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Bronfman Science Center as a “Dubious” Proposition

50 Years Ago in the Williams Record, an editorial:

“The Smallness of Bigness”

With the Karl E. Weston Language Center, the Roper Public Opinion Center, the Van Rensselaer Public Affairs Center [and] the soon-to-be-constructed Bronfman Science Center . . . Williams College is running the risk of fragmenting the academic life of its students — much as the fraternities were criticized for fragmenting the student body and for mitigating against intergroup communication.

This is not to say that any of these centers is detracting from the general educational process. But there is, nevertheless, the possibility that Williams may soon offer programs as specialized as those offered in larger universities. The Bronfman Science Center, especially, seems dubious by the very fact that so few undergraduates will reap the benefits of its multi-million dollar facilities.

Williams must never sacrifice humanistic scope in favor of specialized obscurity. Already it has begun to succumb to the pressures of “bigness” and the need for fragmentation so apparent in contemporary educational trends… We certainly do not need a Berkshire Berkeley.

How has this critique held up today? Bronfman is coming down in 2018, to be replaced by an upgraded facility that will complement the equally-specialized Morley Science Laboratories, and, as foreseen, we have an array of ever more specialized buildings. Arguably, it is the humanities that have strayed into “specialized obscurity.” But the liberal-arts ideal seems has survived at Williams — the physical separation of academic spaces across majors and programs not imposing a boundary of academic experience.

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Best of the Record – 10 March 2010

Quiet housing implemented for fall 2010 semester – By Taylor Bundy

Following the release of the Neighborhood Review Committee (NRC) recent report, Campus Life announced Thursday that quiet housing will be implemented beginning next fall, with West College, which has 54 beds, designated for that purpose. Students in quiet housing will be required to abide by quiet hours from at least 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day. Applications for quiet housing are due today, and the room draw will take place next Wednesday.

CC funds new Snack Bar camera – By Zach Evans

After spring break, students will be able to view the length of the line at the Lee Snack Bar through a camera that feeds into an application on the Williams Students Online (WSO) Web site. The camera was proposed to College Council (CC) through WSO last spring and is receiving financial support from CC’s “Great Ideas” campaign.

According to David Moore ’10, president of WSO, the camera image will be accessible via an Internet connection anywhere on campus. “If you’re in Tyler at 12:30 a.m., it’s freezing outside and you want to know whether it’s worth it to head over to Snack Bar to try to get food before it closes, this will help you figure that out,” Moore said. The camera will be active only during the Snack Bar’s evening hours, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Ephs choose to serve country after graduation – By Dominique Exume

With 100 Days over and spring break fast approaching, seniors are no doubt thinking, perhaps a little frantically, about what they are going to do when they have to enter the real world. Henry Montalbano ’10 and Tim Bishop ’10 know exactly what they want to do – and it doesn’t involve commuting to a small cubicle every day, or at least not yet. They plan to join the military.

Both Montalbano and Bishop seem very enthusiastic about their future careers. Montalbano wants to be in the Army, and Bishop is currently trying to decide between the Army and the Marines. This determination to join the armed forces is rare at a liberal arts college. “When I tell people that I want to join the military, people usually offer a very polite response, but at the same time they’re wondering, ‘Well, why is this kid coming to Williams and then joining the army?’” Montalbano said.

Support men’s basketball in NCAAs – By Alex Mokover

I can’t think of a better way to come together than over the best basketball team in the nation. Whether hugging a complete stranger after a thunderous jam by Troy Whittington ’11, the best dunker in Division III, or chanting “defense” in unison with 500 of your closest friends, being a member of the student section is the perfect way to have fun, blow off steam and feel a real sense of community. We’re going to have the best seats in the house reserved for the student section and the cheer sheets printed out, so all we need are your lungs and your passion. The games are at 8 p.m. Friday night and 7 p.m. Saturday, and will be the absolute perfect way to set the weekend off right. A great team is something that the campus can really unite behind, and I guarantee a good time will be had by all. Whether these will be the first games you’ve seen all year or you haven’t missed a game yet, grab your frieds, come out, be loud and watch the best team in the country. Tickets go on sale on Thursday at 9 a.m. in Lasell, and it’s a good idea to get your tickets early. NCAA rules stipulate that we have to send some tickets to other schools, and there is a good chance that the games sell out before game time. Hope to see you there, and GO EPHS!

