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  1.  quote all quote selection
    "Sigh...same thing would happen to me when I was reading applications for admission. So many listed Ayn Rand as their favorite author..I would set those apps aside, clearly they were lacking in critical thought abilities."

    That's Lili Rodriguez, current Director of the Multicultural Center ( soon to be the Center for Social Change ) , speaking about her former activities as an admissions officer. This is the individual whose primary occupation is to promote interaction between students of diverse backgrounds, and here she is admitting to blacklisting students for having a favorite author that she dislikes.

    This is a concrete example of what goes on every day at Williams. If you ever thought that there is a tendency of this campus to lean left, it isn't an accident. Apparently it's a conscious practice by individuals who abuse their power.

    I'm shocked and disappointed at her intellectual dishonesty and would like to see the institution take some measure to address this incident of bias.

    What do you think?




    Edit: takedown request
  2.  quote all quote selection
    ...I think admissions officers are people and can make jokes on facebook too.
  3.  quote all quote selection
    I'm with Kelsey on this one.

    I also think it's pretty juvenile for you to dig up something like this from Facebook, post it on WSO, and sensationalize what seems to me to be a (successful) attempt at intellectual humor.

    Edit: Oh, NOW you censor the names. A+
  4.  quote all quote selection
    Don't have an account so can't use my name. This is Lili.

    No one admissions officer can make a decision on a student or "Black List them". Decisions are made by the whole committee, and yes, we are people with our own likes and dislikes...Ayn Rand enthusiasts were one of many pet peeves I had as a reader, others included essays written about Prom, Pets, favorite historical figures, etc. Other readers were annoyed when students wrote about video games, comic books, or dungeons and dragons (hobbies I totally dig). Luckily, apps are read by two readers and hobbies matter significantly less than academic achievement, writing quality, and recommendations. So long and short of it is this: Ayn Rand sucks in my opinion (unless you are a 12 year old seeking individuality and needing to complete your summer reading list) and even as a college employee, I do have the right to hold that opinion and voice it to my personal friends on facebook--which clearly I need to be much more careful about. Luckily, the opinion of one person cannot make or break an admissions decision at this college. Otherwise, we'd have no Ayn Rand enthusiasts able to start this WSO post or the awesome people that play D&D weekly. Go Dungeons and Dragons! Boo Ayn Rand!
  5.  quote all quote selection
    Riiiiiight, because listing Ayn Rand as a favorite author is a mark of conservatism? And not a show of an easy favorite author to include because you're forced to read The Fountainhead for that essay contest your senior year anyways and you want to sound well-read.

    ... And now, back to the fun thread about tap water!
  6.  quote all quote selection
    1. I know people at Williams who like Ayn Rand, so thank god they've managed to overcome this discrimination.
    2. I'm sure no person was ever rejected for the sole reason of liking Ayn Rand.
    3. The admissions office has a system where 2 people read each application and vote (a third person is brought in if they can't reach an agreement), so even if Lili did reject some poor Howard Roark-wannabe in a fit of anti-objectivism, there are enough checks in place to ensure this wasn't the only reason they were rejected and their application was thoroughly reviewed.

    this is at least in the top 5 of most ridiculous things I've seen on WSO. and not in a funny way.
  7.  quote all quote selection
    The reason that applications are read by numerous people is to ensure that personal idiosyncrasies do not affect admissions decisions. And Lili, like the rest of the admissions office, has her own likes and dislikes. There is a system in place to overcome that problem.

    The MCC does not exist to suppress people's personal opinions. It exists to create systems, like the one that exists in admissions, that prevent the personal opinions/biases of individuals from denying opportunities and rights to other individuals. It exists to promote SYSTEMIC neutrality, not to make everyone like or believe the same thing.

    This is one of the most pathetic, ill-conceived attempts to catch out and embarrass a wonderful person that I have ever come across.
  8.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Kelsey Gaetjens
    ...I think admissions officers are people and can make jokes on facebook too.




    Posted By: Andrew Langston
    I'm with Kelsey on this one.

    I also think it's pretty juvenile for you to dig up something like this from Facebook, post it on WSO, and sensationalize what seems to me to be a (successful) attempt at intellectual humor.

    Edit: Oh, NOW you censor the names. A+


    So interestingly, both these comments were completely wrong.


    Posted By: JiHye Eunice Baek
    Riiiiiight, because listing Ayn Rand as a favorite author is a mark of conservatism? And not a show of an easy favorite author to include because you're forced to read The Fountainhead for that essay contest your senior year anyways and you want to sound well-read.

    ... And now, back to the fun thread about tap water!


    Riiight, because listing Ayn Rand as a favorite author is because it is an easy favorite author to include because you're forced to read The Fountainhead for that essay contest your senior year anyways and you want to sound well-read. And not show of someone who is potentially interested in Objectivism.

    By that logic: have any of you read Stefan Zeromski? Oh wow... so you only like books that are easy and you're forced to read them. That's going to be my official metric of everyone.

    Don't judge anyone by what they find interesting without knowing why they find it interesting.

    Also, if 2 people read your essay and one of them finds it annoying, that's a bit of a problem. The people who wrote an essay on a topic that both readers like are in a much better situation than someone who may have wrote something they find personal, but the essay reader has a 'pet peeve'.

    finally, most williams students have very similar academic achievements, nearly identical recommendations, top of class, close SAT scores, and probably relatively similar writing quality. So what's the differentiating aspect?
  9.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Lili Rodriguez
    Go Dungeons and Dragons! Boo Ayn Rand!


    Man, if that cute girl had listed Dungeons and Dragons anywhere on her profile rather than Ayn Rand, things would have gone quite differently for that suave and enigmatic gentleperson who posted the status that sparked this thread.
  10.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Pawel Langer
    So interestingly, both these comments were completely wrong.


    Which part of Kelsey's comment was wrong? That admissions officers are people (seems right) or that they can make jokes on Facebook too (also seems right)?
  11.  quote all quote selection
    Now now, David G. Michael collectively represents the indivisible, integral icon of The Prophetess!


    From: "John Galt" <liberatewilliams@gmail.com>
    To: <Undisclosed recipients>
    Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2011 at 13:58
    Subject: Liberate Williams


    Friends,

    Our campus is under attack. At every turn, collectivists are seeking
    to destroy our institution and the values it once stood for. The time
    has come where free thinking individuals can no longer stand by and
    allow the enemies of liberty to continue unchallenged. The
    Multicultural center is being changed to the "Center for Social
    Change" which advocates social and economic justice, which,
    paradoxically are the opposite of actual justice. They are forming an
    unnamed student movement to implement new mandates on all aspects of
    life, academic subversion, social speech codes, and even the funding
    of leftist political agendas. Administrators are lobbying to increase
    bureaucratic powers to unthinkable proportions. Committees are being
    formed to select and oversee committees that select and oversee task
    forces that abridge essential intellectual and personal freedoms. We
    cannot allow fear to overtake reason, nor can we allow terrible events
    to drive us to compromise our values.

    We hate only coercion and oppose those who advocate it. We have a
    tremendous respect for diversity insofar as it is an individual asset
    rather than a tool for collective oppression. This is not a group for
    the advancement of racism or homophobia, though we would protect the
    rights of free thought to those who would hold those opinions. We
    cannot afford to be misconstrued or slandered as an instrument of hate
    against individuals, races, religions, or sexualities.

    There is no strong conservative voice to stand up to them, and we aim
    to create one, even if only temporarily. We will not be paralyzed by
    bureaucracy and committees, and we will not have power struggles
    because we do not seek power nor recognize power over ourselves . We
    are free men and women who work together as long we see fit. Please
    email me if you want to resist the collectivists in means consistent
    with our values. Also, please pass this on to friend who you think
    might wish to join us.

    We are working on a document that expresses our mission and it will be
    emailed to you once a reply is received.

    In Freedom and Liberty,
    Liberate Williams


    (Credit OP for this audacious piece of infallible objectivist rhetoric.)

  12.  quote all quote selection
    Really? No. Please don't give this thread the satisfaction of becoming some sort of "discussion". ugh. Also, Pawel, your points are ridiculous. all of them. Seriously. What's the differentiating aspect?? Seriously?

    Well, my essay for Williams was based entirely on my hatred of Ayn Rand and objectivism. Now I know that this gave me the edge.

    I can't with this. I'm studying abroad. I'm not even supposed to be on WSO.
  13.  quote all quote selection
    I am disappointed that so few of you find this problematic. I don't want to read to deeply into Lili Rodriguez's facebook message and it's never acceptable to slander her, but if we were to imagine a scenario where members of the Admissions Office were to reject competitive applicants (or just not give them a fair chance) based on whether or not they support Ayn Rand, then we have a serious issue. It is one thing to have an issue with essays focused on prom because those who enjoy writing about proms do not represent a relevant subsection of society. On the other hand those with a penchant for Ayn Rand tend to subscribe to Objectivist, Libertarian, and Republican (to some extend) ideologies (I realize Rand criticized Libertarianism extensively but Libertarians regularly identify with her books). Therefore the process of rejecting Ayn Rand fans essentially serves to limit the number of right leaning students at Williams. That is discrimination. Williams waxes on about its acceptance of diversity, yet this demonstrates (yet again) how it is not particularly welcoming of political diversity and that's a shame. Ayn Rand's books might suck to you Lili but they represent a body of beliefs that a significant part of the population (one that is poorly represented at Williams) subscribes to.

    Would Williams admissions officers ever look down upon a student who lists Karl Marx as his favorite author? Obviously not. That's because generally when people claim that Karl Marx is their favorite or most inspirational author, they do so because they identify strongly with his arguments not just because he's a complex thinker with talent for writing. The same applies to most Ayn Rand fans. Therefore a guaranteed rejection (even if it is by one Admissions Officer who doesn't have the final say but still wields considerable influence in the admissions process) for Ayn Rand supporters directly implies a rejection to right leaning students (forgive me if I'm exaggerating a bit in my analysis). This simply is not cool and not the Williams that I wish to associate with. If we are going to embrace diversity let's also embrace intellectual diversity--we go to school with the purpose of cultivating new ideas and developing intellectually during our four years here, right?

    Again I have no intention to slander you Lili and I want to give you the benefit on the doubt on this one, so please don't read my response as a judgement/criticism of your character because I simply don't have all the facts.
  14.  quote all quote selection
    Kaybi...we need ponies. Now more than ever.
  15.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Samuel Tripp
    Which part of Kelsey's comment was wrong? That admissions officers are people (seems right) or that they can make jokes on Facebook too (also seems right)?


    Haha I think Pawel was just referring to the fact that Lili's comment about putting those apps aside was not a joke. And he's right. Although, I think the post was made in a joking fashion even if it was true, which is kind of what I was referring to.

    But, it was fair of him to point it out.
  16.  quote all quote selection
    <blockquote><cite><a href="#Item_6">Posted By: Ashley Ray-Harris</a></cite>
    2. I'm sure no person was ever rejected for the sole reason of liking Ayn Rand.</blockquote>

    But if an applicant's chances are decreased by a tiny bit due to an admission officer's personal preference, that's already a big fucking problem.
    • CommentAuthorJulian Hess
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Raphael Menko
    QFT


    Indeed. Perhaps the only saving grace amongst the admission officers is their dual redundancy (which helps to limit undue influence of a single officer's personal preference), but it seems absurd to even marginally discount someone's application because of subscription to an (inane) political philosophy. As Pawel pointed out, the quantitative (objective? heh heh.) margins for comparing prospective students at an ultra-selective college like Williams can be quite thin, so I'd surmise that decisions can occasionally teeter on on trivialities like one's preference in pseudointellectual pop-philosophy.

    I feel people are condoning such behavior because a) they view the expressed preference of this single admission officer to be (almost always) inconsequential, and b) because they feel most serious academics give no more credence to Ayn Rand than to the inspirational writings of Richard Simmons, whereas someone like, say, Karl Marx, is an esteemed intellectual. Presumably, those condoning the behavior of this admission officer would also frown upon her expressing displeasure at an applicant's love for Friedrich Hayek, since he is also "intellectually esteemed." I do not think political sentiment is the most salient issue here, merely perceived intellectual merit.

    But regardless of perceived intellectual vapidity of a particular interest, such a factor should not impinge at all on applicants' prospects for admission. I mean, we have a contingent of friggin' /B/RONIES here. /B/RONIES! If we let them in here, certainly Randroids shouldn't pose any problem?
  17.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Samuel Tripp
    Which part of Kelsey's comment was wrong? That admissions officers are people (seems right) or that they can make jokes on Facebook too (also seems right)?


    Did you see the fb comment before it was taken down? The two posts suggested that what was written fb was a just a humorous line. However, this turned out not to be true.

    Posted By: Ashley Ray-Harris
    Really? No. Please don't give this thread the satisfaction of becoming some sort of "discussion". ugh. Also, Pawel, your points are ridiculous. all of them. Seriously. What's the differentiating aspect?? Seriously?

    Well, my essay for Williams was based entirely on my hatred of Ayn Rand and objectivism. Now I know that this gave me the edge.

    I can't with this. I'm studying abroad. I'm not even supposed to be on WSO.


    I suggests that if you're so knowledgeable in the Williams admission process, then you should be able to get anyone in to Williams, so I recommend becoming a consultant for high-school students and profiting from this. I don't claim I know the admissions process. All I said, that if this is true, then it does not sound too great of a mechanism for admissions. Finally, by saying "Pawel, your points ridiculous. all of them. Seriously." you're ensuring that this is not a discussion. nicely played.
  18.  quote all quote selection
    Celebrating a bias in admissions is problematic, whether it is an admissions officer acting on her dislike of Ayn Rand, Karl Marx, Gertrude Stein or Langston Hughes. I have a problem believing that people would be fine hearing that admissions looks down upon people who put Langston Hughes as their favorite literary figure. Ayn Rand, like any important author or philosopher, can act as a proxy for a belief and Williams should not select against those beliefs.
    Some colleges openly select against certain preferences and that can make sense. Writing about how The Birth of a Nation or Triumph of the Will is my favorite movie is grounds for discrimination but selecting against someone with an interest in objectivism is very different.
    • CommentAuthorAnser Kazi
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    • CommentAuthorJamie Baik
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    I'm fairly certain that Lili was expressing her frustration with the type of applicant that Eunice mentioned - the kind that puts Ayn Rand down as

    Posted By: JiHye Eunice Baek
    a show of an easy favorite author to include because you're forced to read The Fountainhead for that essay contest your senior year anyways and you want to sound well-read.


    I would guess that those kinds of applicants are probably much more common than those who are genuinely interested and inspired by Ayn Rand. Once you start seeing the same weak attempts to write an essay on (insert famous historical or literary figure here), an admissions officer is bound to get tired of what seems like the same old attempt to look intellectual. Nothing in Lili's statement implied that she had anything against conservative applicants - just that she had a problem with those who write the same sort of pseudo-intellectual essays on a literary or historical figure chosen to make the applicant look better. Fortunately, two people read the same file, and I am pretty confident that one of them would be able to determine from reading an applicant's file if he or she is genuinely interested in Ayn Rand and are intellectually inspired by her works. I agree with Julian, I don't think that political sentiment is the issue here.

    Yes, it's a problem that admissions officers' preferences might marginally lower an applicant's chances, but what can we do about that? This is a problem at ANY college with a highly competitive applicant pool. Admissions officers are only human. Since everyone has great stats, little things like this might hurt an applicant's chances here, but might help them to get into a different school. Unfortunately, luck plays a big role in a lot of decisions where there really isn't much of a differentiation between applicants. It's impossible to control admissions and make it an even playing field for everyone at any college.

    Finally:

    Posted By: Pawel Langer
    Don't judge anyone by what they find interesting without knowing why they find it interesting.


    It is an admissions officer's job to judge the applicants. It is the applicant's job to show the admissions office why they find something interesting and what it says about them as a person. If there isn't a genuine reason (or if it's not clear) behind what they chose to write about, then they don't have a strong essay. And we all know that will hurt someone's chances of getting into any competitive school.
  19.  quote all quote selection
    "But if an applicant's chances are decreased by a tiny bit due to an admission officer's personal preference, that's already a big fucking problem."
    I don't agree with this. Admissions officers are human, and have preferences. And though they may be able to professionally recognize their personal biases, no one is able to completely filter out their personal preference in any decision, ever. However, I think that it is possible for one Ayn Rand-hater to question another Ayn Rand-hater's decision throughout the admissions process - having a little distance makes us capable of recognizing biased beliefs in others even when we sympathize with them.
    Thus, as long as admission officers are hired for their critical thinking and questioning ability, they should be able to hold each other accountable for biases regardless of their own preferences, and because of that I honestly don't think it would be a problem even if all of the admissions officer were Left-leaning.
  20.  quote all quote selection
  21.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Jamie Baik

    It is an admissions officer's job to judge the applicants. It is the applicant's job to show the admissions office why they find something interesting and what it says about them as a person. If there isn't a genuine reason (or if it's not clear) behind what they chose to write about, then they don't have a strong essay. And we all know that will hurt someone's chances of getting into any competitive school.


    I fully agree with that. The inappropriate reaction is - see Ayn Rand, put application aside. Though we can interpret the original post as an exaggeration or simplification, if it is true then there is a problem. Also, just because other colleges have the same problem it is not sufficient justification for williams to have it. What can we do about it - maybe you could have every admission officer write out topics they naturally dislike and do not give them essays that have that as a topic or have them immediately pass it on to another admission officer. Just an idea (probably not the best one, but then again I'm not getting paid to design the admission process :P)
  22.  quote all quote selection
    Oh philosoraptor...you so funny!
  23.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Joshua Wilson
    Kaybi...we need ponies. Now more than ever.

    Your wish is my command.

    There there little Randian. You're going to be okay. I'm sorry that an employee of the college had an actual opinion about the kind of students she'd ideally like to see here. I'm sorry that the college/the world is structured against you, too. I'm sorry that the leechy underclass has attached to your face and is sucking your vital life-energy out.

    ...Wait, I'm not sure if that's Objectivism or Scientology or just an episode of Star Trek... so um... nevermind that.

    Posted By: Julian HessI mean, we have a contingent of friggin' /B/RONIES here. /B/RONIES! If we let them in here, certainly Randroids shouldn't pose any problem?

    I'll let Fluttershy do the talking.

  24.  quote all quote selection
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJbAT1wzS8U

    Perhaps a relevant metaphor.
    Kerrigan is the spectre of racism, Mengsk is uber pc fearmongers trying to manipulate people to attack civil liberties. Complete with ghost of Ronald Reagan championing individual responsibility! @1:10

    Even freedom has a price!
  25.  quote all quote selection
  26.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Samuel Tripp
    Which part of Kelsey's comment was wrong? That admissions officers are people (seems right) or that they can make jokes on Facebook too (also seems right)?



