A week in Williams history

This week in Williams history, we are reminded of things that unite all Ephs then and now: We still have hooligans running in our midst, we are all still frustrated by fire safety confiscations and first-years are as frustrated as ever by their inability to drive around campus. While the look of the campus and its students may have changed, the Eph spirit evidently stays the same

Feb. 22, 2006

Campus Safety and Security was first alerted on Feb. 17, to a bicycle on fire in Greylock Quad. When officers arrived to put out the flaming bicycle, they were faced with a much larger concern: a full-on bonfire brewing outside of the Gladden ‘C’ entry. Upon further investigation, they found evidence of a second bonfire that had been started on Feb. 14. This was not, it seems, an isolated incident and continued a trend of property damage in and around Gladden dorm. The bonfires were taken very seriously, with some Gladden residents facing possible suspension and relocation (“Bonfires ignite Controversy,” Feb. 22, 2006).

Feb. 25, 2003

Student expressed their frustrations with having their belongings confiscated from their dorms on grounds of violating fire safety codes. At the crux of these complaints is not the fact that the items were confiscated, but the way in which they were removed from the dorms. Students communicated the belief that Security had become “extreme” in their enforcement of the rule and didn’t see the need for the confiscation of personal belongings (“‘Fire hazard’ confiscations mobilize angered students,” Feb. 25, 2003).

Feb. 23, 1988

The Parking Committee decided that because of the congestion of roads and parking lots, first-years at the College would no longer be allowed to have cars on campus. Establishing a reliable taxi service and College-sponsored transportation services to and from such major centers as Albany and strengthening the parking and traffic regulations already in place were other solutions proposed to appease the now transportation-less first-years and to encourage some of the upperclassmen to leave their cars at home (“Parking committee: no cars for freshmen, build new lot,” Feb. 23, 1988).

Feb. 26, 1964

The College’s fraternities of days past exhibited some of the prankery stereotypical of Greek life at any college. Both Security and the Williamstown Police Department were notified on Feb. 21 of a theft of an oil portrait of Mark Hopkins from the library of Zeta Psi, now Wood House. The framed painting, which was a memorial gift to the house, was reportedly made in 1927. This irreplaceable piece was insured for a “substantial amount.” John Rawls, then president of fraternity Zeta Psi, asked for the anonymous return of the piece, saying that they were only interested “in getting the picture back, not in prosecution” (“Mark Hopkins victim of art theft at Zete, reward for recovery,” Feb. 26, 1964).

Feb. 25, 1933

The Board of Trustees announced a 10 percent cut in faculty salaries. This action, it seems, was made to balance out a $40,300 deficit in the budget, caused by an increase in scholarships and a decrease in revenue from gifts and outside investment. The Board of Trustees made it clear that these actions were only taken because there was no other course possible (“Board of Trustees decrees ten percent cut in faculty salaries,” Feb. 25, 1933).

Feb. 28, 1914

The Williams College Good Government Club, the Perry Economics Club, the Society for the Study of Socialism and the Philologian Philotechnian Congress were consolidated into one student organization. This was enacted by the executive committee of the Good Government Club as a result of meetings occurring the previous Friday, wherein it was decided that all of these clubs had aims too similar to be acting in ignorance of each other. The consolidation of these four clubs was meant to unify the societies under a more singular purpose and to systemize the meetings that frequently clashed with each other (“Four undergraduate clubs consolidate,” Feb. 28, 1914).