anti-Isreali positions than anti-Palestinian positions. Why would that be?

3) The WIFI controversy reminded me of this Claiming Williams session:

Unpacking Jewish Identity

This workshop for faculty and staff will provide participants with an opportunity to begin examining their Jewish identity and their Jewish privilege in a supportive environment that focuses on their own experiences. It will be one small step toward increasing effective dialogue about race, practicing allyship, and interrupting racism. Workshop facilitators will guide participants through a process of reflection that includes writing and small-group discussion with the goal of understanding racism in structural terms, and formulating some practical steps for more insightful living.

Does “Jewish privilege” strike readers as nonsense? Williams regularly features discussions of “white privilege.” Indeed, any successful group is, in this day and age, almost certainly benefiting from some sort of privilege.

4) The bad press caused by College Council refusing recognition to WIFI continues:

Scarborough has 2.5 million followers. Has a negative tweet about Williams ever been so broadly broadcast?

By the way, I made up one of the 4 points above. Can you guess which one without looking? And how many years before it turns into a reality?

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College Council Bad

In other news today, Maud Mandel defended the students who sought to establish a new pro-Israel student organization Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI).

The Williams College Council turned down their application by a vote of 13-8-1 on April 23, 2019. The result was dismaying to pro-Israel factions on campus, in part, because it is nearly the only club to be denied status as a recognized student organization over the last decade. During that meeting, the founders of WIFI were also hammered with at least two anti-Semitic comments. These comments were observed by the parliamentarian, but not entered into the meeting minutes.

In a message today, Maud defended the club and appears to agree that the founders of the club were improperly treated by the College Council. She pulls no punches:

The transcript of the debate and vote indicate that the decision was made on political grounds.

In doing so, Council departed from its own process for reviewing student groups, which at no point identifies a proposed group’s politics as a criterion for review. The decision also seems to be in tension with CC bylaws, especially Article V, Section 3: “Prohibition Against Discrimination in Student Organizations.”

In her statement, Maud appeared to follow the lead of the WIFI students who condemned the outcome of the meeting and asserted in a Williams Record op-ed that their club “was denied official status on purely political grounds, as CC members and guests fought to silence us and effectively turned the meeting into a referendum on Israeli-Palestinian politics.” This unprecedented, politically motivated decision has attracted condemnation off campus too.

The Algemeiner – Williams College Student Leaders Deny Recognition to ‘Pro-Israel’ Group, Prompting Calls for Inquiry

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, head of the campus antisemitism monitor AMCHA Initiative, called the incident “a case of blatant discrimination and shameless intolerance.”

Yael Lerman, legal director at the Israel education and advocacy organization StandWithUs, likewise called on the university to investigate the CC’s vote.

Commentary – At Williams College, Zionists Need Not Apply: The Hall of Shame

Jonathan Marks, professor of politics at Ursinus College, “When much of the faculty at Williams signed a petition to adopt the University of Chicago’s powerful statement on free expression, which has been a model for more than fifty schools, some student protesters claimed the faculty was trying to kill them. In response to the controversy, President Maud Mandel put together a committee to “develop policies and an overarching philosophy about campus speakers and free expression.” It is perhaps too much to hope that this committee, whose report is expected this month, will attend to discrimination against pro-Israel speech at Williams.”

Jewish Journal – Williams College Pro-Israel Group Denied Recognition

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Simon Wiesenthal Center associate dean and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Global Action Agenda, said in a statement to the Journal that the council’s decision was “anti-Semitism on full display at Williams College. Apparently [there’s] no room for lovers of Zion and Israel among the bigots who control the vote. Where are the adults in the room?”

The College Fix – Williams College president blasts student government for refusing to recognize pro-Israel group

Academic Engagement Network, which opposes the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, wrote a letter to President Mandel to urge her “to take immediate action to reverse the decision of the CC and to give WIFI the RSO recognition that it deserves.”

A former Williams professor, KC Johnson, tweeted this decision is an embarrassment for the institution.

Pamela Geller tweeted: “Out and out Jew hatred. Plain and simple. Terror-tied groups like SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) run amok on campuses. There is a plague afoot.”

Joe Scarborough tweeted: “Given the growing antisemitic attacks in the US, and the historical hostility of many elite colleges toward the Jewish state created following the Holocaust, this is deeply disturbing. Mika and I love @WilliamsCollege⁩. We hope this is investigated.”

Full text of Maud Mandel’s statement after the break.

Read more

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Anti-Zionist Litmus Test

What a news day for Williams… Over at Commentary, a new post examines the highly unusual nature of the College Council’s decision to deny an application to establish a pro-Zionist student organization called Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI).

This largely unprecedented decision was carried out at the April 23 meeting which was blacked out and not broadcast on livestream. Even worse, the College Council made the minutes anonymous. The full article may be accessed through Facebook.

Jonathan Marks, a contributor to Commentary’s blog, is professor of politics at Ursinus College.

 

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 5 of 5

Near the end of the rant, the black CARE Now students provide us with one of the greatest ironies in this appalling video; They reveal they think greater visibility of this conflict will work in their favor.

Amazingly, they threaten to create a video about their unhappy encounter with the white male students on the College Council. As far as I can tell, even their cowed victims seem to agree with their take.

I think this erroneous assumption helps explain why the College Council didn’t think it mattered if it posted this video on their Facebook page. They must have sincerely thought it made the white male liberal students look bad. The College Council only removed the video from Facebook after it generated negative attention and thousands of disapproving comments on various on-line sites. So far, the video has been featured at Anonymous Political Scientist, Big League Politics, Campus WatchEphblog, Free RepublicInstapundit, Legal InsurrectionThe College Fix, and Tea Party.

Start – 59:53

IB: Oh, you want to make it all illusion. Why do you have to tell them what it’s like? What?! (PAUSE) This is what it’s like. We’ll make sure to tell them that this is how it was.

SO: Definitely!

IB: We’ll make sure.

SO: I’m going be text messaging…one or two.

IB: We’ll make some videos out of that shit. Because its wow.

SO: Best f***ing movie.

IB: I just can’t…believe it.

Finally, this tag team of anti-white bigots rounds off their evening with the most embarrassing moments of all – the not so subtle humiliation of the black/minority students in the room. The aim, as far as I can tell, is to shame the minority students for not being as aggressive, antagonistic and woke as them. The controlling nature of this final exchange is cringe-worthy. Even IB seems to realize that he has gone way too far.

IB: You have anything to say Cleveland?  Or, or Shane? Cause you know ni***ers never get to say anything?

SB: I’ve said everything I felt I needed to say (Unintelligible) sometimes…the nature of council is just kind of (Unintelligible) questionable.

IB: Shane, why aren’t you president? Why didn’t you run president again? Why didn’t you run for that other shit?

Shane: I wasn’t… (Unintelligible)

IB: Cleveland, you got something to say? (PAUSE) No. No. Okay, because of you… anyone?… you’all got something to say? Does the minority coalition in the minority cove? Because that’s what you’all look like over here. (LONG PAUSE) That’s all right. We want to make sure we open this space. We never get to be heard. (PAUSE) I’m done. You done?

SO: I am.

IB: Okay. I hope you have a great day. Goodnight. (SLAMS DOOR)

The self-righteous CARE Now activists were so proud of their outburst that they planned to prolong their indignation by staging demonstration. According to a report in the Williams Record, they called off the demonstration after this video was shared on other platforms. “A larger protest had been planned,” the Williams Record says, “but cancelled because of student fears about safety after last week’s meeting livestream was distributed by several online sites.”

I think it is more likely the protest was called off because the student’s parents learned about their children’s behavior and told them to “knock the f***ing s*** off you dumb a** f***ing d***heads.”

Epilogue

Maud Mandel issued a letter to the community on April 22, 2019 in which she wrote:

I’m hearing from people throughout our community, representing a wide range of backgrounds and viewpoints, who are upset by some breakdowns in campus relations. Their perspectives are diverse: some are concerned about racism, others about a culture of open antagonism, and many about both of these and other issues, as well. The one thing many people seem to share is the sense that we have a problem at Williams.

A week later, the College Council met again – minus many of the white male students. It was so bad the College Council had a hard time establishing a quorum.

At this meeting, Bilal Ansari, the school’s first Muslim Chaplain and now the acting director of the Davis Center, addressed the student representatives. Reading between the lines, it was clear to me he knows Williams College would have been better off if these two black students had worked through existing black- or minority-run campus groups instead of striking off on their own.

To his credit, he indicated – to the white males who were not there – that he was there for them too. Bilal Ansari added, as far as I can tell, they had every right to push back whenever they are targeted with racially charged verbal abuse.

