Supporting All of Our Students

Recently, a letter in the Williams Record argued that Williams should change its admissions policy in unnecessary ways, including a recommendation that the college admit fewer students from under-represented groups. We strongly disagree, and submitted the following letter in response.

It sounds so easy: drop a few dozen mostly low-income and minority students, admit more students with very high SAT scores, and voila! excellence achieved. Who needs a whole Admissions Office working year-round to identify the students who can contribute to making Williams the vibrant, challenging, transformative place we all want it to be, and convincing them that Williams is the right place for them? Just run it by numbers! But this model would be morally wrong and educationally corrupt. We, the undersigned faculty and staff, reject unequivocally the idea of defining educational value in terms of quantitative measures that are non-definitive at best, biased at worst. The notion that Williams is somehow sacrificing excellence for economic and racial diversity is offensive; more than that, it’s absurd. Those of us who have been here a long time know that the opposite is true: the harder the college has worked to recruit and admit students who are genuinely diverse in backgrounds and perspectives–and then to make sure that they can thrive here–the more intellectually stimulating our academic environment has become.

We reject as unhealthy, dangerous, and, in the case of Williams, thankfully inaccurate the notion of a purely linear ranking of “quality” when it comes to the young people who apply for and attend college. Williams and other institutions of higher education should model another paradigm in which the value of whole people and of many-faceted experience is paramount. In these times, when hate, bias, power-mongering, and self-aggrandizement rule the day, colleges and universities must resist the sloppy practice—all too common—of using ill-understood quantitative pseudo-analysis to justify the perpetuation of existing structures of power and influence. Experts in the field of education have long recognized that SAT scores are highly correlated with family income and privilege, and that they can be improved through things like test prep and tutors that cost money. Admissions works hard year after year to craft a wonderful class without being biased by family background and privilege.

When we look at our students, talk with them across our office tables, stand beside them in our labs, and see them succeed in their post-Williams lives, we see young people who have come to Williams to become their best selves, to be transformed and to transform the world, to reach out into realms they had never encountered before. Words like “best,” “smarter,” “most talented” are largely irrelevant to what education is all about at its core. Instead, a Williams education involves learning how to recognize each other and how to think critically about ourselves.


Williams must broaden and deepen its commitment to educational equity, not reduce it. To all of our alums and current students, especially those who feel targeted by calls to make Williams less inclusive: We who work here are lucky to know you, to teach you, and in the end, to learn from you. We are humbled every day by what you all bring to the college, and we are here for you. To the new and prospective students who enter campus: we will work to make sure that the environment you find here will be open to your contributions, and we stand ready to welcome you whatever your life experiences have been.


