President Maud Mandel has accepted the “recommendations in full” from the final report (pdf) of the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion, chaired by Professor Jana Sawicki. Consistent with our prediction from November and following the advice we laid out in February, academic freedom has returned to Williams. See here, here, here and here for related EphBlog discussions. Maud Mandel has now cleaned up Adam Falk’s legacy. Let’s discuss! Day 3.

The smartest thing that the Committee did was to pretend that there wasn’t a problem:

Very clever! But also a little dishonest . . .

The “official policy” at Williams for the last three years is that the Williams President reserves the right to ban speakers. Then-President Adam Falk began this disaster in 2016 with:

We [Williams College] have said we wouldn’t cancel speakers or prevent the expression of views except in the most extreme circumstances. In other words: There’s a line somewhere, but in our history of hosting events and speeches of all kinds, we hadn’t yet found it. We’ve found the line.

Then-Interim-President Tiku Majumder re-affirmed this policy in 2018 — just last year! — insisting that Williams would ban speakers who “provide no benefit in moving forward the conversation we are interested in fostering.”

This policy, consistent over the last two Williams presidencies, was never changed. Sawicki et al (conveniently!) pretend that it has changed or (even better?) pretend that it never existed in the first place. “Majumder” does not appear in the 75 (!) page Report. The body of the Report mentions Falk exactly once, never quotes him and fails to provide a single citation to anything he said or wrote.

Falk was airbrushed out of the history of free speech at Williams. And that was pretty clever! Why bother meeting your intellectual opponents on the field of battle when you can just pretend they don’t exist? Declare victory and move on.

Again, given its goals, this was a politically adroit decision by the Committee. But I would still like to see the College have a wide open discussion. How about a debate between Majumder and Shanks? How about inviting Falk back to campus?

That is what Gaudino would do . . .

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I made a comment on DDF’s post “Jerry Coyne is a fool” regarding why I also disagreed with the way Dr. Coyne had portrayed the report. DDF suggested that I put it up as a post so more people would read it, so here it is:

“I’d probably want to start with how he misrepresents the intent of this report. It’s not a policy statement, it’s a consolidation of collected data and information that is meant to inform the drafting of a policy statement.

IMHO, Coyne uses events at Williams simply as a vehicle to further promote the Chicago principles above all else. His posts about the College follow a certain pattern: summarize what has happened, discuss the amazingness of the Chicago principles even if they are only tangentially related, and then finish by implying that Williams will cease to function if it doesn’t adopt those principles. Never mind that applications to Williams continued to skyrocket during and after the PR debacle surrounding Derbyshire.”

Coyne and I probably hold very similar, if not identical, ideological stances regarding free speech. I just object to his agenda-driven misinterpretation of the report as well as the way he inaccurately asserts himself as an informed expert on campus culture at Williams. There are a lot of more minor issues, too, such as his intellectual snootiness and glorification of his own institution.

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President Maud Mandel has accepted the “recommendations in full” from the final report (pdf) of the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion, chaired by Professor Jana Sawicki. Consistent with our prediction from November and following the advice we laid out in February, academic freedom has returned to Williams. See here, here, here and here for related EphBlog discussions. Maud Mandel has now cleaned up Adam Falk’s legacy. Let’s discuss! Day 2.

The two biggest failures of the report — given their recommendation that Williams, in essence, adopt the Chicago Principles — were to not discuss a) Mark Hopkins’ decision to ban Ralph Waldo Emerson from speaking on campus, and b) Robert Gaudino’s claims about the importance of “uncomfortable learning.”

1) The Report, while well-written in places, was disjointed, clearly the result of a committee, perhaps a committee which was not as united as it ought to have been. A better chair than Sawicki might have recognized this and used her power as chair to, at least, write an Introduction which told the story of Mark Hopkins and Ralpha Waldo Emerson.

That is from page 162 of ​Mark Hopkins and the Log by Professor Frederick Rudolph ’39. The Report cites this book, but did anyone actually read it? I have my doubts. How about?

Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the most important thinkers of the 19th century, was banned from speaking at Williams in November 1865, by Mark Hopkins, legendary president and occupant of one half of the proverbial Log. For more than 150 years afterwards, Williams upheld the highest standards of academic freedom, never banning a book, an idea or a speaker. Are we a College which bans or are we not?

OK, OK. This is not so good. But it isn’t bad! And the basic idea — that a well-written description of the most important example of speaker-banning in Williams history is the best way to start the Report — is spot on. Indeed, whatever committee is charged with writing “a statement on expression and inclusion” should steal this idea. You’re welcome!

2) Robert Gaudino is the one of the most important faculty members of the last 100 years. But don’t believe me! Recall Adam Falk’s (?!) Induction Address:

Liberal education strengthens the mind and spirit so that a human being may more fully engage the world. Since Mark Hopkins’ time a string of Williams educators has further developed this idea. In the middle of the last century Professor Robert Gaudino pushed his charges to learn uncomfortably, in India, in rural America, in situations within the classroom and without that challenged the safe and familiar worlds they’d brought with them. If Mark Hopkins was the first professor to ask his students, “What do you think?” then Gaudino and others, including faculty of today, have raised the asking of that question, with all its implicit challenge, to a form of art.

Our faculty walk in the footsteps of Hopkins, Gaudino, and so many others.

