Let’s discuss the latest Safety Dance court order (pdf). Day 3 of 3.

s3

Other highlights:

1) Good sign for Doe that the Court recognizes the sloppiness/malice of the Williams process. They were out to get Doe from the beginning and, in the end, they got their (former) Eph.

2) New complaint is due May 12. Let’s hope (?) that Rossi, Doe’s attorney, gets her act together and produces a better pleading.

3) Any predictions? I guess (?) that it made sense for the College to fight up until this point on the (realistic?) chance that the case might have been thrown out. But now? Settle the case! Give Doe his degree.

Do other readers think the College should fight? If so, why?

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V0042018 The dance of death: time and death. Coloured aquatint by T. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org The dance of death: time and death. Coloured aquatint by T. Rowlandson, 1816. 1816 By: Thomas RowlandsonPublished:  -  Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

HR Republicans pass repeal, celebrate on White House lawn. MedicAid as the step to tax cuts.

What will be on the Senate’s dance card?

 

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TJHSST     I just received an e-mail from the College and Career Center at my son’s high school (he is a freshman this year).  He attends the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which is public high school in Alexandria, Virginia which draws students from around Northern Virginia through a competitive admissions process each year.  TJ is well known regionally and nationally for the extreme rigor of its curriculum, and in particular for its science, math, and technology offerings.  Demographically, TJ is about 65% Asian-American, 25% non-Latino whites, and 10% everything else.

Among the items in the e-mail was the following tidbit which caught my eye:

Juniors, Want to Know More about Williams College, a highly selective Liberal Arts college in rural Massachusetts with a fantastic math department and Oxford-style tutorials?  Consider visiting Williams in the fall through the Windows on Williams program.  This is an all-expense-paid 3-day visit to Williams, with priority given to low-income students. To apply, go to: https://myadmission.williams.edu/register/WOWApplication2017  Deadline: August 1.

I thought this was very interesting.  Traditionally, despite its academic strength, TJ is not a big feeder to Williams or other highly selective liberal arts colleges, as many of its graduates are focused on engineering.  Among the popular college destinations for TJ grads are MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech, and others.  Nevertheless, Williams is obviously making an effort to reach out to the school in hopes of attracting more of its students (note the pitch for the great math department at Williams, since TJ students are selected based on the mathematical abilities more than anything else).  TJ does not have very many low-income students, however, so I’m not sure how well the WOW program will work there.  I hope this outreach effort is successful however, as I think more TJ students at Williams would benefit both places.

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Williams and Swarthmore (and most other liberal arts college) have a meaningful number of students with sub-600 SAT scores. For Williams:

sc3

Amherst (pdf) does not.

sc2ac

I think that Amherst is “lying” about its admissions data. Recall this discussion and this one. There is simply no way for an elite liberal arts college to have competitive sports teams (especially in male helmet sports) and meaningful racial diversity (especially African-American) without around 5% of the student body having either math or verbal SAT scores (or both) below 600.

The trick:

Amherst consistently reports SAT plus ACT totalling 100% of their enrollees (or the 99% that results from adding rounded numbers).

Both Swarthmore and Williams are consistently reporting a total SAT plus ACT in the 110% to 120% range.

Clearly what is going on here is that Swarthmore and Williams are reporting both the SAT and ACT for students submitting both (as they are supposed to according to the instructions).

Amherst is not. Amherst is pulling a “Middlebury” and only reporting whichever score (SAT or ACT) they used for admissions purposes, presumably whichever is higher. (I know that they receive both scores for the dual test takers). It is incomprehsible that not one single enrolled Amherst freshman took both the SAT and the ACT when 20% of both Williams and Swarthmore’s freshman classes the last two years took both.

This a 2008 comment was from HWC, whose contributions I still miss. Looks like Amherst is still cheating. In the latest Common Data Sets, we see for Williams:

will

For Amherst:

amher

Do you see the trick? About the same percentage of students at Williams and Amherst report ACT scores. That makes sense! Williams and Amherst draw their students from the same populations. But Amherst claims that only 52% (instead of 68% at Williams) report SAT scores. That is the lie. Amherst almost surely gets SAT scores from about the same percentage of its students. It just chooses to ignore those scores from those students whose SAT scores are worse than their ACT scores, pretending that it did not “use” those scores in making its admissions decisions. If that is what they are doing (and it almost certainly is), then Amherst is guilty of fraud. How else to explain their divergence from places like Swarthmore:

swarth

And Pomona:

pom

And Wellesley:

welle

There is a great story here for the Record, or for The Amherst Student . . .

Perhaps our friends at Dartblog can help us out. For Dartmouth:

dart

I think that Dartmouth is “pulling an Amherst.” Way more than 51% of the first year students enrolled at Dartmouth took the SAT and reported their scores to Dartmouth when they applied. Dartmouth just “forgets” the scores for those with better ACT than SAT scores when it reports its data. How else could the SAT percentage be 51% at Dartmouth but 85% (!) at Harvard, 74% at Yale, and 67% at Brown. (I think that SAT percentages at Harvard/Yale are inflated due to their prestige. Brown’s percentage is in-line with elite liberal arts colleges. Is there an innocent explanation for Dartmouth’s low percentage? I doubt it.)

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article0

Good news to this ancient Art History major and true believer in the purpose and conduct of art.

https://www.artforum.com/news/id=68199

President Donald Trump is expected to sign a bipartisan agreement reached by Congress on Sunday that will fund the government through September and increase funds allotted to the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities by $1.9 million, Jennifer Jacobs and Margaret Talev of Bloomberg report.

