More lunacy at Williams College: College paper endorses segregated housing, declares that its mission is not reporting, but social justice

The Williams Record, the student newspaper of Williams College, is a reliable source of ludicrous Woke Culture (with a big dose of Perpetual Offense), which would be amusing if it weren’t horrifying. This week, the newspaper is dealing with student demands by a group called CARE (see here) for the kind of perks we’ve seen before: more therapists, free weekend shuttle buses to New York and Boston (this is a new one), more funding of diversity and, especially, “affinity housing,” the new euphemism for “racially segregated housing.” It’s only a matter of time before Williams students, like those at Sarah Lawrence, demand free laundry detergent and softener in the laundry rooms.

I’d be more sympathetic to student demands for better treatment of racial inequities at Williams if I were convinced that there were any. I’ve tried to find them, but all I observe is that minority students are treated not only better than any other college I know of in this country, but better than any other ethnic group. Yet they claim that they are unsafe, that they are in physical danger, that they are victims of Williams’s “institutional violence”. Yet I’ve never been able to find a single instance of “hate crimes” or of bigotry there; what we appear to have is pure Offense Culture—seemingly on the part of every “minoritized” (their term) group. And now the students are demanding “The creation of new enrollment options and teaching fellowships in Native, Trans, Disability, and Fat Studies.” Given that students also demand that this type of course be taught by a member of the stigmatized minority, one wonders if they’ll advertise for a “professor of size”.

But the most odious of the demands, or so I think, is for affinity housing, and that’s the topic of much of the paper’s reporting this week. Of course the Record favors it. Click on the screenshots below to see the articles.

But first, the front-page editorial of the paper is a paradigm of self-flagellation in journalism. The editors have decided that, over the history of the Record, they have not been supportive enough of student movements and demands. That is, they’ve been supportive, but not in the right way, as they’ve failed to support every demand and every tactic of the protestors. Apparently full, unreserved, and uncritical support is essential.

We must do better

For example:

We must face the ways we have failed students who sought, with, in their words, actions and bodies, to make this campus a better place for them and for all members of the community. We have fallen short of our obligation to consistently report on the stories relevant to marginalized members of our community, leading many to feel, justifiably, that the Record does not serve them. Too often, our editorial board has also passed judgment on the validity of campus activism from a privileged position that affirms apathy and passivity, in the process undermining positive change and upholding those in power.

How, exactly, have they failed? By not giving unreserved support to student demands and actions:

The Record in particular has a long history of upholding institutional passivity and the status quo. When students held the hunger strike that ultimately spurring the creation of a Latina/o studies program, the Record published an editorial under the headline, “Strike devalues legitimate goals” (April 27, 1993), writing, “The group is delegitimizing its worthy ideological effort by tying it so closely with unreasonable requests.” On Feb. 29, 2012, the Record published an editorial titled “Working within our means: Examining the College’s curricular priorities,” which opposed the creation of an Asian American studies program and calling into question the utility of such a concentration.

These failures apparently constitute mortal sins, but the Record is resolving to do better, and will do so not by adhering to objective reporting, but by giving complete and unreserved support to whatever minoritized students demand. This is the abnegation of journalistic responsibility in favor of Woke ideology, and it’s scary.  They might as well be penitentes scarifying their backs with barbed whips:

These gaps in reporting remind us that we cannot claim to have served all members of our community in the past, and some may find it difficult to believe that we will do so in the future. We recognize, however, that the only way for us to regain trust with those whom we have inadequately served is to expand our efforts to write, in truth and in fairness, stories that reflect the harms and issues that marginalized students, staff and faculty face at the College.

. . . As we craft editorials as well, we must be mindful not to undermine calls for change with distanced equivocation. Indeed, an endorsement of principles can be offered without any real or material commitment toward bettering campus and indeed can be accompanied by calls for restraint that actually impede progress. Passivity is not a neutral stance nor a helpful one.

No equivocation! Principles must be endorsed wholeheartedly, with no calls for restraint or rational consideration.

This kind of stuff should make any real journalist ill. But those who write for the Record are not journalists but ideologues. The campus has gotten the newspaper it deserves.

This next article, which I won’t summarize in detail, justifies why segregated housing is deemed essential. (Heretofore the Williams administration has refused to implement it, but I think the time is coming.) Apparently other schools like Amherst and Wesleyan have it, but I’m curious why such housing isn’t illegal.