Falk recognized, correctly, that Gaudino was one of the most important figures in recent Williams history, second only to Mark Hopkins in his influence on how Ephs think about themselves and about the education they receive. Gaudino’s notion of “uncomfortable learning” is central to the debate about free speech. This excellent article (pdf) from the Alumni Review provides a sense of what Robert Gaudino would do if a controversial speaker were invited to campus.

gaud1

And yet the Committee seemed not to know about this! There are no (meaningful) mentions of Robert Gaudino in the report, no acknowledgment that the very name of the student group — “Uncomfortable Learning” — that invited Derbyshire was a direct reference to his vision of a Williams liberal arts education.

What a missed opportunity!

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My co-blogger JCD approvingly quotes from this pile of nonsense from University of Chicago Professor Jerry Coyne. Sadly, our new experiment means that I can’t comment on JCD’s post. So, I need to post here.

Note that Coyne and I are on the same side of the barricade when it comes to free speech at Williams and Chicago. Yet his comments are too ignorant to let stand.

The committee’s statement does not constitute a policy.

This is simply false, as I explained in detail this morning. Williams has accepted the AAUP/PEN recommendation of allowing any Williams student/professor to invite any speaker. Admittedly, there is plenty of turgid prose and SJW verbosity in much of the report but such sins do not provide Coyne with free rein to mislead his readers.

Associate Professor of Biology Luana Maroja wrote a post calling for Williams to adopt the Chicago Principles of Free Expression, which have already been endorsed by 64 American colleges and universities.

This is highly misleading. I realize that Chicagoans, like Coyne, think that their “Principles” are super-duper cool but — News Flash! — schools believed in academic freedom before the Chicago faculty whipped up a poorly worded statement in 2014. Trying to claim credit for changing/strengthening/affecting the views of every other school is nonsense. The list that Coyne links to includes Amherst, and yet a search of the Amherst website reveals zero hits for “Chicago Principles”. How can then be if Amherst has “endorsed” it? Answer: It hasn’t! Amherst has its own statement. In fact, its statement references the AAUP, just like Williams’.

On some dimensions, it is a small thing for Coyne to not know which schools have approved the Chicago Principles and which have not. But he is holding himself out as someone with a clue about this topic, someone qualified to opine on what is happening at Williams. He isn’t.

The 13-person committee appointed by Mandel included just five faculty, as well as four undergraduates, a rabbi, a librarian, a staff therapist, and, bizarrely, the director of the 50th reunion program.

Don’t you just love Coyne’s snottiness? Jerry Coyne is an intellectual, a man with ideas. Mark Roberston ’02 (the director of the 50th reunion program) is a . . . what, exactly?

I happen to know Mark. He is every bit as smart, every bit as thoughtful as Coyne (appears) to (sometimes) be. In fact, I would much more trust Mark to get the facts correct. Coyne is, at least in this post, absurdly sloppy.

But the report isn’t great, as it simply won’t unqualifiedly endorse the Chicago Principles.

As if the Chicago Principles are so wonderful? As if the first page of ass-kissing quotes of former/current Chicago Presidents isn’t an embarrassment? Consider:

What folderol! What would it even mean to “endorse” such trivialities? Think that I am cherry-picking the worst paragraph in a two (!) page report? How about:

Of course, College presidents spout a lot of feel-good nonsense. It is a part of the job. But for Coyne to pretend that the “Chicago Principles of Free Expression” are some sort of magical tablet, brought down from the Mountain by the intellectual giants on the Chicago Faculty is just absurd. Mark Roberts ’02, despite (because of?!) his lack of a Ph.D., could come up with something much more impressive.

There are another half-dozen mistakes/misunderstandings/stupidities in Coyne’s post. Shall I go through them? Let me know!

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CHICAGO – The distinguished free speech absolutist, Jerry Coyne of the University of Chicago, has reviewed the Sawicki Report and found it disappointing. To be more precise, he calls it “lame” and labels it “long and turgid.”

The only thing Coyne likes about the report is it dropped the suggestion floated earlier by Jana Sawicki at Inside Higher Education that each student group should have a faculty adviser who would “…talk with the club members about whether they’d thought through how the speaker’s views would affect their peers.”

Ultimately, Coyne asserts it is impossible to combine freedom of speech with inclusion and diversity.

Setting an example of simplicity and grace, Coyne introduces his article with a short and easy to understand summary of the Sawicki Report and its most significant and fatal flaw. “The committee’s statement does not constitute a policy,” he writes. “…it’s a farrago of good intentions and desires to balance free speech with diversity and inclusion. But it offers no guidelines about what speech is to be seen as “hate speech” that threatens “dignitary safety” and therefore subject to institutional action.”

Fans of Ephblog will note that Jerry Coyne quotes liberally from my recent Ephblog article accessing the Sawicki Report. As you may know, Jerry Coyne is a prominent “New Atheist” along with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Reportedly, Coyne’s Why Evolution is True blogsite has over 50,000 e-mail subscribers.

John C. Drew, Ph.D., is a former Williams College professor. He contributes to American Thinker, Breitbart, Campus Reform, The College Fix, and WorldNetDaily. He has been an Ephblog regular since 2010.

 

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President Maud Mandel has accepted the “recommendations in full” from the final report (pdf) of the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion, chaired by Professor Jana Sawicki. Consistent with our prediction from November and following the advice we laid out in February, academic freedom has returned to Williams. See here, here, here and here for related EphBlog discussions. Maud Mandel has now cleaned up Adam Falk’s legacy. Let’s discuss! Day 1.

I agree with 90% of the report. Read it and you’ll know what I think. But that’s not why you come to EphBlog! What follows are all the usual quibbles, complaints, idle speculations and endzone dances . . .