The bill, which will be the first major bipartisan measure advanced by Congress during Trump’s presidency, does not reflect Trump’s spending priorities. It boosts funding for the NEA and the NEH, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Park Service—all agencies the president declared would receive less funding—and does not include money for the Mexican border wall, one of the driving forces of his campaign.

… from the ARTFORUM site 2 May, 2017

The CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcast) will receive $445 million, the same as this year.

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Dear Williams,

​This Sunday, the Office of Student Life is partnering with Dining Services for ​the 2nd Annual Chopped! event​.​ ​This ​cooking competition is based on the​ popular Food Network show Chopped!​ Like the show, there will be three rounds: appetizer, main course, and dessert.​​ The top three teams will all be awarded prizes!​

The event will take place in Baxter Hall​ on ​​Sunday​ (May ​7​th) from ​330-​6​PM. No cooking experience is necessary to participate.​ You can sign-up as part of a team or by yourself. If you sign up by yourself, you will be placed on a team for the event.

Best,
Andrew Lyness ’17
OSL Event Programming Intern​

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From The Atlantic:

The drama over the removal of the president of the Heritage Foundation, Jim DeMint, is partly classic Washington power politics. But it also reflects tensions over the organization’s relationship with the Trump administration and with Trumpist ideology.

DeMint, the former South Carolina senator who has led the conservative institution since 2013, was ousted on Tuesday after a meeting of Heritage’s board, which voted unanimously to remove him. News of DeMint’s likely imminent departure was first reported by Politico last week.

Needham_Mike_TDS_loThe driving force behind DeMint’s ouster, according to multiple sources close to the organization, was Mike Needham, the CEO of Heritage Action for America, the organization’s political arm. Needham, these sources say, made a power play to push DeMint out, and is appealing to both pro- and anti-Trump elements to accomplish it.

“Needham has been laying the groundwork for this for two years,” said a source close to Heritage. “He’s been badmouthing DeMint to board members for a long time. He’s got his sights set on taking over the whole thing eventually.” According to a senior Republican congressional aide, Needham has been “trashing” DeMint to board members and saying that people in the White House and Congress prefer to deal with him rather than DeMint.

Multiple people close to the situation called DeMint’s ouster a “coup,” and said the driving force behind it was not philosophical but old-fashioned ambition and power politics. “This is an old-as-time story,” said one source.

Several people familiar with Needham’s jockeying said he has successfully exploited the growing philosophical tensions on the American right—and, specifically, on the board of Heritage—to get his way.

To the Trump-averse elements on the board, Needham has pointed to DeMint’s growing coziness with the new administration as evidence that the think tank, a beacon of movement conservatism, needs a new steward. At the same time, Needham has been telling pro-Trump board members like Rebekah Mercer that Heritage needs a leader who will follow the president’s lead—even going so far as to float White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, a key Mercer ally, as a potential future president, according to one source.

As always, we wish Ephs success in their chosen fields. Needham, obviously, seeks to increase his stature/power in Washington politics. Do our readers have any advice? My guess is that Needham is positioning himself as a future White House chief of staff. Other options?

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35f8fab3a34143ead61fc7cc67202dfd

from The Four Freedoms Norman Rockwell, 1943

NYT article  containing student opinions from affected campuses.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/02/opinion/a-controversial-speaker-comes-to-campus-what-do-you-do.html

One hour. Use as many blue books as you need. Sign the Honor Statement.

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Let’s discuss the latest Safety Dance court order (pdf). Day 2 of 3.

s2

rossiThat is a fairly harsh smackdown of Doe’s attorney, Stacey Elin Rossi. Are such direct criticisms of lawyerly competence common in court decisions? Are they justified in this case? Does this sort of language provide us with any clues as to where Judge Posner’s sympathies may lie?

lapp As we have commented before, no courtroom battle between the rich (Williams College and its highly experienced lead attorney Daryl Lapp) and the poor (John Doe, the son of poor Ecuadoran immigrants) is ever fair. But Lapp has been involved in several (a score?) of cases like Safety Dance. I believe that this is Rossi’s first. (Although the way that Title IX has evolved at Williams and elsewhere, she may eventually build up a thriving business. Informed legal commentary welcome!

The decision continues:

The evidence of gender-based discrimination offered in the complaint is thin. The unusual feature of this case, however, is that Plaintiff alleges that he was himself a victim of harassment, and even a physical assault, by the party he was alleged to have victimized. His allegations include claims that his own complaints of harassment were treated with less seriousness than the alleged victim’s complaints and that responsible administrators were more solicitous of her because of her gender than of him. At this stage, these allegations are sufficient to boost the complaint over the Rule 12 threshold.

A fair reading of the documents so far would convince most people that Doe’s allegations are most likely true. Smith, while a Williams employee, did slap him. His complaints were, obviously, treated much less seriously. The College was incredible solicitous of Smith. (And we still need to figure out how she got hired by Williams in the first place.) But the College will argue that, even if all of that is true, it was not driven by anti-male bias and that, therefore, Title IX does not apply. How can Doe demonstrate otherwise? What aspects of the case would you urge him to focus on?

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Hey Ephs!

As the end of the year approaches and the weather gets warmer, ACE wants to celebrate with our annual Williams Week celebration! This year, Williams Week will run the first week of May (May 1st-7th), Take a look at our schedule!

Monday: 8 – 10 PM SPA NIGHT – Upstairs Paresky
Join ACE for a free night of pampering featuring massages, manicures, and hairstyling.

Tuesday: 9 PM HYPNOTIST – Baxter Hall (Pareksy)
Watch a world class hypnotist perform his magic on some of Williams’ own. Free pizza will be provided.