The article in The College Fix first linked to the original video on the Facebook page on April 19, 2129. As of today, an unedited YouTube video featuring the meeting has gathered over 12,200 views.

 

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The Latest Postmodern Jargon: “Minoritized”

As DDF noted in a previous post, the subhead of the Record article editorializing in favor of affinity housing read:

Creating space for minoritized students

This is also the same language used in the CARE Now petition:

We demand increased support and safety for minoritized students on campus, which include students with disabilities, students of color, low-income students, queer students.

I suspect similarly to David that the intent of this word is to demonstrate this identity is something imposed upon the individual. It echoes the view that all ideas and language were socially constructed by those in power (probably the white man) to further establish that power hierarchy. This social constructivism thesis has a few important steps. It first presupposes that these ideas and identities are socially constructed (this is trivial; almost everything is socially constructed), then moves to claim that this construction serves external some purpose. Philosopher of science Ian Hacking handily describes this as a construction’s “extra-theoretical function.” In the case of “minority,” the word is perceived to have some purpose outside of its perceived meaning–namely, to assert power over the groups it describes. The notion of purpose, however, necessarily presupposes that there is an architect behind this construction, since purpose requires a rational agent. This is how we move from the fairly modest claim that the “minority” identity is, at least in part, socially constructed, to the claim that these identities were constructed by privileged parties to assert their power. Hence comes the need to reinvent the word “minority” to reflect its “true” significance as an identity forced upon a group.

The problem with the social constructivism thesis that, as I see it, lies behind this change in lexicon, is that it makes an unwarranted jump from acknowledging that ideas are in part socially molded to assuming that they were intentionally forged this way by malevolent beings of power. Is it not possible that the word “minority” serves the objective, mathematical purpose of describing a group that represents a small percentage of a population? It is absurd to subvert objective language used to assert mathematical facts with biased sociological analyses.

Perhaps this has all been a little tangential to most events on campus. Though confusing, it is ultimately not a problem if a group of students sometimes chooses to use a fancy invented word over a commonplace one. What is a problem is that these students embed a narrative into the semantics of every conversation they have, fundamentally redefining the logical playing field in which these discussions occur. This is a narrative of the oppressor and the oppressed, of the good and the bad. Choosing not to adopt this language may be perceived as insensitive and even unacademic, but ultimately it is an issue of supreme ideological importance.

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 4 of 5

By this point in the video, I assume more of the white male representatives are tearing up. Normally, these tears should humanize them in the eyes of their abusers. In this case, however, they only enrage SO and IB. I believe it is fairly common for abusers to think they have the right, the authority, and even the righteous responsibility to tell others how they should react. That’s exactly what we see in this next portion of the video. FYI: You can also see how SO and IB interacted with each other for dramatic effect.

Start – 56:17

IB: What’s wrong with you?

SO: And do not look at…don’t look at us with tears.

IB: I don’t want your tears.

SO: I don’t want that. I want anger. You should all be f***ing angry. I…I sat there and I had to f***ing listen to every single person. While I was siting there like my voice is not f***ing…I could not f***ing speak! I WANTED SO BAD TO TELL HIM TO F*** YOURSELF. F*** YOURSELF. F***. ALL OF YA SHOULD ALL F*** YOURSELF.

IB: You had to be real nice.

SO: But I had to be real nice to get some f***ing money. So all you had to say was f***ing motion, I approve. What the f***. You should be f***ing angry.

IB: You just told me ‘You got the money so you should be quiet.’ That’s f***ing crazy, son. (HITS DESK) I can’t believe this man said that to me in my face. You got your money so you should be quiet. What the f***?! That’s what they say. Right. You got your financial aid, shut the f*** up. Right?! You got your little house. Right. You got your little food. Right. Shut the f*** up. You don’t need nothing else. You got your job at the best institution in the f***ing school So you shouldn’t ask for nothing else. Right? We made it number one. You couldn’t be number one without me. Period. So what’s the word?! Every time we ask for something, you’all grant it, your rating stays up. So what the hell is the part of the equation. I don’t get it, son. You only go to the number one liberal arts school because I’m here, n***er. Period

If we weren’t here could you possibly be? Or would you be some white exclusionary school who can’t do diversity. What?! So when we…try. What do you think we do when we do black previews? We retain pre-frosh. Fool! What’s wrong with you people?! I just don’t get it. You just said ‘You got your money. Stop talking. Why did you come back?’ Because you thought we had no honor. You said you got to come. You sucked it up. (SPAGHETTI SUCKING SOUND) What are we here for? To vomit it back out. We tired, son. I’m sorry. We couldn’t do it this time. You love it when we swallow. We couldn’t do it. Can’t believe that we just got told that to our face. That’s the level of respect that you have for me. Just in case you was confused with what you said to me.

When I heard IB make that spaghetti sucking sound on the video it reminded me of that moment in Silence of the Lambs where Hannibal Lecter tells Agent Starling that he once got a questionnaire from a census taker and reacted by killing him, cooking up his liver, and eating it with fava beans and a nice Chianti. (SPAGHETTI SUCKING SOUND)

It is clear that IB believes he is contributing to the U.S. News & World Report ratings of the school. I am guessing these thoughts are not original to him. They are most likely repeated among those who believe that their primary contribution to the school is that they provide evidence of diversity. In truth, these high ratings are more accurately seen as a consequence of the Williams College endowment. This endowment, and the school’s rural location, allow it to provide a high quality education at a lower than market price. The U.S. News & World Report rating gives Williams College an advantage, in part, because it is a comparative bargain.

IB: When you said you got your money and so you should be quiet. I don’t even remember what you said. Because you know you all look like you. That’s that’s that’s what happened. Because when I get angry and enraged and stuff like that I don’t have the time to give you the dignity…no, in fact, I have the time to give you the dignity you gave to me. Because that’s what it looks like. That’s what it looks like. It’s crazy, son.

He just said, ‘Yo. Yo. I got somewhere to go. Can you please stop?’ What?! I had somewhere to go two hours ago. I missed work…to plan this shit. I missed…I missed everything…to plan it. What could I possibly be doing that I have to go and do all these other things? What could possibly be taking up my time? Why I can’t do my homework? He came for my job. He said, ‘Why aren’t you at work right now?’ What? It almost drives me crazy. Why am I not at work? Why am I not sleeping at night? Why do I have? What?

So I can take out time during my middle of my day to not do homework next Wednesday, so we can create space for black frosh’s. You ain’t creating it. You were going to create it? You were going to create minority previews? You was going to do it? Or the black woman who always got to do the God damn thing going to come in this space and create it. You was going to create minority previews, right? Right. God damn.

I think that the conventional wisdom is that the abusive behavior illustrated in this controversial video is a result of the mistreatment the  black activist speakers have suffered earlier in their lives at the hands of the white majority. I’m not so sure. I know enough about verbal and physical abusers to recall that rage and controlling behavior can also be a side effect of drug and alcohol abuse. Inappropriate behavior is also more likely if you have gone without food or sleep…two issues mentioned by the verbally abusive students. If I was sitting in Maud Mandel‘s office, I would send both students to anger management classes. If either of them seeks counseling, I’m confident the therapist will ask what, if anything else, caused them to become “…angry and enraged and stuff like that.”

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 3 of 5

Sadly, the extraordinary scholarly excellence which initially attracted me to teach at Williams has been replaced by an intolerable level of bullying and indoctrination. As a student at Middlebury College, Dominic Aiello ’22, observed we are in a new era “…when students are encouraged to experience campus life as one long sequence of ideologically-inflicted psychic traumas.”

In this next section of the video, we get to see raw bigotry in action. According to Merriam-Webster, a bigot is “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” The transcript is particularly alarming because IB is demanding more space and more resources and more autonomy to live out his abhorrent ideology. Here, he addresses the issue of segregation. First by noticing it inside the room. Later by asking for more of it outside the room.

Start – 53:10

IB: I’m just so confused. Because I did the same comment. I did the same and I don’t care or understand how the logic. I just don’t get it. The critical thing of the room is on the ground. I just don’t get it. Could you dare? How? Are we witnessing this? Am I here today? Because I can’t believe this. The room is literally segregated.  Do you notice that?! Did you notice that? Because I noticed that from being here three seconds.

SO: Me too.

IB: What the hell! I just don’t understand it. Like how could you be so blind? I don’t know. Silence. Everyone goes back to talk to their fathers and their f***ing friends and all these God damn s*** and nothing gets to resolve. We just lose our breath. Right?

