In my experience, I think the money and prestige of Williams can be used to disguise a lot of deviant behavior and mental illness - as long as it is packaged as advanced liberal theory, theory too hard for the rest of us to understand. It was sort of stacked with Rep. Weiner types who thought they could get away with lying to you even though what they said defied common sense.
To give you a little insight into Williams College, I should report that one of its most recent presidents committed suicide in 2008. Harry C. "Hank" Payne, pictured above, jumped from an eighth-floor hotel room in Atlanta, GA. In my view, the twisted policies of Williams College - including its absolutely inhumane policies pushing reverse discrimination - imply that any white guy that rose to power in that environment would have to have some serious internal conflicts and a startling level of twisted, self-hatred mixed with a stinging case of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. While I was on the faculty at Williams College one of its most prominent feminist scholars, Rosemarie Tong, was caught plagiarizing a speech and left the school in a disgraceful exit. Her example was sort of ideal evidence that affirmative action had the unwanted consequence of promoting people who really did not deserve the honor of being a college professor.
In my old political science department, they hired a black professor, Bernard Moore, who ended up being a total crook. This obvious affirmative action hire ended up getting fired by Williams in 2009 after pleading guilty to fraud adding up to $821,977.97.
I did a little research about mental illness and Williams College and found a lot of bad news consistent this this sad pattern. For example, I found that a recent student, Katie Craig, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and took her own life in 2007. On a more positive note, another former student, Jon Stanley, freely advertises both his graduation from Williams and his bipolar disorder. In the worst case, we have Eric Bellucci, a man diagnosed with schizophrenia who killed his mother and father in a borough of New York City. He attended the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan and graduated from Williams College. Mr. Bellucci boarded a plane to Israel and was apprehended after a ticket agent in the Ben Gurion Airport recognized him from media accounts and called the Israeli police.
One of the most spectacular examples is found in an NYT story regarding a black alumni, Natasha Williams '93, who died at 46 after many years of living on the streets in New York City. Surprisingly, she was in touch with a number of fellow Williams College graduates. Unfortunately, none of them applied enough pressure to get her into an institutional setting that would have addressed her rather obvious schizophrenia. She left behind two young children.
I'm guessing that being a mentally ill liberal is probably okay at a "formerly" elite institution like Williams College.
For a slightly different take on the causes of mental illness at elite institutions, please see William Deresiewicz's comments on how an elite education can lead to a cycle of grandiosity and depression.
Personally, I was sort of startled by the insane level of hostility I faced at the Ephblog website, which - of course - is unrelated to Williams College itself. It turns out one of the most visible people attacking me, censoring me and seeking to control my posts was also one of the saddest people imaginable - a pathetic, failed Ph.D. candidate named Kenneth Thomas who also goes by the name 1kenthomas or One Ken Thomas.
Kenneth Thomas claims he knows me from my teaching days, and I vaguely remember him as an extremely bright but socially isolated, arrogant and emotionally immature kid. After I left Williams College - with one year left on my contract - 1kenthomas apparently left too. He ended up in a sort of dude ranch, work camp, boys-only school here in California called Deep Springs College. As far as I can tell, Deep Springs College is more known for the quality of its students than its professors. It is the sort of place that glorifies having the students do farmwork and gardening as a character building enterprise.
To me, it looks more like a mental hospital specializing in occupational therapy than a legitimate college. It is the perfect place to send a bright, irresponsible kid who needs to dry out and take his anti-psychotic meds. (I suppose a year at Deep Springs College gathering up hay and feeding it to cows might - on its own - shock someone into maturity.)
According to their literature, about 1/3 of their students go on to become college professors. Unfortunately, this high ideal did not work out too well for the troubled young 1kenthomas. As far as I can tell, they never taught Kenneth Thomas that if you wait outside a professor's door for a year and they fail to show up...then you need to adjust your game plan...not extend your time in graduate school.
Amazingly, Ken Thomas has been working on his Ph.D. for about 18 years now. You could tell that 1kenthomas was deep in his own bullshit when he posted about how it was a good thing for his life that he was still working on his Ph.D. and how 1kenthomas standards were so much higher than mine that it made sense for him to spend 18 years on his Ph.D. career. I could not believe the madness I was reading. I'm only a "near genius" and I still finished my Ph.D. in about four years.
The poor guy is almost 40 years old now. He's a liberal Obama supporter - living in Nashville, TN - who apparently hates America and sees white racism in every corner. Predictably, he is unmarried. I guess being married to the "Chief Boot Licker" has not yet been seen as an attractive prospect for the young women of Tennessee. More research, sadly, indicated a pattern of behavior consistent with the sort of mental illness that leads an ex-college president like Harry C. "Hank" Payne to jump out a window.
