Last Friday, Dave Boyer, director of Campus Safety and Security, issued a security alert to the entire campus via e-mail. The alert was issued after a former staff member, William Burke, “drove up to a College employee on Park Street and made a direct verbal threat,” according to the e-mail. The incident occurred around 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, and the message was sent around 11 a.m. the next day.
The threat, the specifics of which Boyer declined to share with the Record, was of a personal nature and concerned only the staff member attacked. According to Boyer, Security did not consider it a direct danger to students, though that was unclear in the original e-mail. “I don’t believe there is any risk to the student body or anyone other than the person targeted,” Boyer clarified.
Burke was removed from the College and a criminal trespass letter was issued, which states that Burke cannot legally be on College property. According to Boyer, the College terminated Burke’s employment in 2011. Burke is a resident and businessman in Williamstown, but was not considered a threat until Thursday.
“The posting order wasn’t anything we considered until the incident,” Boyer said. The e-mail also contained a photograph of Burke, as well as the model of his car and license plate number. It requested that any students who saw Burke on campus call Security or the Williamstown Police Department immediately.
This is not the first trespass letter the College has issued. “We won’t send all-campus messages for every trespass order,” Boyer said. “We sent this out because we’re looking for help in identifying this person around campus.”
Security has increased patrols in areas where the threatened staff member works and where the threat occurred.