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Best of the Record – 3 March 2010

NRC final report outlines short-term adjustments – By Katy Gathright

The recommendations in the report provide ways for the College to work within the framework of the current neighborhood system. After spring break, the NRC plans to release part two of the report, which will take a broader look at residential questions that require further exploration. Part one recommends gender-neutral housing, a quiet housing option and the institution of a neighborhood affiliation lottery for all members of the Class of 2014. Its other recommendations include removing room draw penalties for students who switch neighborhoods, reinforcing the Baxter Fellows program, changing the makeup of Neighborhood Governance Boards (NGBs), incorporating neighborhood representatives into the structure of All-Campus Entertainment (ACE) and investigating the co-op system.

Will they bring us together? – By Katrina Tulla

Without such communication between the social planners on campus, the Williams community has suffered because, for instance, on many occasions different events have been taking place at the same time, while there have been whole weekends without major events in sight. In addition, there have been occasions when ACE and the neighborhoods were not able to make certain events happen due to a lack of funds. These problems could be effectively resolved through the resolutions stated in the report. Once it is clear what role the NGBs and ACE should have on campus, each institution would be able to return to its original responsibilities. The neighborhoods could focus on housing and making their residents happy, while ACE could reassume its traditional role of an all-campus entertainer.

A day in Williams history: the epic Cane Rush of 1910 – By Heath Goldman

Apparently, the Cane Rush was an intensely competitive game meant to amp up rivalry between first-years and sophomores. Freshmen had to hide a bundle of canes off-campus and then carry them back onto campus, fending off the sophomores who made every attempt to steal the canes. The canes, be assured, were not ordinary. In fact, the 1910 canes were ordered all the way from a New York City firm during Thanksgiving – four months before the Cane Rush occurred. A certain Mrs. Arthur Moody agreed to hide the canes in her house, which was “on the first branch road beyond the railway track.” And that year’s freshmen were especially sneaky, ordering a second set of fake canes that arrived on the same day in a flashy trunk. So the plot unfolded, masterminded by a special committee of elected freshman, and to go along with the sneaky fake canes, a fake committee gave false information to sophomore spies. […]

Their journey was arduous enough to put any proud sunrise-hiker or Mountain Day champion to shame: The men leaped over a fence to the embankment of Hemlock Brook, hastily forded the brook, cut to the left over the mountain back of Northwest Hill, crossed the Hoosick River, reached Mrs. Moody’s house but met pickets, retreated half a mile, crawled along a railroad embankment for a mile, boarded a passing freight train and finally jumped off the train onto a bridge near Mrs. Moody’s house at 5 a.m.

The circle game – By Isabel Griffin-Smith

The exceptional sense of cooperation, support and enthusiasm across campus facilitates our ability to pursue our ideals. The ways in which we improve the world can also be achieved by simple activities that we can build into our everyday routines. Williams has many avenues to do this, including becoming a member of the Lehman Council, the Thursday Night Group, Wraps or Catalyst, taking part in the community service work advertised around the campus or tutoring at Hancock Elementary School. These commitments form a special bond with the community and transform people’s lives. But you cannot form this connection to the community unless you make the initial effort to show your interest in helping others.

The greatest lesson that I took from this experience is the realization that it is always worth pursuing your ambitions. It’s tempting to avoid committing yourself to something because you feel inexperienced or unsure about how it will turn out, but if you want to aim high it is clear that Williams College has the facilities and the people to help you achieve your goals.

And I’ve got an op-ed in this edition as well:

Ultimately, no one knows what’s wrong with your experience at Williams but you. We walk around in a myth of “effortless perfection,” pretending that everything is wonderful for us and Williams, but there are issues everywhere. All of us struggle. If you feel that no one is responding to what aggrieves you, do something about it. In every moment I’ve reached out to change something at Williams, I’ve either been successful or come away understanding what makes my idea difficult – I’ve yet to be discouraged or given the cold shoulder.

On this campus, more than anywhere I’ve ever been, anyone can make change. There’s nothing to stop you but your fear: Go change your Williams for the better.

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Best of the Record – 18 November 2009

For those interested in Moore:

I have very little to add to these articles, other then to say that Moore was reappointed to a three-year (nevermind, I’m probably wrong) visiting professorship, and that everything I’ve heard confirms that the horror stories about his teaching were unknown until after that reappointment.
Otherwise:

In possession of a valid, limiting difference – By Muhammad Asad Liaqat
I opened the envelope, and in an instant the uneasiness in the air was replaced by dread and the visa stamp in my thoughts replaced by the “notice of application refusal” in my hands. Disappointment soon turned to anger as I realized that my application was refused because “I did not appear to be in possession of a valid visa letter.” It was the same visa letter, issued by Oxford, that had gotten the other 25 WEPO students their visas. Somewhere along the line, I had forgotten what was more important than the visa letter in my application: my nationality, my religion and my name.