Remembering Harry C. "Hank" Payne, I decided to stop debating Mr. Kenneth Thomas because it was sort of like kicking a sick puppy. At any rate, I'm not sure that everyone at the Ephblog site has caught on to Kenneth Thomas's employment or educational record yet. He is a leader among their group because he provides free computer work. Here, roughly, are my final comments regarding him and his behavior:
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As you may know, I conducted a Google search of your education and employment record and have determined that you are too ill for me to continue to debate in good conscience.
For those who aren't keeping track, Mr. Kenneth Thomas is now in the 18th year of his graduate career at U.C. Berkeley and displays signs of delusional thinking including the odd idea that I'm a robot, a fringe theorist, or the advocate of "potential" hate speech.
For a great article that will help everyone better understand what I believe Mr. Kenneth Thomas is coping with, I recommend the following article in Scientific American, See, high functioning paranoid schizophrenia.
You will notice in Mr. Kenneth Thomas's life a persistent lack of focus, the bizarre changes in career, and a shifting sense of identify which are tell-tale signs of deeper problems. At his last job, 1kenthomas referred to himself - inappropriately - as the "Chief Boot Licker." He has been "self-employed" since February 2010.
I have assumed that everyone else was generally aware of Mr. Kenneth Thomas's status as an individual with severe difficulties in keeping up with his peers - including the five years he took to graduate from Williams College. I can understand why it may be convenient to lean on someone like Mr. Kenneth Thomas for unpaid, low-skill computer work. However, it would be obviously mean of me to continue any further debate with him.
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I mean, I'm not perfect, but I thought I was doing him a favor and pulling the covers off of a potentially creepy situation regarding one of Ephblog's most outspoken self-promoters and braggarts, Kenneth Thomas, a.k.a. One Ken Thomas, a.k.a. 1kenthomas, a.k.a kthomas on EphBlog.com, a Williams College alumni site.
The sad case of this young man's story reminds me that we do need to separate out the causes for failure in graduate programs. In my experience, the biggest cause of failure to obtain a Ph.D. is almost always due to personal problems such as drug abuse, mental illness or alcoholism. At a certain point, the committee - and the school - write you off and give up on you. The solution here is for the student to get clean and sober and accept appropriate treatment.
It does not take a high IQ to win a Ph.D. It simply takes focus, adequate social skills and a high level of time management. Most people with normal physical and mental health can pull this chore off with a minimum of effort. I finished my thesis in only four years - even though I was living in poverty, did not own a car, and lacked family and social support systems.
There are, in fact, plenty of "failed" Ph.D. students - including Mr. Kenneth Thomas - who seem more than willing to give their advice to the lonely and frustrated graduate student. :-) I say, buyer beware, and look to proven models for success. In addition, it is wise to Google the people you interact with to see how much of their story is real and how much is delusion or lies.
I also just noticed that Kenneth Thomas is seeking to debunk my story about young President Obama's commitment to extremist Marxist philosophy. Good luck with that...
FYI: Please check out the comment section below in which Kenneth Thomas brags about how much he charges people for computer consulting work. Like Dr. Evil threating the world with a demand for one million dollars, 1kthomas tries to impress me with the fact that he charges $150 per hour. Here in Orange County, of course, that is not a whole lot of money. Even among one of the Williams alumni who regularly contributes to Ephblog, this looks like a silly argument. I certainly hope Kenneth Thomas finishes his Ph.D. and gets on with his life.
The rest of the story, as of June 15, 2011. I just noticed I was banned from Ephblog. As far as I can tell, kthomas seems to think this is an appropriate way to talk me into taking down this article I wrote at my blog site poking fun of his failure to earn a Ph.D., his odd habit of calling himself the Chief Boot Licker, and his claim that Williams alumni should respect him more because he charges $150 DOLLARS PER HOUR. :-)
Of course, I have no intention of taking down this article. It is getting a lot of hits and I think this sort of public exposure might cause William's most famous C*Phil to quit drinking and to examine his life with greater scrutiny. There is no way that wasting time at Ephblog is more important than finishing his Ph.D. at Berkeley or growing his business.
I'm sort of proud that I've been banned from Ephblog by Kenneth Thomas on the same day that conservative bloggers, like myself, have helped push Rep. Weiner out of office despite the fact that a majority of his liberal constituents wanted him to remain in office. I'm assuming that someday, Ephblog, will be able to afford competent support and this liberal reign of terror will come to an appropriate end.
NOTE: I checked the Ephblog website and found that Kenneth Thomas is no longer on their board of directors and that the site is back up and running as of April 25, 2015.
In the meantime, I certainly would not change a word of what I've written. Not until I see evidence that Kenneth Thomas has a year of abstinence from alcohol and clear evidence that he is making progress on his doctoral dissertation. Like Anthony Weiner, I think it is time for 1kenthomas to grow-up, become a man and take stock of his life with clear eyes. Otherwise, we may end up with another guy like Eric Bellucci or Bernard Moore, or ex-Williams' President Harry C. "Hank" Payne on our hands - an arrogant liberal who thought he should tell others how to live their lives, but who was unable to manage his own.
John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.