    He was referring to the fact that Ms. Rodriguez was not making a joke.
  27.  quote all quote selection
    Last post, promise.

    It seems that some of you think that conservative voices are discriminated against in the admissions process---at least by me. So let me be clear; students that have the guts to write about politics and/or religion in their essays are highly regarded by the admissions office, conservative or liberal. Displaying conservative values, through your writing or activities was a bonus. Same for liberal values. Because the truth of the matter is that very few applicants have the courage to do so. Most applicants play it safe. The admissions office is made up of very different readers from a variety of backgrounds. They do keep each other in check about their own biases, and are reflective enough to admit them, as I clearly do. It's expected. I was a major supporter of anyone that displayed political activism, of any kind. I wanted your conversations in class to be real and engaging...that was my job...to supply the school with a rich diversity of thought that enhanced the educational experience.

    But admissions is not the objective system some of you seem to want. It's a subjective art form. The best you can do is make it as democratic as possible with as diverse a readership as possible. To say that you are all similar applicants is plain wrong. Your SATS and GPAs may be similar, but that's where the similarities end. Your writing style and content varied, the curriculum you were exposed to and how your teachers wrote about you, your extra-curriculars, your family background...I could go on. Also, there are institutional needs that take priority (dancers needed, musicians, athletes, certain majors to be filled that may be less popular, etc.). Not to mention the demographic diversity that also brings much of the diversity of thought and experience: international applicants, US regional diversity, religion, race/ethnicity, home-schoolers, etc. In the end, your essays played much less of a role than I would have liked in the admissions process. A tiny one in fact. And one we were asked to comment on.

    The biggest argument I had in admissions was about the prom essay. I thought it lacked maturity, the other reader loved it and thought it cute and engaging. The student got in. So have many, many Ayn Rand lovers-- I swear that most high school students use their Essay contest submissions or book reports as their personal statements. Did I sigh every time I had to read an essay about Ayn Rand? yup. Were some successful? very, very, very few. BTW: I sighed every time I read a Jane Austen essay too.

    My bias against Rand isn't on the conservative versus liberal spectrum. Actually, I think that's very reductionistic. Most academics, including conservative ones, found her work to be silly and a mere caricature of true conservative thought. Check out the National Review for lots written about this. Even recently, conservative writers continue to slam her work thoroughly and distance themselves from her philosophies. Not to mention that critics consider her completely insane---a major narcissist at the very least. There used to be a winter study course entitled The Ayn Rand Cult. You should check it out if it's still taught. I hope it is.

    To me, Ayn Rand is for young readers. People being exposed to the very basics of Individualism and Objectivism for the first time (Harry Potter is more complex in its social commentary than Rand). As an admissions reader, I expected future Williams Students to be more thoughtful and complex in their thinking. If your writing displayed complexity, I gave you the benefit of the doubt despite my literary preferences. Just as I expected more from the writer of the prom essay. But alas, I was out numbered. That's the beauty of the process. That my opinion was only one of many and that your grades, SATs, recommendations, and other factors trumped your adolescent angst (read personal statement).

    Sorry if that offends any of you that are big fans of Randian philosophy...but at the end of the day, I was hired for my opinion. That was the job. I was asked to give it and defend it. Sometimes they agreed with me, other times they voted against me.

    Isn't democracy lovely?
  28.  quote all quote selection
    I think the main problem is that you see a bias in yourself, and you seem to be congratulating yourself for expressing it in the admissions process. With a mentality like that, I would place a vote of no confidence in you as someone with the maturity and level headedness expected of someone involved in such an important process.
  29.  quote all quote selection
    William Craig, I have absolutely no idea who you are, but those are extremely hurtful words. It's really inappropriate and incredibly rude to address yourself to someone whom you clearly do not know anything about in that manner in a public forum.

    It's also a really poor judgment call. Don't you think should know a little bit more information about someone than this before you place your "vote of no confidence"?? When people vote on that little information, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry get elected. To look at it another way, how would you have liked it if the admissions officers reviewing your application had seen some little weakness or error and placed "a vote of no confidence" in you? I'm sure you are very deserving of being here but, as the above post amply illustrates, you are fallible like the rest of us.
  30.  quote all quote selection
    I think the main problem is that people should stop sending in the damn essay they submitted to the Ayn Rand contest as a personal statement for college applications! If you could write a fully-developed and well thought out essay supporting Ayn Rand's ideas and this works as a representation of who you are as an academic, you're clearly a better writer than she is and deserve to be here. The ideological leaning is not as much an issue as the ability to be a critical reader. If a student writes a very poorly constructed essay on Marx, obviously something he or she wrote for a Marx essay contest, and sent it in with the app as a personal statement, I dearly hope that the admissions officers look unfavorably on the essay.

    Also, ponies.

    Just killing time until more posts come up on that awesome thread about tap water.
  31.  quote all quote selection
    tap water
  32.  quote all quote selection
    How can someone who leads an organization meant to bring people of different beliefs together be proud of trying to alter Williams to suit your bias? It is wrong for admissions to discriminate based on someone's literary or political preferences but the situation changes when the person discriminating now leads an institution meant to combat discrimination.
  33.  quote all quote selection
    Lili, don't give them the time of day. If there were no bias in the admissions process, we might as well have robots picking us. Professors exert bias when they're grading your papers. Are they discriminating?

    Get off of WSO-finals are coming up.
  34.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Emily Hertz
    how would you have liked it if the admissions officers reviewing your application had seen some little weakness or error and placed "a vote of no confidence" in you?


    Posted By: David Michael
    "Sigh...same thing would happen to me when I was reading applications for admission. So many listed Ayn Rand as their favorite author..I would set those apps aside, clearly they were lacking in critical thought abilities."


    Posted By: Emily Hertz
    William Craig, I have absolutely no idea who you are, but those are extremely hurtful words. It's really inappropriate and incredibly rude to address yourself to someone whom you clearly do not know anything about in that manner in a public forum.




    Edit:

    Posted By: Christian Torres
    Lili, don't give them the time of day. If there were no bias in the admissions process, we might as well have robots picking us. Professors exert bias when they're grading your papers. Are they discriminating?


    Once had Allen White give me a bad grade on a paper on the nature of virtue back in freshman year because "Well argued but biology and neuroscience don't try to explain the origins of morality." His bias had sway over 1 500 word paper, admissions bias has sway over someone's entire academic career.

  35.  quote all quote selection
    Does anyone really believe that people would have laughed this off if, instead of "Ayn Rand as their favorite author" it had been "feminism as their favorite ideology" or "Afro-American culture as their favorite subject"? I mean, maybe nobody on this thread would care, but I have a hard time believing it. I think it would have been identified as yet another example of institutional discrimination at Williams College. I think (and again, in the words of the immortal Herman Cain, "I do not have facts to back this up") that people would have been really, really pissed. And that seems a bit like hypocrisy, though maybe someone can explain reasons why the situations are different. I don't want to come down on either side of this argument per se, but I am interested if anyone has a response.
    • CommentAuthorJohn Noelke
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Lili Rodriguez
    Ayn Rand sucks in my opinion


    "Integrity does not consist of loyalty to one's subjective whims, but of loyalty to rational principles."
    - Ayn Rand

    Posted By: Lili Rodriguez
    that was my job...to supply the school with a rich diversity of thought that enhanced the educational experience.


    "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."
    - Ayn Rand

    Posted By: Lili Rodriguez
    Most academics, including conservative ones, found her work to be silly and a mere caricature of true conservative thought.


    "I want to make something clear: I am not a conservative. I think that today's conservatives are worse than today's liberals."
    - Ayn Rand

    Posted By: Lili Rodriguez
    Isn't democracy lovely?


    "It is precisely this trend that is bringing the world towards disaster... The traditional American system was originally based on the idea that majority will prevailed only in public or political affairs, and that it was limited by inalienable individual rights."
    - Ayn Rand
  36.  quote all quote selection
    Guys, I liked the fountainhead. So did two of my close friends. None of us prescribe to her philosophy. I have received so much hatred and criticism for liking ayn rand here at Williams - for enjoying her novels - oftentimes by people who haven't read her books. People need to stop bashing.
  37.  quote all quote selection
    Ensuring this does not get lost:

    Posted By: Brian McGrail
    Does anyone really believe that people would have laughed this off if, instead of "Ayn Rand as their favorite author" it had been "feminism as their favorite ideology" or "Afro-American culture as their favorite subject"? I mean, maybe nobody on this thread would care, but I have a hard time believing it. I think it would have been identified as yet another example of institutional discrimination at Williams College. I think (and again, in the words of the immortal Herman Cain, "I do not have facts to back this up") that people would have been really, really pissed. And that seems a bit like hypocrisy, though maybe someone can explain reasons why the situations are different. I don't want to come down on either side of this argument per se, but I am interested if anyone has a response.
  38.  quote all quote selection
    John Noelke = winrar.

    Posted By: John Noelke
    Posted By: Lili Rodriguez
    Ayn Rand sucks in my opinion



    "Integrity does not consist of loyalty to one's subjective whims, but of loyalty to rational principles."
    - Ayn Rand
  39.  quote all quote selection
  40.  quote all quote selection
    Brian McGrail is a champion.
  41.  quote all quote selection
  42.  quote all quote selection
    Uhhh did you actually read what Lili just posted? I think she made it pretty clear, expanding on her Facebook comment, that she doesn't actually "set those apps aside" because they mention Rand. She said "If your writing displayed complexity, I gave you the benefit of the doubt despite my literary preferences." It sounds like a well-written essay about Rand or Objectivism could certainly get her vote. She recognizes her own bias, obviously, but that's a far cry from letting it overly influence her admissions decisions, and I don't understand how you came to that conclusion from what she's written in this thread. It also seems clear that part of an Admissions Officer's job is to exert their own judgement; they aren't hired to be robots, and apparently they do try to get a "diverse readership" so no one person's judgement predominates.

    Also, how shitty is it to call someone out here for something they say on facebook? I think Lili's done a really great job of defending herself here, but I kinda feel like she shouldn't have had to in the first place.
  43.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    His bias had sway over 1 500 word paper, admissions bias has sway over someone's entire academic career.


    Only if your "entire academic career" is grounded on being among the lucky 19% of applicants who get into Williams, in which case I'd say your academic career is bust before it even started.
  44.  quote all quote selection
    the fountainhead is not a safe place to get water, it often tastes like chlorine.
  45.  quote all quote selection
    Carlos, you are my favorite.

    In response to Brian's question, the difference is that those scenarios are cases of discrimination based on a person's beliefs. That is not, as a bunch of people including Lili have pointed out, what she jokingly said she did with Ayn Rand essays. I'd never heard of Ayn Rand before this thread (despite what a constant issue Rand-bashing seems to be at Williams), but John's quotes made me sympathize with the need for excellent literary criticism skills to counterbalance Rand's writing. If the quotes you use are meant to indicate some of the best parts of her argument, and they aren't effective (or incontrovertible), then it is definitely reasonable to class her work in a less-brilliant class of writing.

    Also, I'm sure everyone on here has written something on facebook that they would prefer not to see on wso; after all, facebook is not the medium for calm, intellectual discourse that can be found on a wso thread.
  46.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    Only if your "entire academic career" is grounded on being among the lucky 19% of applicants who get into Williams, in which case I'd say your academic career is bust before it even started.


    The school you go to has a huge influence on where you go in your academic career. I'm not saying that people who don't get into Williams don't get to do anything with their academic lives of course, I'm just saying that acceptance into an institution has pretty huge deterministic implications and the application review process should be taken very seriously with this in mind.

    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    in which case I'd say your academic career is bust before it even started.


    Idealism...
    Edit: Not saying entirely wrong, but idealism.
  47.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Julia Embry
    calm, intellectual discourse that can be found on a wso thread.


    ^^^ can you send me the link to this? ^^^^
  48.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Christian Torres^^^ can you send me the link to this? ^^^^

    Here you go.
  49.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Samuel Austin
    the fountainhead is not a safe place to get water, it often tastes like chlorine.


    Did not want this great gem to get buried by the reoccurrence of the Nights Sitter the popcorn thread.
  50.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Julia Embry
    Carlos, you are my favorite.

    In response to Brian's question, the difference is that those scenarios are cases of discrimination based on a person's beliefs. That is not, as a bunch of people including Lili have pointed out, what she jokingly said she did with Ayn Rand essays. I'd never heard of Ayn Rand before this thread (despite what a constant issue Rand-bashing seems to be at Williams), but John's quotes made me sympathize with the need for excellent literary criticism skills to counterbalance Rand's writing. If the quotes you use are meant to indicate some of the best parts of her argument, and they aren't effective (or incontrovertible), then it is definitely reasonable to class her work in a less-brilliant class of writing.

    Also, I'm sure everyone on here has written something on facebook that they would prefer not to see on wso; after all, facebook is not the medium for calm, intellectual discourse that can be found on a wso thread.


    The main issue is that how do we know that the admission officers do not "sigh" when reading on other topics (based on previous posts it is a fact that admission officers "sigh" when they see a certain topic ; also how is potentially believing in Ayn Rand's ideas not considered personal beliefs?). If someone has an immediate negative impression of an essay just because they dislike the topic, then it requires significantly more effort to convince them otherwise. Likewise, if you hit the correct topic, you might get much luckier.

    Also, Williams is a school that has both need-based and need-blind financial and there are not many of them, especially when considering the best schools. Thus, not getting into Williams potentially due to the fact that you didn't guess the topic may end up being a life changing moment.
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 5th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    I think the main problem is that you see a bias in yourself, and you seem to be congratulating yourself for expressing it in the admissions process.


    This is the main crux of the issue. It's not conservatism vs liberalism, or dislike vs like. That's inherent in the process. The problem is she admits this, and then says that thanks to democracy, most of the bias is fixed. Yet she protects her biases, as if she was paid to be biased. It doesn't sound like she is trying hard to remain objective. This is evidenced in her facebook quote, describing offhandedly how she would approach applications listing Ayn Rand as their favorite author.

    On the other hand, she admits she is mainly annoyed at applications with personal statements about Ayn Rand, and that she gets a lot of them. She voiced her concern that many of those papers do not demonstrate well-developed thinking; that is her main reason for her vote of rejection. This is fair, probably some of those papers were not well-written, had poor arguments, or did not help the officer understand the applicant (possibly because they were based off of an essay contest paper). You also can't blame her for getting bored reading the same essay topic over and over; no doubt when people write personal statements, they know they're supposed to make theirs stand out somehow. It is inevitable that admissions officers would "sigh" over similar essays on the same topic.

    It is the way she defended her bias as something valuable to her job, something that she hasn't said she tried to avoid in her comments, something that she is not willing to avoid because democracy will handle it, that is deeply concerning. It is really bad when she "sighs" over the first Ayn Rand paper of the week simply because she dislikes Ayn Rand.

    For those of you who don't know Ayn Rand and want to laugh, here is a source that is fairly balanced save for a heavy bias towards humor: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AynRand

    Edit: Also, yes, Ayn Rand's arguments must suck for tvtropes to call her out on it:

    "Ironically, among academic philosophers her work is one of the few subjects that isn't particularly polarizing - nearly everyone hates it, or at least can't take it seriously. Even philosophers like Robert Nozick who agree with most of her conclusions think her arguments for them are incoherent."

    Hence why Jack was able to come up with reasonable sounding quotes.

    -Tobi of Akatsuki
  51.  quote all quote selection
    Lili doesn't need to justify why she doesn't like reading Ayn Rand-focused essays. This is not something we can police or manipulate. How can anyone on this thread entertain the idea that ANY SINGLE ESSAY READ by an admissions officer doesn't have some significant amount of prejudice attached to it?

    We need to have a diverse admissions office for the same reason we need to have a diverse school. I don't see this event as indicating a lack of diversity in our admissions office. Therefore I don't find it alarming.


    Also: a distinction is being made between intellectual (rationally supported) conviction and personal belief.


    Lili (in brief, when you get past all of that selective quoting that's going on): I'm not frustrated by essays about Ayn Rand, I'm frustrated by essays that suck. That essays about Ayn Rand are shitty seems to be a somewhat consistent theme, but not an absolute equality.
  52.  quote all quote selection
    First off, bravo Mr. David Michael, it seems as though you've taken a page from Conservative Big Journalists like Andrew Breitbart and his cohorts who consume themselves with polluting the American political sphere with an unprecedented amount of garbage and fear-mongering. While I respect the need to have intellectual diversity on campus----I think we fail in this regard---labeling this discussion "Proof of discrimination at Williams" is wildly disrespectful and anachronistic to the supposed progression of conversations we have been(except not really) having as a community. People on this campus are still suffering the implications of a hate crime imposed against us, all the while coping with the day-to-day bullshit of somehow embodying what it means to be the Other. Before I continue, let me say that I am not here to discredit your feeling as a marginalized member of the community as a result of your Conservative status. I have a lot of problems with how Conservatism is practiced and defined in this country, but by no means would I like to use this space to get into that discussion. So, where was I?
    Rather than try to dig up some dirt against Lili Rodriguez, or any other supposed Libertarian radicals who are out to wrongfully claim Williams, why not take a moment to open your wildly imaginative and ignorant eyes to the reality of what discrimination actually looks like. Furthermore, stop creating these absurd binaries between people because of their political convictions. I find it hard to believe that people are stupid enough to criticize someone's personal preferences for one particular author as reasoning for some supposed bias they choose to "express". Not every Conservative likes every other Conservative's writer, and that logic goes for just about any school of thought. Lastly, quit this McCarthyist fear-mongering campaign against people with opinions. Nobody is "blacklisting" anyone except for you.

    PS: as general advice, why not do your research before you start a smear campaign against someone's personal preferences as a projection of their Liberal biases. What a joke.

    Feel free to hit me up when you come to your senses and can actually come up with a better example of discrimination at Williams. I would love to chat.
  53.  quote all quote selection
    Hello:

    This conversation has become boring. It started off boring by talking about a non-issue and then it maintained its boring nature by talking about an issue in the wrong way. The initial point was: A person who is in the Admissions Office and helps to decide who gets to go dislikes Ayn Rand and admits that it can bias her opinion. The discussion then became this point of "bias is wrong" versus "bias will always exist." The problem, of course, is that there is no discussion of what is an acceptable and unacceptable bias. The "bias is wrong" crowd admits:

    Posted By: Benjamin FischbergSome colleges openly select against certain preferences and that can make sense. Writing about how The Birth of a Nation or Triumph of the Will is my favorite movie is grounds for discrimination but selecting against someone with an interest in objectivism is very different.