The Sawicki Report recommends that Williams “[a]dhere to policies and principles regarding campus speakers articulated by AAUP and PEN America.” This is the most (only?) important recommendation. Once you have tied your policies to the free speech absolutists at AAUP and PEN, everything else is boring details.

May I take a victory lap?

1) Maud has done exactly what I advised Falk to do three years ago:

Smart presidents use committees! With luck, Falk has already learned that lesson in the debate over the log mural. He should follow the same strategy in dealing with free speech. Create a “Committee on Freedom of Expression at Williams.” Appoint a cross-section of faculty/students/alumni, but with a sotto voce emphasis on free speech. Charge the Committee with reviewing the history of free speech debates at Williams, meeting with members of the College community, and recommending policy going forward. Best person to put in charge? Philosophy Professor Joe Cruz ’91.

This is precisely what Maud did, although she used a different professor of philosophy (Sawicki instead of Cruz) and a different committee name. (The key sotto voce free speechers on the committee were Strauch, Shanks and (maybe?) Nelson and Sawicki herself.)

2) I predicted this outcome last fall. Maud wanted to move Williams back to free speech. She followed EphBlog’s advice — actually the same advice would have been given by any knowledgeable observer of elite education — and, unsurprisingly, succeeded. Well done!

3) Kudos to abl who wrote:

If I were trying to engineer a committee to achieve my desired result, I would stack it with faculty members who I know agree with my position and students who don’t (but aren’t so entrenched to be unpersuadable–like students who have signed the petition but not taken more of a public role in the issue), and hope to get to a “bipartisan” proposal that relies on persuading the students in question.

Which is exactly what happened. (I was, incorrectly, much less sanguine about the Committee’s likelihood of success.) Although student members Michael Crisci ’21 and Rachel Porter ’21 had signed the student/alumni position against the Chicago Principles, Shanks/Strauch/others were able to bring them around.

4) Note that reliance on AAUP, first (?) suggested by EphBlog in February.

The best way to solve the controversy over “free speech” (and controversial speakers) at Williams is to reframe the discussion around one of our core values: academic freedom.

First, every Williams faculty member will agree that every Williams professor deserves untrammeled “academic freedom.”

Second, every Williams faculty member will agree that the best definer and defender of “academic freedom” is the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

Academic Freedom -> AAUP -> All Invited Speakers Welcome

And so on. Did Sawicki get this idea from EphBlog? I don’t know. Great minds think alike, after all. But I did send it in via the Committee’s handy submission form . . . and note this line from the Report:

Given that no one has written more words, read by more students/alumni/faculty, about free speech at Williams over the last three years, at least one footnote to EphBlog would have been nice. But we will take what we can get!

4) Apologies for the navel-celebration. But this has worked out exactly how we wanted, in exactly the manner we forecast.

And that is why — I hope! — you read EpgBlog . . .

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The “Teach It Forward” campaign was launched by Williams in 2015. Ephblog had posted about this at the start of the campaign, but there haven’t yet been any follow-ups on the campaign’s progression. It’s useful to look at its results so far.

According to the TIF website, the college has raised $685.01 million so far, making TIF the most ambitious and most successful campaign “in the history of liberal arts colleges” to date. This value surpasses the $650 million target that was set initially. Alumni participation (in terms of donations) stands at 74.1%, just under the 75% target. Overall alumni participation (in terms of both donations and volunteering) stands at 85%.

It would be interesting to see how the college has spent and plans to spend the money it has raised. Have they released information to alumni regarding how much of the $685 million they have alotted to different areas of expense?

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WILLIAMSTOWN – I had a chance to read through the final 75 page report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion. Here’s my take on what we will now refer to as The Sawicki Report.

The most positive thing about the report is it illustrates the vast majority of students and alumni don’t like it when the school bans speakers. Most significantly, the report indicates hosting a speaker does not imply the school endorses the speaker’s positions. These findings support the interpretation that the vast majority of us do not buy the most important arguments for banning speakers.

In general, the report confirms what many of us active in off-campus social media – including Zachary Wood ’18 – have been saying and complaining about regarding Adam Falk’s decision to ban John Derbyshire.

On the downside, the report does nothing to reverse viewpoint discrimination.

(more…)

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John Derbyshire will be coming to Williams.

BREAKING NEWS: Consistent with our prediction from November and following the advice we laid out in February, free speech has returned to Williams.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion — chaired by Professor of Philosophy Jana Sawicki — has issued (pdf) their final report. Key paragraph:

In the absence of an institutional statement on the foundational values of intellectual and academic freedom, the College has aimed to follow the guidelines of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). These hold that academic freedom affords faculty members unfettered discretion in inviting speakers to campus, and that students, too, should be able to “invite and hear anyone of their own choosing,” as long as the events are “conducted in a manner appropriate to an academic community.” Current Williams policies for speaker invitations are consistent with these guidelines.

There is a lot of material here. Should I spend one, two or three weeks going through it? Reader preferences sought!

Td;dr: Hooray, Maud! The old policy at Williams — the Falk Rule — was that the Williams College president could ban speakers. The new policy — the Mandel Rule? — is that any Eph (including staff?) may invite any speaker.

And that is just what EphBlog has always recommended.

UPDATE: See below for Maud’s message.

For branding purposes, I vote that we go with “The Sawicki Report.” This is a nice parallel to the two other most important documents out of Williams in the last twenty years: The MacDonald Report and The Dudley Report.

(more…)

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EphBlog is like a keg party at Perry.

And I am the host.

What do I want? A fun party for everyone, with intellectual conversation, a little music, a lot of dancing and the moderate consumption of adult beverages.

But parties are tricky! I want everyone to be (and feel!) welcome, to have a good time, to come back next week. Yet, conflicts will arise. Some people want the music louder. Some want it quieter. Some want no music at all. The balancing act falls to me, as it has for last 6,013 or so days.

Which bring us to my co-blogger, former Williams professor John Drew (JCD). His contributions to EphBlog, while enjoyed by me and others, have caused great consternation among many people who I very much want at my Perry kegger. What to do?

With JCD’s kind indulgence, we will be running an experiment for the rest of 2019.

1) JCD will continue as a valued author at EphBlog, posting content directly related to “All Things Eph,” just as he has done for many years. Indeed, I think his last 20 or so posts have been exactly what EphBlog needs more of.

2) JCD will turn comments off on his posts. (Any author can turn off comments at any time on their own posts. It just seems to me that the comment threads in JCD’s posts have . . . uh . . . not always been very productive.)

3) JCD will not comment on any other posts. As much as I enjoy most of JCD’s posts over the last few months, his comments have . . . uh . . . not always captured the spirit of a good Perry party.

4) Comments about JCD will be deleted. There is nothing new that anyone could possible say on this topic that has not already been said before. Good parties are never boring.

What if JCD posts something that either a) you want to talk about or b) you think is wrong/misleading? You have three options. First, you can join EphBlog as an author! Authors write about whatever they want. Second, you can make a comment in another thread. Third, you can ask me to create a new post about the topic on which all might comment, as I did here, in reaction to this comment. But don’t forget Rule 4 above!

Comments on this (and predictions about) this experiment are welcome! But don’t forget Rule 4 above!

Picture from the Williams Record of September 13, 1988.

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Over at First Things, Darel Paul tears into the Supreme Court for its failure to fully protect us from leftist extremists who insist on punishing all who “…dissent from the dictates of our culture’s permanent Sexual Revolution.” See,

Accommodating Injustice

Paul asserts,

State public accommodations law has long been used to suppress unwoke speech and behavior. Targets are usually small businesses inclined to settle and accept silence rather than fight back, although even corporate giant Chick-fil-A has been the subject of suits charging a “hostile public accommodations environment” due to nothing more than the owners’ Christian values.

Darel E. Paul is professor of political science at Williams College and author of From Tolerance to Equality: How Elites Brought America to Same-Sex Marriage.

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As a follow up to JCD’s post below (and to WW’s interest in a discussion location), here is a snippet from former Williams professor KC Johnson’s article about Oberlin:

The story, by now, is well-known. A few days after Donald Trump’s election, an underage black Oberlin student attempted to purchase a bottle of wine. The white proprietor of a local store, Gibson’s, refused to sell the wine, prompting the student to try and shoplift it. He and two friends fled the store with the proprietor in pursuit. The arrests of the students prompted protests by other Oberlin students suggesting that the shoplifters were innocent (they weren’t) and that Gibson was racist (it wasn’t).

A senior Oberlin administrator, Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo, joined in the protests. The college ceased purchasing goods and services from Gibson’s—causing the victims of a crime economic harm. And after the college refused to apologize or release a statement denying Gibson’s racist intent, the store, and its owners sued.

Both sides presented mounds of evidence in the 11-day trial. But three items especially stood out.

First: Raimondo maintained that she was a neutral observer at the protest, acting in her official capacity as an Oberlin administrator and only seeking to safeguard the First Amendment rights of the student extremists. But testimony at the trial showed Raimondo handing out flyers denouncing Gibson’s as racist, indicating that she (and through her, the college) endorsed the protesters’ message. Raimondo was also subjected to a brutal cross-examination in which she refused to concede that it was harmful to a business to be falsely accused of racist behavior.

Should we worry? Probably not.

1) Williams has such a strangle-hold on Spring Street that there are very few non-College owned properties for students to protest at. And students are not engaged enough to protest someplace further away.

2) Williams is a much more “conservative” institution than Oberlin, so this SJW nonsense is less a part of the administrative culture.

3) Steve Klass is about a million times smarter than Meredith Raimondo.

4) With Oberlin as an abject example, schools will learn their lesson.

5) Williams students are not nearly as left-wing as Oberlin students.

Or am a too sanguine?

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Former Williams College professor K.C. Johnson has provided his take on the adverse decision and steep punishment a jury recently dropped on Oberlin College. The bottom line? It’s good to be a Gibson.

The $44 Million Verdict Against Oberlin

Johnson is especially critical of the way the New York Times covered the trial (it didn’t) and the way it misrepresented the results (it did). You can follow Johnson on Twitter at @kcjohnson9

Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin, a graduate of Oberlin, offers an observation which may be applicable to Williams in the light of the April 9, 2019 verbal attack on white College Council members.

For decades, grievance-mongering Oberlin elites have bullied and defamed innocent white people without consequences in their multicultural Ohio enclave. False racial allegations and toxic identity politics are the bread and butter of Oberlin campus life.

To which she adds: “I’ve documented multiple hoaxes, stoked by Oberlin’s campus outrage industry, which have exploited fake hate by phantom white bigots to expand the affirmative action empire.”

Given the results of this lawsuit, it might be useful to re-examine the role Williams College played in forcing a small, local bottled water producer to change its Indian-themed label.   It might also be a good idea to think through how Dr. G. and Dr. Love went after a hapless, politically incorrect local tow truck driver.  Assuming critical race theorists believe the campus is already a lethal environment, it is difficult to see how they might justify showing any restraint at all in protecting non-white students from the seemingly peaceful denizens of Williamstown, MA.