I oppose affinity housing on two grounds: it’s segregation by ethnic groups (usually race), something inimical to bringing people together. Further, “mixed” housing, which most universities have (and for a reason), is a positive force for getting people from different backgrounds to learn about each other. This, at least in the eyes of most liberals, is a good thing, promoting mutual understanding.

The Record does not agree.

On the need for affinity housing

Why segregation is good:

We at the Record wholeheartedly support establishing affinity housing at the College. As a community, we must recognize that the College is a predominantly white institution in which students of color often feel tokenized, both in their residences and more broadly on campus. Establishing affinity housing will not singlehandedly solve this problem, but it will assist in making the College a more welcoming, supportive and safe community for minoritized students.

Some say affinity housing reinforces division, arguing that having minoritized students cluster in one space would be harmful to the broader campus community. We believe, however, that allowing for a space where students can express their identities without fear of tokenization or marginalization will encourage students to exist more freely in the broader campus community, rather than recede from it.

Given the propensity for many ‘minoritized’ students to take classes that attract similar minorities, classes like Africana Studies, Asian Studies, Arabic studies, Jewish studies, and so on (this hardly exhausts the list at Williams), this is not convincing. Further, I see absolutely no evidence that minority students at Williams are tokenized or marginalized. If they were, we would have tangible examples, but even asking for such examples is considered “violence” (see the Areo piece below by Darel Paul, a Williams professor, who documents the woeful lack of evidence for the kind of violence and discrimination claimed by Williams students).

Here’s yet another of the paper’s approbations of affinity housing:

Push for affinity housing builds

The statements below make me wonder if “affinity housing” is not supposed to apply just to African-American students, but to all minorities. Imagine the Balkanization that would ensue! (Emphases are mine.)

Students at the College have articulated a vision for living spaces of affinity around a common identity – including but not limited to race, culture and sexuality – as an antidote to feelings of tokenization and isolation that students say the College’s current housing options fail to address. Students say that they have began conversations on affinity housing last spring with administrators, who say that affinity housing will be a key topic of consideration as the College moves forward in the strategic planning process. A group of students met with administrators on Monday about a current attempt to create an affinity space through the housing lottery.

One of the 12 demands published by Coalition Against Racist Education Now (CARE Now) on Friday requested the establishment of “affinity housing for Black students (and all other marginalized groups).”

Will there be Asian Houses, Jewish houses, Disabled houses, Gay Houses, Fat Houses, and so on? After all, doesn’t every minoritized group deserve to have its own residence to affirm the identity of its members?

The article quotes a a previous piece by a student defending affinity housing, making clear that its goal is support and affirmation of one’s identity:

“Affinity housing would grant students who share an aspect of their identity the opportunity to live together in an intentional community with shared values and goals, allowing these students to feel supported and have their identities affirmed by those who live around them,” [Alia Richardson] wrote.

This is not a recipe for the “inclusiveness” that Williams touts, but for a separation and segregation that will intensity the identity politics already destroying the College.

In the paper’s podcast below, opinions editor Kevin Yang, at 4:15, begins the self-flagellation familiar to students of China’s Cultural Revolution, a view mirrored in the editorial that begins this article. The paper holds itself “complicit in some of these harms that have happened”, but it is wrong on two counts: there are no documented “harms,” and the paper is not complicit.

Darel Paul, professor of political science, wrote an enlightening article about this and similar madness here (or click on screenshot below). Although it deals with other liberal arts colleges similar to Williams (Wesleyan, Evergreen State, and so on), it has several enlightening links to what’s going on at his own school. Paul is clearly disaffected, and the administration should pay attention to his thoughts. More likely, though, Paul will be demonized and ignored for, after all, he’s an Old White Male:

Have a gander at the video in this article. It’s from The College Fix, a right-wing website, but it does show an amazing piece of political theater as angry black students burst into a Williams student council meeting (these things are livestreamed at Willams) and abuses the other students for not appropriating money for blacks-only events at “Previews”, the time when prospective students visit Williams and the college tries to sell itself to them. I’ve watched this video twice, and there’s nothing more telling about the climate at Williams than what happens in it. You needn’t read the article if you don’t like the site, but watch the video embedded in it; the fun begins at 30:02. [UPDATE: The students have removed the video, probably because it’s so embarrassing, but you can see the re-uploaded video here.]

Note the deep and abusive anger of the yelling student (unwarranted, in my view), as well as his denigration of free speech. It reminds me of the flack given to Nicholas Christakis at Yale during the Great Halloween Dustup.

The abuse of the student toward other Council members continues for a full 15 minutes, and the members of the council, clearly cowed, reversed their stand on race-specific Previews. They were funded.