Wednesday: 8 -10 PM STRESSBUSTERS: TASTE of SPRING STREET – Goodrich
Join us for all your Williams favorites. This event will include food from Blue Mango, Spice Root, Spring Street Market, and even Dunkin’ Donuts. Not to mention a Goodrich tab for the entire event and a raffle.

Thursday:
7 PM -12 AM SCREEN ON THE GREEN: MOANA and INSIDE OUT – Paresky Lawn (with a rain location of Towne Field House)
Spend Thursday night under the stars with a double feature of Moana and Inside Out. Cookies and other desserts will be provided.

Friday: 11:30 AM FREE SMOOTHIE DAY – Nature’s Closet
First 100 smoothies are free at the Nature’s Closet smoothie bar.
4:30 – 7 PM NLT PRESENTS : WIT and GRIT
Meet at Paresky front steps
Limited to 200 participants. Come test your wits and your grit on this full campus physical and mental obstacle course.

Saturday: 11:30 – 3:30 PM WILLIAMS DAY CARNIVAL – Paresky Lawn (with a rain location of Paresky)
Booths will be serving free:Smoothies, Soft Pretzels, Snow Cones, Cotton Candy, Popcorn, Fried Dough, Italian Ice, Henna tattoo artist, Airbrush Tattoos, Caricature artist, Palm Reader. But if that’s not enough to entice you maybe a bouncy house and an obstacle course will make the difference. Finally, the dining halls will be closed as Dining Services serve a barbecue on Paresky Lawn for the first two hours.

Sunday:
3 – 6 PM OSL PRESENTS: CHOPPED: WILLIAMS EDITION
Baxter Hall
To round out Williams week OSL will be hosting their annual Chopped cooking competition.

Best,

Lauren Martin and Lucy Putnam, Co-Presidents
Mary Kate Guma and Lexi Gudaitis, General Entertainment
Apshara Ravichandran and Anna Ringuette, Traditions
James Rasmussen and Yvonne Cui, Stressbusters
Elizabeth Sullivan and Madison Feeney, Concerts
Chandler Pearson, Secretary
Hussain Ul Fareed, Treasurer
Izzy Ahn and Ariana Romeo, Marketing

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Seniors,

The Williams Career Center could not be more proud of your graduation success! Yes, there is life after Williams and it carries the exceptional opportunity ​for​ further personal and professional development​.  In addition to our heartfelt congratulations, we want you to know that we are open and here for you whenever you need us.  As Williams graduates, you retain ​the ​amazing support ​of ​and access to the entire Eph network  for making connections within the alumni community.  Our friendly advisors are happy to speak with you over the summer as well. ​You can edit​ your​ resume or cover letter, practice your interviews on InterviewStream, check out the new jobs in Route 2, or just let us know what you are up to.

Again, congratulations Class of 2017 and best wishes as you spread your wings far beyond Williams.  Remember to come back and see us.  We are always on the lookout for “How’d You Get There?” alumni speakers, Career Trek hosts, and internship and job leads for the next generation of students.

​Here’s to your bright future from your friends at the Williams Career Center:

Dawn Dellea
Barbara Fuller
Don Kjelleren
Kristen McCormack
Robin Meyer
Linda Moran
Mike O’Connor
Dawn Schoorlemmer
Michelle Shaw
Leigh Sylvia

Williams College
Career Center​
1(413)597-231
wcc@williams.edu

 

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College Council solicits self-nominations for student-faculty committees every Spring. These committees consist of faculty, staff, administrators, and students, and play in integral role in determining campus policies and directing change at Williams. All students are encouraged to apply regardless of extra-curricular commitments or prior experience and knowledge of the committee’s policy area. Students may apply to as many as they wish of the following:
College Council Committees:
    • Finance Committee
    • Mental Health Committee
    • Entertainment Co-Sponsorship Committee
    • Great Ideas Committee
Community Life Committees:
    • Committee on Diversity and Community (CDC)
    • Williams Reads (CDC Subcommittee)
    • Grievance Committee
    • Campus Environment Advisory Committee (CEAC)
    • College and Community Advisory Committee
    • Committee on Undergraduate Life (CUL)
    • Claiming Williams Steering Committee
    • Bookstore Committee
Academic Life Committees:
    • Committee on Educational Affairs (CEA)
    • Calendar and Scheduling Committee
    • Lecture Committee
    • Winter Study Committee
Campus Services Committees:
    • Dining Services Committee
    • Career Center Committee
    • Information Technology Committee (ITC)
    • Facilities Director Committee
    • Library Committee
    • Campus Safety and Security Advisory Committee
    • ’62 Center CenterSeries Programming Committee
    • Advisory Committee on College Communications (ACC)
Other Committees:
    • Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (ACSR)
    • Lyceum Dinner Coordinators
    • Committee on Priorities and Resources (CPR)
Best of luck heading into finals!
Web Farabow & Allegra Simon, ’18
Co-Presidents
Williams College Council
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Let’s discuss the latest Safety Dance court order (pdf). Day 1 of 3.

This is the best one paragraph summary of where we are:

s1

Kudos to Judge Michael Ponsor (and/or his clerk).

The central issues of the case are not so much: Is John Doe a bad guy? (Answer: Probably. It is not easy to get punished by Williams twice for sexual assault.) Nor is it: Should we believe Susan Smith? (Answer: Probably not. She is the very picture of a woman scorned.) The two key issues that the court will care about are:

1) What is the nature of the (implicit and explicit) contract between Williams and an enrolled student? The College would like to maintain that this contract is so loose that it can, more or less, kick anyone out, for any reason, and following any procedure that it chooses. As former Williams professor KC Johnson has blogged about extensively, several courts have been sympathetic to this view. Unfortunately (for Williams), courts in its jurisdiction have been less willing (at Amherst and at Brandeis) to grant the colleges free reign.[1] John Doe will argue that the College, implicitly, promises to not expel its students unfairly. Since he was unfairly expelled, the College has broken the contract.