Your name Faculty or staff Department or Unit
Sarah Jacobson Faculty Economics
Steven Nafziger Faculty Economics
Gregory Mitchell Faculty Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Bernie Rhie Faculty Department of English
Ezra Dan Feldman Faculty English
Susan Godlonton Faculty Economics
John Limon Faculty English
Steve Gerrard Faculty Philosophy
Jennifer French Faculty Romance Languages
Alison Case Faculty English
Shawn Rosenheim Faculty English
Magnus Bernhardsson Faculty History
Neil Roberts Faculty Associate Professor of Africana Studies & Faculty Affiliate in Political Science and Religion
Anne Reinhardt Faculty History
Chad Topaz Faculty Mathematics and Statistics
Maria Elena Cepeda Faculty Latina/o Studies
Ronadh Cox Faculty Geosciences
Lucie Schmidt Faculty Economics
Lara Shore-Sheppard Faculty Economics
Mérida M. Rúa Faculty Latina & Latino Studies & American Studies
Amal Eqeiq Faculty Arabic Studies & Comparative Literature
Ralph Bradburd Faculty Economics and Environmental Studies
Christian Thorne Faculty English
Christopher Pye Faculty English
Lauren Williamson Faculty Psychology
Gail Newman Faculty German
Mariko Moher Faculty psychology
Kashia Pieprzak Faculty Romance languages
Kiaran Honderich Faculty Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Emery Shriver Staff Libraries
Phoebe A Cohen Faculty Geosciences
Laini Sporbert Staff Health & Wellness Services
Amy Holzapfel Faculty Theatre
Jacqueline Hidalgo Faculty Latina/o Studies and Religion
Jimmy Blair Faculty Chemistry
Julie Blackwood Faculty Mathematics and Statistics
Ashok Rai Faculty Economics
Lawrence Raab Faculty English
José Constantine Faculty Geosciences
Roger Kittleson Faculty History Department
Sara Dubow Faculty History
Jeff Israel Faculty Religion and Jewish Studies
Robin Meyer Staff Career Center
Kashia Pieprzak Faculty Romance languages
Matthew Gold Faculty Music
Pia Kohler Faculty Environmental Studies
Matt Carter Faculty Biology
Christina Simko Faculty Anthropology and Sociology
Jerry Caprio Faculty Economics Department
Paul Park Faculty English Department
Deborah A Brothers Faculty Theatre
David P. Richardson Faculty Chemistry
Dukes Love Faculty Provost, Economics
Mari Reinhardt Faculty Political Science and American Studies
Katie Kent Faculty English and WGSS
Luana Maroja Faculty Biology
Jana Sawicki Faculty Philosophy, Oakley Center
Peter Murphy Faculty English
Lee Park Faculty Chemistry
Karen Kwitter Faculty Astronomy
Scott Wong Faculty History
Olga Shevchenko Faculty Anthropology and Sociology
Kenda Mutongi Faculty History
Helga Druxes Faculty German and Comparative Literature
Meg Bossong '05 Staff Dean's Office
Jason Josephson Storm Faculty Religion
Andrea Barrett Faculty English
Charles B. Dew Faculty History Department
Steven Souza Faculty Department of Astronomy
Chris Waters Faculty History
Karen Merrill Faculty History
Sophie Saint-Just Faculty French and Francophone Studies
Dreyfus Faculty Religion
Ralph Morrison Faculty Math/Stat
Mike Glier Faculty Art
Peter Just Faculty Anthropology & Sociology
Cathy Johnson Faculty Political Science
VaNatta Ford Faculty Africana Studies
Jessica Fisher Faculty English
Stephen Tifft Faculty English
Carol Ockman Faculty Art
Pamela E. Harris Faculty Mathematics and Statistics
Alexander Bevilacqua Faculty History
Anand Swamy Faculty Economics
Shanti Marie Singham Faculty History and Africana Studies
Mari Rodriguez Binnie Faculty Art
M. Jennifer Bloxam Faculty Music
Paul Karabinos Faculty Geosiences
Peter C. Pihos Faculty History
Holly Edwards Faculty Art Department
Lisa Dorin Staff WCMA
Tara Watson Faculty Economics
Kim Gutschow Faculty Anthropology & Religion
Tim Lebestky Faculty Biology
Michelle Apotsos Faculty Art
Andrew Cornell Faculty American Studies
Charles Lovett Faculty Chemistry
Kerry Christensen Faculty Classics
Julie Cassiday Faculty Russian
Stefanie Solum Faculty Art
Rob White Staff Dean’s Office
Molly Magavern Staff Institutional Diversity and Equity
Sharifa T. Wright Staff Office of College Relations
Martha Marvin Faculty Neuroscience Program
Annelle Curulla Faculty Romance Languages
Li Yu Faculty Asian Studies
Gretchen Long Faculty History and Director of the Williams Exeter Programme at Oxford
Amie Hane Faculty Psychology
Anthony Yooshin Kim Faculty American Studies
Shawna Patterson-Stephens Staff The Davis Center
Kevin Jones Faculty Physics
Kailani Polzak Faculty Art
Amy Gehring Faculty Chemistry
Ashley Weeks Cart '05 Staff Alumni Relations
Ken Kuttner Faculty Economics
Alejandra Moran Staff Admission Office
Laurie heatherington Faculty Paychology
Melissa Barry Faculty Department of Philosophy