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EphBlog’s favorite member of the administration, Provost Dukes Love, continues his admirable commitment to transparency by posting all his presentation materials. The latest was “Opportunities for Impact: Supporting our Students (April 2019)” (pdf). Should we go through this report, or any of his others, in detail?

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I ran across a new YouTube video which includes a quick scene for each of the 270 days of the last school year. It is a feel good piece. It quickly flashes an attractive image for each day like the pages of a flip book. The piece was patiently shot and carefully edited by college videographer Jay Corey. He also wrote the music. “Together,” the description asserts, “the images represent the breadth and depth of the Williams experience.” Well, not quite.

Nota bene: The above YouTube video does not allow for any comments either.

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Being prejudiced against almost all non-faculty hiring at Williams, I was concerned that having 15 therapists on staff (as compared to, I think, only 5 a few years ago) was a bad thing, a sign of our ever-increasing college bureacracy. I was wrong, as this excellent student comment makes clear.

Assuming the questions about mental health services were asked in good faith:

-I believe a figure I’ve seen on IWS (Integrative Wellbeing Services, the official name for Williams’ mental health services) is that 1/3 of students make use of their services.

-I have no idea what is included in this. IWS offers a whole host of different opportunities to engage with their therapists: there’s regular scheduled therapy, as well as psychiatry, but also walk-in hours where you might go to discuss a one-off problem, as well as group therapy. I would imagine all these various types of engagement would be included in the engagement figure, but I don’t know.

-Regardless, it’s very much a significant portion of campus that engages with IWS.

-Getting anecdotal here and for the rest of the post: we are not, in my opinion, at the level of comfort on campus that I’d necessarily know if a given friend or acquaintance of mine had scheduled appointments with a therapist. What I can say is that, when awkwardly sitting in the waiting room for my therapist appointments, I’d always be rather surprised by who I’d see there; it was truly a cross-section of campus.

-A large number of the therapists employed by Williams are post-graduate fellows here for only two years. I imagine this is a pretty big cost-saving factor; it’s also the case that these fellows tend to make up more of the therapists of color and, of course, younger therapists, which are sometimes factors that students specifically request in being scheduled with a therapist.

-I truly may be misremembering, and this is again something where I don’t know what goes into the figure. But I believe, at my first meeting with my therapist, he told me that on average students who have recurring therapy sessions will end up using about 10 sessions of therapy. Theoretically, however, therapy sessions are unlimited. This is very much not the case at other schools; at several of my friends’ Ivy League institutions, students will get something like 6 sessions during their entire time at the school, before they’re forced to seek off-campus care. I personally have very much benefitted from knowing that I had access to as many sessions as I needed during my entire time at Williams. I went through semesters of seeing and not seeing a therapist, dealing with different issues, switching therapists as needed. I was incredibly grateful that I didn’t have to also worry about budgeting out my therapy.

-The argument that students won’t have this level of therapy in the “real world” and thus shouldn’t at Williams, is absolutely absurd. First–isn’t a frequent selling point of Williams that, here, students have easy access to things they won’t have such easy access to for the rest of their lives, such things being not only academic (easy access to professors, libraries, etc) but also social (easy access to all friends living within five minutes of you, etc)? Second–therapy isn’t some rare and impossible thing to find in the “real world.” It can be hard based on price, insurance, all that. But here’s the thing–because of the easy access to therapists I had at Williams, I realized how important regularly seeing a therapist is to my well being. As such, I’m going to make it a part of my life after Williams, moreso than I would have had I not had such access; I’ll set aside money, perhaps choose my health insurance plan, based on making sure I can see a therapist. I’ve also learned what I benefit from in a therapist (what styles of therapy, what traits I look for in a therapist in a way for me), because I could see as many different therapists as many times as I wanted. This is going to save me a lot of money that I otherwise would have wasted out there in that “real world” trying out therapists for several sessions only to realize they aren’t as beneficial as they could be.

1) Thanks to this student for taking the time to make this thorough comment. Do other readers have first hand experiences, good or bad, with IWS? Tell us about them!

2) You have convinced me! I am now comfortable with Williams having 15 therapists on staff.

3) As always, more transparency would be good. The Record ought to write about IWS and how it has changed over the last decade, and Williams ought to provide enough data to tell that story accurately.

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

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

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

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

 

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From the testimonies associated with the student/alumni letter to President Mandel about the English Department:

In 2008, I was harassed for a month by my entrymate and her friends who thought I called security one night during one of their parties. Following that night, each time they would have parties, they would repeatedly deface my white board hanging on my dorm door. This ultimately led to Nigger being written on the wall on my dorm with my marker and a penis drawn on the wall as well, with a matching penis being drawn on my whiteboard. Knowledge of this incident later sparked the campus-wide movement called Stand with Us, which led to what is now Claiming Williams. Despite the College “celebrating” Claiming Williams each year, my name, as well as the name of the known perpetrators has been erased from the retelling on the narrative, perpetuating the idea that this incident is part of the College’s past—a distant memory of less-inclusive times, used to demonstrate the College’s growth and current commitment to diversity. During my time at Williams, I was literally silenced—being told by the administration that I could not talk about the incident due to the “investigation.” I was later asked by the Williams newspaper to write an article about it, but was told that it had to be an op-Ed since the school wasn’t able to identify exactly who wrote Nigger on the wall. Co-opting my story to use it for its pedestal of “progress” and removing my name and the names of those who built the Stand with Us Movement is plagiarism. Removing the names of the perpetrators from the narrative gives them anonymity and protection and is yet another way the College demonstrates its commitment to protect the oppressor rather than expose and address the oppression. The power of the Stand with Us Movement was that knowledge of what happened to me sparked others to tell their stories. There were countless stories like mine because the issues lie not just with problematic students, but with a problematic system that reinforces the idea that behavior like that is allowed here. During my remaining years there, similar incidents continued to happened with both students and faculty of color. It baffles me how an institution filled with the brightest minds and experts in their fields can’t seem to figure out how to hold white people accountable and create larger, effective systems of accountability.