2) Is there (and how can a plaintiff demonstrate) anti-male bias in disciplinary proceedings at Williams? This is a much harder task for John Doe, with much less support in other court cases. (Read The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities by KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor for more details.)

a) John Doe can try to provide evidence of anti-male comments/behavior at Williams, but we have not seen much of that in the exhibits so far. What we have seen is lots of anti-Doe comments and, to a lesser extent, anti-accused-students comments. But such complaints are more in the category of generic criticisms of the overall process itself. They aren’t anti-male per se.

b) Doe can try to argue anti-male bias on the basis of disparate impact:

Disparate impact in United States labor law refers to practices in employment, housing, and other areas that adversely affect one group of people of a protected characteristic more than another, even though rules applied by employers or landlords are formally neutral. Although the protected classes vary by statute, most federal civil rights laws protect based on race, color, religion, national origin, and sex as protected traits, and some laws include disability status and other traits as well.

Since all (?) the students punished by Williams for sexual assaults have been male, there is a case to be made. Of course, right-wingers like me think that disparate impact arguments are garbage, that we should no more expect an equal number of women (as men) to be expelled by Williams for sexual assault than we should expect an equal number of women (as men) to finish in the top 100 in the Boston Marathon. But there is no denying that, in other contexts, courts have used disparate impact to make findings of bias.[2]

Regardless of the above, however, Williams should settle this case. If they don’t, discovery will be a nightmare.

[1] I suspect that I am messing up terminology and other issues. Safety Dance is currently being adjudicated in a District Court. Could a lawyer-reader clarify whether Brandeis and Amherst precedents apply?)

[2] Has disparate impact ever worked as an argument in a college sexual assault case? Not that I know of.

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… certainly between people. Walls of separation and isolation from realities as palpable as any built from steel or stone or cement.

Actual walls can be beautifully decorated with murals and enjoyed. These are bearing and supportive walls for structures. Walls built to divide and contain are not beautiful. And decor applied to them is more likely graffiti.

Menschenkette

 

Berlin Wall with Keith Haring 330 ft graffiti 1986. Soon both were gone.

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Latest update on Safety Dance:

Electronic Clerk’s Notes for proceedings held before Judge Michael A. Ponsor: Motion Hearing held on 3/28/2017 re [29] MOTION for Reconsideration filed by Williams College, [31] MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Williams College, [4] First MOTION for Preliminary Injunction John Doe v. Williams College filed by John Doe. Arguments heard. Court denies Motion for Reconsideration, denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Court takes Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss under advisement. Orders to issue. (Court Reporter: Sarah Mubarek, Philbin & Associates, 413-733-4078) (Attorneys present: Rossi, Lapp, Kelly) (Healy, Bethaney)

Can anyone interpret this?

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Hello Seniors!
 
Thank you to all of you who have already made your class gift! We’re getting closer to our goal every day.  The class of 2012 had 80% participation their senior year, so let’s blow them out of the water.  
 
This is a reminder that if there is any person, place, or thing that has supported you in your time at Williams that you would like to thank, you can do so by making a dedication alongside your gift, which will appear in the Ivy Exercises Program during graduation weekend.  The Ivy Exercises deadline is May 12.  If you have already made a gift and would like to add a dedication for the Ivy Exercises program, please email shc1@williams.edu with your name and dedication.
 
With the May 12 deadline in mind, we are setting a goal of 130 donors by May 12.   No gift is too small so come out for your class and help us have the highest participation ever!  If we reach this goal, the Alumni Fund will sponsor an Ice Cream Social during Senior week for us! Speaking of Senior Week, did you know that the whole week is free because of gracious Alumni Fund donors who came before us? Thank you Alumni Fund!
 
Make your gift here – Give2.williams.edu (it’s mobile friendly!)
Thank you in advance!
’17 Class Agent Team
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Hello Williams,

We invite you to join us Thursday during lunchtime in Paresky for an event about self-care and thriving at Williams. It will be an opportunity to learn about mental health resources and provide input about how to improve these resources.

The Gargoyle Society and Mental Health Committee have partnered with multiple departments (Psych Services, the Chaplains Office, the Athletics Department, and the Alumni Office) and student groups (College Council, Peer Health) to co-create this event to understand and promote student wellbeing. The event includes a workshop series based on the four aspects of the College’s model of thriving: heart, mind, body, and spirit. The event will be comprised of activities, small group discussions, and giveaways that are meant to help us develop unique self-care practices.

We invite you to come be a part of this important event to learn more about how this model of thriving can improve our wellbeing on campus, and we also invite you to provide meaningful input to all the groups involved about what students need in order to thrive.

And, there will be t-shirts for the first 125 students to participate!

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Best,
The Gargoyle Society and Mental Health Committee

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There is quite a backlog of posts to go through…

Recently, without any announcement or notice from the administration, I woke up to this sign beside the door of one of the restrooms in my dorm:

image1

 

Notably, these signs were not put up across all restrooms/bathrooms on campus. The installment seems arbitrary at best. The two bathrooms on my floor have always been used by “anyone… regardless of gender identity or expression” (and no one on my floor/in my dorm has ever complained about it), but they are not embellished with these shiny new signs.

Well, in any case, now that these are up, I cannot help but wonder what motivated these new signs. Obviously, these are for the LGBTQ students on campus. What do they think? Quote from a friend and current Eph ’18 who identifies as trans:

I have used the same bathrooms on campus for three years, and no one has ever socked me in the face for it. This just seems like much ado about nothing. I mean, really, using a bathroom is not complicated… You go in, you do your business, you get out.