This is exactly like the kind of stuff an abusive husband heaps on his wife, and all too often the partners buy it, assuming they’re responsible for bringing on the abuse.

Williams is this year’s Evergreen State College.

27 Comments

  1. Ken Pidcock
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Reference to the Cultural Revolution is most appropriate. That, too, must have been thoroughly invigorating. It’ll be sad to see Williams decline, but whaddya gonna do?

    • max blancke
      Posted April 19, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      I see a Maoist influence, but more in the fashion of a Maoist insurgency. Like in Malaya or similar places.
      I don’t think the real goal is to make life better for the African American kids, or US society as a whole. I think it is about disruption and chaos.
      Convincing a segment of the target country’s population that they are being oppressed, and that their government is complicit in that oppression is a typical Maoist strategy.

      I think perhaps they are using the Cultural Revolution’s tactics, but with a different strategic goal. Not that those students can see the larger picture. Or that they are supposed to.

      I have been hearing about similar incidents from my oldest, who attends one of the universities that has been in the news over these sorts of issues. I simply cannot believe that any one of these permanently aggrieved and rage-filled kids are going to be better off than if they had entered university with with a strong work ethic, a drive to study some useful subject, and the ability to keep from being distracted in that effort.

      They are not even constructively addressing the issue of racism itself. The kids who are constantly having obscenities and threats screamed at them by the BLM types are learning, at a minimum, to avoid the Black kids. Which is a shame.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    … student demands … for … especially, “affinity housing,” the new euphemism for “racially segregated housing.”

    Sister Rosa would shake her head in disbelief.

  3. Christopher
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    With all these new demands, one wonders why university education is so expensive, because laundry soap, culturally some foods, and special housing will be totally free, right?

    I would, however, gladly pay extra for leftista-free classes.

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    My dad was in the newspaper industry much of his life. As newspapers began to decrease in importance and number, to the point where there were only one or a couple of dailies in major cities, he would talk about the problem of the newspaper monopoly. Williams College badly needs a second newspaper, to allow for other points of view, and the college should fund it. Enragés have clearly seized The Williams Record.

  5. zoolady
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    (HUGE sigh here!) For this we demonstrated, fought and struggled for integration in schools? Silly us–we thought that living and studying together would help overcome all the barriers and blockades to understanding one another. Silly us. Now, it appears we were PUNISHING these poor students by forcing them to engage with people of other ethnicities!

    Looks as if we wasted a LOT of energy/time and attention to the words of Dr. King, who simply asked for everyone to be judged by their character, rather than their color.

    Silly us.

    • Posted April 20, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Indeed zoolady. When I was in college in the 1960s, the only segregated housing was that most of the richer upper class folks lived in fraternity or sorority houses while everyone else was more or less randomly scattered through the college dormitories. And nearly everyone was at least nominally opposed to segregation.

  6. Dave
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    “Will there be Asian Houses, Jewish houses, Disabled houses, Gay Houses, Fat Houses, and so on? After all, doesn’t every minoritized group deserve to have its own residence to affirm the identity of its members?”

    Won’t they then need a ‘Fat, Jewish, Gay, Disabled Asian’ House, or will a student have to pick a specific ‘culture’ of people that they want housed with? If the latter is true, will blacks and Asians both be housed in the same gay house? How many buildings do they have in which to set this up?

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    “We must face the ways we have failed students who sought, with, in their words, actions and bodies, to make this campus a better place for them and for all members of the community.”

    Jesus, I remember when a fella name of Savio — a fella who had spent time teaching black kids in the Deep South to read and write, a fella who had spent the summer before his senior year (the summer of 19-freakin’-64) registering black folk to vote in goddamn Mississippi and had gotten his ass beat by racists for the effort — I remember when HE gave a speech:

    “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels … upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop!”

    What he was calling for a stop to was censorship, calling for free speech — hell, starting a whole damn free speech movement — not derogating anybody else’s right to speak their mind.

    Christ, now these students at Williams have got me feelin’ like Paul Lynde in Bye, Bye Birdie: Kids! What’s the matter with kids today?!

  8. dd
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile at Middlebury, a secretly taped part of a meeting between students and faculty over outrage over invitation, then very recent disinvitation, of a speaker:

  9. CAS
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Fat Studies! I get tired of all the weight loss adds everywhere, but now they not just dumb, but a vicious attack on the fat minority (oops majority)! I suppose only fat professors can teach fat studies. Expensive schools producing ignorant, sensitive graduates.