This note is unsigned, but it purports to be from Jacquelin Magby ’11 and to describe events which we have collected under the Willy E. N-word category. In terms of its impact on Williams, this was one of the most important events of the last 15 years. Worth reviewing in detail?

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Joe Thorndike ’88 writes about his father’s book about the Atlantic seaboard.

I was present for a lot of that first-hand research, especially in Connecticut, where I grew up, and on Cape Cod, where I visited my father frequently during the last 25 years of his life. I also managed to tag along for brief trips to Maine and Florida.

But for every trip I took, there were dozens that I skipped. Occasionally, my father would ask me — in his reserved, taciturn New England way — if I wanted to come along. But like many adult children of aging parents, I found reasons to say no.

Apparently I was busy, but in retrospect, I can’t imagine with what. My father has been dead for more than a decade, but I still regret, almost daily, the many trips I didn’t take.

Take trips with your father, every chance you get.

Still looking for a Father’s Day gift? EphBlog recommends Aidan’s Way by Professor Sam Crane. Excerpts here. More from an Amazon review:

Every now and then a book comes along that wakes us out of our drab routine lives and makes us reevaluate essential questions: what is important? Am I doing something worthwhile with my life? What is life’s meaning? Trite as it may sound, “Aidan’s Way” does just that, but in a way that is subtle and avoids self-indulgent breast-beating. At its core, “Aidan’s Way” is a resounding affirmation of life. Sam and Maureen Crane are the parents of Aidan, who is profoundly retarded mentally–he cannot walk, talk or see. At every turn, they face the possibility that he may die. Pneumonia assaults his lungs and grand mal seizures force him to rely on a feeding tube for sustenance. Adversaries come in human guise as well, with the Cranes heroically combating outrageous abuses by their HMO, doctors stereotyping Aidan as “one of THOSE kids,” and a heartbreaking moment of frustration when an indecisive nurse fails to administer a drug in time to stop Aidan’s seizures from permanently damaging his already fragile brain. There are heroes, too — a doctor with cerebral palsy who doggedly probes the causes of Aidan’s condition while others write him off, a younger sister who brings hope and joy to the family, and countless therapists, journalists, and teachers. Aidan touches hundreds of people.

Indeed. Sadly, Aidan is no longer with us, except in spirit.

Happy Father’s Day to all of Eph Dad readers, including to the loyalest reader of all:

_BW15108

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

What can I say? Mission accomplished!

 

 

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Last day.

In ages past, administrators and academics believed the mission of higher education to be the pursuit of knowledge (University of Chicago: “Let knowledge grow from more to more; and so be human life enriched”; University of Cambridge: “Hinc lucem et pocula sacra”) or even truth (Harvard University: “Veritas”; Yale University: “Lux et Veritas”). Today, they pursue Social Justice. Under that banner, anti-racist activists hope to do to higher education what Soviet communism did to fine art, literature and music. Under officially approved socialist realism, art was judged first and foremost by how well it depicted Soviet ideals, parroted Communist Party doctrine, and cultivated loyalty to the Soviet system. Not even science was exempted from serving a primarily ideological purpose during the thirty-year reign of Lysenkoism over Soviet biology and agronomy. Substitute critical race theory for Marxism–Leninism, whiteness for capitalism, and racial justice for dictatorship of the proletariat, and you will understand much of what the Great Awokening truly offers.

Would the Awoke of Williams disagree?

Just as critical race theory can destroy knowledge, it can likewise destroy institutions premised upon the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge. Thanks in large part to the influence of critical race theory, Evergreen State College melted down in Spring 2017. The concrete results of that meltdown included numerous faculty resignations, a catastrophic collapse in enrollments, layoffs, budget cuts and worldwide humiliation. Every institution of higher education should learn the lessons of Evergreen, for history is wont to repeat itself―the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Does this argument apply to Williams? I chatted with a Williams faculty member (not Paul) last week about the Evergreen comparison. I made the case that, however similar the woke rhetoric, Williams was unlikely to end up like Evergreen.

First, wokeness is affecting all of elite higher education. A student less interested in this attitude won’t find respite at Swarthmore.

Second, Williams is less woke than most of its peers. Indeed, we have always been among the most “conservative” institutions in elite education. (One could argue that the last 8 months show that this is changing. I bet not.) To the extent that there will be market movement away from the woke, we will benefit.

Third, wokeness has been with us for years, if not decades. The demands of the students who took over Hopkins Hall in 1969 were very similar to the ones that CARE Now made this year. Williams has been fine throughout.

Fourth, I have a great deal of (naive?) faith in the “hard men” of Williams, the ones who would step forward and prevent SJW nonsense from permanently hurting the institution. Ephs like Greg Avis ’80, Michael Eisenson ’77 and Andreas Halvorsen ’86 have a lifetimes worth of making tough decisions. They would not shirk from doing what needs to be done. I have the same (naive?) faith in the two hard women who now run Williams: President Maud Mandel and incoming Trustee Chair Liz Robinson ’90.