    How is it different? Well, that is not explained, but let us assume that it is because objectivism is not as repugnant as racism or fascism. This still admits, though, that discriminating biases are acceptable, it just places them, in an unexplained way, at a certain point. But, obviously, some non-repugnant beliefs are also discriminated against. Styles of writing, certain grammatical patterns, etc. that are expressions of cultural values might be discriminated against within the decision-making process. Indeed, the very notion that a paper is "good" or "bad" in terms of expressing a point of view is a bias: some people might think they are expressing a view brilliantly and another person will think it is stupid. The point being: some discrimination besides the obviously repugnant is acceptable.

    On the other hand, the "bias will always exist" crowd does not justify, as people such as Madara/Tobi, William Craig, and others note, the acceptance of that bias as a good thing. While I would prefer if they also, to not be hypocritical, argued that the bias against D&D or prom as topics is also not necessarily a good thing, the point still remains. What has to be explained is not just that bias does exist, everyone knows that and accepts that, but rather what biases are acceptable and what biases are not acceptable. For surely, and no one has said otherwise, biases against certain racial groups would be unacceptable, as would a too-rigid standard of writing. Thus, the problem for both sides is to stop talking in the language of whether or not bias exists and will exist, this people can readily agree to, but rather what biases are problematic and what ones are not.

    Now, I personally do not see her explanation of bias to be particularly troublesome. It might be a bit presumptuous of me, but I read this:

    Posted By: Lili RodriguezAs an admissions reader, I expected future Williams Students to be more thoughtful and complex in their thinking. If your writing displayed complexity, I gave you the benefit of the doubt despite my literary preferences.


    As indicating that her bias is mainly against the idea of a person slavishly quoting conclusions that Ayn Rand has come to without noting the process of coming to the conclusion. That is, there would be no bias against Nozick, who agrees with Rand's conclusions, because he comes to those conclusions in a reasonable way. In contrast, just asserting Ayn Rand's greatness would be a tick against a person. The connection with Ayn Rand is that there is a tendency for those arguments to be poorly constructed (or so she seems to be suggesting) and slavishly devoted to her. Now, then, I think we can alter the question:

    Is it acceptable to have a bias against a person who slavishly quotes an author who (it is esteemed by many) is not entirely coherent?

    It might reflect a bit of poor critical judgment for a person to slavishly follow such an author. That is relevant. Just as the prom story might indicate a lack of maturity, which is also relevant. The story presented in the essay is meant to reflect a person's character. It seems that the character that is associated with Ayn Rand fans might generally be negative in this particular admissions officer's eyes. Thus, the question is not one of the ideology but of the character of the person who accepts the ideology in a primarily uncritical fashion. As she says, if the writing displayed complexity then the doubt would be alleviated.

    Now, this is all speculation on my part on the motives and decision making process of another individual, I could be wrong. In my opinion, though, this entire discussion has been off-task concerning itself about the existence of bias and "oh-no people know that they are biased." That is rather irrelevant. I think the relevant discussion (though, to be honest, I dislike this discussion in the first place) is about the basis on which the Ayn Rand papers are biased against. Since it seems that it is based on the fact that (a) Ayn Rand is not a highly esteemed intellectual author and (b) people often slavishly quote her it follows that students that use her run the risk of seeming uncritical in their thought. Now, then, the question might be whether or not (a) is true or (b) is true or whether uncritical individuals should be allowed into the college. Since (b) is a judgment of reading the individual papers, there is no way to know whether or not it is generally true that people slavishly quote her in these instances, she is actually hired to see if people are slavishly quoting an author. On the other hand (a) seems to be acceptable, independent of your political leanings, on the grounds that, as Madara/Tobi noted, even Nozick disliked her arguments. Finally, whether or not an uncritical individual should be allowed into Williams...well, that is for someone else to decide.

    Ultimately, therefore, the issue really comes down to a failure of both sides to realize that this isn't about bias against Ayn Rand but bias against a certain mode of thought that is associated with people who quote Ayn Rand. It is, of course, a value judgment, but it doesn't seem to be a particularly objectionable one. I would support also having a possible bias against people who slavishly quote Marx, Kant, Rawls, or anyone else, though there is a greater need, in the case of Ayn Rand, to provide evidence of critical thought.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

    Cheers
    Paul

    Note: I don't know if Tobi of the Akatsuki is the same as Madara/Tobi, I treated them as such in here. Sorry if they are different.
    Further note: Henry Schmidt seems to have a similar view (see above).
  54.  quote all quote selection
    <blockquote><cite><a href="#Item_36">Posted By: Christian Torres</a></cite>
    Get off of WSO-finals are coming up.</blockquote>

    Indeed

    <blockquote><cite><a href="#Item_57">Posted By: Jessica Torres</a></cite>
    First off, bravo Mr. David Michael, it seems as though you've taken a page from Conservative Big Journalists like Andrew Breitbart and his cohorts who consume themselves with polluting the American political sphere with an unprecedented amount of garbage and fear-mongering. While I respect the need to have intellectual diversity on campus----I think we fail in this regard---labeling this discussion "Proof of discrimination at Williams" is wildly disrespectful and anachronistic to the supposed progression of conversations we have been(except not really) having as a community. People on this campus are still suffering the implications of a hate crime imposed against us, all the while coping with the day-to-day bullshit of somehow embodying what it means to be the Other. Before I continue, let me say that I am not here to discredit your feeling as a marginalized member of the community as a result of your Conservative status. I have a lot of problems with how Conservatism is practiced and defined in this country, but by no means would I like to use this space to get into that discussion. So, where was I?
    Rather than try to dig up some dirt against Lili Rodriguez, or any other supposed Libertarian radicals who are out to wrongfully claim Williams, why not take a moment to open your wildly imaginative and ignorant eyes to the reality of what discrimination actually looks like. Furthermore, stop creating these absurd binaries between people because of their political convictions. I find it hard to believe that people are stupid enough to criticize someone's personal preferences for one particular author as reasoning for some supposed bias they choose to "express". Not every Conservative likes every other Conservative's writer, and that logic goes for just about any school of thought. Lastly, quit this McCarthyist fear-mongering campaign against people with opinions. Nobody is "blacklisting" anyone except for you.

    PS: as general advice, why not do your research before you start a smear campaign against someone's personal preferences as a projection of their Liberal biases. What a joke.

    Feel free to hit me up when you come to your senses and can actually come up with a better example of discrimination at Williams. I would love to chat. </blockquote>

    Amen, Sister.
  55.  quote all quote selection
    ..
  56.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Jessica Torres
    First off, bravo Mr. David Michael, it seems as though you've taken a page from Conservative Big Journalists like Andrew Breitbart and his cohorts who consume themselves with polluting the American political sphere with an unprecedented amount of garbage and fear-mongering.


    Posted By: Jessica Torres
    People on this campus are still suffering the implications of a hate crime imposed against us




    Posted By: Jessica Torres
    PS: as general advice, why not do your research before you start a smear campaign against someone's personal preferences as a projection of their Liberal biases. What a joke.


    Posted By: Jessica Torres
    why not take a moment to open your wildly imaginative and ignorant eyes to the reality of what discrimination actually looks like.




    Posted By: Jessica Torres
    Lastly, quit this McCarthyist fear-mongering campaign against people with opinions. Nobody is "blacklisting" anyone except for you.


    Posted By: David Michael
    "Sigh...same thing would happen to me when I was reading applications for admission. So many listed Ayn Rand as their favorite author..I would set those apps aside, clearly they were lacking in critical thought abilities."


    Posted By: Allan Gonzalez
    Amen, Sister.


  57.  quote all quote selection
    I think there are some good points buried in this thread, but I think there are also a lot of problems. First, it's great that we can all acknowledge that there's always going to be some subjectivity in admissions. But I don't like the idea that admissions officers should just throw up their hands and say "Well, I'm biased, so there's no use in trying to do anything about it!" I think admissions officers should try to remain objective. Does that mean that they will maintain anything close to perfect objectivity? No, of course not. But just because we can't have objectivity doesn't mean that we can't strive for it. I think all admissions officers at Williams are intellectually mature enough to acknowledge their biases, be they about Ayn Rand or D&D. This is the difference between ABC (news with a conservative bent that still prizes objectivity) and Fox News (news that has at times been accused of a bit of bias here and there).

    There is also the assertion that, essentially, even if an admissions officer is biased, the democracy fairy will fix everything. One, a democracy of two readers doesn't exactly inspire confidence, but maybe that's how it has to be done. Still, is Williams College really prepared to stand behind the statement that the essay topic could, in fact, matter? I was under the impression that the College's position was that the only thing that mattered was the quality of the essay, but I certainly could be wrong. It does seem like a startling fact to me, though. I understand that admissions is subjective and I do appreciate the honesty, but the fact that "I don't like objectivism and lots of people who write about it also just so happen to write bad essays" with a wink and a nudge is stated so matter-of-factly is troubling to me. I also understand that Ms. Rodriguez qualified her remarks by saying that she really only looked at writing quality, but, if that was true, why say anything about Ayn Rand in the first place? There's a reason she didn't say that she sighed over poorly written essays, but rather about essays having to do with Ayn Rand.

    Imagine if you were a Williams prospective who loved Ayn Rand and stumbled across this thread. Would you consider writing your essay about Ayn Rand? Of course not! One of the people who might read your application has just admitted that she thinks Ayn Rand sucks! You'd probably start doing serious research on the admissions committee here at Williams too; maybe you could figure out who is likely to read your application and who hates what! In all seriousness, I think that this could be a real problem.

    Finally, I return to my earlier example. Let's imagine that an admissions officer, let's say a white male, wrote on his facebook "Sigh...same thing would happen to me when I was reading applications for admission. So many listed feminism as their favorite subject..I would set those apps aside, clearly they were lacking in critical thought abilities." Does anyone really think that people would just say "Well, everyone is biased, so it's all good!"? I mean, I'm sorry to be redundant, but really? (I should point out that there's a difference between voicing criticism of feminism and voicing criticism of women, so I see criticizing objectivism and criticizing feminism as nearly equivalent). Like I said before, I don't know how the reactions of individuals and groups on campus would have been different if the comment was about feminism or some related topic. But I think there's a strong possibility that several groups on campus would be calling, in no uncertain terms, for the offending officer to be fired. Do people think that I'm wrong? That everyone on this thread would have been totally cool with the blatant bashing of feminism? I think this is a really tough question, and I strongly urge those who have defended the admissions office not to duck it.
  58.  quote all quote selection
    Brian, I think the difference lies in the fact that Lili did not give any reason to believe that she is biased against all conservative thought. She simply gave her opinion about one author. The College knows and expects that its admissions staff will have different opinions about authors. In order to overcome the potential problem of bias caused by these differences of preference, it ensures that applications are read by more than one reader, as we have already established.

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines feminism as "the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes." It is thus not possible to accept the fundamental values of the College - which include equality of opportunity and the embracing of diversity - and be biased against feminism at the same time. If an admissions officer expressed a bias against feminism, it would imply that his views were incompatible with the core values of our institution, and would be cause for concern.
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Paul Garofalo
    Posted By: Lili RodriguezAs an admissions reader, I expected future Williams Students to be more thoughtful and complex in their thinking. If your writing displayed complexity, I gave you the benefit of the doubt despite my literary preferences.



    As indicating that her bias is mainly against the idea of a person slavishly quoting conclusions that Ayn Rand has come to without noting the process of coming to the conclusion. That is, there would be no bias against Nozick, who agrees with Rand's conclusions, because he comes to those conclusions in a reasonable way. In contrast, just asserting Ayn Rand's greatness would be a tick against a person. The connection with Ayn Rand is that there is a tendency for those arguments to be poorly constructed (or so she seems to be suggesting) and slavishly devoted to her.


    Posted By: Pawel Langer
    The main issue is that how do we know that the admission officers do not "sigh" when reading on other topics (based on previous posts it is a fact that admission officers "sigh" when they see a certain topic ; also how is potentially believing in Ayn Rand's ideas not considered personal beliefs?). If someone has an immediate negative impression of an essay just because they dislike the topic, then it requires significantly more effort to convince them otherwise. Likewise, if you hit the correct topic, you might get much luckier.


    I guess the concern is that the admissions officer might unfairly assume things about the writer just based on the topic they chose to write about. Here, it is possible that Lili assumes a person lacks independent and critical thought because their essay is on Ayn Rand, and therefore, as Pawal notes, it will take more effort on the behalf of the writer to convince her otherwise. Thus, in this view, there was bias against Nozick, assuming the officer did not assume lack of independent and critical thought to every other essay writer regardless of topic. If she doesn't do this, great. Her statement of giving the benefit of the doubt can be taken either way: was it doubt on the choice of the topic, or was it doubt that the essay would turn out to be a good one? The latter seems to venture on the principle of guilty before proven innocent. That is hopefully not the case, but probably what some people here are discussing.

    Diversity in the admissions office, I assume, is for the sake of giving the admissions team a wide background to base their decisions on. It is supposed to ensure that most applicants have someone on the admissions team who can somewhat relate to and/or understand them. It has the additional benefit of being a last ditch defense against uncontrollable bias from a few of the officers, but that shouldn't excuse them from trying to control unfair biases themselves. In short, diversity (and some forms of bias) is good if it promotes new ways of looking at things; bias is bad if it closes your mind to certain ideas.

    Posted By: Paul Garofalo
    On the other hand, the "bias will always exist" crowd does not justify, as people such as Madara/Tobi, William Craig, and others note, the acceptance of that bias as a good thing. While I would prefer if they also, to not be hypocritical, argued that the bias against D&D or prom as topics is also not necessarily a good thing, the point still remains. What has to be explained is not just that bias does exist, everyone knows that and accepts that, but rather what biases are acceptable and what biases are not acceptable. For surely, and no one has said otherwise, biases against certain racial groups would be unacceptable, as would a too-rigid standard of writing. Thus, the problem for both sides is to stop talking in the language of whether or not bias exists and will exist, this people can readily agree to, but rather what biases are problematic and what ones are not.


    I didn't say anything bad about prom or D&D, and I dislike Ayn Rand. D= I think it is great that Lili likes video games and D&D and finds them worthwhile hobbies; that means her bias broadens the admissions office's background and allows them to be more understanding of applications incorporating those topics.

    Well, to avoid claims of hypocrisy, here goes my best guess at acceptable bias: as long as the the personal statement wasn't judged more harshly due to the assumed immaturity of the topic, then it is fine. Assuming that someone lacks independent and critical thinking, when you would otherwise not have if they had written on a more "mature" topic, is a rather unfair and harsh assumption, one that prevents the reader from understanding the applicant. Now, those topics are certainly more challenging than others to write about, but that's on the part of the writer; the reader need not make the task more difficult by willfully assuming the writer is incompetent (unless, of course, the reader assumes this of all writers). If the writer failed to show a coherent thought process, and just lavishly threw around unsupported statements, then by all means, conclude that they are immature in their writing and that their personal statement is bad in that regard.

    Posted By: Jessica Torres
    Rather than try to dig up some dirt against Lili Rodriguez, or any other supposed Libertarian radicals who are out to wrongfully claim Williams, why not take a moment to open your wildly imaginative and ignorant eyes to the reality of what discrimination actually looks like.


    Urm, no one here is claiming Lili is a Libertarian, nor digging up dirt against Libertarians. I'd be quite surprised if she was, considering Objectivism and Libertarianism often appeal to the same people, but as tvtropes notes, they are different: the former being a "full philosophy" and the latter a "specific political ideology." Also, the original quote that started all of this was, at face value, blatantly discriminatory, albeit a joke on facebook that has since opened up several cans of worms.

    -Tobi of Akatsuki (or Madara, yep, same person, just hated that slash)
  59.  quote all quote selection
    Hello:

    Sorry, Tobi, for implying that I thought you were being hypocritical. My main point was just that this thread would not occur for the thought that people who write about prom (and here I think there is an implied trope of "oh, what a magical night" that is cliche) and when the admissions officer admitted a bias against prom the discussion maintained itself concerning Ayn Rand (e.g. the point by point quoting of Ayn Rand in response). I do not consider you hypocritical at all.

    On the other hand, I have some disagreement over you concerning certain features of what you said, but I think that this is the improper forum to go through them since they would require certain clarification questions and could derail the discussion (oh no!). Personally I don't see this as a real issue and had hoped to clarify the issue by pointing out that it is about the character of the person that is revealed when they write poorly about a thinker (esteemed by many) who is not great. Obviously there will be a subjective element and, so long as the character revealed is one that we think could be judged against, it is reasonable to act on that subjective element. It doesn't seem to have quite worked, but meh, I am done here. I was just irritated at this conversation and remain so.

    Cheers
    Paul
  60.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Brian McGrail
    Like I said before, I don't know how the reactions of individuals and groups on campus would have been different if the comment was about feminism or some related topic. But I think there's a strong possibility that several groups on campus would be calling, in no uncertain terms, for the offending officer to be fired. Do people think that I'm wrong? That everyone on this thread would have been totally cool with the blatant bashing of feminism? I think this is a really tough question, and I strongly urge those who have defended the admissions office not to duck it.


    • CommentAuthorJulian Hess
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Again, I feel this is less about political ideology than perceived intellectual merit. The (perhaps unfortunate) stereotype of objectivist literature reads something like this, a real e-mail circulated by the original poster shortly after the graffiti incident. I feel most in the position of Ms. Rodriguez (with perhaps the exception of John Galt) would have a hearty laugh upon receiving something so laden with hyperbolic rhetoric it almost reads like a parody of objectivist cant.

    One would hope that Ms. Rodriguez ground her professed bias in the general intellectualism of Ayn Rand essays she reads, rather than in their philosophical content. If someone were to write an extremely well-argued, impeccably written essay on his/her prom night, love of My Little Pony, or the philosophical tenets of Ayn Rand, I (and hopefully Ms. Rodriguez) would feel it deserves as much consideration as the most eloquently constructed piece on <insert favorite highbrow philosophical argument here> or <how I can best profess my extraordinary leadership skills in fewer than 500 words>.

    Posted By: Brian McGrail
    Like I said before, I don't know how the reactions of individuals and groups on campus would have been different if the comment was about feminism or some related topic.


    Substitute feminism with [9-11/moon landing/Roswell aliens/Bilderberg/Jewish/Illuminati/birther/etc . . .] conspiracy theories. All of the bracketed subjects are generally not conducive to coherent, logical argument, whereas feminism generally is. As I stated before, I do not think this issue pertains to political ideology; I feel the propensity of Ms. Rodriguez (or any admission officer) to toss a well-written piece on Hayek or Friedman is no higher than his/her propensity to toss a well-written piece on Marx or Keynes. But a poorly-written piece on anything is fair grounds for rejection, and it seems that certain subjects have a greater proclivity to attract ill-conceived arguments. In the experience of Ms. Rodriguez, these subjects include prom, pets, favorite historical figures, and, evidently, Ayn Rand. To that list I might add all the aforementioned conspiracy theories, religious fundamentalism, and water quality scare tactics written by a water filter company.
  61.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Julian Hess
    Substitute feminism with [9-11/moon landing/Roswell aliens/Bilderberg/Jewish/Illuminati/birther/etc . . .] conspiracy theories. All of the bracketed subjects are generally not conducive to coherent, logical argument, whereas feminism generally is.


