Chilling of speech at Williams College

February 23, 2021 • 1:30 pm

At the top of the main admissions page of the highly rated and highly woke Williams College, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, is this attempt to induce students to come to the college (click on the screenshot).

Now this would never appear on the University of Chicago’s admission page, for it constitutes a sort of test or pledge for incoming students. It also tells them what they should be doing, and, if they aren’t on board with that, it would chill the speech of anyone who disagrees.

This is why my University doesn’t have such statements (or didn’t, until several departments, like this one and this one and this one, starting breaking the University’s principle of avoiding political, moral, or ideological stands, because those stands are inimical to free discussion).

A few questions. What about the students working to fight, say, global warming as their big project? Are they doing something wrong? Is fighting racism the most exigent activity for all prospective students? And what about those students whose “political activity” involved participating in a Trump rally or Proud Boys demonstration?* Will they not be disadvantaged, either?


*Necessary caveat: I am not on board with either Trump or the fricking Proud Boys

21 thoughts on “Chilling of speech at Williams College

  1. ” … efforts to eradicate racial injustice in our own community …”

    Wow – a bold proposal – “eradicate”!

    How do they know the efforts will eradicate anything, and how will we know it was eradicated? Can anyone decide?

  2. “And what about those students whose “political activity” involved participating in a Trump rally or Proud Boys demonstration?* Will they not be disadvantaged, either?” – there’s a research project right there, using applications with identical student academic details but different political activities….

      1. No, but a researcher could just to see what happened.

        They call themselves “Proud Boys”, but their pride in misogyny and racism is somewhat misplaced.

      2. I may have misunderstood the ethos of the Proud Boys, but aren’t they much more likely to celebrate in being ignorant, uneducated louts? Rather shades of the NF idiots I was at school with – many of whom didn’t even get to their 16th birthdays before leaving school.

    1. The right to silence was one of the things that citizens of the Warsaw Pact bloc were brutally denied. Friends of mine grew up in East Berlin, and any lack of enthusiastic engagement in the political activities deemed important by the East German government was guaranteed to get you an unfriendly visit from the Stasi, with invariably very bad consequences not just for you but for your friends (those who weren’t working as Stasi informants) and family (those who weren’t working as Stasi informants). One of the things that makes life in a liberal democracy happier than it would be under probably any other system is that your private life is just that; the state cannot intrude on it, and if you don’t want to give a rat’s ass about some aspect of the political domain, you don’t have to. The current administration at Williams would probably have made first-rate apparatchiks in the pre-Gorbachev Soviet empire.

  3. Well, they’re going to learn just how big the pool of gifted high school students who want to be told what to think is.

  4. It’s marketing. Paraphrasing: “Our college is going to give you the most extremely Woke education available anywhere! We are just soooo woke, like you wouldn’t believe.”

    1. It would be amusing to translate the statement into Trump speech. Is there a Trump-itize translator online? Yes there is! And if we run it thru…
      “We hope that, wherever lowlife you are, in whatever way lowlife can, lowlife are fighting racism, injustice, and inequality, and lending your voice to making necessary and immediate change. We stand with lowlife and commit to being part of william’s efforts to eradicate racial injustice in our own community, and in communities across the u.S. and around the world.”

      Hmm, that one could be a little smarter.

    2. I think you’re probably correct. Small private liberal arts school administrations probably have a pretty good idea about the sorts of HS students who apply to small private liberal arts schools. Making themselves more attractive to woke liberal HS students at the cost of making themselves less attractive to other HS students may simply be playing to their primary audience.

  5. I was unaware that there was a history of prohibiting those promoting those other causes from attending college. Here in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the administration claims to welcome diversity, but once some students (as well as staff and faculty), they find that it’s very discriminatory. The problem is that we white folks don’t see problems that don’t affect us, so extra effort is required to be aware and try to understand systemic racism. Read the book – extensive excerpts here:

  6. I hope someone lets the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education know about this little gem. That’s ‘Thought Control’ pure and simple. And it may be illegal.

  7. I would think the University of Chicago approach would be more successful in attracting students who are BOTH gifted AND intellectually curious and open. I am far very from a Proud Boy, but I think the Williams statement would kind of turn me off if I was applying to college (although I am definitely against racism, injustice, etc.).

    1. It would absolutely have turned me off. I had a lot of interests, but political activism was absolutely not one of them. I was an introvert, so that was more like my idea of torture. If I come to your school I have to be a political activist? No thanks.

  8. This is holier-than-thou BS. They promise no applicant will be disadvantaged by political activity or protesting. Uh, they shouldn’t (and probably can’t) do that anyway. Are applicants required to report their political activity in order to apply to Williams?

  9. So, the Admissions page of Williams College is deliberately aimed at attracting wokies and turning off everyone else. I suppose this is a sign of a transition that is well under way: a student culture at Williams (and Smith, Oberlin, Middlebury, Haverford, Bryn
    Mawr, Evergreen State, etc. etc.) much more intensely focused on wokie activism than on students learning anything new—such as the phenomena of the natural world and the ways such phenomena can be investigated and made sense of.
    If this is the case, then the natural science programs at these institutions are clearly on the down, and way down. This would be a pity, as some of them (Evergreen and Haverford, to my knowledge) once had good Biology programs. But times change…. Perhaps we are headed toward a big shake-out among academic institutions—a differentiation into those in which graduates have learned something about the physical world, and others whose graduates have not.

  10. “No person will ever be disadvantaged in our admission process for taking part of a political activity or protest”?

    The Kenosha shootings involved confrontations between left and right, with individuals on both sides carrying guns. Would a potential student be covered if they also traveled to another state to “help out?” How far will the college’s support extend?

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