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 9.

Sensoy and DiAngelo identify whiteness as the primary barrier to hiring non-white faculty in North American higher education. They use the term whiteness as a label for “a range of unnamed and exclusionary institutional practices” that are “intrinsically linked to dynamic relations of white racial domination.” Never mind that whites make up the same percentage of US college and university professors as they are a percentage of the general population, while persons of Asian descent make up 11% of all professors, despite being only 5% of the country’s population.

1) Again, this article (pdf) is not just (only!) some random SJW nonsense. It was distributed by Dean of the Faculty Denise Buell to Williams professors.

2) Imagine that Buell distributed an article entitled ““We Are All for Diversity, but . . .”: How Faculty Hiring Committees Reproduce Jewishness and Practical Suggestions for How They Can Change.” That might lead to some interesting conversations!

3) My sense is that the Williams faculty is at least 11% Asian, although I can’t find the latest data.

Paul continues:

Sensoy and DiAngelo are nonetheless intent to “unsettle whiteness” and disturb, not only in order to promote the hiring of job candidates of color but to radically transform the university itself. Practices of whiteness they seek to unsettle include:

“research in the form of peer-reviewed journal publications and the acquisition of grant monies … [as] barometers of the most-valued work driving salary and career progression”;

“White European enlightenment epistemology … the privileging of particular forms of knowledge over others (e.g. written over oral, history over memory, rationalism over wisdom)”;

“a call for a general position in any field … [this] reinforces the idea that some aspects of the job are core, foundational, and thus presumed neutral, while other aspects are additional, extra, and specialized”;

“counting only candidates’ output (the number of publications) and not input (the time it takes to build the relationships that grant access) … such as relationships with communities and activism/advocacy work”;

“the discourse of merit”;

“bas[ing] quality solely on factors such as the tier of publication … Might we instead consider research that does not further the cause of racial justice to be, in fact, lesser quality research?”

In the view of Sensoy and DiAngelo, none of these practices seek out academic quality on fair and objective, if debatable, grounds. They are instead the socially constructed racist values of white culture and, for that reason, must at minimum be unsettled and at maximum abolished. Sensoy and DiAngelo want “traditional fields” with their “old classifications” to be swept up into “forward thinking” through “an interrogation of … disciplinary fields and their borders.” As they “decolonize predominantly white university campuses”―aka “white/settler–colonial institutions”―and pursue the “decolonization of the academy,” Sensoy and DiAngelo call for a transvaluation of all academic values. Their aim is to eradicate the traditional mission of academia and the nature of the academic life. Their goal is to turn the decolonized university into a radical fundamentalist sect.

Would Denise Buell be willing to engage Darel Paul in a public debate?

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I’m happy to report Nico Perrino at FIRE now has a transcript of his podcast interview with Williams biology professor, Luana Maroja. A number of things popped out at me when I read the transcript. The first is that Maroja comes from a family of Marxists. To escape political persecution in Brazil, her father had to burn his Marxist books. She has talked about growing up in a dictatorship. This is the first time, as far as I know, she has shared how she and her family were impacted by that dictatorship.

Luana asserts  she sees no evidence minority professors are the victims of violence on campus.

In one of these meetings, I asked – we need to know what is the violence that is happening on campus and I was told by another professor that even asking what is the violence is a violent act. So, basically, you cannot discuss anything. You just have to take everything at face value and, of course, there are problems with that. Serious claims need serious evidence, right?

Nico recounts how another hero for free speech, Zach Wood, reported he felt ostracized on campus due to his views. Luana reports a similar uncomfortable feeling, “I know that students sometimes turn their heads when I pass and you don’t know if they are on my side or not.” The full transcript is below the break.

(more…)

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 1.

Whiteness and the Violence of Critical Race Theory

Decolonization intends to uproot Western academia’s supposed foundational characteristic: whiteness. According to critical race theory, whiteness is the social construction of white culture as socially normative. White supremacy, an unequal race-based distribution of power and resources, naturally follows. In the words of well-known activist-scholar of Whiteness Studies Robin DiAngelo, whiteness is a “racist worldview” into which all white people are socialized and effects “an unequal distribution of basically everything between people of color as a whole and white people as a whole.” The evil of whiteness animates the views of anti-racist student activists: “Whiteness is the most violent fuckin’ system to ever breathe!” (Evergreen); “I charge the white man with being the greatest murderer on earth” (Williams);

Paul does not provide a link, but this is a famous quote from Malcolm X. Was it included as part of one of Kyle Scadlock’s ’19 guerilla art projects?

“We demand that the College offer classes that embody intersectionality, as defined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, and address the racial diversity of the LGBTQ+ community instead of centering whiteness” (Sarah Lawrence). Never mind the superior performance of Asian students on white standardized tests, the strong overrepresentation of Asians in white supremacist higher education, that fact that Indians are the United States’ highest income ethnic group or that Nigerians are one of the most successful new immigrant groups in the country.

Exactly right. The average SAT score of Asian-American students at Williams is 1520, higher than white students. I also suspect that Asian-Amnericans have higher GPAs at Williams, but I have not seen any data.