    Eh, this is a little nitpicky but there are small, radical sections of feminist thought that fall squarely into the category of conspiracy theory by most standards.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcha-feminism
    Start digging from here.
    Edit: I also don't think it's fair to group people who read Ayn Rand with the birthers or roswell crowds, subjective I know, but I think that's a pretty big jump.

    For Brian, I think making the analogy between two books, rather than a book and an ideology may be a better way of pointing out the problem. I think that you are absolutely right in that the defenders may harbor a double standard. Many would be up in arms if someone from admissions had made a similar statement about writings from the early black power movement.

    Building on these ideas, I think hypocrisy plays a big role in the public perception of race relations on campus at the moment. Anecdotal evidence, but when my sister arrived here her freshman year in '04, one of her suite-mates in sage C refused to talk to her, or any white students for that matter, because they "were the race of the devil." The natural response was: "Hmm, what an insensitive person, I don't want to be around you." If a black student had arrived on campus and a white student suitemate had said to them that they didn't talk to black people because "they were the race of the devil," the white student would be expelled and forced to leave campus within minutes. Anything they said would immediately be labelled as harassment and as a "hate crime." I will say quite plainly that I don't believe that such racism has a place on campus, no matter where it is directed. Looking at how quickly the public forum a few weeks ago devolved into judgments like "my professor just assumed I could speak Spanish because I talk with an accent, and am from Puerto Rico, what a bigot ETC," or even the absolutely unacceptable "...Just because crazy didn't take his meds..." I say with some confidence that many of those who are most fanatical about rooting out discrimination need only look in the mirror. It seems that some are so distracted by fearmongering about hate in the world around them that they neglect to remain vigilant and question the biases and hatreds within themselves.

    So when I see this... a former admissions officer congratulating themselves for expressing something they admit is a bias in the admissions process...

    Posted By: Lili Rodriguez
    So long and short of it is this: Ayn Rand sucks in my opinion (unless you are a 12 year old seeking individuality and needing to complete your summer reading list) and even as a college employee, I do have the right to hold that opinion and voice it to my personal friends on facebook--which clearly I need to be much more careful about. Luckily, the opinion of one person cannot make or break an admissions decision at this college.


    ...It just breaks my heart. Fuck everything about that. I don't even like Ayn Rand.
    • CommentAuthorJulian Hess
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    Posted By: Julian Hess
    All of the bracketed subjects are generally not conducive to coherent, logical argument, whereas feminism generally is.

    Eh, this is a little nitpicky but there are small, radical sections of feminist thought that fall squarely into the category of conspiracy theory by most standards.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcha-feminism
    Start digging from here.


    Likewise, there are small, radical sections of right-wing political thought that fall squarely into the category of perhaps conspiratorial absurdity by most standards. I dare say that the sentiment espoused by Mr. Liberate Williams fits the bill. I'm sure if an applicant misappropriated Andrea Dworkin's argument in Intercourse, ranting "ALL SEX IS RAPE!! CASTRATE ALL MEN!!!," the essay would just as quickly find its way into the dustbin as an essay ranting incoherently about the merits of objectivism.


    Edit: I also don't think it's fair to group people who read Ayn Rand with the birthers or roswell crowds, subjective I know, but I think that's a pretty big jump.


    Certainly not to the same extreme of rational vacuity, but you get the idea: in Ms. Rodriguez's experience, essays she receives on Ayn Rand/Jane Austen/prom/pets/etc, etc, etc. are generally poorly constructed, just as most would presume a serious essay on Roswell aliens might be. This has nothing to do with ideology, but with form.


    Building on these ideas, I think hypocrisy plays a big role in the public perception of race relations on campus at the moment ... It seems that some are so distracted by fearmongering about hate in the world around them that they neglect to remain vigilant and question their own biases and hatreds.


    All very true, though many are (unfortunately) willing to give oppressed groups a free pass because of their historically (and currently) oppressed nature. Oppression yields rage, a rage I can understand (but never condone). I fail to see how this pertains to the discussion at hand, however.


    So when I see this... a former admissions officer congratulating themselves for expressing something they admit is a bias in the admissions process[,] it just breaks my heart. Fuck everything about that. I don't even like Ayn Rand.


    As an admission officer, I'd certainly harbor an extreme bias against certain clichéd essay topics that often lead to incoherent rambling. Ayn Rand probably constitutes one of those topics.

    That being said, let's look at her Facebook post again. If the update read . . .

    Offending Facebook post
    Sigh...same thing would happen to me when I was reading applications for admission. So many listed Stephanie Meyer as their favorite author..I would set those apps aside, clearly they were lacking in critical thought abilities


    . . . I doubt people would care, although they should. Ms. Rodriguez's statement on Facebook is rather extreme -- it seems to imply that she'll set aside, unconditionally, any application who merely lists a particular author amongst his/her favorite authors, with no further qualifications. Taking this at face value, this is the main problem here: it's unequivocal, de facto dismissal of an application on a triviality.

    Sighing upon reading the incoherent 100th Ayn Rand/prom/pets/My Little Pony/etc . . . essay, leading to a bias against these particular essay topics? I can understand this. Immediate dismissal of an application based on a single listed favorite author? Highly problematic.

    However, I'm willing to give Ms. Rodriguez the benefit of the doubt, and construe her Facebook status as a comical exaggeration. Here's a more nuanced explication of her thought process:

    Posted By: Lili Rodriguez
    The biggest argument I had in admissions was about the prom essay. I thought it lacked maturity, the other reader loved it and thought it cute and engaging. The student got in. So have many, many Ayn Rand lovers-- I swear that most high school students use their Essay contest submissions or book reports as their personal statements. Did I sigh every time I had to read an essay about Ayn Rand? yup. Were some successful? very, very, very few. BTW: I sighed every time I read a Jane Austen essay too.


    which basically mirrors exactly what I've been arguing: it's not the intrinsic subject matter, it's the fact that essays on said subject often tend to be bad, in Ms. Rodriguez's experience.
    • CommentAuthorAllen Lum
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    a former admissions officer congratulating themselves for expressing something they admit is a bias in the admissions process


    I'm sure that if you asked all of the admissions officers at Bascom, or for that matter all of the admissions officers at all of our peer institutions, they probably would voice the same admonition as well, proudly. I don't think you should pick on Lili for more than its worth.
  62.  quote all quote selection
    Tying up loose ends, I agree with pretty much everything you said Julian, especially this sentiment as I care very little for Ayn Rand.

    Posted By: Julian Hess
    Sighing upon reading the incoherent 100th Ayn Rand/prom/pets/My Little Pony/etc . . . essay, leading to a bias against these particular essay topics? I can understand this. Immediate dismissal of an application based on a single listed favorite author? Highly problematic.


    As for the relevance, it's just for some reason I sensed the mentality of giving in to the draw of the bias, almost cultivating it, as opposed to carefully monitoring it and trying to grow out of it. I suppose after a few hundred herp derp essays about how poor people are lazy and stupid I would probably give up too.

    Mr. Liberate Williams is definitely a little (Read: alot) apocalyptic, but in light of recent events, I would say a couple of the fears are at least plausible.

    Posted By: Julian Hess

    However, I'm willing to give Ms. Rodriguez the benefit of the doubt, and construe her Facebook status as a comical exaggeration.


    Fair enough, I'll join you.

    Posted By: Allen Lum
    I don't think you should pick on Lili for more than its worth.


    This reminds me, can we PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE have a WSO party inspired by this?

    The Player Hater's Ball
    I vote Andi Beqiraj as the most splendiferous and diabolical troll of the year.

    Some sort of HTML failure. fixed..
  63.  quote all quote selection
    Emily, diversity of thought is just as important to the mission of Williams College as diversity of race, gender, or what have you. A systematic bias against objectivism (and I hasten to point out that I am no fan of objectivism itself) would permanently damage the intellectual climate of this college. And Julian, your attempt to conflate objectivism with the moon landing conspiracy doesn't really work for me. Yes, the moon landing conspiracy isn't conducive to coherent argument, but that's because it's generally ignorant of facts. Objectivism (and, again, I really dislike the ideology personally) just doesn't share those deficiencies. It may make assumptions about human nature or other subjects that you find fault with, but it isn't factually ignorant.

    I think the "guilty until proven innocent" comment by Tobi is spot on. If Ayn Rand was really measured against the same intellectual standard as any other author, then why was Ayn Rand singled out by Ms. Rodriguez? Again, it's good to acknowledge our biases, but admissions officers should use that knowledge to compensate for those biases, not loudly proclaim them and say "Democracy will fix it!" I mean, imagine again (and I apologize again if people think this is redundant) that you were a prospective student who wrote about Ayn Rand for your admissions essay, only to learn that you had been rejected from the college. Imagine further that you somehow found out that Lili Rodriguez read your essay. Would you have been fine with relying on "democracy" in the admissions system? I know that I wouldn't have been.

    Given everything that's been said, I am (as I think most others will be) willing to accept what Ms. Rodriguez said on facebook as a "comical exaggeration" or what have you. I take her at her word that she doesn't actively discriminate against applicants who write about Ayn Rand (though I see cause for concern if she doesn't work to counteract her own prejudices, beyond simply acknowledging them). I think the issue is ready to be put to bed, so I'll just write two more quick points:

    1. I understand that Ms. Rodriguez was just having fun on facebook, but joking about something as serious as Williams admissions could be construed as unprofessional. I know the admissions process at Williams was really important to me and this kind of glib statement makes me slightly uncomfortable. Getting into Williams is literally the highpoint of some prospective students' lives so far. It just doesn't feel right to joke about it so liberally.

    2. I think Will's point about comparing, say, black power writers or feminist writers with Ayn Rand is a very good one. My comparison was logically shaky because of the comparison of an ideology and a particular writer (which has been pointed out already). Many thanks to Will for cleaning it up. Anyway, I doubt anyone will really want to address the double standard argument anymore, but I think it's the only thing left on this thread that we (meaning WSO posters in general) haven't reached a general consensus on. So, again, my apologies for the confusing comparison; hopefully people will feel more inclined to address how people would have felt if an admissions officer had said something about, say, Alison Bechdel (just an arbitrary example in honor of Williams Reads!) rather than Ayn Rand.
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 6th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Paul Garofalo
    Personally I don't see this as a real issue and had hoped to clarify the issue by pointing out that it is about the character of the person that is revealed when they write poorly about a thinker (esteemed by many) who is not great. Obviously there will be a subjective element and, so long as the character revealed is one that we think could be judged against, it is reasonable to act on that subjective element.


    Oh I don't disagree with you on this point. I do think Ms. Rodriguez could have stated she was more active in not letting her bias influence her reading negatively.

    Posted By: Julian Hess
    Sighing upon reading the incoherent 100th Ayn Rand/prom/pets/My Little Pony/etc . . . essay, leading to a bias against these particular essay topics?


    Definitely a reasonable reaction, but it also depends on how far the bias went. No one liked it in elementary school when a teacher saw a kid punching you, and then reasoned "It is usually the case that that two kids were fighting when I caught one of the kids punching the other; therefore, unless I see definite proof otherwise, I will punish both." Similarly, in Will's example, simply because Allen White had seen numerous past papers unsuccessfully analyzing morality from a biological and neurological perspective, does that mean he should assume Will's paper would be the same before reading it (apparently, he went even further and failed to give Will a satisfactory reason why)?

    Posted By: Brian McGrail
    Given everything that's been said, I am (as I think most others will be) willing to accept what Ms. Rodriguez said on facebook as a "comical exaggeration" or what have you. I take her at her word that she doesn't actively discriminate against applicants who write about Ayn Rand (though I see cause for concern if she doesn't work to counteract her own prejudices, beyond simply acknowledging them). I think the issue is ready to be put to bed...


    I agree with this. Facebook quote has been verified as an exaggerated joke; issue is pretty much over. She was commenting on the intellectual merit, though that she quickly labels certain essays as likely bad is somewhat scary (as much as biased professors). No particular case of virulent discrimination as suggested by the OP, just a case of someone's approach to their job.

    It is also a little frightening how quickly people assume others liked Ayn Rand on this thread, since I think quite a few of us (including me) don't like Ayn Rand, but whatever. This thread probably revealed more ugliness than it started out with.

    -Tobi of Akatsuki
  64.  quote all quote selection
    I've been holding my tongue quite a bit, but I think it might be appropriate for me to answer one of the questions that have been brought here.

    Posted By: Brian McGrail
    why was Ayn Rand singled out by Ms. Rodriguez?


    Perhaps that could be answered by the full context of the Facebook quote? Not that I want to go posting someone else's facebook statuses and replies to it on WSO...not quite my cup of tea... but maybe the quote which sparked this thread was was lifted from a Facebook wall conversation on someone other Ms. Rodriguez's wall?


    Posted By: Joshua Wilson
    Man, if that cute girl had listed Dungeons and Dragons anywhere on her profile rather than Ayn Rand, things would have gone quite differently for that suave and enigmatic gentleperson who posted the status that sparked this thread.


    Josh, get off WSO, you graduated. #alumnihypocrisy

    Finally,

    when it appears the campus has looming issues as plans to

    Liberate Williams
    ...implement new mandates on all aspects of
    life, academic subversion, social speech codes, and even the funding
    of leftist political agendas...


    maybe there are larger problems than context-less quotes from Facebook that need to be addressed. Take to the streets and save Williams from the bureaucrats and subjective collectivists! Liberate Williams!



    ps: Powerful you have become, Julian. I sense the dark side in you.
  65.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William CraigThe Player Hater's Ball
    I vote Andi Beqiraj as the most splendiferous and diabolical troll of the year.

    Why, thank you!

  66.  quote all quote selection
    Jessica,

    I accept your challenge.

    Your hypocritically hateful tirade sounded more hostile than was appropriate. Similarly, you have attempted to "impose" the same on the campus.

    I have meticulously researched many of these issues at Williams and I would be happy have a public debate with you at a time and place that is mutually satisfactory.

    Best Regards,
    David Michael

    edit: better?
    • CommentAuthorAllen Lum
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    David,

    Do not accuse Jessica of turning this forum into a "hostile environment" when you were the one who instigated it. She did nothing of the sort.
  67.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Allen Lum
    Your job is to continue trolling, lying, twisting facts


    Bone to pick? While David's post might not be a shining example of "WSO-style" investigative journalism, I'm failing to find any outright lies in it. Accuse, by all means, but choose your accusations wisely.

    Also, more generally, to the WSO population - there is a subtle, but real, difference between someone disagreeing with you and someone trolling. Please keep this in mind while composing that "killer post".

    edit: added more cowbell
  68.  quote all quote selection
    Allen,

    Those are very serious claims. While you may not agree with me, I've been entirely honest in my efforts. I also assume the same of those who disagree with me. That's why Williams is awesome. Because we can engage with people who are intellectually and culturally diverse from us. Ask anyone, and you'll find out that I treasure having those sorts of conversations without demeaning the person themselves.

    People have been having a productive conversation (for the most part) and I didn't want to interject because I already had my chance to speak. However, she called me out personally to respond in a manner that I felt was appropriate to her requests.
  69.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Harron
    Perhaps that could be answered by the full context of the Facebook quote? Not that I want to go posting someone else's facebook statuses and replies to it on WSO...not quite my cup of tea... but maybe the quote which sparked this thread was was lifted from a Facebook wall conversation on someone other Ms. Rodriguez's wall?


    You sir, win ALL the awards.

    Her quote was a response to someone else's status (which I see no reason to post...as far as I'm concerned, we're already out of bounds by reposting Lili's comment), which specifically referenced Ayn Rand. She responded to a personal statement of opinion by a friend of hers with a personal statement of her own on the subject. I remember reading it, thinking 'taken out of context that could sound bad' and then realizing that she doesn't know me and it was Facebook and not really any of my business.
    • CommentAuthorCaleb Baer
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    ...
  70.  quote all quote selection
    I just received a really scary threatening phone call and it has been reported. This isn't what I would expect of Williams students. And I would hope that even those who disagree with me entirely would agree that intimidation tactics and attacks on safety are not allowed.
  71.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: David Michael
    I just received a really scary threatening phone call and it has been reported. This isn't what I would expect of Williams students. And I would hope that even those who disagree with me entirely would agree that intimidation tactics and attacks on safety are not allowed.


    How do you know that it was a Williams student? Was it in any way related to this thread?
  72.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: David Michael
    I just received a really scary threatening phone call and it has been reported. This isn't what I would expect of Williams students. And I would hope that even those who disagree with me entirely would agree that intimidation tactics and attacks on safety are not allowed.


    WTF? Details!?
  73.  quote all quote selection
    I've withheld from posting on this thread for a multitude of reasons... none of which seem relevant or important anymore. I don't have much to say, except to remind anyone interested in a few things.

    Posted By: Jessica Torres
    labeling this discussion "Proof of discrimination at Williams" is wildly disrespectful and anachronistic to the supposed progression of conversations we have been(except not really) having as a community.

    ... quit this McCarthyist fear-mongering campaign against people with opinions. Nobody is "blacklisting" anyone except for you.


    If labeling a WSO thread that provides proof of something your find discomforting and an example of students not being treated equally "Proof of Discrimination at WIlliams" is "fear-mongering" then most of the people I know at Williams are are "wildly disrespectful and anachronistic." Your post was not only agressive, but you also chose to personally attack someone verbally rather than having an intellectual discussion about the subject of the thread.

    It saddens me that many activist leaders on this campus feel that they have the right to use tactics such as personal, emotional attacks, fear-mongering, and using their position to

    Posted By: Allen Lum
    troll, lie, twist facts, and demean people



    David posted something that deeply bothered and offended him. Yes, he transfered someones words from one public sphere to another. Perhaps this action was rude and unusual, but hardly hateful. He addressed what he considered to be an unjust action in a thoughtful way. He posted his response to what Lilli had said in a non-agressive way that expressed how it affected him personally. He did not attack any of the many people who came on to this thread to disagree or agree with him. In fact, he didn't continue to defend what he felt at all--he just let everyone else take it and discuss it in any way they wanted. In fact, he did not return to the thread until he was directly addressed in an agressive manner.


    Posted By: Allen Lum
    David,

    Do not accuse Jessica of turning this forum into a "hostile environment" when you were the one who instigated it. She did nothing of the sort. But I guess you can't help but troll, lie, twist facts, and demean people like the way you have always been.

    Best regards,
    Allen Lum



    How thoughtful, sincere, and reasonable of you, Allen. Not hostile in the slightest.

