A Week in Williams History

November 13, 1913 – There was a fire at a nearby farmer’s barn. It was in danger of spreading to the farmhouse itself, so the farmer called the local fire brigade, which included 30 students from the College. They brought the “chemical engine to the scene of the conflagration in record time,” but the fire was so far advanced that the barn itself was beyond rescue. Part of the barn fell upon the roof of the farmhouse, and the student brigade focused on dousing the area with wet blankets. The source of the fire was unknown.

November 8, 1932 – The Record reported on an article written for the New York Herald Tribune by an alumnus about undergraduate opinions of the presidential election. According to the source, most undergraduates, including students at the College, supported Herbert Hoover as a candidate. They criticized Franklin Delano Roosevelt, primarily for his lack of specific proposals to address the economic conditions of the day.

November 12, 1938 – In the fevered anticipation leading up to the Amherst-Williams football game, a handful of Ephs decided to take action to set the tone for the year’s rivalry. Slipping away to Amherst on the “first rainy night” of the season, four men of the College broke into Amherst’s museum and attempted to steal “Nude Sabrina,” a famous bronze statue of a goddess. They failed to release the statue from her cement foundation, but made their mark by scratching a message for the Jeffs onto the surface of the statue itself: “We tried hard, anyhow – Williams ’39 and ’41.” A Jeff saw the students coming out of the museum and approached them for a confrontation, so the Ephs made a timely escape to their car.

November 11, 1966 – Female students visiting the College from Bennington were refused service at Snack Bar in Baxter Hall, the predecessor of Paresky. According to the indignant women, they were told that they needed to have a male escort with them to get food at Snack Bar. “We wanted a snack, not a boy,” said one of the women, according to the Record’s report. “The only way to get served now, however, is to get picked up.” College officials later clarified that the issue was not that women were not welcome at Snack Bar. Rather, Snack Bar’s policy was to serve students, faculty and their guests, and officials said the Bennington students fell into none of these categories without an escort.

November 4, 1980 – On the Saturday evening before the Record’s issue went to print, two “shrouded” students stood on Perry lawn and burned a three-foot-high cross. Students enjoying Homecoming festivities inside the building noticed the students and saw them flee to a car, but no one notified Campus Safety and Security or other school officials until the following day. In the week after this event, further threatening incidents towards black students occurred. On Wednesday, the Black Student Union library was “broken into and ransacked,” and many black students later received threatening calls and notes. These events culminated in a cancellation of class for an all-day, all-campus discussion about racism in the community.

November 10, 1988 – Earlier in the year, Williamstown Police Department (WPD) broke up an all-campus party where kegs were available to minors, inciting controversy around the campus drinking culture. WPD charged Security with aiding minors in procuring and storing alcohol, and a new policy was instated to require those of legal age to provide two forms of identification in order to get alcohol at parties.

November 16, 2004 – Mark Rothman ’04 successfully pretended to be a pre-frosh at Amherst for an entire weekend before the Homecoming game. He simply emailed one of the school-appointed hosts and showed up at the school. Over the course of a night out, he won $30 in poker, party-hopped with his first-year hosts and was pronounced “the funniest pre-frosh ever,” all while the students attempted to convince him to choose Amherst over Williams. After attending a tour and info session, he immediately asked how many Directors’ Cups Amherst had won. The response: “What’s the Directors’ Cup?”