SO: Right? This is not a f***ing show.

IB:  I’m not f***ing performing for you. This is not a monologue we created. We didn’t practice the lines before we came here. This is the lines of life. We do this s*** every day. I was talking to my father. I was living my life. I had essays and labs. Leave things behind. But here I am. You didn’t have to do that today. You get to catch up on your homework. Don’t tell me you’all have hard work. Don’t tell me you tired. I’m sick and tired of white people telling me they’ve got f***ing s*** to do. Because this wasn’t in their schedule today and damn, it wasn’t in mine.

SO: Not in my schedule.

IB: But, yet. Here I am wasting time, energy and life. And what do I got to do? You know what I have to do after this? You know what we have to do after this? We gotta find a space and time and community to heal and resist. It looks something like…black previews. And then when we ask for point four of a budget, we get asked to f***ing include you. What the f***?! After we done dealt with this s***.

And we say I just want a little bit of a break. I just want a little bit of an affinity house. I just want a little bit of a not having to speak to Charles Derbyshire time. I just want to have to deal with all these things. And then to come back and get asked: ‘Can it, can it be everyone else?’ What the f***? Everyone else isn’t here right now. It’s just us. We had to leave the meeting just to be here…with you. With ya’all. It’s your job. It is your job right there. And your job right there. And your job right there to be doing the work. We tired!

At this point, it looks like more black students have arrived to support the CARE Now activists. As far as I can tell, SO addressed the room on her own earlier. She then contacted IB and requested that he come and defend her. She or IB may have also sent messages to other black students to join them at the College Council meeting. Ironically, this example of piling on illustrates one of the dangers John Derbyshire discussed in “The Talk: Nonblack Version” where he suggests things about blacks that white parents should warn their children about. Derbyshire cautions it is best to leave an area if a large number of blacks suddenly dominate a public space. IB recognizes the arrival of other black students and explains this show of force is a hallmark of black community.

IB: Another one. You see when you call community they come. That’s what community looks like. Not some minority black guy. What are you talking about? Community looks like…if I call YOU SHOW UP because we’re getting eviscerated, embarrassed in this space. We having to suck d*** and then tell you we don’t like the way it tastes.

That’s what’s happening today. Sure we got the money. But we sick and tired of having to beg, steal, barter, go into every f***ing office, suck some more d*** just to ask for some shit. That’s crazy! Just so that we can get more community. We didn’t ask to interrupt this space. But you have some way of intruding in ours. We didn’t ask for none of that and yet here…we…are. What’s wrong with you?

For me, the comments above represent an earthier, perhaps more accurate, expression of one of the core demands of CARE Now, the demand for affinity housing. As you may remember, the editorial board of the Williams Record was criticized by both The College Fix and Breitbart when it endorsed a CARE Now proposal which would essentially establish segregated housing on campus. This proposal was part of a larger a list of demands “calling upon the College’s trustees to fulfill their ‘obligation to the well-being and safety of its students, faculty and staff’,” according to The Williams Record.

As Maud Mandel noted in her recent letter, many schools are dealing with the conflict between affinity housing and integration. Given the video above, I cannot imagine a worse decision than to give more power and resources to verbally abusive students. It seems particularly dangerous to empower them while also leaving them more isolated, insular, and unaccountable to others.

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 2 of 5

All in all, I’m most impressed with the bearing and peacemaking of TW. After reviewing the video, he looks like both the strongest and most gracious person in the room. When too many of his fellow students absorbed the CARE Now speakers’ verbal abuse without comment, TW stood up to these bigots. Maud Mandel should give him some sort of award.

Start – 51:18

TW: When you were sitting here and you were in discussion, I observed the regular order and I gave you a certain parliamentary respect that we do, and I would just ask in your conversation with me that you preserve that same respect.  Now, the first thing…the first thing, when you referred to what I was writing. What I was writing down was in reference to what you were saying…it was a note of sort. And, you mentioned that why isn’t black previews called minority previews? And that was something that was said in here. That was something that I found problematic. It was, it was, it was never suggested in here that black previews be called minority previews. I think that’s where, kind of…

SO: This is on?! You’all wanna to run it back? Actually how many people remember me?

WH: I’ll respond to that. I, I was the person who said that.

SO: Oh. You have the minutes?

WH: I can respond. I was the person who said that. That was just a comment about the inclusive nature. I think that what you said and what other people in this room said resolved my, all of my concerns about the inclusive nature of your event.

SO: How long did that take? How long did that take? Very f***ing long. For you. For you, your problems to get resolved. I had to f***ing sit here. I had practice at 8:00 o’clock. I did not have time for ya n***ers.

IB: Have you eaten today?

SO: I have not f***ing eaten today! BECAUSE YA DUMB ASS N***ERS WANTA F***ING TALK! Inclusion. Inclusion. FUCK YOUR INCLUSION! (HITS TABLE) BECAUSE I’M F***ING EXCLUDED. How many people look like you in this f***ing room right now?! How many people?!

WH: One!

This was the only, mercifully comic moment in the video. You cannot deny the sheer logic of WH’s surprising response. After all, he doesn’t have a twin brother in the room. I think the culture of open antagonism at Williams would improve if more white students showed this sort of quick thinking and courage.

Williams College student confronts white College Council representatives on April 9, 2019. She asks: “How many people in this room look like you?”

Next, one of the things that strikes me as extremely odd about this bigoted tirade is the way the black student activists repeatedly address the white student representatives as n***ers. I have never seen that before. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that this is another way that black activist students lord their power over their vulnerable liberal white peers. Since white students are socially prohibited from using the word “n***ers,” the black students are taunting them with the fact that only they can use this offensive language. I wonder if conversations about race at Williams might be improved if there was a new social compact where a white person can call a black person a n***er, but only if the black person called the white person a n***er first?

SO: What the…? ARE YOU BLIND, MY N***ER? WHAT DO YOU MEAN ONE?! YOU’RE A WHITE MAN! I can count f***ing how many? Literally this f***ing row. They look like you! Who is the black woman who look like me?

IB: You look like her?

WH: No.

IB: Oh, okay. What the hell!

SO: Great. At least you know something. Now I know why you got to Williams.

At this point, I would think the students representatives would begin to wonder about the inclusiveness of the black preview event being planned by CARE Now. If this is how CARE Now leaders treat elected student representatives, then how much more vile might they be to a white man who stops by to get a taste of the free fried chicken? A week later, at the April 16 College Council meeting, many of the white men who were verbally abused by these CARE Now leaders decided not to show up. It was so bad the College Council struggled to attract the minimum number of representatives needed to start the meeting and conduct their business.

If student leaders like TW or WH feel unwelcome at the College Council meetings, then I think it is time to rethink those meetings. The campus needs more people like them, not less.

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CARE Now Activist Says “I Want Anger.” 1 of 5

CARE Now activists at Williams College have participated in the heart-warming chant: “I love you, I love me, I love us, I love we.” They may need to change it after two of them unloaded their vile hatred on an unsuspecting group of white liberal students. Williams College president, Maud Mandel, may soon hear a new, more accurate chant: “I hate you, I hate me, I hate us, I hate we.”

To better understand the dysfunctional culture of Williams College, I thought it would helpful to review a transcript of the anti-white rant delivered by two prominent black student leaders at the April 9, 2019 College Council meeting. The title of this series refers to a comment made by a student activist who responds to the tears of the victims by saying, “Don’t look at us with tears. I don’t want that. I want anger.”

Alarmingly, one of these students serves on a college search committee for the next Director of Dining Services.

Although the details of this controversial video have so far eluded The Williams Record, they have been reported on and discussed at a number of on-line sites including  Anonymous Political Scientist, Big League Politics, Campus WatchEphblog, Free RepublicInstapundit, Legal InsurrectionTea Party and the national-level, student-reported The College Fix.

The Williams College Council attempted to suppress access to this disturbing video by taking it off of their Facebook page. Thankfully, alert students preserved a copy and posted it on YouTube. I have adjusted the start of this video so that it aligns with the transcript presented below. I’ll add in my commentary, as appropriate, over the course of the next five days.

I’ll start by saying that the female black activist creeps me out with her controlling, manipulative behavior. When I taught at Williams one of my area of focus was child abuse and neglect. I’m hypersensitive to verbal abuse. In the following exchange, SO calls the white students d***heads. Under normal circumstances, I would think one of the co-presidents should have warned her about her inappropriate language. If she persisted, they should have asked the sergeant-at-arms to escort her out of the meeting. Instead, the co-presidents allow her to verbally abuse the white students.