    Do you know David at all? Yes, his political and personal opinions (which everyone is allowed to hold, or am I mistaken?) is not in any way the majority. Yes, he says what he thinks and he means it. Many people do not agree with him, and that's fine. But to say that he "trolls, lies, twists facts, and demeans people" is incredibly inaccurate. In fact, he is one of the most honest people I know. I have no idea why you have chosen to be hateful and rude, but I find it extremely offensive.

    In the past few weeks, I have seen many people make honest attempts to make our campus a better place to be--David included. The response they have gotten has been hateful, crude, anrgy, and defensive.

    Hate does not fight discrimination. Hate does not change minds. Hate does not bring our community closer together. Hate does not make us better people.

    I have never been more ashamed to be part of the Williams community.

    P.S.

    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    How do you know that it was a Williams student? Was it in any way related to this thread?



    The number was a 413 number, and while I am uncomfortable discussing the things that were said, I will say that to my knowledge it most likely had to do with this thread.

    P.P.S.
    Edited because apparently spelling is not going so well for me today.
  74.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Dominique Exume
    Hate does not fight discrimination. Hate does not change minds. Hate does not bring out community closer together. Hate does not make us better people.

    I have never been more ashamed to be part of the Williams community.


    "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

    -Yoda



    Make sure you take this as an agreement, not as a way of undermining the importance of what you're saying. Because you're dead on.
  75.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: David Michael

    I just received a really scary threatening phone call and it has been reported. This isn't what I would expect of Williams students. And I would hope that even those who disagree with me entirely would agree that intimidation tactics and attacks on safety are not allowed.


    Sadly not surprising, since people get scary threatening emails from fellow students for stuff they say on WSO. Speaking from experience. Though, at least those are usually not anonymous...
  76.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: David Michael
    I just received a really scary threatening phone call and it has been reported. This isn't what I would expect of Williams students. And I would hope that even those who disagree with me entirely would agree that intimidation tactics and attacks on safety are not allowed.


    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig



    Isn't it a bit early to judge the administration's reaction given this happened between yesterday and 3 hours ago? They did took a whole weekend to decide to cancel classes.

    -Tobi of Akatsuki

    Edit: added image.
  77.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By:
    Isn't it a bit early to judge the administration's reaction given this happened between yesterday and 3 hours ago? They did took a whole weekend to decide to cancel classes.


    Huh? I didn't mean the administration at all. Wasn't it a demand by students? Am I history failing? Just pointing out that I don't forsee any so called "unified action."

    Edit: Looking at post, I understand why you might think I meant that, sorry.
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    Huh? I didn't mean the administration at all. Wasn't it a demand by students? Am I history failing? Just pointing out that I don't forsee any so called "unified action."

    Edit: Looking at post, I understand why you might think I meant that, sorry.


    Oh ok, that makes more sense. I'd wait a bit, I'll agree with you somewhat on that one.

    -Tobi of Akatsuki
  78.  quote all quote selection
    This thread has gone way off the rails. threatening phone calls?!

  79.  quote all quote selection
    Oh god. Im transferring.
  80.  quote all quote selection
    I don't even know where to begin with this. I guess I should start by reiterating that everything I'm about to say is a reflection of my own personal convictions and beliefs, that I do not intend to speak for any other student or organization with which I may be affiliated.

    David,
    I wish you hadn't received a threatening phone call, that is unacceptable and I am glad you reported it. I empathize with you. That being said, I would like to respectfully disagree with your position. I think it was completely inappropriate to repost something personal from Facebook that was intended for a specific audience. We have a culture at Williams of disrespecting boundaries, and I personally think you crossed the line with that. Perhaps it would have been more effective if you had a private conversation with Lili before you decided to publicly criticize her and defame her character.

    That being said, what I take from your OP is that you feel Lili discriminated against a student on the basis of the literary preference. The fact of the matter is, as Lili pointed out, that in her role as an Admissions Officer, she was paid to discriminate. If there was no discrimination in the Admissions Office everyone that applied would be accepted. I'm sorry, that's just a fact. So I'm confused as to what kind of measure you would like the institution to take to address this bias. I think discrimination is such a loaded word, it usually carries with it a racial connotation. To be honest, my initial reading of your OP was "[conservative] white students are being discriminated against and rejected from Williams and it's all Lili's fault." As a black male who has been racially and socioeconomically discriminated against my whole entire life, that struck a nerve. Given all that has happened this last month with the hate crime and the various movements, it's difficult not to get emotional. I felt like you were saying "Racial minorities have these issues on campus, but f*ck that because conservatives have this issue that's more urgent." I don't you, and I don't know if that was your intent, but given the context of what has been going on, that is how your message could have been construed. We don't often talk about intellectual/political discrimination and I think this is something we should discuss more as a campus. I just didn't think this was the appropriate time or forum. And I think this is where Jessica was coming from. (Jess, correct me if I'm wrong.)

    Dominique, I can appreciate your need to defend David, but your post doesn't really add anything to the conversation, IMO. The sarcasm, the labels "rude, offensive, aggressive" all undermine your message. But you have a right to your opinion. So does Jess, and so does Allen. Yes, Jess may have been aggressive. But you have to understand how she may have felt. I'm gonna say it again. David's post felt like a big "F*** YOU" to the student leaders out here pushing for change.

    It really blows my mind the things we decide to speak out against. We'll call Jess out for being aggressive, but we won't call Timothy Kiely out for the disrespectful, personal attack he made on the thread. He has since taken the post down. [But if you're reading this Timothy Kiely I have no respect for you as a MAN. You can infer some of the other choice words I would have had for you the night I read that bullshit. You know what you wrote and we can discuss it at another time, in private if you would like.]

    And another thing...all these stupid ass memes with facepalms and unicorns and shit. Not funny! Discrimination isn't a joke, and it effects some people more than others, maybe even at an emotional level. I guess that's why students get aggressive and defensive every time we discuss it. We can't keep trying to add comic relief to these difficult, heavy conversations. Because when I see some of the stupidity I've seen this thread, I feel like I'm not being taken serious. And when I feel like the campus doesn't take me seriously, I have to get aggressive. Or angry. Or whatever you want to call it.

    I've said enough for now, I think.
  81.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    we won't call Timothy Kiely out for the disrespectful, personal attack he made on the thread.


    I was actually really proud of WSO for not responding to him. It was the wrong place, the wrong time, the wrong thread, and on a subject that is way too personal and easily causes intense reactions. Responding to him would only have hijacked the thread into an overly angry, nonproductive flame war. When I saw it go up I sat there hoping no one would respond so we didn't get sucked into the whole mess.
  82.  quote all quote selection
    I've been trying to avoid posting in this thread as much as possible, but I just wanted to highlight something:

    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    And another thing...all these stupid ass memes with facepalms and unicorns and shit. Not funny! Discrimination isn't a joke, and it effects some people more than others, maybe even at an emotional level.


    Not only this, but whenever you post the famous facepalm.jpg in response to someone else's argument, you are not continuing the conversation*. You are saying, "I am above the conversation." This creates in you a warm fuzzy feeling of superiority and the feeling in everyone else that you're a douchebag, with no gain in insight for either side. The likelihood of rational conversation continuing from there falls off rapidly, giving way to the kinds of (explicit or implicit) personal attacks that make up most of this thread.

    This thread reached its logical conclusion at this point:

    Posted By: Lili Rodriguez
    If your writing displayed complexity, I gave you the benefit of the doubt despite my literary preferences.


    We have in the first post a claim (Admissions decisions are substantially affected by the literary tastes of admissions officers) and a piece of evidence (a joke on Facebook where Ayn Rand is the punchline). Above we have a concise, reasonable rebuttal of the claim that cannot be contradicted without having the experience of being Lili Rodriguez, because in order to contradict the rebuttal you would need to produce evidence of a case or cases where the benefit of the doubt was not given. Speculation about the possible "degree of bias" is just that: speculation. Once you start layering speculation upon speculation about what might or might not be affecting someone else's judgment, the argument stops being useful or reasonable and starts being a steaming pile of invention/shit (ie 95% of this thread).

    So if you're about to post, think to yourself: "Am I posting my opinion about things that might happen in Lili's head that contradict or extrapolate what Lili has actually said?" If yes, ask yourself: "Am I Lili Rodriguez?" If no, don't post.

    If you answered no to the first question, ask yourself: "Am I posting about an issue that arose as a result of a long string of logical fallacies, tenuous reasoning, and personal attacks?" The answer is yes, so please, just go home.


    *That said, Kaybi's and Eunice's ponies provide a fitting commentary on the overall logical flow of this thread, and so I accept them as a useful part of the conversation.
  83.  quote all quote selection
    Carlos, you are the best. That's all.
  84.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    *That said, Kaybi's and Eunice's ponies provide a fitting commentary on the overall logical flow of this thread, and so I accept them as a useful part of the conversation.


    Oh, really? Hahaha, I totally would not have been offended at all nor denied it if you found the ponies distracting and useless to the discussion.
  85.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    Not only this, but whenever you post the famous facepalm.jpg in response to someone else's argument, you are not continuing the conversation*. You are saying, "I am above the conversation." This creates in you a warm fuzzy feeling of superiority and the feeling in everyone else that you're a douchebag, with no gain in insight for either side.


    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    This creates in you a warm fuzzy feeling of superiority and the feeling in everyone else that you're a douchebag, with no gain in insight for either side.


    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    This creates in you a warm fuzzy feeling of superiority


    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    So if you're about to post, think to yourself: "Am I posting my opinion about things that might happen in Lili's head that contradict or extrapolate what Lili has actually said?" If yes, ask yourself: "Am I Lili Rodriguez?" If no, don't post.




    This mentality is based on:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/68353.html
    I don't think it requires us to go negative in the sense of us running a bunch of ads that are false or character assassinations, ... We may just run clips of the Republican debates verbatim. We won't even comment on them; we'll just run those in a loop. -Obama

    I feel forced to say this but I'll do it anyways. I believe that simply quoting people to show their hypocrisy is a better way of pointing it out than explaining it myself. I am very careful not to take them out of context. This way, when others try and extrapolate what I have said, I still have said nothing, while they still have.

    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    And another thing...all these stupid ass memes with facepalms and unicorns and shit. Not funny! Discrimination isn't a joke


    I disagree, but I wish I didn't have to. When students use selective application of morality and call it justice, their causes invariably become nothing more than a petty play to assert social dominance over others. In this way the word "discrimination"quickly becomes a joke, and I should hope so. I wouldn't want to live on a campus where some wo/men are just more equal than others. I may be history failing here, but I believe it has happened here before, look up why there is a stone bench dedicated to "George Moritz Wahl" on the top of stone hill. It's in the hiking guide.
    Edit: History failing, was WWI not WWII I believe.

    "Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which." George Orwell, Animal Farm
  86.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    This way, when others try and extrapolate what I have said, I still have said nothing, while they still have.


    Which is to say that

    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    you are not continuing the conversation. You are saying, "I am above the conversation."
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    I've been trying to avoid posting in this thread as much as possible


    which is to say

    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    "I am above the conversation."


    You also extrapolated Will's attempt to point out hypocrisy, which here is used as a logical attempt to show the fallacies people are trying to point out in someone else's argument is also present in their own and hence rendering both conclusions equally unproven, as a way of making him feel superior. This may or may not be the case. He merely wanted to point out the hypocrisy, and nothing more, and thus there is less useless extraneous information added to the discussion. His nothing refers to saying nothing extra, for he has already pointed out what he thinks is hypocrisy.

    We've all established that the Facebook quote was a joke that offended the OP, who, rather than taking it up with Ms. Rodriguez directly, decided to post this on WSO for community discussion under the label of "Proof of Discrimination at Williams," which is a dick move. We brought the OP's discussion, as you said, to it's logical conclusion that it was in fact a case of disagreement with the intellectual level of Ayn Rand's work, and admittedly went off on a tangent discussing the degrees of bias and, more or less, the role of diversity/bias in admissions.

    We also happened to uncover A LOT of pent up anger and hatred regarding the issues of discrimination and responses to discrimination, which has led to numerous posts attempting to end the dialogue by proclaiming that the original topic is done. Sadly, this is not a coherent logically flowing paper that one would turn in, but a web forum. Everyone is free to talk about anything here, related or otherwise; participation does not imply idiocy. There's obviously something bugging people, silence isn't going to solve it. Might as well let them blow off their steam as long as it's no longer about Ms. Rodriguez's job anymore.

    -Tobi of Akatsuki
  87.  quote all quote selection
    <blockquote><cite><a href="#Item_99">Posted By: William Craig</a></cite>
    When students use selective application of morality and call it justice, their causes invariably become nothing more than a petty play to assert social dominance over others.</blockquote>

    Hey Will, can you clarify this for me? Who's using a selective application of morality and calling it justice? I'm confused about where that came from.
  88.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By:
    You also extrapolated Will's attempt to point out hypocrisy, which here is used as a logical attempt to show the fallacies people are trying to point out in someone else's argument is also present in their own and hence rendering both conclusions equally unproven, as a way of making him feel superior. This may or may not be the case. He merely wanted to point out the hypocrisy, and nothing more, and thus there is less useless extraneous information added to the discussion. His nothing refers to saying nothing extra, for he has already pointed out what he thinks is hypocrisy.

    We've all established that the Facebook quote was a joke that offended the OP, who, rather than taking it up with Ms. Rodriguez directly, decided to post this on WSO for community discussion under the label of "Proof of Discrimination at Williams," which is a dick move. We brought the OP's discussion, as you said, to it's logical conclusion that it was in fact a case of disagreement with the intellectual level of Ayn Rand's work, and admittedly went off on a tangent discussing the degrees of bias and, more or less, the role of diversity/bias in admissions.

    We also happened to uncover A LOT of pent up anger and hatred regarding the issues of discrimination and responses to discrimination, which has led to numerous posts attempting to end the dialogue by proclaiming that the original topic is done. Sadly, this is not a coherent logically flowing paper that one would turn in, but a web forum. Everyone is free to talk about anything here, related or otherwise; participation does not imply idiocy. There's obviously something bugging people, silence isn't going to solve it. Might as well let them blow off their steam as long as it's no longer about Ms. Rodriguez's job anymore.

    -Tobi of Akatsuki


    Point taken. I was just getting the feeling that a lot of the anger wasn't really "pent up," but rather provoked by disrespectful argument styles on both sides. That is, some people really wanted a coherent argument to resolve what appeared to be a potential issue, but were drawn into something entirely different (and much more dramatic than need be). So I was trying to bring some closure to what appeared to me to be the main "point" of the thread: a serious conversation about a particular concern. Still, point taken.

    Back to finals...
  89.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig

    I disagree, but I wish I didn't have to. When students use selective application of morality and call it justice, their causes invariably become nothing more than a petty play to assert social dominance over others. In this way the word "discrimination"quickly becomes a joke, and I should hope so. I wouldn't want to live on a campus where some wo/men are just more equal than others.



    This is pretty much Bachmann's argument here.

    Which is countered very well by Secretary Clinton here.

    Summary: minorities are not more equal than other students if the policies in question are designed to empower marginalized and disenfranchised groups. The question then becomes: do you believe that minority students are disenfranchised? Sounds like what is happening is that the more traditional minorities (ethnic and sexual minorities) are claiming they are, and some less traditional minorities (conservatives, for example) are negating that claim while simultaneously claiming that they are marginalized.

    If we start from a base of respecting other people's assertions, perhaps this conversation can move forward in a way that is both productive and less damaging. Believing that racism, sexism, and homophobia are real things on this campus is not mutually exclusive with believing that conservative students are ostracized in some ways as well.
  90.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Carrie Tribble
    If we start from a base of respecting other people's assertions, perhaps this conversation can move forward in a way that is both productive and less damaging.


    So far, I have yet to see that on any WSO post, even on recent actual, in-person conversations I have had thus far in light of recent events on campus. If we could only take a couple of steps back and realize this simple process, we could ideally fix every issue we have encountered this semester thus far and maybe even rectify the wrong's of this college's polemic past. But....

    "You, you may say
    I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
    I hope some day you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people sharing all the world...."

    -Imagine by John Lennon




    PS I swear, if WSO doesn't quote my text right one more time....
  91.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Carrie TribbleThe question then becomes: do you believe that minority students are disenfranchised? Sounds like what is happening is that the more traditional minorities (ethnic and sexual minorities) are claiming they are, and some less traditional minorities (conservatives, for example) are negating that claim while simultaneously claiming that they are marginalized.

    If we start from a base of respecting other people's assertions, perhaps this conversation can move forward in a way that is both productive and less damaging. Believing that racism, sexism, and homophobia are real things on this campus is not mutually exclusive with believing that conservative students are ostracized in some ways as well.


    (That pony .gif means I agree with her. She's very eloquent. I only have ponies.)
  92.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By:
    Might as well let them blow off their steam as long as it's no longer about Ms. Rodriguez's job anymore.


    Yes.
  93.  quote all quote selection
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmj7KlIut1w&amp;ob=av2n
    Its the HOLIDAYS everyone, lets try to spread a little cheer before we depart for break!
  94.  quote all quote selection
    b
  95.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Daquan Mickens

    Hey Will, can you clarify this for me? Who's using a selective application of morality and calling it justice? I'm confused about where that came from.


    Posted By: William Craig
    1. Institutionalize diversity training for ALL administration, faculty, staff, support staff, coaches, JAs, TAs, students and other Williams College personnel
    2. Make the Multicultural Center a greater role in Diversity Training
    3. a) Adequately publicize all administrative, faculty and staff job
    openings to students and faculty of color.
    b) Hire more people of color in support services such as the Health
    Center, Psych Counseling, Campus Safety & Security, the Office of Career Counseling and the Office of Student Life
    4. Reevaluate the classes that fulfill the Exploring Diversity Initiative
    5. Reduce the actual number of EDI courses offered and require students to take 3 classes as opposed to 1.
    6. a) Make Africana Studies both a concentration AND a major
    b) Hire more professors who specialize in Continental African Studies
    7. Redesign First Generation Orientation
    8. Renovate Siskind House to be included in the space allotted to the Multicultural Center and MinCo Groups
    9. Re-establish Rice House as the official AND historical “home” of the Black Student Union; giving the BSU board and its members ultimate agency over how to best use the space.
    10. Employ a full-time non-administrative advisor to the Black Student Union


    Re-read that discussion for a pretty comprehensive and thoughtful analysis. Not by me mostly, I was being really lazy. Not an argument that needs to be repeated here.
    Edit: More unintentional douchebaggery.
    Posted By: Carrie Tribble
    This is pretty much Bachmann's argument here.


    That is in no way what I am saying. I do not advocate any discriminatory policy, and I take the comparison as an insult that is totally unfounded.

    Posted By: Carrie Tribble
    The question then becomes: do you believe that minority students are disenfranchised?