But this is just the experience of one trans Eph. Have other LGBTQ students at Williams experienced discrimination when they shower in their dorms or use a restroom? I haven’t heard of any (nor has my friend), but it is certainly possible that my friend group on campus is limited. As always, informed commentary is wanted!

Regardless, since the administration has already taken the time, effort, and endowment money to install these signs, the least they can do is clarify their (new?) bathroom policy. Assuming that no LGBTQ student has been “socked … in the face” for using the bathrooms on campus as they were, the skeptic in me (and my trans friend) might conclude that this is, at best, yet another example of wasteful virtue signalling, or at worst, yet another example of the administration’s unilateral effort to ram their social agenda down the throats of the Williams community. But maybe that is too much! I should be thankful, right? Besides, without the enlightened (expensive?) guidance of the Dean’s Office/Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity/Gender and Sexuality Resource Center/Davis Center, how on earth would an adult oblivious Williams dimwit undergraduate like me ever know which bathrooms to use?

What do readers think?

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Apologies for the temporary absence – the semester does get busy this time of year! Before we return to our regular programming, check out this chunk of a Simpsons episode. It’s hilarious!

Granted, this Simpsons bit is about Yale, but it echoes eerily familiar sentiments here in the Purple Valley…

Funny (relevant) quote:

But we also need to hire more deans to decide which Halloween costumes are appropriate. Eight deans should do it.

Remember the Taco Six? My sides are aching! Then again, in Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom’s words, I wouldn’t want to “impinge on the fun of others“…

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An alum tried to get this letter published in the Record:

To the editor,

Skylar Smith’s ’18 February 22 article “CC Approves Uncomfortable Learning as an RSO” (and the comments therein from Lizzy Hibbard ’19) demonstrated a misunderstanding of the College’s new policy with regard to outside funding for invited speakers. Any Registered Student Organization may invite someone to speak at Williams even if the funding for that speaker comes from an alumnus or some other non-Williams organization. The RSO must, of course, abide by the new rules, specifically by revealing the source of the funding to Williams and by providing at least two weeks notice before the event. But, as Director of Media Relations Mary Dettloff confirmed to me, neither CC nor any other student organization can prevent an RSO from inviting a speaker. Only Williams itself may ban a speaker, as it did last year in the case of John Derbyshire.

Annoyingly, the Record refused to publish this letter, choosing instead to issue this correction:

correction

This matters because it is bad enough that Williams empowers Adam Falk to ban speakers with whom he disagrees. If College Council could ban student-invited (faculty-invited?) speakers, madness would follow. One Eph censor is enough!

UPDATE: The headline of the physical Record last week was “CC passes free speech resolution 16-3-1.” There was also this photo caption: “Kevin Mercadante ’17 introduces a resolution intended to enshrine speech and protect individual rights to disagree and protest.” Alas, there is no associated news story that I can find, either on-line or in the paper itself. Can anyone provide details? The College Council website does not allow outsides to see the current year’s agenda or minutes. Sad!

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Greetings to Graduating Seniors –
Commencement is fast approaching. We look forward to helping you celebrate your Williams graduation with your classmates and your families. This is the first of several communications I will send to you about Commencement Weekend. Please read through the end for important information about tickets and caps and gowns.

Below is a summary of major events on June 3 and 4. Please mark your calendar and share with your family and friends.

SATURDAY, JUNE 3

Ivy Exercises. Seniors assemble in the First-Year Quad at 12:50 p.m., the ceremony begins at 1:10 p.m. on the Library Quadrangle.
Refreshments on Chapin Lawn, 3:15 – 4:15 p.m.
A Conversation with Honorary Degree Recipients Gina McCarthy and Gavin A. Schmidt, 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. MainStage, ’62 CTD
Baccalaureate. Seniors assemble in front of the Faculty House at 4:30 p.m., the ceremony begins at 5:00 p.m. in Chapin Hall.

SUNDAY, JUNE 4

Commencement. Seniors assemble in the First-Year Quad at 9:00 a.m., the ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. on the Library Quadrangle.
President’s Reception: a picnic lunch on Chapin Lawn, immediately following Commencement (~12:15 p.m.)

Seniors process into Ivy Exercises, Baccalaureate, and Commencement in their caps and gowns. The Class Artist, Amalie Dougish, carries the class banner at the front of each procession.
Ivy Exercises is an informal celebration of the Class and its achievements. The Class Officers organize it and preside. Class Gardener Brett Bidstrup plants the ivy, Class Poet Ariel Chu presents a poem, Class Historian Nico MacDougall speaks, Class Musician Scott Daniel performs, Dean Marlene Sandstrom awards over 100 prizes, Class Bell Ringer Nathaniel Vilas rings the bells, and two Class Officers drop a watch from the tower of Thompson Chapel.
Baccalaureate is the interdenominational service held Saturday afternoon. Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-20013, delivers the Baccalaureate Address.
Commencement on Sunday morning begins with an academic procession across campus and culminates with awarding your degrees. Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, delivers the Commencement Address.

