Keith Stevens, a student from Trinity College, was arrested at Spencer House late Saturday night for malicious destruction of property and assault and battery. Williams Security decided to call the Williamstown Police Department after Stevens was observed vandalizing the Spencer laundry room and physically threatening Williams Security Officer Jill Taylor.
Taylor, who was on duty at a party at Spencer, was standing outside the basement window when she noticed Stevens and another student in the laundry room. “I looked in and noticed a kid drinking from a Budweiser can,” Taylor recalled. “Since in the party there was a keg it immediately caught my attention.”
“I saw [Stevens] ripping something out of the wall that turned out to be a thermostat,” Taylor continued. “They were standing there laughing.”
“Then one of the two [students] came at the window with a white laundry detergent container and began smashing the window.”
Taylor called for assistance and went inside and down to the basement. “As I got there, [Stevens] grabbed hold of me and tried to push me out of the way, so I pushed him back into the room and Officer [Robin] Hart and I started questioning him.”
Williams Security Shift Supervisor Dave Murphy responded to the scene, and decided to call the Williamstown Police Department. Murphy also talked to the student host at Spencer, who chose to close the party down.
“The security guards told us all to leave,” Juliet Van Pelt ’01 recalled. “I just thought we were over fire capacity or something like that. No one knew what was going on.”
Williamstown Police soon responded to Murphy’s request. “We received the call at 11:51 from Williams College Security [Officer] Murphy requesting an officer at Spencer,” Williamstown Police Officer David Lemieux recalled. When the police officers arrived, “Taylor identified [Stevens] . . . and we arrested him for malicious destruction of property and assault and battery on Officer Taylor.”
“We brought [Stevens] back [to the station] and did a booking,” Lemieux continued. Lemieux also questioned Stevens about his behavior. “He said he went to get a beer upstairs and the kid wouldn’t serve him because he didn’t have a stamp, and then pushed him up against the wall,” Lemieux recalled. “He said he was worked up about that.”
Surprisingly, alcohol did not seem to be a factor in the incident. Taylor reported that she “could not tell whether they were drinking excessively or not.” When Lemieux questioned Stevens, however, “he said he had only had one beer.”
“He actually seemed fine,” Lemieux added.
Stevens was released the next morning, and faces a March 18 court date in North Adams. “If found guilty, he could receive any of a variety of punishments. “That’s up to the judge,” said Williamstown Police Officer John McConnell.
The other Trinity student was not taken into custody. “The only one [Taylor] saw doing anything was Stevens,” McConnell said. The second student was, however, “verbally posted” (told to leave under penalty of trespassing) from campus. “He was told to get his belongings and get off campus, and not come back,” Taylor said.
The second Trinity student did not leave immediately, however, and was seen later that evening at another Williams party, where students reported that he continued to act inappropriately. “I couldn’t believe it,” Van Pelt said. “This Trinity kid that shouldn’t even have been there was being really obnoxious to the people at Williams.”
Williams Security was disturbed about the entire incident. “I really have never had to use force before,” Taylor said. “That was the first time anyone ever put their hands on me.”
“I was pretty shocked,” she added.
Murphy was also troubled. “It is something I absolutely will not tolerate,” he said, “anyone touching any of my staff.”
However, he added, “it doesn’t happen often, and when it has occurred, it has always been with people outside the College.”
He continued, “Williams students do not touch Williams security officers. There’s a mutual respect.”
Taylor concurred. “The first thing that came out of my mouth [when confronting Stevens] was, ‘are you a Williams student?’ But I knew he wasn’t.”