    Yes, the issue I have is that the manner by which these groups, better put as the student organizations that claim to represent this groups, are garnering social support. By calling out and attacking individuals in public forums, it is doing much more harm than it is doing good. One person talking to another, that's ok, but the crowds jeering reminded me of This more than anything else. When recalling an event, we tend to generalize the implications of our experiences onto the entire student body in an unfair manner. It's a well documented human characteristic. Conversion comes from within anyways, you won't turn implicit racism off in this manner, if anything this activity cultivates it.
    Edit: I recognize this end bit is hypocritical, use your judgment to differentiate between what I've done and what was done at the forum, or at Goodrich that Sunday.

    Posted By: Carrie Tribble
    are negating that claim while simultaneously claiming that they are marginalized.


    I don't think that they negate the claim, they are just pointing out that the way in which people are fighting against marginalization is indicative of assertion of social dominance rather than an assertion of faith in civil liberties. It's the whole stupidity of "black power" combatting "white power." Take a page from Marcus Aurelius "The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury." Roman emperors, Jesus, Ghandi, Buddha, whichever god you like, the message is the same. Don't Judging by how the forum was at points little more than an effigy burning for fat conservative white men with combovers who think lesbians are weird, and that many closely align political affiliation and racist or discriminatory ideation, I think that the fear conservatives harbor:

    "We cannot afford to be misconstrued or slandered as an instrument of hate
    against individuals, races, religions, or sexualities."

    about being marginalized as bigots for little reason is fairly justified, even if their apocalyptic rhetoric, see John Galt Paragraph 1, is not. Sorry, Run on.

    "The Multicultural center is being changed to the "Center for Social
    Change" which advocates social and economic justice, which,
    paradoxically are the opposite of actual justice. They are forming an
    unnamed student movement to implement new mandates on all aspects of
    life, academic subversion, social speech codes, and even the funding
    of leftist political agendas. Administrators are lobbying to increase
    bureaucratic powers to unthinkable proportions. Committees are being
    formed to select and oversee committees that select and oversee task
    forces that abridge essential intellectual and personal freedoms."

    Posted By: Carrie Tribble
    If we start from a base of respecting other people's assertions, perhaps this conversation can move forward in a way that is both productive and less damaging.


    Yes and no, this can result in placation of fear and mass hysteria in the cases when it really matters. Fear is usually not rational, especially at a place like Williams. I guess this is just my personal belief, but I never think that fear or anger should be used as a motivation for social change.

    Posted By: Carrie Tribble
    Believing that racism, sexism, and homophobia are real things on this campus is not mutually exclusive with believing that conservative students are ostracized in some ways as well.


    So it seems that we agree on pretty much everything, you just severely misjudged what I said. I forgive you, it's just WSO after all. Now excuse my while I go cleanse myself in the soothing water of Lake Minnetonka, I simply cannot bear the feeling of the corrosive tap water on my skin.

    Posted By: Courtney Alexander
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmj7KlIut1w&ob=av2n
    Its the HOLIDAYS everyone, lets try to spread a little cheer before we depart for break!


    GOD DAMNIT I LOVE GEORGE MICHAEL.

    Edit: Missed this, but it's win.

    Posted By: Allan Gonzalez
    "You, you may say
    I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
    I hope some day you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people sharing all the world...."

    -Imagine by John Lennon


    "Imagine there's no heavenwonder you can
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today...

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace... "

    I think that these verses may be more relevant unfortunately. Edit: unintential douchebaggery.
  96.  quote all quote selection
    As always, everything I say is solely my opinion, not meant to be a reflection of the black community or any other students/student organizations with which I'm affiliated. Will, I'm really trying to understand your point of view, believe it or not, so the "douchebaggery", unintentional or otherwise, isn't really necessary. Thanks :)

    Moving along, I'm going to ask that people who post on this forum be more concrete and specific with their language. For example, I asked Will 'who' was "using a selective application of morality and calling it justice" and he responded with a list of demands from the BSU, a 'what'. But that's okay, I guess he's talking about the Black Student Union. (correct me if I am wrong) Will, I am willing to avail myself to you, and to anyone else for that matter, who wants to discuss the BSU list of demands. But I'm not about to legitimize them over WSO. I'm singling myself out, because I want everyone to be clear that just because a student looks black, self-identifies as Black, has Black friends, spends a considerable amount of time in Rice House, is concentrating in Africana Studies, is dating someone Black, etc. does not mean they are a member of the Black Student Union.

    Posted By: William Craig
    I don't think that they negate the claim, they are just pointing out that the way in which people are fighting against marginalization is indicative of assertion of social dominance rather than an assertion of faith in civil liberties. It's the whole stupidity of "black power" combatting "white power."


    That the moral manipulators, if you will, are asserting social dominance implies that they are social equals with the majority. I'm going to make this personal for just one second: Will, if you think that you and I are social equals and that my civil liberties are just as protected as yours, you are sorely mistaken my friend.

    Just a reminder to all posters and readers to be respectful. Your reference of the "stupidity" of Black Power combatting White Power, was disrespectful. Because if it wasn't for Black Power, I wouldn't be at Williams College. That right there says to me that you, Will, a member of the Williams Community, don't find any legitimacy in the ideology of Black Power, one to which I personally subscribe (though it is not the only ideology to which I subscribe) and that it shouldn't be espoused at Williams College, because we (as in the Williams Community) are above that. Essentially, you are telling me, Will, that I don't belong here at Williams College, because of my intellectual diversity. Which is where this whole conversation started, right?
  97.  quote all quote selection
    No, my edits were about myself, not you.
  98.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    For example, I asked Will 'who' was "using a selective application of morality and calling it justice" and he responded with a list of demands from the BSU, a 'what'.


    Posted By: William Craig
    Signed,

    Williams Black Student Union
    Williams African Student Organization
    Students of Caribbean Ancestry


    Posted By: Christopher Hikel
    Is there anybody from the BSU reading who can explain why each of these matter in terms of creating a more inclusive environment for black American students? As hard as I try, I'm just not seeing it.


    See that discussion. I think it's a great example of using guilt and fear in order to support the political agenda of a group. I said it then, I'll say it now: this is exactly what Hermann Goering described when explaining the process of how leaders manipulate populations. This is exactly what Orwell described in Animal Farm, and in 1984 these are the thought police. Never support this kind of mob behavior, and always question intent.

    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    I'm singling myself out, because I want everyone to be clear that just because a student looks black, self-identifies as Black, has Black friends, spends a considerable amount of time in Rice House, is concentrating in Africana Studies, is dating someone Black, etc. does not mean they are a member of the Black Student Union.


    I don't think anyone was making these mistakes, do you?
    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    That the moral manipulators, if you will, are asserting social dominance implies that they are social equals with the majority. I'm going to make this personal for just one second: Will, if you think that you and I are social equals and that my civil liberties are just as protected as yours, you are sorely mistaken my friend.


    I dare say people who denounce overt racism on this campus are an overwhelming majority, so your first sentence doesn't really make sense. Reminds me of Christians like Rick Perry, claiming that their religion is under attack. They are so entitled that their view of equality between religions is a place of privilege. Put your feet on the ground, you are at Williams College, this is one of the most socially liberal places in the United States. Based on what I've seen, implicit racism usually turns into a fear of offending rather than anything else. As for your second sentence, that isn't an attack on me, that is an attack on administrative policy, and on social norms. I do not think this college has any differences between race for civil liberties, and I do not think it is socially acceptable on this campus as a whole to discriminate based on this criteria.

    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    Your reference of the "stupidity" of Black Power combatting White Power, was disrespectful. Because if it wasn't for Black Power, I wouldn't be at Williams College. That right there says to me that you, Will, a member of the Williams Community, don't find any legitimacy in the ideology of Black Power


    Great example of double standards, would someone be called a bigoted idiot for explicitly stating they believe in white power? Absolutely, and nobody would care, including myself probably. To be fair, I should have said the black nationalist, racial separatist movement to be very clear. Either way, the construct I was trying to get at, fervent support of the in-group as a means of attacking an out-group, exists within the white power and black power movements, although it is obviously not true for all members. I see support for this kind of behavior ill conceived, and yes, illegitimate from my own personal philosophy. They are combatting racism by becoming racist themselves. I don't feel as if I should have need to put an asterix next to every statement that points out that there is heterogeneity in a population. It is assumed in all cases. I generalize that people on campus are capable of viewing aspects of society as heterogenous while simultaneously understanding underlying recurrent problems within culture. If you want specifics of "The Hate that Hate Produced," the hate construct within the black power movement I am calling stupid, see the relevant program. Malcom X called the March on Washington the Farce on Washington, and something tells me that militant black nationalists did quite a bit more harm to the civil rights movement in the united states than it did help.

    Posted By: William Craig
    It's the whole stupidity of "black power" combatting "white power." Take a page from Marcus Aurelius "The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury." Roman emperors, Jesus, Ghandi, Buddha, whichever god you like, the message is the same.


    Martin Luther King Jr. on the topic.

    Or even Malcom X after he visited Mecca
    "Listening to leaders like Nasser, Ben Bella, and Nkrumah awakened me to the dangers of racism. I realized racism isn't just a black and white problem. It's brought bloodbaths to about every nation on earth at one time or another." -Malcom X, 1965

    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    Essentially, you are telling me, Will, that I don't belong here at Williams College, because of my intellectual diversity. Which is where this whole conversation started, right?


    Nope, you are twisting my words and trying to label me as a hypocrit, and target me for a politically correct attack that is entirely unjustified. I never said anything about belonging or not belonging here on the grounds of intellectual belief. Just because I don't think black nationalism/racial separatism is a particularly sound mentality, doesn't mean we shouldn't allow anyone on campus to come purely on that criteria. I suppose what I would add is that Lilly's argument about Ayn Rand writers is somewhat applicable. I haven't met any white people who think black people are farm equipment who I thought I had anything to gain from, and I haven't met any militant black nationalists/separatists who think white people are the race of that devil that I feel I had much to gain from, other than a path to understand the motivations for their absurd behavior. Now let me ask you this question, do you believe that neo-nazis belong on campus? If you don't, is that a threat to intellectual diversity?

    Mmmm Fiji!
    • CommentAuthorAllen Lum
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2011
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    See that discussion. I think it's a great example of using guilt and fear in order to support the political agenda of a group. I said it then, I'll say it now: this is exactly what Hermann Goering described when explaining the process of how leaders manipulate populations. This is exactly what Orwell described in Animal Farm, and in 1984 these are the thought police. Never support this kind of mob behavior, and always question intent.


    I feel like you are trying to compare the BSU to a militant group that will exert a terrifying, tyrannical control on the campus and will resort to violence on those who do not comply with their views. Let me tell you, they are not doing that. In fact, their "agenda" is to seek socioeconomic and political rights that have been historically denied to them. The BSU is not, as you are suggesting, trying to become

    Posted By: William Craig
    the kind of mob behavior


    found in Animal Farm with which you liken them to. Offensive on your part, I might add.


    Posted By: William Craig
    I dare say people who denounce overt racism on this campus are an overwhelming majority


    The thing is, how would you know? Just look at the hate wall and you'll see that you are actually giving so many people the benefit of the doubt. Just because overt racism does not occur anymore does not mean that racism does not exist. In fact, as the hate crime, or the subsequent events demonstrated, people resort to micro-aggressions.


    Posted By: William Craig
    They are combatting racism by becoming racist themselves.


    White power was born to reinforce white supremacy. Black power, for the most part, was born to fight white hegemony and oppression. The Black Power movement had to turn militant to even get simple acts of political equality.
  99.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Allen Lum
    I feel like you are trying to compare the BSU to a militant group that will exert a terrifying, tyrannical control on the campus and will resort to violence on those who do not comply with their views.


    I'm not looking at scale or the resultant actions, I'm looking at the ideas and patterns of behavior behind those events. Yeah it's sensational, but I think both of these events do share the underlying trait of strong in-group support and separation from the arbitrarily defined out-group. Look at the wording of that letter, all it does is placate fear, and then turns it into demands that are totally unhelpful for the problem at hand. Tell people that fear is a legitimate response --> fear --> label a bad guy --> political support. It's quite a simple process.

    Posted By: Allen Lum
    Let me tell you, they are not doing that. In fact, their "agenda" is to seek socioeconomic and political rights that have been historically denied to them. The BSU is not, as you are suggesting, trying to become


    Posted By: William Craig
    Reevaluate the classes that fulfill the Exploring Diversity Initiative
    5. Reduce the actual number of EDI courses offered and require students to take 3 classes as opposed to 1.
    6. a) Make Africana Studies both a concentration AND a major
    b) Hire more professors who specialize in Continental African Studies
    7. Redesign First Generation Orientation
    8. Renovate Siskind House to be included in the space allotted to the Multicultural Center and MinCo Groups
    9. Re-establish Rice House as the official AND historical “home” of the Black Student Union; giving the BSU board and its members ultimate agency over how to best use the space.
    10. Employ a full-time non-administrative advisor to the Black Student Union


    How would these demands possibly fall under the category of:

    Posted By: Allen Lum
    socioeconomic and political rights that have been historically denied to them.


    Posted By: Allen Lum
    found in Animal Farm with which you liken them to. Offensive on your part, I might add.


    Animal Farm is not about animals. The more you know. Apparently I can't mention George Orwell when discussing race politics because animal metaphors are too offensive. I'm just a thoughtcriminal I guess.


    Posted By: Allen Lum
    The thing is, how would you know? Just look at the hate wall and you'll see that you are actually giving so many people the benefit of the doubt. Just because overt racism does not occur anymore does not mean that racism does not exist. In fact, as the hate crime, or the subsequent events demonstrated, people resort to micro-aggressions.


    I dunno... I seem to remember a certain campus wide meeting or something about it... Where the President described how this behavior was totally unacceptable... As for giving people the benefit of the doubt, I'll use the same argument against you. It's easy to use a couple dozen examples of behavior to define a student body of a few thousand, simple confirmation bias. This is the convince people they are under attack aspect of things, and later on, denouncing pacifists for endangering the country aspect of things.

    Posted By: Allen Lum
    Just because overt racism does not occur anymore does not mean that racism does not exist. In fact, as the hate crime, or the subsequent events demonstrated, people resort to micro-aggressions.


    Are you implying that we should be shaming people for unconscious differences in facial muscle movement that exist due to the color of the person they are talking to? That's absolutely INSANE. If you're talking about Microagressions I don't really have enough time to explain everything wrong with that. I bumped the post about that, because there are a WHOLE lot of lulz to be mined from said website. Also, I fail to see how "the hate crime," or the subsequent events, demonstrated the problem of implicit racism, or how it is, in and of itself, a problem at all where civil liberties are concerned. Someone who is in a 300 level psych class on discrimination needs to come in here and bomb the shit out of this thread with psych studies from last year's syllabus.

    Posted By: Allen Lum
    White power was born to reinforce white supremacy. Black power, for the most part, was born to fight white hegemony and oppression. The Black Power movement had to turn militant to even get simple acts of political equality.


    Posted By: Allen Lum
    had to turn militant


    Are you implying that the Civil Rights Movement consisted of a violent overthrow of the United States Government? Go watch some footage of the March on Washington. Or just watch this video that I posted a couple hours ago You also seem to be implying that non-violent protest is illegitimate.

  100.  quote all quote selection
    As always I speak for myself and myself only. Nothing I say from here on out, is meant to be a reflection of the beliefs of any students/student organizations with which I may be affiliated.

    Posted By: William Craig

    Posted By: Christopher Hikel

    Is there anybody from the BSU reading who can explain why each of these matter in terms of creating a more inclusive environment for black American students? As hard as I try, I'm just not seeing it.


    See that discussion. I think it's a great example of using guilt and fear in order to support the political agenda of a group.


    What I'm I supposed to get from that particularly discussion exactly? I really wish you would just make your points clearly, instead of referring me back to dead threads.

    Posted By: William Craig
    Great example of double standards, would someone be called a bigoted idiot for explicitly stating they believe in white power? Absolutely, and nobody would care, including myself probably.


    So you're saying because I explicitly stated that I believe in Black Power...finish the blank. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, I just want to be clear that I understand you correctly. And why do we always have to go here: Black students want Black Studies...should we have a White Studies? Black students want a Black Student Union, but we would be wrong if we had a White Student Union. Black students want a house...but we would be wrong if we had an all white house. The last time I checked, the majority of the Williams world of academia is steeped in Eurocentric ideology. Since Williams is a predominantly white institution, a majority of the dorms are White, the classes are filled with white students and professors, the library has White staff, administration is predominantly white. There are sprinkles of color. Are you getting the picture yet? If you can't see it by now, I don't know what else to say.



    Posted By: William Craig
    Posted By: Daquan Mickens

    Essentially, you are telling me, Will, that I don't belong here at Williams College, because of my intellectual diversity. Which is where this whole conversation started, right?


    Nope, you are twisting my words and trying to label me as a hypocrit, and target me for a politically correct attack that is entirely unjustified. I never said anything about belonging or not belonging here on the grounds of intellectual belief. Just because I don't think black nationalism/racial separatism is a particularly sound mentality, doesn't mean we shouldn't allow anyone on campus to come purely on that criteria.


    Those are your words bro, not mine. I'm not into labeling and name-calling. I'm just telling you my interpretation of what you're saying. Correct me if I'm wrong, please.

    Posted By: William Craig
    Now let me ask you this question, do you believe that neo-nazis belong on campus? If you don't, is that a threat to intellectual diversity?


    By the looks of it, we have a couple on campus already. They've been here for a while too. Believe in whatever you want, just show me respect physically, emotionally and mentally, and let me do me. I'll do the same.

    Will this was fun, but I got 60+ pages of writing to do, so I'ma cap it here. Like I said, I'm open and willing to talk IN PERSON. I don't think you're understanding me, and I definitely don't understand you. So what do you want to do about it?

    Game, blouses. <-- Figured you'd appreciate that as a fellow Dave Chappelle fan.
  101.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    Believe in whatever you want, just show me respect physically, emotionally and mentally, and let me do me. I'll do the same.


    Isn't this effectively what David was asking for in his original post? This conversation's gone in all sorts of directions (many compelling, some not as much), but I can't help but feel that what you've lain out here, whether you intended it or not, is exactly what the OP was pleading.

    *Edited for formatting
  102.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    I don't think that they negate the claim, they are just pointing out that the way in which people are fighting against marginalization is indicative of assertion of social dominance rather than an assertion of faith in civil liberties. It's the whole stupidity of "black power" combatting "white power." Take a page from Marcus Aurelius "The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury."


    black power combatting white power. Hate and ethnocentrism combatting hate and ethnocentrism.

    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    Your reference of the "stupidity" of Black Power combatting White Power, was disrespectful. Because if it wasn't for Black Power, I wouldn't be at Williams College. That right there says to me that you, Will, a member of the Williams Community, don't find any legitimacy in the ideology of Black Power, one to which I personally subscribe (though it is not the only ideology to which I subscribe) and that it shouldn't be espoused at Williams College, because we (as in the Williams Community) are above that. Essentially, you are telling me, Will, that I don't belong here at Williams College, because of my intellectual diversity.