Start – 50:28

SO: And that’s valid too. Like, if you want to talk, you can talk. But seems like you’all…you…you had a lot to say. So where is it now?

WH: Thank you, guys. You should have gotten your money. You got money. Then I’m very happy if you got your money.

IB: Wow. Wow. That’s crazy.

SO: Say it to me.

Student Representative: I’m sorry this is so hard for you guys. I was just at the end. You know. (PAUSE) I don’t know what to say.

At this point, I can only assume that some of the white students in the room were tearing up as a consequence of the abusive language coming from IB and SO. The speakers apparently notice the tears and use the white student’s display of emotion to further their humiliation.

SO: This is white liberal s***.

IB: This is the s***, the tears…

SO: Because nobody wants to talk. Because you had a lot of questions. You had a lot of questions. And I’ve had classes with you. I know what kind of d***heads you are. I’ve had political science with you. It’s s*** that opens up all a yo white moderate f***ing liberal bullshit. I know the type of person you are. So what do you want to say?

WH: I haven’t taken a poly sci class here.

SO: I wasn’t talking to you.

WH: I’m sorry.

I like the way the white student, WH, pushes back on SO for making an inaccurate generalization. Her d***head comment is consistent with the suggestion that CARE Now activists are attempting rule Williams College through fear and intimidation. It will be interesting to see how, if at all, the Dean of the College or the Honor Committee take action to discipline these students. Even a modest sanction might improve what Maud Mandel has identified as a culture of open antagonism. At the very least, I don’t think either of these students should have a role in the hiring process at the school.

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College Council Meeting Notes

The College Council provides a solid archive of meeting notes, going back to 2009. Still, I am very sad that it does not go back further. Who else remembers the glorious notes of Jonathan Landsman ’05?

Sadly, CC refuses (?) to make the notes for current meetings publicly available, even to alumni and local residents. Pathetic. Fortunately, we have our sources!

The April 16 minutes are available to students. The central debate about WIFI is covered fairly well.

The April 23 minutes are not available for download, even to students. But our sources are clever, so they provided some screen shots. See below the break. Example:

A full zip archive of meeting notes since 2016 is here.

Key points:

1) It was stupid for the Falk administration to change the rules and force student groups to seek recognition from College Council even if they were not seeking funding. (Falk and Co did this to make life more difficult for dissident groups like Uncomfortable Learning.) Student organizations can be trusted with many important decisions — selecting JAs, distributing funding — but not with this one.

2) Excessive student powers will be used against all unpopular groups, not just those unpopular with the Administration. By the way, BDS has yet to hit Williams in a big way. What happens when it does?

3) If Maud is smart, she will change the Student Handbook this summer to allow any student group to be created by simply submitting a form with the Dean’s Office. This will allow the group access to all the basic tools — like room reservations — that it needs to function. CC does not need to fund it, but they can’t ban it.

4) There are plenty of rich Jewish alumni that Maud will try to raise money from over the next few years. What do you think their views are on this topic?

5) College Council should just make its meeting notes and livestream public. The truth will come out anyway and, perhaps more important, a public livestream encourages better behavior from your guests.

Screen shots of minutes for April 23:

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Inside the Purple Rubble

I had a chance to review the video of the April 16, 2019 College Council meeting. It looked like a bomb crater. Many of the young white men who were verbally abused by black student leaders at the April 9, 2019 meeting were notably absent. Without them, the College Council could not establish a quorum.

Williams College Council April 16, 2019

Their best idea? Reach out to the wounded members and let them know it was safe to come back? No. Not at all.

Instead, the representatives in the room jokingly recruited other students to serve as “proxies” for the missing white students. This, as any high school student would know, is not how proxies work. This scheme became even more problematic when they realized the students who have volunteered to be proxies are also the same people who will be asking for money – a clear conflict of interest.

NOTE: The Williams College Council has deleted the livestream of the appalling April 9, 2019 meeting. I’ve made a copy of the April 16, 2019 meeting. It would be great if someone would upload that to YouTube too along with a proper explanation of what is going on in it.

What was most troubling to me is there was absolutely no acknowledgement of the damage done. I saw no sense of corporate responsibility for the fact white students were basically boycotting the meeting.

One of the most cringe-worthy spectacles occurred when Bilal Ansari, the school’s first Muslim Chaplain and now the acting director of the Davis Center, addressed the students. Reading between the lines, it was clear to me that he knows Williams College would have been better off if the two black students vomiting out anti-white bigotry had worked through existing black- or minority-run campus groups instead of trying to create their own black preview events.

Ansari said that he understood the root causes of the student’s offensive tirade(s).

Nevertheless, he indicated (to the young white males who were not present) that he was there for them too. Bilal Ansari even added, as far as I can tell, they had every right to push back whenever they are targeted with racially charged verbal abuse.

I suppose that this should give well-meaning observers some comfort. If the school’s first Muslim Chaplain says it is okay for whites to resist anti-white hate speech, then perhaps no one should put up with it again.

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Williams Initiative for Israel

A student reports that “Apparently there was huge commotion at CC last [Tuesday] night. I expect this to be picked up by national news outlets as the details of what happened are revealed.” From the Record:

Last night, College Council (CC) voted 13–8 with one abstention to reject a request from the Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI) to become a registered student organization. The vote came a week after the club’s request was tabled at a previous CC meeting, and the meeting involved nearly two hours of protracted and heated debate among both CC members and a large number of guests attending.

Before the debate began, numerous members and guests expressed concerns that publicly revealing the names of those speaking, as CC has previously done to some extent through livestreams on its Facebook page and published minutes accessible to students at the College, would make students feel unsafe and prevent them from fully expressing their opinions. Several members and guests cited national news coverage of College events in recent weeks, including cases where specific students were mentioned by name, as justification for these concerns. CC ultimately decided to publish anonymous minutes accessible only to students with College emails.

This is a developing story, occurring exceptionally close to our print deadline.

The minutes are here, but inaccessible to me. Could someone post them in a comment?

The video for last week has some interesting discussion starting at the 25 minute mark . . .

“The state of Israel, at least if it’s not completely illegal . . .”

It is one thing for leftist students on campus to attack random WASPs, especially WASPs who might be Republican. But when they go after mainstream (?) Jewish organizations, they may be treated very differently . . .

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Affinity Housing, 2

The Record editorialized in favor of “affinity housing,” one of the demands made by CARE Now to both President Mandel (pdf) and the trustees. This means, more or less, reserving/restricting specific houses for/to black/Hispanic/Asian students. I have some small acquaintance with the history/politics/propaganda of Williams housing, so let’s dive in. Day 2.

Note the subhead of the Record editorial:

Creating space for minoritized students

“[M]inoritized” is not a word that I recall from 10 or even 5 years ago. When did it first become common usage at Williams? For (at least) the last 50 years, before the Great Awokening, this would have been phrased: “Creating space for minority students.” Why the change?

My guess: “minoritized” is now preferred to “minority” because a minority is what you are while being “minoritized” is something that is done to you. (Contrary opinions welcome!)

The longevity of this issue demonstrates that the call for affinity housing will not extinguish over time, so long as the College fails to address the residential needs of the marginalized members of its community.

This is the opposite of the truth. That the College has successfully resisted calls for black-only housing for 50 years indicates that it is likely to be able to do so forever. Moreover, the primary purpose of Neighborhood Housing, instituted more than a decade ago and then abandoned, was to prevent student self-segregation, primarily of African-Americans and male helmet-sport athletes. Williams does not care if black students constantly campaign for affinity housing. It has successfully stymied their preferences for five decades!

Furthermore, affinity housing has successfully been implemented by many of the College’s peer institutions, including Amherst, Bates and Wesleyan.

Evidence? If only Williams had a competent student paper which might, you know, report on what is happening at other schools. If the Amherst theme houses are so successful, then why are students only allowed to live in them for 2 years?

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Affinity Housing, 1

The Record editorialized in favor of “affinity housing,” one of the demands made by CARE Now to both President Mandel (pdf) and the trustees. This means, more or less, reserving/restricting specific houses for/to black/Hispanic/Asian students. No one knows more about the history/politics/propaganda of Williams housing than I do, so let’s dive in. Day 1.

Start with the Record:

Affinity housing, the third of CARE Now’s 12 demands, has been advocated for by students as early as 1969, when the Afro-American Society, which occupied Hopkins Hall in demonstration, named affinity housing as one of its demands.

Has anyone at the Record talked to someone who could explain this history? I doubt it! Although I occasionally hold out hope for individual reporters, like Arrington Luck, the Record, as an organization, is positively amateurish in its refusal to seek out knowledgeable sources. It is true that, for 50 years, students have wanted racial segregation in housing and the College has refused to provide it. Does that tell you something? It should!

The College did not respond to the Afro-American Society’s demands and has continually ignored such demands.

How stupid is the Record? The College has “respond[ed]” to these demands over and over and over again. The answer is always the same: No! If you choose to come to Williams, you are going to live in a building with students of a different race. Don’t want that? Go elsewhere.

We at the Record wholeheartedly support establishing affinity housing at the College.

Doesn’t the Record understand how Williams works? If you want actual change — as opposed to the childish pleasure of virtue-signalling on the front page — you support the creation of a high-profile committee.

[W]e must recognize that the College is a predominantly white institution in which students of color often feel tokenized, both in their residences and more broadly on campus.

Is the College really a “predominantly white institution” and, if so, how long will this continue? Whites, in the latest class at Harvard, are a minority. There are more Asian-Americans than whites, in raw numbers, at the highest levels of high school academic achievement. An actual news organization might, you know, do some reporting on this topic, might point out that, in the Williams class of 2022 (pdf), only 263 of the 533 students are white, non-Hispanic Americans. That is only 49%. White Americans are already a numerical minority among Williams first years.

The reason that black/Hispanic students “often feel tokenized” is, first, because the people that run Williams are, on this dimension at least, not very good at their jobs and, second, because these students often are, precisely, “tokens.” At least 50% (probably closer to 90%) of the black/Hispanic students at Williams would not have been accepted if they did not check that box.

Complete Record editorial and CARE Now demands below:
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“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.

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The Left Eats Its Own Café

Over at The College Fix this morning, there is an article by Rory Walsh reporting on the  shocking livestream video posted on Facebook by the College Council.

Black students explode in anger at white students in vulgarity-laced rant (VIDEO)

In his article, Walsh provides us with redacted examples of the profane language used by I.B. as he called out liberal white student representatives for the way they dealt with an earlier request by S.O. for funding for a preview event for black students.

“… It’s time for you’all to figure this sh*t out and check yourself because I’m really losing it,” he said. “We are f***ing tired of having to come and beg and suck d***. And of course when we come and do it we face problems all the f***ing time.”

“… Every time to be here is like sucking white d*** every f***ing day,” he said. “Closing our mouths every f***ing day just to be here. And if we dare ask for a little bit of time, money and space we gotta suck some more d***. … It is so frustrating. It’s so tiring … to be here. To deal with you’all.”

“We keep our heads down, it don’t work,” he said. “We try to create space for us, it don’t work. We want some money to f***ing cook some fried f***king chicken and be n*****s for once, it don’t work. I just don’t get it.”

Walsh cites comments I made at my Anonymous Political Scientist blogsite too. He notes I had observed the video “…is an excellent example of the sort of political abuse that tore down Evergreen State College.”

Walsh reports that The College Fix attempted to reach several members of the College Council as well as administration for a statement. They have yet to respond.

The comments on Walsh’s article are generally adverse to the student activists.

Another tasty serving at The Left Eats Its Own Café.

What the Alt Left doesn’t understand is that white people aren’t out to get black people; they are just exhausted with them. They are exhausted by the social pathologies, the violence, the endless complaints, the blind racial solidarity, the bottomless pit of grievances, the excuses, and the reflexive animosity.

Williams is about as left wing as a functioning college can be. Blacks need to move across the river to SUNY Albany.

You’re not trying to create a community. You’re trying to create a segregated, black racist bubble. The campus in its entirety is your community, and if you don’t like it, you can always transfer.

Just for the record: I’m not Black and I love fried chicken.

According to his biography, Rory Walsh studies industrial labor relations, American politics, and business at Cornell University. He has interned for former New York Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. After completing his undergraduate degree he plans to study law and business.

 

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Why Aren’t You Listening? – Partial Transcript

I have loaded a partial transcript of some of the most offensive and extreme comments made at the CC meeting. I created it by leveraging the Word document posted on Ephblog and then reviewing the video. It is shocking stuff. There is evidence in this video of a lot of dysfunction including the efforts of one speaker to shame student representative Tristan Whalen for seemingly not listening respectfully enough to a stream-of-consciousness tirade of anti-white bigotry.

To his credit, Whalen defended himself. He requested that he be treated in a courteous manner as he responded to the attackers. He pointed out that he had been listening and that what he was writing up were his own notes on the attacker’s comments. At any rate, I will not post the transcript here. It is quite offensive. You can access it over at my Anonymous Political Scientist blogsite here.

The only other thing I would like to add to the discussion is the manner in which the speaker, Isaiah, is permitted, without any complaints, to use the N-word, use foul language, articulate racial stereotypes, and endlessly refer to ****-sucking. In Isaiah’s view, simply being polite and following normal procedures is tantamount to working as a cheap prostitute on a busy thoroughfare. My sense is this was all an expression of his power over the group. It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine that a white student saying the exact same things would be given such deference.

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Why Aren’t You Listening?

Nishant writes:

Can we have a post on that crazy video that anon eph frosh posted? It needs multiple daily posts from David. I am serious.

Video here. (Is there a way to embed this? Or at least make it accessible for readers who don’t use Facebook?) The action starts, apparently, at the 30 minute mark. Here (doc) is a (heavily?) edited transcript.

Background seems to be a (successful attempt?) to get CC to partial fund some events at Previews this week which are focused on African-American admitted students. Alas, there were still some CC critics with more to say:

Isaiah: I know that the funding for this has already been supported, but I am appalled by how this was handled. *many expletives* I’m looking at this budget and I’m seeing all the ways white men are getting resources and community afforded to them, and whenever black students come and try to make spaces for students on this campus, we are stopped at every. single. Level.

Oluseyi: you, Tristan Whalen. Why aren’t you listening?

Isaiah: now we are writing. Every time we start speaking, ears close. *many more expletives* You have half a million dollars. How many % of the budget is black previews? .42% Every time we start talking to you we get shouted down by the white moderate, white liberals. You come here, you have $3billion dollars to your name. Why is CC not diverse? Because if we dare try to run, try to be in this space… we have to be with people like you. I just don’t get it. We keep our heads down. Yeah, we got the money, but we are tired of this. I refuse –– no more. You want to have free speech, you want to be racist, open your mouth now.

Since my fan club wants a series on this, a series is what you will be getting! Although probably not this week. What should the scandal controversy name be? “Black Previews”?

Could our readers tell us who the dramatis personae are?

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Discursive and Institutional Violence

Why are some Ephs allowed to send e-mails to the entire Williams student body and other are not?

From: Modhurima, Rodsy <rm8@williams.edu>
Date: Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 10:25 AM
Subject: Calling on trustees as a campus community
To: <WILLIAMS-STUDENTS@listserv.williams.edu>

Dear Williams College Community,

This February we joined as a campus to March for the Damned. We showed our love for each other and brought attention to the ways in which our campus community needs to support minoritized members of this community- staff, faculty, and students.

Many of the demands which have been circulating recently (including, but not limited to, affinity housing, increased accountability of CSS, improved sexual assault prevention and response, and increased support for faculty of color and queer and trans* faculty) have either been ignored or sent to committees to stagnate. These are largely the same demands students have been making for decade.

Today, the Williams trustees are having a full board meeting on campus to approve fiscal budgets for 2019-20. We have called on them to respond to a list of twelve concrete objectives by April 17th. We invite the whole Williams community to join us to build a community of love and compel the trustees to support us in this mission by responding to our asks.

These are not the extent of our demands but are the ones most relevant to the role of Trustees.

In love and solidarity,

CARE Now

Their letter to the trustees:

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TRUSTEES OF WILLIAMS COLLEGE

We are the Coalition Against Racist Education Now (CARE Now), an active and growing collective of student activists born out of resistance to the 2018 faculty petition on free speech. We garnered over 300 student and alumni signatures in protest of predatory and hate speech. We organized a 200-strong March for the Damned on February 25th after the departures of Professors Kai Green and Kimberly Love due to the violent practices of the College.

We hold the truth of discursive and institutional violence to be self-evident. This year alone, there has been a mass exodus of faculty of color. Many junior faculty of color are considering medical leave due to the unmitigating stress of living in an unsupportive and callous environment; staff are similarly unsupported by the institution with a lack of growth opportunities or access to basic living necessities; and too many students are admitted to the Jones 2 Psychiatric Ward each year.