TICKETS
All of the official events of Commencement Weekend are free of charge and most do not require tickets. In particular, tickets are not required for Ivy Exercises, outdoor Commencement, the Conversation, or the President’s Reception.
Tickets for indoor Commencement: Weather permitting, Commencement is held outdoors on the Library Quadrangle (facing Stetson Hall) and no tickets are required. The ceremony is also simulcast into Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall and live stream for friends and family who cannot attend. In case of heavy rain, the ceremony is held in the Lansing-Chapman Ice Rink. When picking up a cap and gown, each senior receives three guest tickets for the ice rink. Additional seating is available in Chandler Gymnasium where the ceremony is broadcast on a large screen. Tickets are not required for seating in Chandler. We favor an outdoor ceremony even under threatening skies and/or light rain.
Tickets for Baccalaureate: Members of the senior class do not need tickets to attend this event. Due to the limited seating capacity of Chapin Hall, we are unable to seat all of your guests in Chapin. Each senior may request one guest ticket online as described below. We simulcast the Baccalaureate ceremony into Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall and the MainStage at the ’62 CTD. No tickets are necessary for these venues. Baccalaureate is also live streamed.
Request tickets online until May 19. Starting now, seniors may request Baccalaureate tickets at the following webpage: https://webapps.williams.edu/admin-forms/ephpubevent/
Be sure to complete the entire process, including responding to an email within 15 minutes to confirm your request. There is no need to reserve indoor Commencement tickets. All tickets will be distributed when seniors pick up their caps and gowns.

CAPS AND GOWNS
The college supplies caps and gowns free of charge to all graduating seniors. If you attended Fall Convocation and returned your cap and gown, we have them for you. If you did not attend Fall Convocation, we will measure you for a cap and gown. You may pick up caps and gowns and tickets in the Paresky Center Baxter Great Hall at the following times:
Wednesday, May 31, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Senior Resource Fair (only for seniors who were measured in the fall at Convocation)
Thursday, June 1, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Friday, June 2, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 3, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 4, 8:45 a.m. Last minute pickup!

I will email you with more information in May.

For more information about Commencement, please see our web site:

commencement.williams.edu/

If you have questions, please contact Carrie Greene (Carrie.Greene@williams.edu) or me.

Cheers,
Jay Thoman, College Marshal
***********************************************************
* John W Thoman Jr.
* College Marshal
* J Hodge Markgraf Professor of Chemistry
* Department of Chemistry, Williams College
* 47 Lab Campus Drive
* Williamstown, MA 01267

* email: jthoman@williams.edu
* Direct phone: (413)597-2280
* Office of the College Marshal phone: (413)597-2347
* http://commencement.williams.edu/
***********************************************************

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An e-mail on the effort to improve our yield of accepted international students:

Hi everyone,

Thank you to all those who came to the meeting tonight! It was wonderful meeting you in person. For those who could not make it, below are some of the topics we talked about and information I shared.

Spring Yield Initiatives for Class of 2021 –

1) Connecting via email – All newly admitted international students will be connected to a current international student, ideally based on common interest or geography. I will reach out to you with the information of the students you will be connecting with.

2) Phone/Skype – a – thon – calling all admitted international students who have not yet made a decision on their admission offer. Calls will be made by interested current students and myself. I (Misha) will send out an email listing the dates and times for these calls.

Some helpful links with information about Williams.

How to get to Williams – https://admission.williams.edu/visit/getting-here/
Student Profile 2016-17 – https://admission.williams.edu/files/Student-Profile-2016-2017.pdf
Williams Viewbook – https://admission.williams.edu/viewbook/
Course Catalog – http://catalog.williams.edu/
Community engagement and learning – https://learning-in-action.williams.edu/
Events Calendar – https://events.williams.edu/

A few things to remember when connecting with new admitted students:

Please do not offer any visa advice. All visa related questions should be directed to Dean Pretto. With the changing immigration policies, the experiences of those applying for the F-1 visa this summer may be different from yours, so it is imperative that none of us (including me) offer any advice on visas or visas process.
If you do not have the answer to a question, please send it my way. I would be happy to answer it on behalf of you.
As you reflect on your time at Williams and share your insights, please be honest and positive. There may have been time when the weather or the small size of the town or something else may have been a less than ideal experience, but please think of the bigger picture and focus on the positives. If you receive any especially difficult questions that you do not feel comfortable answering, please feel free to send them to me.
All questions regarding orientation schedule and flights can be directed to Dean Pretto.

Once again, thank you for being willing to yield the class of 2021! We hope that as many students as possible will choose to Williams and join our thriving international community.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best wishes,
Misha

My anonymous correspondent bolded the section above.

What other efforts does Williams make to improve its yield? I would assume that special efforts are made in areas where Williams yields particularly poorly — especially among African-Americans, but also, I bet, among Hispanics and lower income families — but I don’t know the details. Does anyone?

What advice would you have for Williams about how to improve yield?

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Stereo type analysis

A recent comment by frequent visitor JCD using a racial stereotype in describing a former student leads me to post this analysis of the use of stereotypes in the classroom and their results both socially in the context and particular to the person to whom applied.

Christine Reyna   Lazy, Dumb, or Industrious: When Stereotypes Convey Attribution Information in the Classroom Educational Psychology Review, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2000

A larger version may be seen here. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.573.6067&rep=rep1&type=pdf

There seems to be a lot of this going around.

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In celebration of previews, reasons why you should choose Williams.

There are several hundreds high school seniors¹ who have been admitted to both Williams and Harvard (and Yale and Princeton and Stanford and . . .). Fewer than 10% of them will choose Williams over these more famous schools. Some of them are making the right choice. They will be better off at Harvard, for various reasons. But at least half of them are making the wrong choice. They (you?) would be better off at Williams. Why?

1) Your professors would know your name. The average Harvard undergraduate is known by name to only a few faculty members. Many students graduate unknown to any faculty. The typical professor at Harvard is primarily concerned with making important contributions to her field. The typical professor at Williams is primarily concerned with educating the undergraduates in her classes. Consider this post by Harvard professor Greg Mankiw, who teaches EC 10, the equivalent of Williams ECON 110/120, to over 750 students each year.

Being an ec 10 section leader is one of the best teaching jobs at Harvard. You can revisit the principles of economics, mentor some of the world’s best undergraduates, and hone your speaking skills. In your section, you might even have the next Andrei Shleifer or Ben Bernanke (two well-known ec 10 alums). And believe it or not, we even pay you for this!

If you are a graduate student at Harvard or another Boston-area university and have a strong background in economics, I hope you will consider becoming a section leader in ec 10 next year. Applications are encouraged from PhD students, law students, and master’s students in business and public policy.

Take a year of Economics at Harvard, and not a single professor will know your name. Instead, you will be taught and graded by (poorly paid) graduate students, many with no more than a BA, often not even in economics! But, don’t worry, you will be doing a good deed by providing these students with a chance to “hone” their “speaking skills.”

2) You will get feedback on your work from faculty at Williams, not from inexperienced graduate students. More than 90% of the written comments (as well as the grades) on undergraduate papers at Harvard are produced by people other than tenured (or tenure track) faculty. The same is true in science labs and math classes. EC 10 is a particularly egregious example, but the vast majority of classes taken by undergraduates are similar in structure. Harvard professors are too busy to read and comment on undergraduate prose.

3) You would have the chance to do many things at Williams. At Harvard it is extremely difficult to do more than one thing in a serious fashion. If you play a sport or write for the paper or sing in an a cappella group at Harvard, it is difficult to do much of anything else. At Williams, it is common — even expected — that students will have a variety of non-academic interests that they pursue passionately. At Harvard, the goal is a well-rounded class, with each student being top notch in something. At Williams, the ideal is a class full of well-rounded people.

4) You would have a single room for three years at Williams. The housing situation at Harvard is horrible, at least if you care about privacy. Most sophomores and the majority of juniors do not have a single room for the entire year. Only at Harvard will you learn the joys of a “walk-through single” — a room which is theoretically a single but which another student must walk through to get to her room.

5) You would have the opportunity to be a Junior Advisor at Williams and to serve on the JA Selection Committee and to serve on the Honor Committee. No undergraduate student serves in these roles at Harvard because Harvard does not allow undergraduates to run their own affairs. Harvard does not trust its students. Williams does.

6) The President of Williams, Adam Falk, cares about your education specifically, not just about the education of Williams undergraduates in general. The President of Harvard, Drew Faust, has bigger fish to fry. Don’t believe me? Just e-mail both of them. Tell them about your situation and concerns. See who responds and see what they say.

Of course, there are costs to turning down Harvard. Your friends and family won’t be nearly as impressed. Your Aunt Tillie will always think that you actually go to “Williams and Mary.” You’ll be far away from a city for four years. But, all in all, a majority of the students who choose Harvard over Williams would have been better off if they had chosen otherwise.

Choose wisely.

¹The first post in this series was 11 years ago, inspired by a newspaper story about 18 year-old Julia Sendor, who was admitted to both Harvard and Williams. Julia ended up choosing Williams (at least partly “because of the snowy mountains and maple syrup”), becoming a member of the class of 2008, winning a Udall Foundation Scholarship in Environmental Studies. Best part of that post is the congratulations from her proud JA.

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Dear Students,

I hope you are well as we make our way towards the end of term.  I’m writing today to remind you that this Friday, 4/28, is the last day for you to withdraw from a course and also the last day to switch a course to the pass-fail option (if the course allows that option.)

Pass-Fail

You may take up to three courses on a pass/fail basis over your four years, with no more than one course in a given semester. These courses do count towards the thirty-two required for graduation.  (There are some limitations to be aware of. Faculty may designate their course as ineligible for pass-fail, pass-fail courses can’t count towards distribution requirements, and classes towards the major need to be taken for a grade, with the exception of the first course in the major.) More information about the pass-fail option is available here.

Click here to find the online form for designating a course as pass-fail. Be sure to submit the electronic form before the 4:30 pm deadline. Please note that if you are a first year student, you must print out the form and have it signed by a dean prior to the 4:30 deadline.  

Withdrawals

At Williams, course withdrawals are limited to a total of two over your four years of study. Withdrawals are permitted only with permission of your professor as well as a dean, and require you to make up the “course deficiency” quite promptly.  You can learn more about the withdrawal policy here.  If you would like to withdraw from a course, please be sure to speak with your professor first, and then set up a meeting with a dean prior to the deadline of this Friday at 4:30 pm.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Dean’s Office early this week if you have any questions about the process of withdrawing from a course or designating a course as pass-fail.  You can call the office at 597-4171 to make an appointment, or stop in during walk-in hours (click here for hours), and the deans will be happy to help you.

 

All best wishes,

Dean Sandstrom

 

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The significance of this baseline varies in importance with our reversible President.

WPA POSTER Stamps

The WPA was approved on March 6, 1933 as a part of the first one hundred days. The importance of this engine of recovery from the depression is well-known.  So are the many civic landmarks, recreational areas, and artistic productions created for ‘we the people’ that continue in use to this day.

How different from an insistence on a wall and cutting funding for the arts.

I know art and architecture are not hot buttons on this blog, but if anyone’s interested in more detail, below are two good books:

41Y72VKDHHL._SX363_BO1,204,203,200_ 51DaftK55FL._SX387_BO1,204,203,200_

The USPS issued these WPA Poster stamps with ten designs on a sheet of twenty. The date of issue was March 7, 2017 at Hyde Park, New York, the site of FDR’s home, and library and museum.

 

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Greetings, Ephs!