    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    disrespectful... That right there says to me that you, Will, a member of the Williams Community, don't find any legitimacy in the ideology of Black Power, one to which I personally subscribe... and that it shouldn't be espoused at Williams College... because we (as in the Williams Community) are above that. Essentially, you are telling me, Will, that I don't belong here at Williams College, because of my intellectual diversity.


    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    Those are your words bro, not mine. I'm not into labeling and name-calling. I'm just telling you my interpretation of what you're saying. Correct me if I'm wrong, please.


    Ok, You're... completely wrong. If it wasn't for rejection of ethnocentrism, you wouldn't be here. Listen to the video I posted of MLK. Rejection of ethnocentrism and hate was at the core of the civil rights movement. That is totally indisputable, I'm sorry. Do I think that ascribing to either of these things makes an individual academically incompetent? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But that doesn't mean I see ethnocentrism as a productive way of approaching life.

    Posted By: Daquan Mickens
    The last time I checked, the majority of the Williams world of academia is steeped in Eurocentric ideology. Since Williams is a predominantly white institution, a majority of the dorms are White, the classes are filled with white students and professors, the library has White staff, administration is predominantly white. There are sprinkles of color. Are you getting the picture yet? If you can't see it by now, I don't know what else to say.


    The last time I checked, the majority of the Williams world of academia is steeped in Afrocentric ideology. Since Williams is a predominantly black institution, a majority of the dorms are black, the classes are filled with black students and professors, the library has black staff, administration is predominantly black. There are sprinkles of white. Are you getting the picture yet? If you can't see it by now, I don't know what else to say.

    The picture I get from what you said, is that you're judgmental and don't see many forms of academics here as legitimate simply because the students and professors are white?
    I understand the idea that Williams is the white house, so we don't need a white house, but the end goal is integration, not cultivating ethnocentrism as you seem to be doing.

    I get it,yes, yes, this place is so unwelcoming because everyone's white, the librarians are all white because of our racist hiring policies, nobody cares about african culture because everyone's white, everything's just so racist, there's just so much to be mad about here, there's so much discrimination. If you expect to see racism, especially when you harbor it implicitly for the perpetrator, you will find it. That's the whole point of pretty much every criticism I've seen of the student body's response to the so called "Hate Crime." The people who claim to be correcting problems of discrimination are committing these crimes themselves. People are so focused on problems in the world outside that they fail to see the problems within themselves. I say with confidence that the overwhelming majority of people here are not explicit racists. When I hear people complaining of white racism here, I have to laugh because it usually becomes comically hypocritical when the evidence and corresponding judgment are put together. They just assume white people are racist because they are white. If a white person is ignorant of your culture? Racist. If a white person says something awkward or is awkward around you? They must be racist. A professor assumed you spoke Spanish just because you talk with an accent and are from Puerto Rico? Wow how judgmental. Williams won't make _____ Studies a Major, or add more classes to ____ Studies, they clearly don't care about it because it is not Eurocentric. Use your own discretion on what you hear yourself. It seems to me so judgmental and absurd, and it seems to make a joke of real discrimination. Many fought and died for this stuff, false accusations of institutional and social racism are serious business. If there isn't a strong argument for it, and you make the argument, it just makes the people who cry out look like rabble-rousers even more the next time. To complaints about the courses offered, If you didn't like the curriculum offered here, you shouldn't have gone here! If you think that _____ Studies is too small to meet demand, argue that! If librarians won't look for your books, or don't have interest in your material because of what you're studying, argue that! If you had no interest in joining this absurdly labelled "Eurocentrist" culture, transfer! If you don't like people who can't even make eye contact with you, get used it, it happens to everyone! If you have problems, argue them! Don't just pull the race card when you want to get something done. From what you say, it seems like your argument is that, just because you are in a minority, you are by definition discriminated against, and the only cure is balancing the curriculum to fit what you believe it should be. That is faulty logic. The school's interest is balancing the curriculum to fit everyone's desires as much as possible. Remember that when something is given, something must be taken. I'm part Scandinavian, am I entitled to a nordic studies major? The Vikings played a very important part in world history you know (But really). Majors are the size they are due to demand, not some kind of sick white Eurocentrist conspiracy to undermine African studies. Except for Physics, that shit's expensive per major, but it's awesome, so who cares. Labeling the courses of instruction here as ethnocentric is absolutely absurd. Is chemistry a white subject? Economics? Psychology? Classics? English? Philosophy? What is this "Eurocentric Ideology" that you see in the curriculum here?

    Pulling from a LATS course I took last year, a recurring theme in the literature was how the literature itself wasn't taken seriously due to racism at the institutional level. As I read further and further, I noticed another common theme. None of their work was peer reviewed, all of it was based purely on inference, none of them cited the relevant psych literature that was necessary to support their conclusions, and a quarter of papers were about Jennifer Lopez' butt. As a result, researchers in the field doing work with higher validity were being thrown out with the wash. What they interpreted as academic discrimination on the basis of race seemed to be much more about lack luster research methods and lack luster academic organization. Redundancy with other departments also played a role of course. The conclusion I get here, and I think the conclusion for a large blanket of issues revolving around this topic, is the same as the conclusion to the Umbrella Man documentary. If you think that you have a possible cynical interpretation for the causes of an event, forget it, because you can almost never fully account for all of the noncynical explanations for the occurrence of the event. People are so easily distracted by cynical interpretations like "it was written by a killer" or "it was a death threat" and ignore the infinite other explanations for why someone wrote what they did on the wall of Prospect 4.5. It could have been some drunk idiot, mad at life. It could have been a girl, a boy, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a person of any gender, any race, anyone. It could have been a thought on the inevitable mortality that we all face for god's sake! Instead of taking this in mind, we are screaming at the administration for their fairly reasonable initial response, and saying they failed to protect us. We need to stop using this totally circumstantial evidence of problems of discrimination to crucify Williams as a place that isn't welcoming to everyone who is willing to join. It's absurd!
  103.  quote all quote selection
    And at this point I think we have completely jumped the tracks on this particular threat and ought to let it rest in peace. We have finals and stuff to worry about now.

    RIP Strange Cultural Discrimination Thread. We hardly knew you, but you will be remembered (maybe).

    *taps plays in the distance*
  104.  quote all quote selection
    The "Proof of Discrimination at Williams College Drinking Game"

    -one shot for every hyperbolic claim that minorities are reverse-discriminating
    -one shot for every hyperbolic claim that Williams is unaccepting of minorities
    -half a shot for any paragraph that might've been used as a lullabye for Herman Cain as a baby
    -half a shot for any well-reasoned argument by William Craig
    -four sips of beer for face palms (two sips for quoted facepalms)
    -throw up half a shot for hitler references
    -drink three sips of beer for any George Orwell references
    -one shot for any time that somebody says 'don't label' and instantly begins labeling
    -one shot for any time you were reading and thought 'but Williams is awesome!'
    -go directly to jail for rainbow ponies
    -two shots for Courtney Alexander's awesomeness
    ...any more?
  105.  quote all quote selection
    Oh, and...
    -five shots for any time you see poorly reasoned logic such as:

    Posted By: Carrie Tribble
    Summary: minorities are not more equal than other students if the policies in question are designed to empower marginalized and disenfranchised groups.
  106.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    I'm part Scandinavian, am I entitled to a nordic studies major?


    I would love a nordic studies major. Nordic Lights with Prof. Martin changed my life. It was even my Exploring Diversity credit, so yes, let's get all the nordic studies classes. This has nothing to do with anything, JUST SAYING.
  107.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Christopher Hikel
    The "Proof of Discrimination at Williams College Drinking Game"

    -one shot for every hyperbolic claim that minorities are reverse-discriminating
    -one shot for every hyperbolic claim that Williams is unaccepting of minorities
    -half a shot for any paragraph that might've been used as a lullabye for Herman Cain as a baby
    -half a shot for any well-reasoned argument by William Craig
    -four sips of beer for face palms (two sips for quoted facepalms)
    -throw up half a shot for hitler references
    -drink three sips of beer for any George Orwell references
    -one shot for any time that somebody says 'don't label' and instantly begins labeling
    -one shot for any time you were reading and thought 'but Williams is awesome!'
    -go directly to jail for rainbow ponies
    -two shots for Courtney Alexander's awesomeness
    ...any more?




    Posted By: Christopher Hikel
    Oh, and...
    -five shots for any time you see poorly reasoned logic such as:




    1. Reverse-discrimination is out of control!
    2. Williams is unaccepting of minorities is out of control!
    3. Come to where the magic is... where the rainbow ends
    Follow, follow My Little Pony...My Little Pony 'n Friends
    Through the clouds and past the stars...where the river bends
    Follow, follow My Little Pony...My Little Pony 'n Friends
    Where you find your heart's desire...where, that all depends
    Follow, follow My Little Pony...My Little Pony 'n Friends
    My Little Pony 'n Friends
    4. No half shots for this one (a little reprieve!)
    5.
    5.5.

    6. Hitler, Nazi, Adolf Hitler, Adolf, Aryan Nation, Mein Kempf
    7. I went to the Animal Farm in 1984 and the pigs were Coming Up for Air
    8. Don't label Bronies! Bronies are the best people in the world, etc.
    9. I always think Williams is an awesome place where one can speak their minds about what things need to improve around here, so this point must be moot for you as well. Continuous shots
    10. Done
    11.

    Posted By: Courtney Alexander
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmj7KlIut1w&ob=av2n
    Its the HOLIDAYS everyone, lets try to spread a little cheer before we depart for break!


    12. Well, this pops up multiple times as you read everything in the block quote, so...

    HAPPY READING PERIOD SUNDAY BEFORE FINALS, EVERYONE! Provided that you didn't already die from all of the shots you've taken so far.
  108.  quote all quote selection
    ...

    For those of you who just scroll to the end to see how this thread went. Here is a TL;DR for you:

    http://i.imgur.com/eoMpD.gif
  109.  quote all quote selection
    .
  110.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Christopher Hikel
    -drink three sips of beer for any George Orwell references


    Posted By: Christopher Hikel
    -go directly to jail for rainbow ponies


    Chillaxing after finals so a little late, but thought I would add this piece of information. The posts that I put up on this thread got me noticed by the Deans office as a suspicious person and I was brought in for an interrogation by the FBI and Sergeant McGowan explicitly because of them the Sunday before reading period "You seem to be a fairly vocal poster on the online message boards." They asked for a polygraph test, DNA test, the works. I was making Orwell references somewhat tongue in cheek, but turns out I was fairly well founded. Read my posts, read what I say, then decide whether or not you should be absolutely rip-shit about this action coming from administration like I am. WSO. SERIOUS. FUCKING. BUSINESS. BRB, V&.
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    Chillaxing after finals so a little late, but thought I would add this piece of information. The posts that I put up on this thread got me noticed by the Deans office as a suspicious person and I was brought in for an interrogation by the FBI and Sergeant McGowan explicitly because of them the Sunday before reading period "You seem to be a fairly vocal poster on the online message boards." They asked for a polygraph test, DNA test, the works. I was making Orwell references somewhat tongue in cheek, but turns out I was fairly well founded. Read my posts, read what I say, then decide whether or not you should be absolutely rip-shit about this action coming from administration like I am. WSO. SERIOUS. FUCKING. BUSINESS. BRB, V&.


    If this is true... What?

    Great job promoting discussion. Screw it all. Lets form /r/williamscollege and move there.

    How is Will suspected of anything? He wasn't even remotely threatening! Freaking DNA test?



    Sigh, for the sake of fairness, what is the other side to this?

    -Tobi of Akatsuki

    Edit: oh, /r/williamscollege is already up. Hopefully SOPA won't take it down next year.
    • CommentAuthorEvan Lin
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011
     quote all quote selection
    This is a joke, right? If it's not, it's an absolutely huge deal, so I just want to check.
  111.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Evan Lin
    This is a joke, right?



    It's not.
  112.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Evan Lin
    This is a joke, right? If it's not, it's an absolutely huge deal, so I just want to check.

    Not a joke. Assuming you're talking about Will and not Lili.
  113.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Evan Lin
    This is a joke, right? If it's not, it's an absolutely huge deal, so I just want to check.


    Nope, not a joke. They did ask me for polygraphs and DNA swabs, and I refused of course. To be fair, they also knew I was in prospect that night, but I only swiped into the radio studio and they didn't say much about that. He definitely made it seem like I had been flagged because of my posts. They had been given a list of people by the deans office to interview, and the agent thought I was on there because of my posts (the list must have had comments). I think they realized very quickly I had nothing to do with it, and I mostly talked to them about whether or not the FBI should be involved in the case and how the crime was defined as a death threat. Apparently, simply because of its proximity to a living space, it would be considered a threat. Also, the race of the perpetrator does not effect the law, and black on black and white on black would be considered equivalent under the eyes of the law. But yeah, it's not a joke that someone in the deans office was reading this, and marked me as a suspicious person for posting.

    Oh and also: The agent openly detested Saul Kassin's work. Go figure.
    • CommentAuthorEvan Lin
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Michael Mara
    Not a joke. Assuming you're talking about Will and not Lili.


    I was. Specifically the whole thing about being reported as a suspicious person by the dean's office and interrogated by the FBI. If that's true, it's unbelievably enormous and absolutely unacceptable. I cannot imagine anything more anti-intellectual than calling someone in for interrogation because of the (perfectly reasonable, although a bit heavy on the image macros) dissent he posted online. That's enough to make me completely lose all faith in the college administration. In addition, I have to question whether the move is partly intended as retaliation for publicly questioning the admissions process for the college and casting it in a negative light. I'm still not quite sure if I believe this and it's hard to know whether there are any other factors that would make this action reasonable, but at the moment I'm cautiously outraged.
  114.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Evan Lin
    I'm still not quite sure if I believe this and it's hard to know whether there are any other factors that would make this action reasonable, but at the moment I'm cautiously outraged.


    I wish I knew more about it as well, all I know is what was said to me in the interview. Can I look at this and say: "yes, they were totally at fault without a doubt?" No, I don't know exactly what they were thinking, but based off of what I DO know, this was complete bullshit.
    • CommentAuthorEvan Lin
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    I wish I knew more about it as well, all I know is what was said to me in the interview. Can I look at this and say, yes they were totally at fault without a doubt? No, I don't know exactly what they were thinking, but based off of what I DO know, this was complete bullshit.


    In that case, I really don't know what to say, except that this is a big deal. I think you should take some sort of action. I don't have any faith in a college administration that would see this as a reasonable response to what you've posted online, and (again assuming that there isn't anything else going on that we don't know about) there needs to be some sort of change in the administration. I despise Fox News, but this seems like exactly the sort of story they would eat up: elite liberal college interrogates student for questioning liberal agenda, or something like that. This may just be the outrage talking, but if you can't get a reasonable response from the administration, it might be worth escalating things and bringing the media or the trustees into this. I just can't get over how appalling this is.
  115.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Evan Lin
    I think you should take some sort of action.


    I don't want to take any official action, I wasn't forced to come in, the interview was after all entirely voluntary and I could have just been said LULZ screw you guys I'm out of here the second I realized what was going on. I think the best action I can take is to let people to know how their school is operating, even if it is from this tiny slice of behavior. I want people to know that the deans office is human, and is susceptible to the same fear politics that the student body is. We cannot trust them to be above arguments, and thus we cannot trust them to use their power appropriately when the time comes, when clear judgment is most important.

    Edit: I suppose some people wouldn't know too much about the system, and the fact that the Deans office didn't offer to speak to me about the dangers of talking to the FBI in terms of accidentally incriminating yourself is somewhat concerning. I knew that the "interview" was being recorded, that the course of the interview could be considered evidence in a court case, and that I really did have the option to leave, but many would not. Having mandatory consultation with the deans or a lawyer before being brought in for interview is probably a rule that should be put in place.
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Evan Lin
    In addition, I have to question whether the move is partly intended as retaliation for publicly questioning the admissions process for the college and casting it in a negative light.


    I'd have to say there were people more critical here about the admissions process than Will. I'd suspect it has to do with his criticisms of how the administration is handling the crime and his criticisms of the demands list. They can't really satisfy both those who want some of the demands carried out and those who think carrying out the demands is selectively combating discrimination. I hope that wasn't the motive.

    Gah, whether it's this or for being critical of admissions, scaring someone into shutting up is disgusting to say the least (based off of what we know right now). On the other hand, honestly suspecting someone of the crime simply because they are vocal about their views and arguments on an online forum is just so ridiculously idiotic, I don't know what to say.

    -Tobi
    • CommentAuthorEvan Lin
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Tobi
    I'd have to say there were people more critical here about the admissions process than Will.


    I just realized that I mixed him up with the OP in this thread.



    Posted By: William Craig
    I don't want to take any official action, I wasn't forced to come in, the interview was after all entirely voluntary and I could have just been said LULZ screw you guys I'm out of here the second I realized what was going on.


    It's fair if you don't want to take any action, but this is still a big deal even if the interview was voluntary. We don't know what would have happened if you had chosen not to come in for the interview or had walked out immediately, and as you mentioned, there was no support given at all to help you deal with the FBI. Bringing a young college student into a serious interrogation without any sort of legal advice or support is not something that an administration looking out for its students does. It's good that you were able to handle itself and that it was clear that you were not at fault, but we have 17-year-olds at the college (even occasionally younger than that). Not everyone is going to be able to handle themselves well, and an "invitation" to come talk to the FBI is coercive even if there's nothing actually forcing you to come in.
  116.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By:
    Gah, whether it's this or for being critical of admissions, scaring someone into shutting up is disgusting to say the least


    This didn't happen, I was just busy with finals, saying goodbye to people on campus etc, had my mind on other things. Maybe this was what they were trying to do, I can't really say but I don't think so. Although the action is incredibly suspicious, I'll be the first to admit that I do not know what their motives were, or what they saw. Sending me in to interview is not a form of punishment and they had the right to do it. We can't take what they said to mean that there is intellectual discrimination against the opposing viewpoint, they might have just wanted to talk to me, and asking for signed consent for polygraph/DNA swab is just standard procedure. I highly doubt this, but that doesn't mean they have to prove otherwise. Most of my conversation with the agent was about the they should be treating the crime and whether or not we should be afraid of a militant racist. I also followed up a conversation I had with Sergeant McGowan over email about how the school was treating the crime. All I want to point out, is that I was brought in for interview, and my main reason for being there, was apparently because of posting online. Everything else about the deans office that we can draw from that is pure speculation, although the incident is incredibly suspicious.

    Posted By: Evan Lin
    This may just be the outrage talking, but if you can't get a reasonable response from the administration, it might be worth escalating things and bringing the media or the trustees into this.


