This statement appeared on The Chronicle of Higher Education website on February 23, 2017
A recent article in The Chronicle attributed divisions of race, class, gender, and athletics at my institution, Amherst College, to an abstraction that the writer, Jack Stripling, labels the “Amherst chain of being.” To state the truth in less-fanciful terms: What he's talking about are longstanding, societywide problems, hardly ones that are limited to any one institution.
Amherst has sought to confront those problems with persistent efforts to identify and enroll talented students from a wide range of socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds, to the educational benefit of all our students. Our success to date has brought extraordinary opportunities and also challenges. The story alludes to the larger societal context but concentrates on the problems as though they were the result of a dynamic internal and specific to this school—something in the water, say. What Mr. Stripling calls remnants of "the old Amherst" allegedly stand in the way of what would otherwise be a higher state of grace.