In May of this year, I wrote Adam Falk about the College’s (mis)treatment of former student Lexie Brackenridge and received no response. In June, I sent the following letter to the Editor of Williams Magazine:
Now seems a curious time to feature athletic programs on the cover of Williams Magazine (Spring 2014), given that former student Lexie Brackenridge was raped in the fall of 2012 by a member of the hockey team. When she reported her attacker, his teammates taunted her and threw full beer cans at her head. Ms. Brackenridge then transferred to Columbia in order to avoid the rapist’s return to campus after a three-semester suspension.
Brackenridge’s assailant entered Williams as a [first-year] after playing junior hockey for a year. As Ken Hillman ’85, who has ceased raising funds for the College in protest, told radio station WBUR: “The structure, recruiting policy and demographics of [Williams’s] hockey team appears to be an incubator for trouble. In looking at the roster of the [men’s] hockey team, eight of the 24 members list junior hockey instead of their high school. Those eight students have spent up to three years playing junior hockey in a minimally supervised environment. And I look at taking that dynamic and putting it into a small rural campus like Williams as a powder keg for trouble.”
Your recent article asks, “What makes a successful sports program?” The College’s distressing response to this question appears to be: “Recruiting and admitting certain athletes who don’t meet the academic or ethical standards of the College, allowing them to foster a climate of violence and intimidation and sheltering such athletes from the law.”
That my letter was not published came as no surprise given that Williams Magazine is a thinly-disguised propaganda arm of the College administration, almost entirely free of the controversy and debate that characterize alumni publications at Yale, Princeton and Columbia. (The letters to the Editor which were printed in Williams Magazine about the article in question included the phrases: “Keep up the good writing!” and “Best article I have read in years.”) Williams College has many things of which to be proud. Stifling dissent is not one of them.
Eric Bagan ’84