    I love this school, getting the media into this puts the school in a bad light, more so than the individuals responsible. I would be committing the same crime that I was accusing others of if I tried to crucify the school for this action. This was probably a result of the poor judgment from 1 or 2 individuals, not the whole system. Do I think that the school needs to boot a couple people over this whole incident? Seems like it to me, but I'm a student, and I don't know these people like others do. I don't know what the rules are, and I don't pretend to. I don't even know for sure who in the Deans office flagged me, although I think I remember him saying Bolton. All I want to do is say "Hey, there is some fucked up shit going on here, and someone needs to look into it very seriously, because this behavior cannot be repeated. Whoever, or more likely whatever (as in a precedent) is responsible for this needs to get axed." I do not care about justice for me, I just want it fixed.
  117.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Evan Lin
    Bringing a young college student into a serious interrogation without any sort of legal advice or support is not something that an administration looking out for its students does.


    Posted By: Evan Lin
    Not everyone is going to be able to handle themselves well, and an "invitation" to come talk to the FBI is coercive even if there's nothing actually forcing you to come in.


    Absolutely this. If anything comes out of this at all, I want this to be changed.

    Also: I was contacted by security to come down, not the deans office. Just to make that clear. Boyer if I remember correctly.
    • CommentAuthorEvan Lin
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011
     quote all quote selection
    Williams is an old school. It can survive a little bit of bad publicity. It certainly has in the past. The phantom shitter of 07-08 comes to mind. I understand not wanting to put the school in a bad light, and it's definitely worth trying to work through the issue some other way first, but I just think it's worth keeping other options in mind in case this problem isn't able to be solved by working with the administration.
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig

    This didn't happen, I was just busy with finals, saying goodbye to people on campus etc, had my mind on other things. Maybe this was what they were trying to do, I can't really say but I don't think so. Although the action is incredibly suspicious, I'll be the first to admit that I do not know what their motives were, or what they saw. Sending me in to interview is not a form of punishment and they had the right to do it. We can't take what they said to mean that there is intellectual discrimination against the opposing viewpoint, they might have just wanted to talk to me, and asking for signed consent for polygraph/DNA swab is just standard procedure. I highly doubt this, but that doesn't mean they have to prove otherwise. Most of my conversation with the agent was about the they should be treating the crime and whether or not we should be afraid of a militant racist. I also followed up a conversation I had with Sergeant McGowan over email about how the school was treating the crime. All I want to point out, is that I was brought in for interview, and my main reason for being there, was apparently because of posting online. Everything else about the deans office that we can draw from that is pure speculation, although the incident is incredibly suspicious.


    From what you originally said, it seemed like a scary experience, though I might be clouded by the same outrage Evan is feeling. Those procedures hardly sound standard, but giving them the benefit of the doubt, sure. None of us know what the motives were. We can only list out what we think are the possibilities for the Dean's office here. It's kind of hard to fix when you don't know why they're doing it, though perhaps you are right in saying we really do have too little information to make any kind of productive headway in this regard.

    If their reason really was for posting online, then lulz indeed.

    I concur with you, don't bring in Fox News. That would make things unnecessarily complicated.

    -Tobi
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig

    Also: I was contacted by security to come down, not the deans office. Just to make that clear. Boyer if I remember correctly.


    Yeah, but it was the Dean's office that requested security to look into you (flagging you as suspicious), right? Of course, we don't know who exactly wanted to interview you.

    -Tobi
  118.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    The posts that I put up on this thread got me noticed by the Deans office as a suspicious person


    How do you know that this has anything to do with "suspicion"? Being called for an interview doesn't mean that they suspect you of anything; perhaps they just wanted an interview with someone with an alternative viewpoint on the handling of the Prospect incident, and you are an obvious choice because of your postings.
  119.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    getting the media into this puts the school in a bad light, more so than the individuals responsible.


    Posted By: Evan Lin
    I understand not wanting to put the school in a bad light, and it's definitely worth trying to work through the issue some other way first, but I just think it's worth keeping other options in mind in case this problem isn't able to be solved by working with the administration.


    It's mostly that the school isn't at fault in this case, a couple people are. Judging by the hilariously spineless overreaction to, and placation of, fear among the student body, there isn't exactly the best leadership in place to manage threats to homeostasis at Williams. What you say goes under the assumption that the school's response to any kind of pressure would do more good than harm. I am fairly certain it would do more harm than good. The school looked like it might just eat itself alive during fall semester. I'll make a couple phone calls though. It's just like the forum with people judging others as racist for thinking they speak Spanish, play basketball etc etc etc, it would do way more harm than it could ever do good. It's easy to take an event like this and thought police people, and accuse them of committing a psychological crime they are actually not committing. We can't judge this action to mean that I was being discriminated against for putting forth a dissenting viewpoint, we would be making the same mistake as the people that think "microexpressions" mean anything substantial. I'm just going to call the Dean's office and ask whether or not mandatory or at least offered counsel before any interview set up by the school is a reasonable policy to have, why or why not. The reason why I was called in is certainly a topic of huge concern to me, but there really isn't much I can do about that. It's not like they got a warrant on those grounds, they had a right to call in any student they wanted. WSO is open to the public anyways. It's just disturbing, and tell me if I'm wrong, but I don't really think my posts on here are AT ALL reason for suspicion. Someone hasn't broken protocol or the law I'm sure, it's probably just that someone or something has absolutely terrible judgment, and also that the Politically Correct Thought Police may not be just a joke or a conspiracy theory. I have come out of this without any trouble of course, but the direction that the investigation into the hate time seems to have taken is very concerning for those watching out for civil liberties on campus.
  120.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By:
    Yeah, but it was the Dean's office that requested security to look into you (flagging you as suspicious), right?


    According to the FBI agent, yes.

    Posted By: Carlos Dominguez
    How do you know that this has anything to do with "suspicion"? Being called for an interview doesn't mean that they suspect you of anything; perhaps they just wanted an interview with someone with an alternative viewpoint on the handling of the Prospect incident, and you are an obvious choice because of your postings.


    Although they might have wanted to hear this as well, I don't think I was recorded, asked to sign consent for polygraph, asked to sign consent for a DNA test, as part of a friendly conversation about my alternative viewpoint on the schools response. If the Dean's office had wanted to talk to me about that, they would have talked to me about that, not put me on a list for interrogation by two people involved in an external investigation of the incident who have little personal connection to the student body.
    • CommentAuthorEvan Lin
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    It's mostly that the school isn't at fault in this case, a couple people are.


    When those people are representatives of the college, the school is at fault unless they take some sort of action to rectify things.

    Posted By: William Craig
    What you say goes under the assumption that the school's response to any kind of pressure would do more good than harm. I am fairly certain it would do more harm than good. The school looked like it might just eat itself alive during fall semester.


    lol. I wasn't around on campus fall semester, so I didn't see this, but judging from past experience, I can definitely see this being true.

    edit: anyway, I think you're probably right to try not to blow things out of proportion, I just really want to see some sort of real change occur to fix this problem. Not PR change that looks good on paper until you actually spend more than 5 minutes thinking about it, but real actions to prevent this sort of thing form happening again and admit that these actions were wrong.
  121.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Evan Lin
    I just really want to see some sort of real change occur to fix this problem. Not PR change that looks good on paper until you actually spend more than 5 minutes thinking about it, but real actions to prevent this sort of thing form happening again and admit that these actions were wrong.


    This.
  122.  quote all quote selection
    Hi Will,

    I have to say, I'm a little surprised at your reaction. Something deep down inside me is screaming "sue the bastards!" but that doesn't seem very helpful right now.

    Write a Record Op-Ed. That's a better platform for this issue than WSO. This way the whole campus can discuss the school's course of action. I have no sympathy for the unfortunate decision making of one or two individuals. As Evan wrote earlier, if they are representatives of the school, then the school is at fault.

    I love Williams too, but the school isn't really separate from the individuals who work for it, and if those individuals don't get feedback about their decisions--harsh feedback--there's no reason to expect that anything will change.

    This is just my spur of the moment reaction and opinion but I think this is pretty serious, assuming we've been given all the relevant information. Please don't let this fall by the wayside as a result of winter break.

    -Brad
  123.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Brad Polsky
    Write a Record Op-Ed. That's a better platform for this issue than WSO.


    While writing an Op-Ed is a respectable idea, please stop urging people off of WSO. You do this on every thread (I don't really know why) and it's pretty boring.
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 20th 2011
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Norman Walczak

    While writing an Op-Ed is a respectable idea, please stop urging people off of WSO.


    Yeah, writing an op-ed doesn't quite get discussion going in an easy manner for everyone.

    -Tobi
  124.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Brad Polsky
    Something deep down inside me is screaming "sue the bastards!" but that doesn't seem very helpful right now.


    Trust me, I hear you. That's part of why I waited a little while. I really don't want to come from a place of anger at all.

    Posted By: Brad Polsky
    Write a Record Op-Ed. That's a better platform for this issue than WSO.


    I see WSO as thought practice for IRL, so fair enough. I'd definitely think about writing one. I wish I had written everything down immediately afterwards so that I'd have a really complete narrative of the entire interview. Who should I talk to about that?

    Posted By: Brad Polsky
    Please don't let this fall by the wayside as a result of winter break.


    This is a very legitimate concern. I'll try not to, not many people are home so I'm just lifting, reading and writing all day.

    -Will
  125.  quote all quote selection
    Good day everyone. I've been watching these threads for a while and I just wanted to say something briefly. If this is suppose to be a fruitful debate and discussion, as Williams students, we should all be able to realize that an online forum is not the place to have a conversation about discrimination. There is too much room for things to be misconstrued and tempers can flare very easily. This debate could be potenially resolved if the individuals in this thread decided to sit down in a room as fellow Williams students to hear one another out. I am not asserting that one opinion is any more valid than another, but if our goal is to understand one another, an online forum is not the responsible manner in which to do so.

    But all that aside, it is the end of the semester. We have all been through some rough times this semester, some rougher than others. We always speak of this greater Williams community, but we never take the steps to make this community a reality. This is one time of the year where we should be able to understand one another, not because of the holidays (because I'm sure we all have different religious affiliations), but because we all understand the solace of being around the people we care about after a stressful time period.

    With that said, I just wanted to wish everyone a nice break. Take some time to relax, get off the internet, and spend time with your loved ones. If this debate needs to be resumed, let's be mature adults and speak to one another in person, rather than at one another on an online forum. Peace and love everyone.
    • CommentAuthorNicole Wise
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Brian Thomasonline forum is not the place to have a conversation about discrimination. There is too much room for things to be misconstrued and tempers can flare very easily. This debate could be potenially resolved if the individuals in this thread decided to sit down in a room as fellow Williams students to hear one another out. I am not asserting that one opinion is any more valid than another, but if our goal is to understand one another, an online forum is not the responsible manner in which to do so.

    That's not really the point of discussing things in a forum. The entire purpose is to get more people involved and see viewpoints you wouldn't normally spend time considering laid out and explained. If they went and talked in a room, no one else would benefit from the discussion. I've already HAD these discussions with all of the people I'm likely to spend enough time with discussing serious issues in person. I feel I gain something else entirely from reading WSO. If you don't, then there's no need to read it, but I see no point in discouraging discussion in any form, and honestly, I think it's rather shortsighted and insulting to call online threads 'irresponsible' ON the thread.
    I disagree anyway; these issues wouldn't be 'resolved'. There would be a debate, and eventually the 2 people who have different viewpoints would agree to disagree, much as is going to happen here, and anyone who could have benefited from seeing the relative merits of the 2 viewpoints laid out will miss out, and the end result would be the same but more boring and less accessible. You don't need to tell people to discuss these things in real life; the people who care enough to post about them are likely already discussing it with people. You just weren't there for the discussions. Now you can be. Or not, as you choose. I'm not going to tell you what to do with your Internetz.
  126.  quote all quote selection
    Yeah, not to threadjack, but I'm not sure I understand the surprisingly prevalent feeling that legitimate discussions cannot occur online, only in person. The neat thing about having a written language is that we can communicate the exact same words in text as we do vocally-- I understand tone is sometimes lost online, but I feel this is balanced by having the opportunity to choose your words and think about your point before submitting it. If we had an anonymous forum, I would understand this viewpoint, but with everyone accountable for their words, I see no reason in-person is better than online, other than being more enjoyable (depending on who you're with, I suppose)

    sorry for not contributing anything to the actual direction of the thread
    • CommentAuthorAlice Sady
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    I don't think anyone's trying to say that legitimate discussions cannot occur online. They most certainly can, but there are benefits to discussions in person. For one, inflection, facial expression, all those things that written words lack but spoken words have, help with the interpretation of peoples' points. Also, being in person allows people to move the discussion along faster and ask questions immediately after others have made comments, allowing people to clarify their points and hopefully understand each other better. Talking face to face is also more personal - sometimes people say things online they might not say in person.
    Many of the issues in this thread affect some people in a very personal way (I'm being general on purpose because I do not want to assume anyone's reaction to any comment.) I don't think its unreasonable for someone who feels strongly affected by something on the thread to ask that if others have anything else to say to him or her, they should approach him or her in person. I also don't think its unreasonable to say that because some of the comments may have so deeply affected him or her, he or she feels uncomfortable having these issues discussed online and would rather discuss them in a way that would help to avoid miscommunications. For those wondering why people who might not want to discuss this online might involve themselves in the forum in the first place, I'd make a guess that a post bothered them enough that they couldn't just let it go. Bottom line - online forums are really useful for having an informal discussion with a lot of people, which is great, but when some people feel that the conversation has gotten too personal or emotional, I think they're entitled to voice their desire to continue the conversation face to face.
    By no means do I mean to say this is how anyone on this forum or at Williams in general feels - this is my analysis of the situation and my one and only post, just to say that I support and respect the people who have asked that further discussions on these subjects be held in person.
  127.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Alice Sady
    I think they're entitled to voice their desire to continue the conversation face to face.


    I agree! They are welcome to go 'continue the conversation' face to face.
  128.  quote all quote selection
    "let's have a real life conversation" is the oldest WSO cop out.

    It's usually said after someone is clearly proven wrong and has nothing left to say. They then go "You know what, real change can only happen in person, so if you really CARE about this, let's meet in person."

    From what I've seen, these meetings actually take place 1 out of 8 times.
  129.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Alice Sady
    they're entitled to voice their desire to continue the conversation face to face.

    If they weren't involved in the conversation in the first place, though, then it's honestly very patronizing to go to a group of people who are currently having a discussion and tell them "you're doing it wrong. You should talk about it in this manner. If you were smart you'd discuss this in the way that works best for me, because that works best for everyone."
    There's a difference between letting people know that you're done with the thread, so further discussion with you must be done in person, and telling people that THEY should be done with the thread.
    No, I shouldn't. No, I don't want to discuss this with you in person. Don't tell me how to use my internet or how to have a meaningful discussion. If it doesn't work for you, don't participate. But don't lecture everyone else or presume you know better.
  130.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Cameron Rogers
    sorry for not contributing anything to the actual direction of the thread


    Haha, if I remember right, the thread is supposed to be about how admissions officers should screen their facebook privacy settings.
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2011
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Nicole Wise
    Haha, if I remember right, the thread is supposed to be about how admissions officers should screen their facebook privacy settings.


    Now it's about whether or not we should discuss online about a student getting interrogated by the FBI for posting in a thread concerning the racial crime that started this thread about the admission's officer's quote, if that made sense. Oh how the direction of WSO threads changes so much...

    -Tobi
  131.  quote all quote selection

  132.  quote all quote selection
    The time I spend on WSO talking about this topic constitutes <1% of the total time I spend talking about this topic. Everyone does this. It is known.

    Also, WSO enters the pundisphere
    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig


    Also, WSO enters the pundisphere


    Well, that was quite a biased, misleading, and disagreeable article. Hooray pundits.
    -Tobi
  133.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig
    All I want to point out, is that I was brought in for interview, and my main reason for being there, was apparently because of posting online. Everything else about the deans office that we can draw from that is pure speculation,


    Posted By: William Craig
    I would be committing the same crime that I was accusing others of if I tried to crucify the school for this action.


    "Think about it: A student expresses his opinion about something. The administration doesn't like his opinion. Ergo, the administration turns him over to the FBI for interrogation."

    "Or do you reckon it is, like most elite educational institutions, a farm specializing in coddling a herd of well-fed, complacent, eminently politically correct sheep - that "herd of independent minds" the art critic Harold Rosenberg spoke of, lo, these many years ago?"

    • CommentAuthorPhilip Vu
    • CommentTimeDec 23rd 2011 edited
     quote all quote selection
    Posted By: William Craig

    All I want to point out, is that I was brought in for interview, and my main reason for being there, was apparently because of posting online. Everything else about the deans office that we can draw from that is pure speculation,


    Posted By: William Craig

    "Think about it: A student expresses his opinion about something. The administration doesn't like his opinion. Ergo, the administration turns him over to the FBI for interrogation."


    Yeah, my previous conspiracy theories were misguided due to initial rage. I guess what ticked me off was my misreading of your reference to fear politics. For all we know, the FBI might have had a list of activities they thought were suspicious, and asked the Dean's office to furnish all names satisfying their criteria.

    -Tobi
  134.  quote all quote selection
    This all makes me a saddd panda. Does anyone really get any gratification from engaging in this? Or is it like a drug that gets you excited but leaves you alone and bitter? There is reason to express ones belief--but before you do ask yourself if the reason, the drive to do it, is coming out of love, or if it is something--hate, anger, or just the thrill of being "right" or cutting fellow students down--that will ultimately leave us hollow and still wanting.
  135.  quote all quote selection
    Posted By: Collin Peck-Gray
    Does anyone really get any gratification from engaging in this? Or is it like a drug that gets you excited but leaves you alone and bitter?


    What are you even talking about? The thread? Man, what is up with everyone posting about how empty and pointless WSO is? Don't like it, don't read it. I was enjoying reading the thread until everyone started acting like they were somehow superior for NOT participating. In answer to your question, my current post is motivated from the anger I feel at being told that my use of this forum for its intended purpose is somehow wrong and 'hollow'.

    What was your motivation? Your burning desire to scold everyone who enjoys reading WSO and try to make them feel like they're some cruel, passive-aggressive jerks who need to cut other people down in order to feel good about themselves? How is that better? You're not even arguing a point, you're just insulting the entire audience of your post for READING it in the first place.
  136.  quote all quote selection
    No I just love people and it hurts me when I see them hurting one another needlessly. Sorry you feel that way.
  137.  quote all quote selection
    I think you're overestimating how 'hurt' we're all getting from an internet discussion. Debate is a good thing; we're not going to go curl up in a ball and cry just because someone disagrees with us on the interwebz. If anything, we can learn a little something.
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