The Danger of Normalization
As a proud Williams alum who was shaped by the institution’s stated values (including a commitment to diversity, equity and sustainability), I was shocked to see the Williams platform used to elevate the Heritage Foundation in the spring 2018 issue (“Election Results”). I certainly commend the effort to spotlight a variety of political actors. The danger is ending the conversation there and normalizing the Heritage Foundation’s role in the political landscape without offering a transparent and balanced account of its values, goals and impact. Heritage is considered a “massive marketing machine” for right-wing ideology and is pushing conservative policy even further from the common good. It increasingly inﬂuences policy to the detriment of human rights, healthcare access and the environment. Is Williams proud to be affiliated with something so at odds with the intellectual ethos of our community?
—Gabriel Joffe ’11, Boston, Mass.
I was delighted to discover that your recent article about Winter Study, “50 years of Lessons” (spring 2018), included one of my most memorable experiences at Williams, the Back in the U.S.S.R. course of 1980. The accompanying photo looked rather familiar, and a quick check of an old album conﬁrmed that it was one of the many pictures I took on the trip. I am pleased to see the picture reach a wider audience and hope that it evokes fond memories for many of those fellow students who accompanied me.
—John Duffield ’80, Decatur, Ga.
Your reference to Professor Charles Dew ’58 and his Winter Study course The Historian as Detective (“50 Years of Lessons”) brought especially happy memories to mind. My wife, Isabel, and I were the ﬁrst parents—possibly the only parents—to participate in that Winter Study course with Williams undergraduates. (Perhaps Sarah Barnes ’84, quoted in your article, was one of the students in our class.) It was January of 1982. It was a great course. Just being able to hold rare documents in our hands was thrilling. And our experience in the class resulted in two published articles. Isabel’s was in The New York Times education section, describing the course and her reaction to it. My article in the CPA Journal reviewed George Washington’s will, the original of which I studied at Williams. Thanks for the memories.
—Stuart Kessler, Pa ’83, Ardsley, N.Y.
A Fine Job
I wish to congratulate you and your staff on the spring 2018 Williams Magazine. It’s remarkable how the stories therein give one a good reminder of the college and the campus yet manage to speak to alums on subjects to which they can relate. Among the stories that are truly new to us oldsters— and, in this case, fascinating—was the one on Winter Study. I wish Williams had offered this back in the early ’60s. “The Language of Family” involved kidney transplants; having had one myself, I could deﬁnitely relate. Toward the end of the magazine was the article on the typewriter (“Re-learning How to Write”). A wonderfully laid out and brightly illustrated story on a timeless product. If your purpose is to keep alums informed about their alma mater with interesting stories and excellent writing (not to mention outstanding design and high-quality reproduction), I think you’re doing a ﬁne job. Keep up the good work.
—Winston Wood ’63, Novato, Calif.
“I love reading stories about Ephs who are changing the world.” —Jennifer Doleac ’03 @jenniferdoleac, tweeting about “Election Results” (spring 2018)