Ephs tap into creativity with backyard brewery – By Lisa Li
For two students, Tim Marrs ’11 and T. Sam Jensen ’11, satisfaction of their beer craving does not require a drive down to the Spirit Shoppe; in fact, their beer dispensary is located within the confines of their dorm rooms.

These two adventurous Ephs began their beer-brewing quest last year when Marrs heard about the process from his cousins. “My cousins first told me about it, and I thought it was pretty cool so we decided to try it,” he said. “Our first attempt ended up being a sort of hard cider … It was really harsh and very alcoholic tasting. It definitely was not the best.”

Despite illness, swine students still have Hope – By Julian Hess
What daily activities transpired at this magnificent Zauberberg? Nothing like those in the eponymous Thomas Mann masterpiece. Intense political and philosophical discourse, love affairs and vast arrays of allegorical characters were nowhere to be found. Sedentariness abounded. If not languishing on couches or in bed, we spent our days sprawled about watching whatever graced the large television in the parlor, whose programming ran the gamut from the Ephs’ heartbreaking Homecoming loss to Matrix trilogy marathons. When such a highly visual medium did not suit us, we played cards or board games.

Dial x4444 for residential distrust – By Steve Luther and Jimi Morales
Currently, students are too prone to automatically call Security in response to noise and odor complaints, among others, without actually engaging with their sources. We believe that upon receipt of a phoned-in complaint, the policy of Campus Safety and Security should be to refer the situation to a Baxter Fellow or other student intermediary as a first step in resolving the residential dispute. In practice, the Security dispatcher, upon receiving a phoned-in complaint, would ask, “Have you confronted the source of your complaint?” Emphasis should be placed on students addressing the problems of dorm life through a reasonable chain of action.

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Best of the Record – 11 November 2009

DEVELOPING NEWS: College professor admits to fraud – By Lina Khan
Bernard Moore, assistant professor of political science, has pleaded guilty in federal court in the District of Columbia to fraud totaling $821,977.97. The Washington Post reported the news on its Web site on Tuesday evening. Moore has been suspended from the College until further notice, according to Jim Kolesar, director of public affairs.

Students quarantined at Mt. Hope – By Jonathan Galinsky
A mansion that used to be owned by the Rockefeller family, Mount Hope contains 72 rooms, 17 of which are bedrooms. Miles said that many of the rooms can accommodate multiple students and that there is currently space for up to 34 students at the facility. By adding more beds and converting spaces to bedrooms, however, the facility could potentially accommodate between 45 and 48 students. Mount Hope contains only three single rooms, which according to Miles are being reserved for students who exhibit serious health issues in addition to the flu.

“You’ve got to say there aren’t many with a Rockefeller mansion for flu isolation,” Merrill said.

Reviving ritual gathering – By Matthew Furlong
For the first two-thirds of Williams’ history, students attended mandatory daily chapel services led by a rotating roster of faculty members. Now we have Storytime, a Sunday evening service where one student, faculty or staff member each week tells a tale to the gathered masses assembled on couches and chairs upstairs in Paresky. You may quibble with the comparison: Storytime certainly is not mandatory; various religious services remain important to many students; whatever Paresky is, it’s not a chapel. All true points. But what Storytime shares with Williams’ daily chapel services of yore is the extent to which they are vitally communal events. While Shabbat meals and the weekly Feast dinner do rope in folk from across the College community and are, thereby, not merely Jewish or Christian events, respectively, their identities nevertheless remain essentially Jewish or Christian, and only secondarily Williams-ish, Williams-ian.

Storytime, on the other hand, is a weekly meditation on and exploration of the Williams community, as such. Like religious worship, the activity is done because it seems to those who attend, and even many who do not, to be intrinsically good.

Champion poet probes Latina identity – By Adam Century

What was it like performing for [Obama]?

It was absolutely insane. I still pinch myself about it and ask, “Did I really do that?” I took my mother with me, and that’s the part that really sticks out. It meant a lot that she could be there and listen to the piece that I performed, because it was about her mother, my grandmother. Meeting the president was definitely unbelievable, but having my mom there was even more awesome. I looked into the audience and saw her intermixed with famous faces, from the president to Joe Biden to Spike Lee. It was so surreal.

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Best of the Record – 4 November 2009

The Spring Street Blues – From the Files of Security

  • 10-31, 3:15 a.m., Spencer: Officers were dispatched to meet WPD officers who received a call of a person in distress. The only information that could be obtained was that the caller was in a fourth floor room in a dorm at the corner of Hoxsey and Main Street. Officers met WPD and informed them that there was no such room in Spencer House. Officers then checked Morgan and West. The person was located in West.
  • 10-31, 4:05 p.m., Goodrich House: A fire alarm was activated due to a failed attempt to bake a pie.

NYC shuttle sees full-capacity ridership – By Katy Gathright
The weekend shuttles to New York City that Williams Transport began offering this year have enjoyed considerable success in terms of student sign-ups, meaning that the service will likely return not only for the spring semester, but also for the next academic year. A comparable service for Boston-bound students is also now on the table for next year.

No neighborhood magic – Christopher Holland ’11
As much as we might wish it did, no magic wand can make the lives better of those who are dissatisfied on campus. The report shows that an overwhelming number of students are dissatisfied with the neighborhood system. However, it also shows that students are dissatisfied with more than just the neighborhoods: They are dissatisfied with the same issues that led to the creation of the neighborhoods in the first place. The problems that the neighborhoods are addressing run deeper than where people live. We need to look critically at the College’s strengths and weaknesses and address in earnest what this report shows about student experience in the Purple Valley itself, rather than in our imaginations.

Open letter to Adam Falk – Elizabeth Hwang ’13
Don’t fall into the trap of complacency and bureaucracy. During your visits, it would be helpful to expose yourself to the wider Williams community. Attend a few sports games. Come to entry snacks. Eat at our dining halls (I would advise trying to jostle through lunch at Paresky, just once, to get the idea.) Sit in on classes. Continue what you started when you took the campus tour: Become a frosh. Do not, under any circumstances, simply attend meetings and walk around, admiring the view. Make yourself a visible presence on campus, and don’t let the administration act as a smoke screen between you and the College. […]

In some ways, you have it easy. President Edward Dorr Griffin, back in 1821, arrived at a deserted college. He had two professors – one rather old, the other reluctant to stay – and a handful of students. Most of the faculty and students had left for Amherst, along with the former president. Griffin then went on to single-handedly raise $25,000, bring two of our most influential professors to campus and build Griffin Hall. Not bad for a theology student with a Doctorate of Divinity. As a physics Ph.D., gifted speaker and experienced administrator, you might just have a leg-up.

A meal of epic portions, dining with the O-line – By Kari Yook
Sitting between linebacker Conor Ryan ’12 and offensive lineman John Rabiner ’12, I threw out a rumor that had been circulating around campus: There exists a chicken-nugget-eating title for a member of the football team who can stuff down the most McNuggets in one sitting. As it turns out, the rumor was true. According to my sources, on the first Tuesday of this season, 20 players on the team headed to the nearest McDonalds to test the willpower of the offensive line’s newest members. “Every year, there’s a nugget contest between the freshman offensive linemen,” Ryan said with a hint of a smile. “Cong shattered the mark with 100 nuggets.”

According to Tian, the team was shocked. “I didn’t believe it either. I guess it just happened,” he said. Tian asserts that the Mission fare he is used to is appetizing enough that he “eats a lot” on a regular basis, but those 100 nuggets were the most food the freshman from Ronkonkoma, N.Y. has ever consumed in one sitting. “It can’t be healthy,” he said. “Right afterwards, I got back to Mission and a lot of chicken nuggets came back out.”

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Best of the Record – 28 October 2009

Today’s Record contained an editorial and op-ed about winter housing for aided international students, in addition to the article below. Also, I apologize for the misleading nature of the second excerpt, but it was irresistible. I attended al-Azm’s lecture; he’s under-appreciated.

Falk looks back, prepares to face new challenges – By Lina Khan
“…how do you create a community where people live “diversely”? That’s kind of a lousy word for it, but you know what I mean.

Look, we’re in America. In case you hadn’t noticed, America hasn’t solved this problem. There is racism in this country, there is homophobia in this country, there are the difficulties of being an immigrant and various kinds of xenophobia that play out in different ways in different parts of the country. We can’t expect that there are any kinds of simple answers on a college campus.

The advantage that you have here is that we can control more variables, we have the opportunity to be intentional about these things. But that doesn’t make it easier to provide answers. Within the goals that led to the neighborhood system was an understanding that the campus needed to be intentional about undergraduate life in various ways, or else diversity would be something you brought in the door and would only be a value of the College in a sporadic way.”

Internationals face anxieties over winter break housing – By ??????????
Many international students – especially those receiving financial aid – find it financially or logistically difficult to return to their home countries for winter break and, since the College requires all students to vacate their rooms between the end of fall finals and the beginning of Winter Study, they must find elsewhere to stay for this two-week period. According to Gina Coleman, associate dean for international students, students who cannot go home have the options of either staying with friends or family in the United States or, alternatively, applying for accommodation through Christmas International House (CIH), a program organized by the Presbyterian Church that places students with host families or in church and civic center dormitories.