Spring is coming to the Berkshires, and this means that Fall 2017 pre-registration is just around the corner! On Monday, we begin thinking about all the fall semester has to offer. (Sorry, seniors––though post-grad life has its own excitement in store!)

It’s time to make the most of Your 32.

With a recently re-designed course catalog, you can explore all that the Williams curriculum has to offer across divisions and departments.

A Course Catalog Tip: You can use the “Keyword Search” box to pull up courses from across divisions that mention a particular word anywhere in their title or description. Search for whatever you might be interested in, from “food” to “climate” to “storytelling” to anything in between! Or just click around and see what grabs your attention!

As you’re choosing courses for the spring, you may want to consider:

1. Taking a class in every division. This help you complete your divisional requirements, and it will encourage you to have a diverse schedule!

2. Taking a class in a discipline you have never studied before. There are so many departments at Williams, and all of them are incredible! Try something new––perhaps you’ll fall in love with geosciences, or theater, or sociology, or any other discipline.

3. Taking a class that uses different teaching methods. Never taken a tutorial before? What about a course with an experiential component? Always wanted to try a lab course? This spring could be your semester to take a course in a totally different format!

Your 32 courses are an incredible opportunity to explore interests, challenge yourself, and learn about incredible topics. Take a risk. Try something new.

And, email professors to learn more about their courses! There is even a handy guide to help you write these sometimes-daunting emails.

Many of your professors and classmates have been changed by one course they took outside of their comfort zone. They made the most of their 32! You can hear their stories in this short video.

These are Your 32.

They are Your Chance to Explore.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you!

Yours in a love of course exploration (and springtime),

Jeffrey Rubel ‘17 and Chetan Patel ’18

Committee on Educational Affairs and College Council

PS – Thanks for all the #Your32 love! Keep it strong!

If you have any interest in joining the campaign, let us know.

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It’s time to register for the General Housing Lottery for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Questions? Be sure to read through all of the linked information here first. If your question isn’t answered there, contact Gail Rondeau Hebert.
Good luck to you all!
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How to lobby alumni to help you change college policy:

  1. Get organized first. You only have so many opportunities to get alums to care about the issue that has you all worked up. Actually, you probably only have one opportunity. Create an organization, select officers, put up a web page, recruit a “advisory board” of professors and staff, post of list of all the students who have signed on as supporters, decide on what, specifically, you want the administration to do (including packages of the minimal set of things you’d accept and the maximal set that the administration could conceivably grant). See here for a concrete example.
  2. Be realistic in your goals. You can demand that the College pave the walkways with chocolate, but alumni are unlikely to be impressed with your reasonableness. It is fine to have a big picture goal in mind, but what specific incremental step would you like the administration to take right now. You may want a Chicano Studies department, but what about a visiting professor next year? Some alumni will be in favor of your larger goals — and, by all means, sign them up to help with that — but, to be most effective, you want most alumni to, at minimum, think to themselves, “That doesn’t seem too outrageuous. Why won’t Morty go along?”
  3. Don’t be deluded into thinking that you can have a meaningful effect on alumni fundraising. The College’s fundraising machinery is massive, organized and professional. Virtually nothing that you could possibly say or do would influence it. Even a change that might conceivably have the alumni up in arms — something on the scale of ending Winter Study or the JA system — would not provide enough fodder to change the dollars flowing in. A college that could take the lead in ending fraternities can ride out almost any level of alumni frustration.
  4. Several thousand more words of advice below the break:

    (more…)

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Dear fellow Ephs,

It is both happy and sad for me to do this last Lyceum of the year and also my last Lyceum ever. It’s been a pleasure serving as the Lyceum Coordinator these past 2 years; thank you for all your eager signups and pleasant company.

If you would like to become the next Lyceum Coordinator, please fill out the CC committees application (choose Lyceum Coordinator under “committee selection”)

(10/10 would recommend if you are invested in: building student-faculty/student-staff relations, food, dining, communications, logistics, and event planning! Direct any questions to Minwei at mc11. Deadline is next Friday, 4/28!! )

Ok keep reading for actual Lyceum details…

—-
Have you been waiting to get to know a cool professor or staff over Lyceum Dinner all year? Now is your last chance until October (or if you are a senior, this is your last chance ever)!!

The Nutting Family cordially invites you to ask a professor or staff member (administration, chaplains, health services, Davis Center, campus life, CSS, facilities, dining services, etc.) to a partially subsidized, three-course meal at the Faculty Club for this special dinner. This Lyceum Dinner will be held at the Faculty House at 6:45 pm on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017.

Due to popular demand and to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules, this dinner will be flexible in terms of how many people can be in each party. 1, 2, 3… up to 7 students may invite any ONE member of the faculty or staff to dinner. (We are trying this out still so things may revert in the future.)

Another important clarification: if selected to attend Lyceum, it WILL take away your meal swipe for dinner on 4/26/2017. If you are a senior and not on a meal plan, don’t worry you can still attend! Just clarify on the form that you don’t have a meal plan and the Nutting Fund will also cover your meal!

Spaces are given on a first-come, first-served basis, with preferences given to:
1) those with parties of 4 (3 students and 1 faculty/staff)
2) those who have not yet attended a Lyceum dinner, especially seniors!!!
The entrée options for this dinner are:

-Seared Steaks with Red Wine, Mushrooms, and Onions
-Baked Tilapia with Sun-dried Tomato Parmesan Crust
-Portobello Wellington

As always, forward a confirmation email from your guest; your registration will not be considered until we receive the guest’s confirmation email.
The online registration form will close as soon as all spaces have been filled. If you have any questions, please email WilliamsLyceum@gmail.com


Cordially,

Minwei

Lyceum Coordinator

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