To the Editors:

With regard to Roger Kimball's comments about the recent appointment of the artist Laylah Ali to the position of Assistant Professor of Art at Williams College (February 2001), I write to clarify the reasons behind our recommendation of Ms. Ali for the position. My colleagues and I are not unaware of the fact that Williams College is an affirmative-action employer, but that was not the reason why we voted to hire Ms. Ali. The criteria that matter to us in a studio-art search are the quality of the applicant's creative work, his or her exhibition record, the articulateness of the candidate, and the evidence of his or her effectiveness as a teacher of studio art. A majority of the art department faculty concluded that, in those categories, Ms. Ali was the strongest candidate for this position, in a pool of applicants impressive, I might add, for its size and quality. My colleagues found her creative work to be fresh, genuinely original in conception,...

 
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