Dozens of faculty of color leave campus each weekend to avoid the emotional detriment of existing here at the College. The College has proven incompetent in fulfilling its fundamental mission “to provide the finest possible liberal arts education” by failing to support those responsible for educating, mentoring, and supporting students. College administrators have sat on a ‘Faculty-Staff Initiative Report’ from the last mass exodus of faculty of color in 2009, and yet the administration has not adequately addressed the findings of this report over the past decade:

“We understand that improving the professional quality of life for staff and faculty of color, and thus the institutional culture at large, would only improve the experience of Williams students. We have witnessed how departures of staff and faculty of color or their absence in particular fields/sectors impact negatively upon the lives of students—both students of color and white students who turn to staff and faculty members of color for curricular and/or extracurricular support. This negative impact ranges from the disruption/suspension of research projects to an increased sense of isolation. We, therefore, hold that a sizable and long‐term community of staff and faculty of color is vital to the studies and lives of students across the College” (Faculty-Staff Initiative, 2009).

We remind the Trustees of their obligation to the well-being and safety of its students, faculty, and staff. The present moment demonstrates a managerial and fiduciary failure to provide a safe, respectful, and livable school community. The Trustees must respond thoroughly and with haste to this failure with tangible, monetary investment.

Therefore, we compel the Trustees to accomplish the following:

A complete process of reparation and reconciliation to Indigenous peoples including the increased hiring and admittance of Indigenous faculty, staff, and students as well as the reallocation of property back to the nations impacted by the College’s active participation in settler-colonialism.

Approve the request for $34,000 additional funding to the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity in full for the purpose of supporting student-led Heritage Month events, as well as the increase of $15,000 additional funding for incoming Minority Coalition groups.

Commit to improving community spaces by establishing affinity housing for Black students (and all other marginalized groups), ensuring all college buildings be in compliance with ADA guidelines, and fully renovating the Davis Center buildings.

Fund permanent networks of support for faculty of color, such as weekend faculty-staff shuttles to New York and Boston, a community space of gathering, and additional housing resources.

Immediately approve and fund the two requested hiring lines for Asian American Studies. Additionally, immediately use opportunity hires to fill critical gaps left by departing faculty of color.

Recognize that the Davis Center is currently operating with only two full-time underpaid and overworked staff members. As such, immediately hire sufficient staff members to ensure the efficient operation of the Davis Center.

Hire additional therapists, with a focus on trans therapists and therapists of color.

Increase hiring and pay for staff at the Office of Accessible Education and streamline support for students, staff, and faculty who take medical leave and/or time off.

Fund a thorough external independent investigation into the practices and interactions CSS has with students, namely minority students.

Increase diversity and pay for staff in Dining Services and Facilities.

Hire an independent advocate specialized in survivor support, effectively removing the no-contact order (NCOs) investigation responsibilities from Dean Marlene Sandstrom.

Hire three more Title IX coordinators who will meet the demonstrated needs of survivors.

We, CARE Now, demand a formal and public response by the Board of Trustees to this open letter addressing all twelve objectives by April 17, 2019

I love you ・ I love me ・ I love us ・ I love we

Contact us at carenowradicallove@gmail.com | Literature of The Damned: https://bit.ly/2Gi7drK

Photo Credit: Sabrine Brismeur, Photo Editor at The Record

Lots to consider here. Could we start with a single concrete example of the “discursive and institutional violence” which CARE Now considers to be “self-evident?”

If CARE Now is serious about trying to change Williams, they should follow this advice.

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Student Survey on Politics

From the Record:

Based on the 134 responses from a survey sent by the Record to 500 random unixes, students at the College have also involved themselves in the midterm elections, including discussing races with friends and professors, following day-by-day developments and voting. The survey shows that a majority of students were self-motivated to vote, voted based on their overwhelming disapproval of President Donald Trump and largely supported Democratic candidates.

1) Kudos to the Record for organizing the survey and running this article. More, please. For example, how about a survey of faculty opinions?

2) Make the data public. There is no reason why the Record could not provide a link to the raw data. For example, the article notes that:

From a scale of “1” (highly unfavorable) to “5” (highly favorable), only three percent of students gave him rating of “5,” while 81 percent of students gave him a rating of “1.”

Interesting! But how many gave Trump a rating of 4? I want to know what percentage of students have a favorable rating of Trump, a count that includes both the 4s and the 5s. I realize that the Record can’t discuss every number from the survey in the article, but that is why it ought to provide the data to its readers.

3) Even more interesting than student opinions about US politics are student opinions about Williams policies. How about a Record survey asking about admissions, touching on a topics like the quota for international students, preferences for athletes and affirmative action?

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Making the Williams Record a First Class College Newspaper

The new Editor-in-chief of the Williams Record is Danny Jin, supported by new Managing Editors Nicholas Goldrosen and Jane Petersen. How might they turn the Record into a first class college newspaper?

First, have a clear goal. Williams, as a smaller college, will never be able to support a daily paper like The Harvard Crimson or the Yale Daily News. But there is no reason why individual articles in the Record shouldn’t be just as good as those in other college papers. Right now, they are far, far worse.

Second, institute beats for individual reporters/teams. The Crimson and YDN — like every (?) professional paper — use “beats,” defined areas of focus for a given reporter. The Record should do the same. Admissions would be one beat, Administration another. Others might include the Endowment, Local News, Student Organizations and Faculty. With more reporters, we might add beats for each individual class. The Arts and Sports reporters at the Record already do a reasonable job, not least because, over time, they develop expertise in their topics. The same model should apply elsewhere.

Third, recruit more students. To be fair, the Record does try to recruit. But, if Jin/Goldrosen/Petersen want to turn it into a first class paper, they need to try harder, not least by appealing to students self-interest. The pitch is:

So, you want to go into finance? Cool! How are you going to learn about the finance world? How are you going to demonstrate your expertise to future employers? Simple! Become a reporter for the Record and write (almost) every week about the endowment. This will force you to become an expert on the Williams endowment specifically and on college endowments, and institutional investing, in general. Even better: After a few years, you will have a collection of articles to catch the interest of Wall Street firms.

The same sort of pitch applies in other areas:

So, you want to go into consulting/business? Cool! How are you going to learn about the business world? How are you going to demonstrate your expertise to future employers? Simple! Become a reporter for the Record and write (almost) every week about the Williams budget. This will force you to become an expert on Williams spending specifically and on the management of elite colleges, and other large organizations, in general. Even better: After a few years, you will have a collection of articles to catch the interest of consulting firms.

Nothing impresses a potential employer more than demonstrated expertise on a real world topic, gained outside of class. A similar pitch could be given to students with other interests.

Fourth, annualize the coverage. The yearly rhythms of the College provide a simple structure around which to organize coverage. Each year, there should be an article about endowment returns, each of the 4 trustee meetings, early admissions, regular admissions, First Days, Claiming Williams and so on. This might appear repetitive, but Williams, like all multi-century institutions, has a heartbeat, one which can be used to structure your reporting. An annualized coverage also allows for the development, over time, of real expertise. If you write about endowment returns each year then, eventually, you will start to ask some hard questions.

Fifth, talk to critics. The single most embarrassing thing about today’s Record is that it almost never talks to critics of the College. (Compare that behavior to how the Crimson and the YDN operate.) Many articles are simple rehashings of Williams press releases.

The Record could be a great paper. Will Danny Jin make it so?

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Predatory Desires, 3

Great Record article by Rebecca Tauber and Samuel Wolf about the on-going debate over the Chicago Principles. Read the whole thing, along with our previous commentary. I will pull out some highlights over the next three days. Day 3.

Gail Newman, professor of German, who spoke with faculty against the petition and reached out to supporting students organizing against the petition, took issue with the language and divisive nature of the Chicago Statement. “The Statement … ignores the fact that both of these concepts [‘freedom’ and ‘civility’] have been used over and over again to shut down legitimate calls for conditions of safety that would allow the voices of those who haven’t been heard to come forward,” she said.

Examples, please. Newman is an historian (sort of). If something has really “been used over and over again,” it should be easy to come up with scores of examples. But I can’t think of a single one!

First, it is not even clear what Newman means by “shut down.” Williams, and places like Williams, have occasionally banned speakers or restricted their speech. (This is my understanding of the phrase “shut down.” Contrary opinions welcome.) But, prior to banning Derbyshire two years ago, the last similar incident at Williams was . . . Mark Hopkins banning Ralph Waldo Emerson! Does Newman have other examples in mind?

Second, FIRE provides this handy database of speaker controversies. Not all of these are directly analogous to Derbyshire and some involve other issues, like the awarding of honorary degrees. I don’t see a single one in which “freedom” of speech was cited by those doing the banning/disinviting.

Third, the heart of the debate involves “safety.” Newman believes, I suspect, that a Derbyshire speech, even it does not incite physical violence directly, is an act of verbal aggression against (certain) Williams students. That speech hurts them. Since Williams has an obligation to protect them — both because safety is itself important and because a safe environment is a requirement for a good education — we have no choice but to ban speakers like Derbyshire. The problem with this reasoning, obviously, is that there is no good way to draw the line. Many students feel — and who is Gail Newman to dispute their feelings? — that a speech from Charles Murray or James Watson or Larry Summers or Ann Venker or Kris Kobach or insert-any-Trump-supporter is a similar act of verbal aggression, meriting a ban from Williams.

Maud Mandel is way too smart to head down that path . . .

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Predatory Desires, 2

Great Record article by Rebecca Tauber and Samuel Wolf about the on-going debate over the Chicago Principles. Read the whole thing, along with our previous commentary. I will pull out some highlights over the next three days. Day 2.

Mark Reinhardt, professor of political science and American studies, sent an email to the entire faculty urging his colleagues to withdraw their signature or not sign the petition. He expressed problems with the petition’s format, larger messages and implications of the Chicago Statement. “I know there is among us a wide range of views, rooted in part in very different experiences of the College and American society,” he wrote. “Given that diversity, I propose that any forums be approached as opportunities to consider campus discourse in the broadest possible terms, and not merely as occasions for endorsing or opposing one particular, predetermined framing of our circumstances, challenges and prospects.”

1) A faculty source forwarded me several of the intra-faculty e-mails on this topic, although not Reinhardt’s. Should I publish them? (Faculty readers should feel free to add them in the comment thread.)

2) Who will lead the fight against Maud? One candidate is Reinhardt, who knows his way around the College administration. (Recall his successful fight to remain at Williams after he was initially denied tenure 20 years ago.) Other candidates include Gene Bell-Villada and Gail Newman. Eli Nelson wrote and distributed a detailed document (pdf), but my advice to all non-tenured faculty is to avoid fights with the president.

3) What advice do you have for Reinhardt? How should he try to stop Williams from going in the direction that President Mandel clearly favors?

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Predatory Desires, 1

Great Record article by Rebecca Tauber and Samuel Wolf about the on-going debate over the Chicago Principles. Read the whole thing, along with our previous commentary. I will pull out some highlights over the next three days. Day 1.

Joy James, professor of political science and Africana studies, published an article in The Feminist Wire in which she argued against the Chicago Statement and outlined its implications for the College community. “The Chicago Statement ‘free speech’ campaign accumulates power for elites and enables their predatory desires and aggressions against marginalized groups,” James wrote. “People of color are window dressing for a Statement that seeks to legitimize hate speech.”

Is it worth going through James’ article? Not that I can see. But this does provide a handy excuse for revisiting James’ troubled tenure at Williams. (But, full disclosure, my prediction that she would depart was wrong. Perhaps no other school is interested in taking James off our hands? As a member of the political science department told me a decade ago: “Yes, she wrote a book. But it is not a good book.”)

James linked this view to a previously published article in The Feminist Wire by Kai Green, assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, and Kimberly Love, assistant professor of English, which discusses the relationship between academia and injustice. Green and Love detailed the challenges of being Black queer feminists in both higher education and Williamstown, portraying many of the issues raised by those against the petition. “We are not safe because we are Black radical thinkers and professors who refuse to wait for the right time to point out the anti-Black, transphobic, xenophobic and the list goes on … wrongs of this time,” Green and Love wrote.

Is it worth it to go through Green and Love’s article? Again, not that I can see. Perhaps the real purpose of having faculty like Green and Love at Williams is that, in comparison, Joy James looks like an intellectual.

All that said, it would be wonderful if the Williams College Debate Union were to organize some debates/panels featuring James/Green/Love and their faculty/student opponents. The more discussion and debate at Williams, the better.

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Storytime is Back!

Good news! Storytime is back.

When we discussed the complaints about Storytime, there was some confusion about exactly what the critics were complaining about. The key issue involved “the consumption of black stories, black lives and black narratives.” Allow me to translate from SJW’eese.

Consider three hypothetical cases of the behavior of a white student listening to a black student at Storytime.

1) Extreme boorishness. Arriving late, looking at his phone, rolling his eyes in disbelief, talking with his friends, asking confrontational questions, leaving early, and so on.

2) Neutrality. Arriving on time, paying attention, listening quietly, but asking no questions.

3) Perfect support. Behaving in such a way as to make the speaker certain you were supportive of her talk, her story, her views and her position in the community. The exact behavior which would make the speaker feel this way will vary speaker to speaker.

There is a continuum, of course, but I would wager that no listener at Storytime has ever behaved with extreme boorishness, or anywhere close to it. Problems might arise, however, if a white student behaves in a way that a black student objects to.

The performance [of Underground Railroad Game]at the College sparked controversy, Ansari said. “It had to do with the depiction of African-Americans as slaves, scenes of painful episodes of our enslavement for comedic consumption on the stage and dolls in blackface on the flyers of advertisement,” he added. “Black people were in the audience, and we were experiencing it in tears while our white friends were experiencing it laughing.”

This is the heart of the issue, the style of “consumption” — by white students — of content created by black students. It is not enough to attend Storytime. One must react to the stories at Storytime appropriately. And if we can’t trust white students to react appropriately, then is better that Storytime be shut down.

The aftermath of the show led to the creation of a movement, organized by a former Minority Coalition (MinCo) co-chair [Zeke King Phillips ’18], called ‘At What Cost?’

Having a conversation about these topics seems like a worthy goal. Congrats to Phillips for leading the effort. The problem arises when conversation turns to control.

“Students began to say, ‘Let’s call a pause on anything to do with painful stories where people are just sitting there laughing or consuming others’ pain without a deeper effort at community building.’

This is the heart of the problem with the social justice left. If you want to have a conversation about how people should behave, then great, let’s have a conversation. If you want people to behave in a certain way at your event, then great, let them know. (This is Williams, where politeness is almost a civic religion! Ephs will either behave the way you want — at your event — or they will decline to attend.)

But to force the cancellation of Storytime — even though you are not running Storytime or speaking at Storytime — just because you don’t like the (potential!) behavior of some of the people at Storytime . . . That is a problem. If you do this, then I will war against you until the purple cows come home.

Perhaps it is not too late to save Williams from itself. Storytime lives! Now, time to rescue the JA system . . . and academic freedom . . . and . . .

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Hopkins Hall Takeover

From the Times Union:

Student rally outside Hopkins Hall at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts in support of black students’ demands, April 7, 1969. Students from the college’s Afro-American Society took over the building, seeking demands to add African-American studies to the curriculum, diversify the faculty, and more.

Is the College planning any activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this event, perhaps the single most successful example of student activism in Williams history? Should it?

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BSU Town Hall, 5

“BSU holds town hall exploring affinity housing” is an excellent Record article by Kristen Bayrakdarian ’19. Let’s discuss! Day 5.

Students also questioned the potential effects of the absence of affinity housing and POC spaces on application and enrollment rates of students of particular identities. Liz Creighton, dean of admission and financial aid, provided data to that end.

Reading that sentence, I immediately suspected that Creighton ’01 was pulling a fast one on Bayrakdarian ’19. Creighton — perhaps as an inevitable requirement for her chosen career path — has no interest in (or ability to?) provide detailed data about admissions and enrollment. Recall some of her absurd claims during the Best College controversy of last fall. The article continues:

“Forty-five percent of students admitted to Williams end up enrolling,” she explained. “You’re right that we yield athletes at a higher rate, [meaning] they enroll at a higher rate than non-athletes, [but] beyond that, across the range of other identities on campus, the yield is actually quite similar.”

The word “quite” is doing a lot of work in that quote.

1) Did Creighton provide the actual numbers? The Record should follow up! The more that we know about the admissions process, the better.

2) Consider my (sophisticated?) analysis of the public data for the class of 2021. Key table:

admi2

I think that Williams yields white students around 4 times the rate at which it yields black students. Is Creighton a liar or a fool for claiming that the rates are “quite similar?”

Neither! She just knows that students are uninformed, that the Record is unsophisticated and that no one is going to call her on this nonsense.

Students brought up that forming communities in college is considered by many high school students when deciding which school to attend.

Exactly right. But this is why Creighton feels that she has to (?) mislead students. I would not be surprised if black high schools students find affinity housing attractive and that a Williams with such housing would yield more black students. But Creighton does not want the discussion to go down that path so she doesn’t tell black students the truth about yield rates.