Visiting prof is ‘Voltaire of Arab world’ – By Adam Century
Internationally renowned scholar and Visiting Professor of Philosophy and Religion Sadiq al-Azm, labeled by many as the “Voltaire of the Arab world,” is no stranger to social conflict. […] When asked about his impression of Williams, al-Azm offered a tale about his experience prior to coming to the College that Ephs might contest: “When I was telling people in Europe or back home that I was going to be teaching at Williams, they’d often ask me where it was, and I’d answer that it was Amherst’s brother school, at which point most people would recognize it.”

He did, however, seriously note that Williams takes much better care of their faculty and guest faculty than at larger institutions. “At Williams, I find myself very much in my element like at other schools, but here I have more advantages – more support systems, more help, and just generally more friendly people all around me,” al-Azm said. “Perhaps, this place might even be better than Amherst!”

Committee modifies Claiming Williams Day… – By Taylor Bundy
Giselle Lynch ’12, one of the current co-chairs of the programming subcommittee for Claiming Williams, noted that last year she was “sick of complaining about Williams” and decided to channel her discontent into getting involved on the Steering Committee this year. “I didn’t really feel like I belonged at Williams,” Lynch said. “I didn’t feel that I was smart enough or rich enough.” She said that while she thought the College would be progressive on issues like race, class and other similar issues, she didn’t see that progressivism among her fellow students. “Maybe I had preconceived notions, but I didn’t think I was that far off,” she said, noting that the Steering Committee is working to prompt conversation about these very issues.

“We’re looking to start conversations that are pretty taboo on the campus, not to enlighten people,” Lynch said. She said that one of these topics is how Williams was originally a school for all white, rich males. “Although the school has changed its institutional policies, the culture hasn’t adapted to those institutional concepts,” Lynch said. “I do think that there are a lot of people that don’t feel that they can ‘claim’ Williams.”

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Best of the Record – A History of Housing

I am entirely uninterested in rehashing the many pages of posts about Williams’s housing system, but am re-posting these articles from 2001 for people so as to inform the current discussion, especially going into next week’s forums. Note that this post does not mention anything that took place after 2001: please take comments and discussion about post-2001 history elsewhere, and let me know if anything below is inaccurate or incomplete. Read more

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Best of the Record – 21 October 2009

More interesting articles, including a long piece about the new President based on interviews with family and friends, are available at the Record’s homepage.

Neighborhood assessment released – By Laura Corona
The Committee identified six main student contentions made apparent by the survey data: a lack of freedom to live with friends or near classes; a questioning as to whether residential life is the appropriate place or means for the College to pursue diversity; a feeling of isolation on the part of minority student groups; a sense that heavy drinking is now more spread out across campus, infringing on quieter students; questions of neighborhood inequality; and a feeling of unfair housing allocation.

The report notes several other related points regarding dissatisfaction with the neighborhood system. First, the Committee found that many complaints regarding the neighborhoods have been raised in student surveys unrelated to housing, suggesting that problems may not result from the residential system but from other dynamics on campus. Second, the surveys showed a questioning of the goals of diversity in housing, criticizing attempts at “social engineering.” Third, some minority students found the neighborhood system “disempowering,” or felt threatened at some point by insensitive dorm mates.

Gaudino committee proposes curricular experiment – By Kaitlin Butler
Burger said he will put forward to CC the question: “Would students embrace an invitation to go out of their intellectual comfort zone with the understanding that if it results in a less-than satisfactory grade, then that mark might be erased for their transcripts,” he said.

Within recent weeks, Burger brought this proposal to the CEP as an idea very much in its formative stages. A possible model that might arise out of the proposal would allow a student to take a class far afield of his or her usual interests with the understanding that the student must demonstrate intellectual presence and involvement. If the student should receive a final grade that meets a certain requirement but is not personally satisfactory – and the instructor of the course believes he or she was intellectually present in the class – then the student could choose whether to accept the grade or keep it from factoring into one’s GPA (invoking what might be called the “Gaudino Option”).

Fearless? – By Christopher Holland ’11
Growing up, a chill went down my spine every time the word “gay” was used. Hearing that word meant the possibility that someone had figured out something very secret about me – a possibility that was absolutely terrifying. […]
I was once telling a friend that I felt uncomfortable at Queer Bash and that, at the time, I felt confronted by the event. Instead of asking me more about how I felt, however, my friend, rather appalled at what I had suggested, told me that it didn’t seem that I could understand how important “safe spaces” are for gay people and how exciting it could be for a person to explore sexuality for the first time. As a “straight male,” she said, it just didn’t seem that I knew how important the event was for gay people. Never had I dreamt that I would actually be faced with such a dilemma, but it happened as I stood facing someone criticizing me for being “straight” or, maybe, for not being “gay enough.”

Men’s crew claims 2nd straight victory at HOCR – By Ken Sluis
The race soon began, and the teams battled back and forth; Trinity would inch up, then Williams would pull away. Williams gained much of its energy from the support of onlookers on shore. “There was amazing support from the fans,” captain Cameron Skinner ’10 said. “We heard cowbells and cheers for Williams at just about every bridge over the three-mile course. It certainly helped to give us that little push needed in the difficult sections.”

With just a few hundred meters left, the Eph crew fought back. “Slightly behind in the final 2:30 of the race, at the brink of collapse, we trusted ourselves and each other to reach further into the abyss of pain and orchestrate a medal winning sprint,” Nathaniel Lim ’11 said, reflecting on the moment.

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Best of Recent Records – Let’s Play Catch-up

Before tomorrow’s paper comes out, some excerpts:

Budget cuts place pressure on student organizations – By Laura Corona
With budget constraints imposed all across campus, student groups have been feeling the pinch to varying degrees. While some groups, including those under the umbrella of the Minority Coalition (MinCo), have been directly affected by budget cuts in terms of the amount of money allocated to them, others are feeling more indirect pressure as former sources of funding tighten their purse strings.

Working for the week – By Abdullah Awad ’13
The problem with Williams students,” remarked a professor recently “is that they’re incredibly nice.” While niceness, in its general definition, is agreed upon to be a “good” quality, the supposed niceness of Williams’ students can be better defined as relying on their ability to conform to pre-existing ideas and the general culture on campus that existed before matriculation. Whether these changes are characteristically an innate quality in the students that end up at Williams or acquired during their stay here, students are interested more in the concept of receiving an education and using it to propel themselves into successful careers, rather than learning for the sake of applying this knowledge within more daily interactions. Many students I’ve spoken to would quickly give up the actual Williams education for a high-paying, secure job.

Op-ed unfairly judges College community – By Pat Chaney ’10
I read Abdullah Awad’s column in the recent issue of the Record (“Working for the Week,” Sept. 30) with considerable unhappiness and feel obliged to respond on behalf of an entire College community that I believe his unfamiliarity with the campus has led him to judge unfairly. Since Awad apparently saw fit to base his opinion in part on the first few weeks of a class involving classical philosophy, I will quote Homer on the subject of alcohol: “Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, / Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile.”

Covering our debt – By The Editorial Board
As an independent student organization, the Record funds its operations entirely through revenue from advertisements and subscriptions. Keeping its accounts through the College Controller’s Office, the paper has historically been solvent enough to keep this exchange limited to a mere operational formality. Recently, advertising and subscription revenues have both dropped significantly due to the larger problems affecting the global economy, and in a week when the newspaper could usually expect multiple full-page ads from consulting firms recruiting on campus and the usual flush of campus and local business ads, there is now only one eighth-page advertisement in the entire newspaper. Often 16 or 18 pages in length in the past, the newspaper now stands at 12 pages for the foreseeable future.

The artist otherwise known as – By Catherine Lamb and Olivia Uhlman
While she has specific preferences for the creation process, Gupit also maintains a relaxed attitude toward the role of art in her future. The first-year is not prepared to follow one rigid and distinct path. “When I think about majoring in art, I’m not set on it. I’m open to any field or any major. I don’t really have plans. I’m not the type to plan. I’m pretty spontaneous,” she said. “Artwork is basically just expressing yourself … you have to look into yourself in order to make art.”
You can enjoy Nicolei Gupit’s work by checking out her Web site: http://linkinbuddy.wordpress.com/category/1/personal-artwork/

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Best of the Record – 23 September 2009

The Record’s website is running quickly for the moment, so here’s an edition of BotR with links as usual. Some articles aren’t up, so this edition is incomplete.

Tenure denial endangers future of linguistics dept.
Last spring’s tenure decision appeal by Nathan Sanders, assistant professor of linguistics, has been denied by the Committee on Appeals and Promotions (CAP), meaning that Sanders is now embarking on his seventh and final year at Williams. The College has no plans to make any hires in the linguistics department for the 2010-2011 year.

News of the outcome of the appellate process, like the news of Sanders’ original denial, has prompted further reactions of shock and disconcertion among his students, raising questions about the future ability of students to study linguistics at the College….

Chapin Hall stage violates fire code
Due to fire code violations, Chapin Hall will no longer host large musical events for the foreseeable future. According to David Kechley, professor of music and chair of the music department, the stage extension used to accommodate bigger groups onstage violates the building’s fire code. A Williamstown building inspector discovered the violation last year after attending a concert in Chapin Hall.

The inspector gave the College a year to “figure it out,” Kechley said. He explained that the College began negotiating the creation of a fireproof stage extension over the summer, but discovered additional hurdles, including upgrades to the sprinkler and smoke evacuation systems and alterations to the exits. The updates will likely cost into the millions….

Sawyer/Schow schism
…I sometimes wonder what causes the boredom, irritation and consequent shutdown of curiosity that accompanies discussion about science. “I don’t know anything about science” should sound as ridiculous as “I don’t know anything about literature, history, philosophy or art.” This statement wouldn’t be so frustrating if “I don’t know anything about science” didn’t carry along the undertone of “I don’t care to learn anything about it,” which again is as absurd as refusing to learn about literature, history, philosophy or art. Such an attitude is antithetical to a liberal arts education….

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Best of the Record – 06 May 2009

Admission yield increases 5.5% – Read the Whole Article

As of Monday afternoon, the Office of Admission had received 550 confirmations of matriculation from students for the Class of 2013 after the May 1 deadline. This number marks a 5.5 percent increase over last year’s yield of 42.4 percent and represents the College’s target yield for this year – met without having turned to the waitlist. Admission expects to have 560 deposits by the end of the week, the 10 extra deposits providing a “cushion” to make up for students who withdraw over the summer or opt to defer a year.

“Yield on admitted students far exceeded expectations,” said Nesbitt. “We will undoubtedly bypass our target.”

Non-tenured in the classroom: Faculty explore job pressures

You may have heard the joke: it’s the last week of classes, and you see someone walking across campus holding a box of donuts. Who is it? A non-tenured professor on the way to administer course evaluation surveys. Though unfair, the humor holds due to the recognition that tenure-track faculty at the College face a unique set of constraints in the classroom. In furthering the “Culture of a Williams Classroom” discussion sparked by a Claiming Williams forum, the Record this week examined several facets of the working environment for untenured professors at the College.

Neighborhood committee begins systematic review of residential life

The neighborhood evaluation committee, a group formed after spring break of faculty, staff and students, has met three times so far to begin the process of assessing the neighborhood system on campus. Thus far, the committee has been gathering and sharing information about the history of the system.

The committee has not yet reached any conclusions, but co-chairs Dean Merrill and Steve Klass, vice president for Operations, hope to create a baseline report over the summer that will dictate the direction in which the committee will take its work in the fall.

The committee’s research and discussion has focused on looking at the way housing has worked at the College in the past. In particular, the committee has focused on the original goals of the current neighborhood system.

Family matters: Student couple raises littlest Eph

Working under a flurry of papers, tests, practices, rehearsals and meetings, many students may think they have concocted a recipe for sleeplessness. But those who complain about the rigors of Williams would do well to meet Tatiana Fernandez ’11 and Raul Cruz ’09, possibly the busiest people on campus. That’s because the couple has an added responsibility that few other students could even comprehend: a 16-month-old child.

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Best of the Record – 18 March 2009

Schapiro predicts further losses

According to the College’s leading financial experts, President Schapiro and Chief Investment Officer Collette Chilton, the endowment has decreased in value since Chilton last estimated it at $1.4 billion on December 31, 2008. By Schapiro’s estimate, the endowment will stand at around $1.1 billion when the fiscal year closes on July 1, with $92 million availed for the current academic year’s spending. However, “with the volatility of markets and the difficulty in pricing illiquid assets … the specific number is hard to nail down,” Schapiro said.

Nine faculty positions filled for 2009-2010

“This year presented both challenge and opportunity for hiring. On the one hand, the market was weaker, [due to] fewer colleges and universities seeking to hire faculty, so we interviewed and pursued candidates that in other years we might not have had a chance of hiring,” said Stephan Sheppard, chair of economics. “On the other hand we knew that with the present financial constraints on the College we would need to identify some really good candidates to present to CAP for appointment to the faculty.” […] “There were many colleges and universities that canceled all of their searches this year,” Sheppard said. “I think it was really smart of Williams to allow some of its searches to go forward. It is precisely at times like this that the College can make some really strong additions to the faculty.”

Tales from the Creeper: The uncommon room

That’s right; I was that weird girl – and I sincerely apologize if I made you feel uncomfortable in your living space, because I certainly made myself feel uncomfortable in your living space, and it wasn’t a picnic. Unless you’re talking dirt, flies and sticky beverages. Metaphorically, of course.

Performers transcend Mamet script

The reality of theater reviews at Williams is a strange thing, since it would seem that one of the main purposes of a review is to tell someone whether (or not) to go see a certain production. Of course, by the time you read this review, the minimal set of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, which played to audiences at the Adams Memorial Theatre at the ’62 Center last Thursday through Saturday, will have been stored away in the theater vaults, and the actors will be in rehearsals for other shows or maybe just navigating the theatrical landscape.

So, what’s the purpose of this review? I can’t tell you to go see Glengarry Glen Ross, since it’s not playing anymore (and what a shame that is!), nor do I particularly make you want to feel bad for not going (though you certainly should). My goal for this review is simple: go to the theater.

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Best of the Record – 11 March 2009

OCC, students contend with job market uncertainty

Rahul Bahl ’09 sent out “literally 100 applications” before finally securing a job for next year. With an initial interest in investment banking and a near-offer from Merrill Lynch prior to its dramatic losses in the economic downturn, Bahl was finally able to obtain a position in General Electric’s financial management program in Louisville, Ky. While many students have been less fortunate, Bahl’s story is indicative of the struggles that seniors have been facing in the job search.

Getting presidential priorities straight

The president is the face of the College, and while we may not know whether this face will be recognizable from the Williams campus or completely unfamiliar, we can hold the next president to specific standards that students have come to expect from the office. The College is in the throes of a tumultuous period, and our next leader has not only the power but also the responsibility of seeing Williams through this era of change. But we must not forget that great presidents are defined not by what they maintain, but by the bold new paths they forge, sometimes against resistance.

Squared away and ready to go

Square Root Day occurred on 3/3/09 (because three squared is nine), and it was an especially noteworthy milestone because it won’t come again for another seven years (4/4/16). It’s the kind of day designed especially for mathematicians or punsters, but that shouldn’t stop everyone else from enjoying it. […]

It’s possible that I’m the most gung-ho math fan who has never actually taken a math class at Williams. I’ve certainly considered it, but there were just so many other classes I also wanted to take. Now, here I am in my last semester at college, and it’s too late. It’s not just math that fell neglected. I have not taken a single course in political science, physics, women’s and gender studies, Africana studies, linguistics or German. The list is long and, frankly, a bit depressing.

It’s not that I regret the choices I made – neither my major nor my extracurriculars – it’s just that there are so many exciting options out there that, inevitably, I didn’t get to explore. I can’t help but muse over the stones I didn’t get to turn over, the doors behind which I did not get to peek.

‘Oy Vey!’ Profs spar over Jewish grub

Bill Wagner, dean of the faculty and history professor, started off the debate with an attack on hamentashen, declaring them “the embodiment of Old Regime Europe” in contrast to the latke-like modern self that emerged from the said regime’s disintegration. It was a gutsy claim to make, but Wagner drew convincing parallels between the hamentashen’s triangular shape and medieval power structures. He also drew the concerned audience’s attention to the similarly triangular feathered hats of the conservative European nobility, which seems to be ye olden days’ version of “The Man.” The latke, by contrast, is much more egalitarian and malleable, retaining its latke-ness whatever its shape, bending where the hamentashen would break.

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Best of the Record – 04 March 2009

Neighborhoods to undergo first official evaluation

Financial concerns that have inspired budget awareness throughout campus have also accelerated the formation of the neighborhood evaluation committee, which senior staff will form this spring. The committee, which has been in the works for some time, will evaluate the merits of the neighborhood system itself as well as consider its financial efficiency. The evaluation process will also provide an opportunity for students to present opinions regarding the neighborhood system.

Athletes’ academic discrepancy declines

The Athletics Committee conducted a report on academic performance of varsity athletes versus non-athletes to be completed and submitted to the faculty in May. The first study conducted since Michael MacDonald, former chair of the committee, released a report in 2001, it found that the overall gap in academic performance has been halved, and that gap has been eliminated for females when averaged across all sports. Despite this progress, a considerable discrepancy does remain for high-profile male athletes in sports such as football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey.

Former chaplain keeps faith alive in Billsville

Snack Bar is packed. Students and faculty members alike crowd into the small dining space, barely able to move due to the sheer number of people packed around them. The unlucky ones stand outside, trying to peer through the glass and see the activity inside. All eyes are on one single man standing on top of a table, speaking eloquently to the multitudes swarming around him.

It’s not a typical weekend night as Snack Bar. Instead it’s the scene over 40 years ago when Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the College. The campus had only one person to thank for the invaluable opportunity to hear King speak: a personal friend of the civil rights activist, John Eusden.

Squash your inhibitions

Growing up in the world of middle class suburbia and public school systems, I’d played my share of sports. It was only after I came to Williams, though, that I realized there was one sport that was conspicuously missing from my childhood: squash. As a kid, I had heard of squash, usually in the context of some of my dad’s wealthier classmates talking about “boasts” and “drives” and close brushes with “the tin,” and given my lack of knowledge regarding anything they were saying and a quick observation of their demeanor, I pegged it as a posh, upper-class sport for snobs right up there with polo and croquet. I shudder to think what my third-grade self would have said if he had known that 10 years later, he would be playing every night.

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