Jay Racela Staff CES/GEOS
Colin Adams Faculty Mathematics & Statistics Department
Eva Grudin Faculty Art Dept., emerita
Janneke van de Stadt Faculty Russian and Comparative Literature
Laurie Heatherington Faculty Department of Psychology
Jeremy Cone Faculty Psychology
Noah Sandstrom Faculty Psychology
Lori DuBois Staff Williams Libraries
Kasumi Yamamoto Faculty Asian Studies
Laura Ephraim Faculty Political Science
Brianna Heggeseth Faculty Mathematics and Statistics
Paula Consolini Staff Center for Learning in Action (CLiA)
Abigail Conyers Staff Office of Admission
Baktygul Aliev Faculty Russian
Tracy Baker-White Staff Center for Learning in Action
Courtney Wade Staff Provost's Office
Stephanie Gonzalez Staff Admission
Richard Nesbitt Staff Office of Admission
Nimu Njoya Faculty Political Science
Carolina Echenique Staff Office of Admission
Laura Muller Staff Center for Academic Resources/Dean's Office
Sara LaLumia Faculty Economics
Robert Blay Staff Special Academic Programs
Zaid Adhami Faculty Religion
Bilal Ansari Staff The Davis Center
Neil Kubler Faculty Dept. of Asian Studies
W. Anthony Sheppard Faculty Music
Guy Hedreen Faculty Art
Wendy Adam Staff Integrative Wellbeing Services
Cassandra Cleghorn Faculty English
Elizabeth McGowan Faculty Art
Paul Gitterman Staff Integrative Wellbeing Services
Barbara Robertson Staff Admission
Sam Crane Faculty Political Science
Seth Wax Staff Chaplain's Office
Laylah Ali Faculty Art
Amanda Turner Staff Registrar's Office
Brent Heeringa Faculty Computer Science
Celia Hilson Staff Wellbeing Counseling Services
Laylah Ali Faculty Art Department
Saadia Yacoob Faculty Religion
Laylah Ali Faculty Art Department
Vivian Huang Faculty WGSS
Christopher Goh Faculty Chemistry
Becky Crane Staff Integrative Wellbeing Services/Health Services
Ben T. Wood Staff Integrative Wellness Services
Emily Bourguignon Staff College Relations
Juan Baena '06 Staff Alumni Relations
Don Kjelleren Staff WCC
James Cart Staff Office of The Provost
Molly Polk Staff CLiA
Laura Martin Faculty Environmental Studies
Peter Low Faculty Art
Kimberly Love Faculty English
Betty Zimmerberg Faculty Psychology
Michelle Shaw Staff Career Services
Angie Marano Staff Student Health & Wellness Services
Lama Nassif Faculty Arabic Studies, Comparative Literature
Rick Spalding Staff Chaplains' Office
Mary Ellen Czerniak Staff Corporarte & Foundation Relations
Lauren Magrath Staff Office of college relations
Sulgi Lim Staff Admission Office
Sulgi Lim '06 Staff Admission Office
Sophie Chatas Staff Development Office
Sarah Gardner Staff Center for Environmental Studies
Amy Filson Staff Development
Doug Paisley Staff Art
Brooks Foehl Staff Alumni Relations
Bernadine Williams Staff College Relations
Gillian Sciacca Staff Office of College Relations
Tracy Finnegan Staff Center for Learning in Action
Cory Colbert Faculty Mathematics and Statistics
Kaatje White Staff Center for Learning in Action
Dan Lynch Faculty Biology
Marlene Sandstrom Faculty Psychology Dept; Dean of the College
Eddy Ciobanu Staff Admission Office
Jay Thoman Faculty Chemistry
Joel Lee Faculty Anthropology and Sociology
Mark Reach Staff OCR
Tyler Rogers Faculty American Studies
Patti J. Exster Staff Corporate & Foundation Relations
Tiku Majumder Faculty Physics Dept.
Donna Myers Staff Integrative Wellbeing Services
Rob Savage Faculty Biology
Colleen Little Staff Office of College Relations
Cecilia Chang Faculty Asian Studies
Dave Tucker-Smith Faculty Physics
Janine Hetherington Staff Office of College Relations
Jeannie Albrecht Faculty Computer Science
Kate Heekin Staff Admissions
Steve Klass Staff Campus Life
Gage McWeeny Faculty English
John Carasone Staff Development
Cheryl Brigley Staff Development
Nicole Brown Faculty Classics
Antonio Blanco Staff Alumni Relations
Patricia Acosta Staff Geosciences
Cory Campbell Staff OIT
Robert Swann Staff Alumni Relations
Ninah Pretto Staff Dean's Office
Leila Derstine Staff Alumni Relations
Leigh Sylvia Staff Career Center
Anita Sokolsky Faculty English
Mea Cook Faculty Geosciences, WGSS
Antonia E. Foias Faculty ANSO
Angela Wu Staff The Davis Center
Lew Fisher Staff Office of College Relations
Kai M. Green Faculty WGSS
Sharif Rosen Staff Chaplains' Office/CLiA
Walter Johnston Faculty English
Eva Grudin Faculty art dept., emerita
Sourena Parham Staff CFLLC
Katherine Myers Staff Office of College Relations
Nicolas Howe Faculty Environmental Studies
Barron Koralesky Staff Office for Information Technology
Allison Pacelli Faculty Mathematics & Statistics
Sonnet Coggins Staff Williams College Museum of Art

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