    • Doug
      Posted April 19, 2019 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      I prefer the term “gravitationally challenged.”

      • Deodand
        Posted April 20, 2019 at 3:27 am | Permalink

        Back in the 1990s the term was ‘Horizontally Augmented’. Nowadays it’s believed that being grossly overweight is a political act..

    • Posted April 20, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      And to think that the UK comedy series “Not The Nine O’Clock News” made a joke out of the concept of ‘stoutism’ back in the 1980s. How prescient that Maximum Load 8 persons was stoutist and fat shaming.

      • Richard
        Posted April 20, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        And ‘The Goodies’, even further back in the 1970s, who did an episode on “apart-height”, where the shortest of the trio (Bill Oddie) became the new minority.

  10. Posted April 19, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Seems like according to the precepts of intersectionality it would not be enough to just have a Gay House, a Jewish House, a Fat House, etc. Indeed, such a proposal is shockingly insensitive to the intersectional realities and lived experiences of those who are gay, Jewish, *and* fat. Anything less than a separate Gay Jewish Fat House would just continue to perpetuate the institutional violence against the minoritized.

  11. merilee
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Insanity!

  12. Posted April 19, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    This is slowly turning into a nightmare right out of Ayn Rand’s novels.

  13. Posted April 19, 2019 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    I thought the point of college was to help students become more open minded. Yes, its probably good for them to have friends that have similar views as them, but how will they ever be revised for the better if they don’t met new people with different views?

    I did like college, but I didn’t continue my education because in half of colleges people want all of this fancy stuff that really isn’t something they own, its something the college owns and they’ll only be able to use it for a few years. I’d rather them provide a meal plan with healthier food options as opposed to some fancy hot tub, but I guess most people my age don’t think taking care of themselves -or their finances- are important.

  14. Steve Gerrard
    Posted April 20, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I am reminded of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation in 2016, when those rough and tumble militants took over the (unoccupied) ranger office for a whole month or so. They tweeted that they were doing okay, but could someone please send some French Vanilla coffee creamer?

    • merilee
      Posted April 20, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      But I want the chocolate kind. Waaaaaaaaa🙀

  15. Steve Gerrard
    Posted April 20, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I am reminded of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation in 2016, when those rough and tumble militants took over the (unoccupied) ranger office for a whole month or so. They tweeted that they were doing okay, but could someone please send some French Vanilla coffee creamer?

  16. Posted April 20, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    It is sad to watch a 200+-yr-old college go down the drain.

  17. Wiks
    Posted April 20, 2019 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi!

    I’m a student at Williams College. What do you know about the first-hand experience of a student at this institution?

    • Posted April 21, 2019 at 5:04 am | Permalink

      What I know is that, like all Williams students, you are privileged to be there but, like many, you also feel entitled, as your “question” shows. And you are somewhat unlearned: I am of course not a student there, so, as you well know, I can have no “first-hand” experience of a student your school.

      But I know plenty about Williams, and know that because of some entitled students who pretend to be victims of “institutional violence”. Sadly your school, once lauded for its quality, is on the way to becoming a national joke—like Evergreen State.

  18. artichoke
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    In the reposted video, the “speech” starts at 45:00 and the cursing starts around 47:00.

  19. John Nail
    Posted May 3, 2019 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I am a ‘75 Williams grad. Ours was the first class to have women matriculate as freshmen.
    Williams had eliminated frats or discriminatory “affinity housing” in 1967 and moved to residential houses made up of a group of unrelated students who could go in groups of 1, 2 or 4 into various housing types.

    We put together both friends and folks who did not know each other or study the same subjects or play the same sports in a social unit. We had parties by house or houses, had a dining hall we shared though you could eat anywhere, a shared TV room and intramural sports teams. All this enabled interaction among everyone and worked well. It was the best of frat without the discrimination ….
    Some of my dearest friends are people I would never have known if not hosed next to one another, had dinner together and just general interactions.

    It mostly worked but the African American student union wanted segregation.
    Now this is 45 yrs ago but we had an entire floor in our house that if you dared set foot on it you were fearful. That was BS then and segregating any group now is BS today.

    I get the communication on this from the College and am sickened by this playing to minority interests vs addressing any underlying problems on campus and have the students create their day to day fabric of broad friendships and experiences by being together not apart.


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] led to demands for racially segregated housing. (I was alerted to this by Jerry Coyne, who’s been on the case for a while.) Here’s the rationale as expressed by the student […]

%d bloggers like this: