Last Wednesday at 11:15 a.m., approximately 30 students gathered on the second floor of Paresky to protest “the lack of inclusiveness at Williams,” according to Celines Diaz ’14, who participated in the protest. The majority of complaints centered around the College’s recent decision to bring Michael Bloomberg for Commencement. The demonstration was not officially supported by any student organization.
According to Diaz, the protesters carried sheets of paper with three different statements, including, “President Falk, Williams claims to be an inclusive community. However…” Participants were invited to finish that sentence with their specific grievances.
The students relocated to Lee Snack Bar at
approximately 12 p.m. One poster read, “Faith is not criminal, stand in solidarity. We are all Williams,” while another read, “Bloomberg spied on Muslim students, we too are Williams.”
Next, the protestors approached President Falk during his open lunch in Lee Snack Bar and presented him with their lists of grievances and demands. Initially, according to Diaz, Falk “read the list of demands and then said he would read the papers at another time.” However, the student protesters continued to surround Falk’s table, and Falk conceded to read every single flyer written by the group. Once Falk had finished reading, the group dispersed.
According to other protestors, there were some demands presented to Falk. The demands include an apology to the Williams community, acknowledging the fact that the Bloomberg’s presence on Commencement day is unacceptable and offensive for some students and a reform of the Honorary Degree Committee. The latter would involve creating a transparent committee of students, faculty and staff that would resist overriding votes of the trustees in the process and presenting the nominees to the entire graduating class, allowing seniors to vote for their Commencement speaker.