College administrators, too, have taken up the task of decentering whiteness, helping their white faculty and staff in “processing whiteness” (Williams),

The link which Paul provides does not work. I suspect he is referencing this:

Processing Whiteness

Organizers: Ruby Solomon, Integrative Wellbeing Services; Seth Wax, Chaplain’s Office; Gail Newman, Professor of German

The Processing Whiteness group will provide opportunities for faculty and staff to analyze and understand white identity, white privilege, and racism in a supportive environment that focuses on the experiences of the participants. Through a series of facilitated discussions, the group aims to help participants learn to speak about the historical and contemporary implications of white identity, examine race and racism, identify implicit bias and feelings of shame, and explore and practice allyship and interrupting racism.

Is that a parody I just made up of Williams wokeness? Or reality? You make the call!

Paul continues:

“unpacking whiteness” (University of New Hampshire), conducting “conversations in whiteness” (University of Michigan), “understanding your whiteness” (University of Iowa) and “understanding and unlearning whiteness” (Evergreen). In a 2017 article in Harvard Educational Review, DiAngelo and her co-author Özlem Sensoy (both PhDs in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington) lay out what in their view whiteness is and how it operates in US and Canadian academia. The focus of their article is how whiteness is supposedly reproduced through faculty hiring and how that process may be interrupted. Thanks to its anti-racist frame, this article has, not surprisingly, become quite popular among American college administrators. In fact, it came to my attention because my own Dean of Faculty distributed it for my edification when I recently served as chair of a departmental hiring committee.

Denise Buell might be the most woke Dean of the Faculty in NESCAC. And I bet that she would consider that a compliment!

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Simon Maloy ’03 died yesterday after enduring a year-and-a-half-long fight with colon cancer.  Simon was a researcher and a journalist with Media Matters for more than 14 years. He was, at one time, in charge of listening to the Rush Limbaugh radio show and providing his readers with commentary and fact-checking services.

Simon appeared in the pages of Ephblog over a decade ago talking about his experience as a Limbaugh listener. Over his career, his work was published at The Week, Rolling Stone, American Prospect, and Salon. He was a history major at Williams College.

Some of his friends have set up a page at GoFundMe in his honor. So far, donors have given $67,696 toward an overall goal of $125,000. You can find this GoFundMe page by clicking on the following link. 

In Memory of Simon Maloy

The authors of the GoFundMe page indicate they are “…setting up this fund to help support Simon’s family — especially his sons’ education — as they move forward without him.”

Simon Maloy is survived by his wife Leslie and his sons, Avery and James.

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 7.

Racist violence on campus is said to go deeper still. Anti-racist activists claim its foundation is the very curriculum and pedagogy of the university: “the question of what counts as ‘good literature’ or ‘good art’ is not easily separable from feelings of exclusion from a majority culture of privilege and ‘value’” (Williams);

Check out that link! It goes to the Faculty-Staff Initiative Final Report of 2009 (pdf). These claims are not just made by some radical student fringe. They are core beliefs of many (most? almost all?) Williams faculty and administrators.

And maybe they are right! Certainly, if teachers have been telling non-white students (for their entire lives!) that Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dante are “white” and can’t really speak to the experiences and hopes of non-white people, it would hardly be surprising if those students came to Williams with “feelings of exclusion” toward Western classics. That does not strike me as a good thing.

How long until those names are sand-blasted off the front of Stetson/Sawyer?

Maybe we can keep Homer (brownish?) and Cervantes (Hispanic?) . . .

Side note: Had a conversation with some faculty about the Katie Kent ’88 and Dorothy Wang dust-up. Their comment was that if Katie had not been the one accused of racism, she would have been leading the charge against whomever was accused. Fair?

More from Paul below, and you really ought to read the whole thing!

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Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 6.

Speaking with anti-racists and engaging terms such as racism and violence involves entering an interpretative thicket. When the boundaries of racism expand to include the statements Make America Great Again (Skidmore College) and It’s OK to be white (Bates College, the latest of dozens of examples of this form of trolling) and the dictates of cultural appropriation forbid white people from teaching yoga (University of Ottawa) and performing Indian dance (American University), one despairs of ever extricating oneself from the entanglements of meaning.

Indeed. Again, if I wanted to make trouble at Williams, I would first put up a bunch of posters “It’s OK to be black.” Nothing bad would happen! Then, in the same locations, I would put up posters “It’s OK to be white.” Williams would melt down, as Northwestern has under former Williams President Morty Schapiro’s leadership.

Also, recall the saga of The Taco Six.

Sadly, I don’t know nearly as many of the details of the Taco Six (fall 2014) as I should. (See here for excellent discussion and debate.) I think that the students were never “punished” by the College except to the extent that they were threatened/tortured by the Dean’s Office. (In many of these cases, the process itself is the punishment.)

Woke culture came to Williams before the Fall of 2014, but the Taco Six is still one of its earliest and clearest manifestations.

More from Paul below:

(more…)

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May 8, 2019

On Saturday, men’s crew won its first team championship since 2001 at the New England Rowing Championships. All four boats brought home medals to secure the title on Lake Quinsigamond.

The 4V set the tone for the rest of the team by leading off the day with a silver medal. In the afternoon final, the men got off the line well, matched only by Boston College and UMass in the early going. Boston College quickly separated from the field while the men pushed ahead of UMass. At the midpoint of the race, the crews were separated by open water and continued to spread out through the second half of the race. Boston College won in 6:31, and Williams took silver in 6:44.

Source: https://williamsrecord.com/2019/05/mens-crew-wins-first-new-englands-title-since-2001/

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In a recent tweet, political scientist Darel E. Paul has revealed more about the anti-white, anti-male agenda of Williams College. According to Paul, the dean of faculty – most likely Denise Buell – announced at a faculty meeting that the less white and less male Williams College gets, the better it will be.

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