One student pointed out that heterosexual white men are actually a minority on this campus. The student explained that when one takes race, economic class and sexual and gender identities into account, minority groups make up a large percentage of the student body. Official College statistics on class data state that around 40 percent of the school identifies as POC. However, this statistic does not take into account other minority groups such as first-generation, low-income or LGBTQ+ students.

Indeed. That student ought to write for EphBlog! Sure seems like your views are marginalized at Williams today . . .

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BSU Town Hall, 4

“BSU holds town hall exploring affinity housing” is an excellent Record article by Kristen Bayrakdarian ’19. Let’s discuss! Day 4.

The Town Hall began with personal anecdotes from current Black first-years, who discussed their feelings of tokenization within entries and the lack of POC Junior Advisors (JAs), particularly Black JAs to whom they felt comfortable turning to.

1) Are Blacks — is capitalization now de riguer in this, the year of our Lord 2018? — “tokens” at Williams? Depends on your point of view. 90%+ of the Black students at Williams would not have been admitted were it not for their Black’ness. (Harvard accepts every Black applicant with Williams-caliber academic qualification and yields every (?) cross-admit with Williams.) The College ensures that Black students are distributed across the entries. (Details, on this, please. My guess would be that the College likes to place exactly two black students in as many entries as it can.) Is such behavior consistent with “tokenization?”

2) Is there really a shortage of Black JAs? I count no fewer than 8 out of 45! Black students are dramatically over-represented among JAs.

There was discussion of the burden Black first-years, and Black students in general, feel to “educate” their non-Black peers at a time when they themselves are trying to learn, dissect and understand their own experiences.

This is the paradox which must drive Williams administrators (and faculty?) crazy. There are two ways we might treat group X at Williams.

1) Treat membership in group X as irrelevant, be “blind” to whether someone is or is not X. This is how I conduct my own teaching.

2) Make special efforts to seek comments from X’s if the topic before the class has to do with X.

Choosing path 2, although theoretically desirable — what is the point of letting in a student with 1200 SATs if they are not going to enrich the education of their peers with comments that only they are qualified to make? — can generate significant push-back, as above.

Current and past Black JAs also spoke on their varying experiences. Alia Richardson ’19, co-chair of BSU and a JA to the class of 2021, described her own first-year experience as a positive one, stating that she “had a really good experience [and] made a lot of close friends,” and that she spent her time as a JA trying to recreate that positive entry experience for her own first-years. Jazmin Bramble ‘20, current JA to the class of 2022, described her first-year experience as “[neither] positive nor negative.” Bramble discussed how, early on in her first year, one of her JAs, a POC, explained to her that “the [entry] system itself wasn’t going to benefit [her],” so her goal was to simply create a comfortable space within the entry.

I bet that that JA has a very different take on her interactions with Bramble . . .

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BSU Town Hall, 3

“BSU holds town hall exploring affinity housing” is an excellent Record article by Kristen Bayrakdarian ’19. Let’s get back to that discussion! Day 3.

Discussion of the entry experience interweaved with ideas about what affinity housing could potentially look like at the College. Rocky Douglas ’19, co-chair of BSU, explained how as a first-year she experienced constant microaggressions and felt obligated to educate her peers, ultimately leading to intense feelings of isolation.

I wonder what Douglas’s definition of a microagression might be. Voting Republican? Questioning the College’s affirmative action policy? Telling the (fascinating!) story of Bernard Moore?

“Thank God I found Rice House [a Davis Center house autonomously managed by BSU]” Douglas said, describing Rice House as “this space I could go to and connect with upperclassmen, feel safe and not deal with microaggressions or feelings of alienation. I was in a space that was made with me in mind.” This idea of a space created by and for students of color was described as a central feature of potential affinity housing.

Students interested in pursuing this topic, should propose something like what Amherst has.

Spanish Language House

The Spanish Language House is an academic Theme House, located in Newport House, on the Amherst College campus, which can accommodate about fifteen students plus three Spanish Language Assistants. It is governed by the faculty of the Spanish Department, and administered by the Dean of Students through the Residential Life Department.

If Amherst students have that — not to mention Charles Drew House — then why couldn’t Williams students have a Bolin House, governed by the faculty of the Africana Studies Department?

Back to the Record:

Some attendees likened affinity housing to current housing for student-athletes. “Right now, we have a lot of houses on Hoxsey Street or off-campus houses that unofficially serve as affinity spaces for student athletes … whereas there are no other spaces that can be claimed by students of other identities in that same way,” Richardson said.

Williams is (superficially?) a much more racially “diverse” place — meaning fewer white people of traditional stock — than it was 30 years ago. No complaints from EphBlog on that account! We want the smartest students from around the world, regardless of the color of their skin.

But the second biggest change in student life may have been the ever-increasing isolation of athletes from other parts of the student community. For example, members of the lacrosse team are much more likely to live with each other now, including off-campus, then they were back in the day.

There are about 100 recruited athletes in every Williams class. I think almost every one of them, after first year, lives in a rooming group with at least one other member of their team. I think a large percentage (a majority?) might live only with members of their team. The Record should do some reporting about this.

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Following investigation, College Council votes to retain treasurer; censures co-presidents

From the Record, Nicholas Goldrosen reports:

Last night, College Council (CC) voted 12-7 to retain Treasurer Spencer Carrillo ’20 and mandated he attend educational sanctions to improve his performance. CC also voted 11-7 to censure CC Presidents Lizzy Hibbard ’19 and Moisés Roman Mendoza ’19 for raising the charges against Carrillo without placing it on the agenda or notifying CC before the Nov. 13 meeting.

I think many students expected disciplinary action against the Treasurer, but a surprise censure against the Co-Presidents was certainly unexpected! (and in my opinion, welcome.)

The vote followed a report by the Student Government Conduct Committee (SGCC), chaired by CC’s Vice President for Student Organizations Maria Heredia ’20 and Vice President for Community and Diversity Shane Beard ’20, which found Carrillo failed to meet some of his duties but recommended against removal. CC did not livestream or record the meeting – in contravention of its own bylaws – and made all votes taken during the meeting anonymous, asking CC members to close their eyes.

This is kind of childish. The meetings should be recorded and all votes should be public. This is the elected student council.

Hibbard and Roman Mendoza presented the case against Carrillo. They reported that he failed to close out CC’s accounts on time over the summer and delayed the College’s audit, failed to file vouchers – as noted by administrators in the Controller’s Office and the Office of Student Life – and communicated unprofessionally and unreliably with CC subgroup treasurers, the CC presidents and the Minority Coalition chairs.

During the summer and fall, Carrillo responded simply “No” or “No thank you” to numerous requests from Hibbard and Roman Mendoza to discuss his performance. “Moises and I tried reaching out to Spencer privately many times, spoke with multiple administrators, and brought this issue up at the CC executive meeting prior to discussing it in general Council,” Hibbard said. “We regret it had to rise to this level. As per the CC Constitution the presidents have the sole responsibility to ‘set the agenda for the College Council.’”

Indeed, these complaints are problematic. Do they warrant removal? I’m not so sure. I think with only a couple of weeks left in the term, the entire charade could have been avoided, but it is good to air grievances so that they may be avoided by future treasurers.

Carrillo defended his performance. Regarding the summer transfers, he wrote, “That error was not a result of my malpractice…it was clearly confirmed to me by a previous Treasurer that when I completed the transfers didn’t matter.” He also alleged that the submission of many vouchers was not his job, but the assistant treasurer’s, and defended his communication style: “If I am emailing someone who I know well or am friends with, I am not going to go through the tedium of drafting a formal letter to them.”

The Treasurer here appears to make excuses for himself, of which I am not particularly fond, but his overall point is clear: He was not trained properly, leading him to make these mistakes, and some of the charges were bogus tacked on to make the entire process seem more valid.

Other representatives called for consideration of the method by which Hibbard and Roman Mendoza brought the matter up on Nov. 13, which they percieved as inappropriate. “Any president bringing complaints forward in such a way, effectively lambasting a council member in public for what came off as personal reasons, is acting in a way that is distasteful, unwarranted, and unprecedented. It is something that cannot be tolerated by this or any Council moving forward,” said Representative Lance Ledet ’21.

Ledet’s comments are valuable. The President’s actions should certainly be condemned. Take a look at those minutes.

Thoughts on this debacle? The article, as well as the accompanying documents presented to CC, can be found here. 

UPDATE: Permanent pdf of the report, which is remarkably well-done.

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