Two students admit to vandalizing Griffin Hall on Saturday

Over the weekend, Facilities covered the vandalism, which the WPD and CSS did not find to be a bias incident. Photos courtesy of the Office of Communications.

On Saturday morning, two students vandalized Griffin Hall to bring attention to the potential impact of the presidential election on campus. 

The students poured a red wood-stain substance resembling blood down the main stairwell of Griffin Hall and wrote “AMKKK KILL” in the stairwell. In addition, the perpetrators splattered the stain substance around the lobby outside of Griffin 3.

The vandalism was discovered by a visitor to campus, who had been inside the Thompson Memorial Chapel. After leaving the chapel, the visitor wanted to see the inside of Griffin Hall and discovered what he thought was blood upon entering the building through the main entrance on the South side. The visi-tor immediately contacted the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) at noon on Saturday and both the WPD and Campus Safety and Security (CSS), which was contacted by the WPD, responded.

Griffin, normally locked during non-academic hours, was unlocked on Saturday morning due to a local organization’s training session which had been planned to take place in one of the classrooms. The training was cancelled and no one from the organization entered the building.

Photos courtesy of the Office of Communications.

In his campus-wide email on Monday morning, President Adam Falk described the rationale for not informing the campus community on the same day as the vandalism was discovered.

“Police determined that the vandalism, while abhorrent, did not create an immediate danger, nor did it constitute a specific threat toward any individuals or groups,” Falk said. “Had there been a confirmed threat to our community we would have communicated with you about it immediately.”

The email was also signed by Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity Leticia Haynes, Vice President for Campus Life Steve Klass and Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom.


Media Relations Director Mary Dettloff described the WPD’s classification process. “The [WPD] classified it as vandalism because they would need to have established intent with the actual person who committed the crime in custody to classify it as anything more serious, given the lack of explicit targeted individual or group,” Dettloff said.

Both WPD and CSS officers were outside of Griffin on Saturday. The Record contacted Director of CSS David Boyer on Saturday afternoon, but received no response.

Photos courtesy of the Office of Communications.

WPD and CSS began an investigation on Saturday, and the WPD notified the FBI and the Massachusetts State Police. CSS interviewed over 40 individuals as part of the investigation.

In his first email, Falk recognized the possible connection between the incident and the tense climate on campus after Donald Trump’s election.

“In the current post-election climate, we have a heightened awareness for any actions or expressions that may be bias incidents,” Falk said.

On Monday night, Falk sent a second campus-wide email in which he reported that the investigation had identified two students soley responsible for the vandalism.

“The students told CSS that they had committed the vandalism to bring attention to the effects of the presidential election on many within our community,” Falk said.

According to Falk’s email, the students’ use of “AMKKK” was an alternative spelling of America used to reference racism in American society. The students said the vandalism was not committed with the intent to threaten according to Falk’s email.

The two students, whose identifies the College has not released, will face disciplinary action.

“Their actions did much more than damage property; they harmed our entire community and caused considerable fear, among students in particular,” Falk said. “We are deeply distressed that anyone in our community would feel compelled to express themselves in such a destructive and harmful way.”

At the end of his email, Falk encouraged students to reach out to support staff on campus. Sandstrom and College Council Co-Presidents Michelle Bal ’17 and Caitlin Buckley ’17 both sent emails early Monday evening reminding students of campus resources.

CSS does not plan to release operational or investigate details. There is no official report regarding the incident.

Comments (45)

  1. To justify discrimination against white and Asian students, SJW need to argue that there is a climate of anti-minority hate in our country. When there is no evidence of such anti-minority hate, the SJWs need to manufacture it themselves. Wouldn’t it be easier to simply end affirmative action?

  2. This is yet another cover-up of criminals to protect the guilty (just like 2011, 2012, …). The students responsible should be expelled.

    1. If the police were involved, it is likely that their names will be part of the public record.
      If they are not, the College has to much power in that town.

  3. To earlier commenter John Drew, how do you know who wrote the email and their ‘political’ leanings? By your logic (or lack thereof), it could have been one of your ALT-right minions manufacturing the incident to blame those you refer to as SJW’s. Also, your statement “there is no evidence of such anti-minority hate” is laughable.

    1. Now who is making assumptions? “ of your ALT-right minions …”

    2. I know conservative and alt-right students better than you. They would never engage in this sort of vandalism.

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  10. If not for fake hate crimes. There’d be hardly any Hat Crimes

  11. If not for fake hate crimes. There’d be hardly any Hate Crimes

  12. Last week I keyed eight new BMW’s, stole a bunch of stuff from WalMart, broke the neighbor kid’s swing set, kicked my brother’s dog, superglued the church’s front door locks, pissed in the gas tank of a handicapped person’s car, and boy do I feel better now. That facist, racist Trump made me do it.

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  14. Why not name them, and show their pics? I’m guess that would conflict with The Narrative.

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  19. Vandalism is a crime. If someone from town had done this they would end up on a police blotter (published in the paper) and charged with a crime.

    I am not saying these young adults should be expelled, (what Williams intends to do with this is your business) but seriously, this kind of double standard is what we have come to expect. They committed a crime.

    At least have them do volunteer work or something. Not naming them is essentially condoning the behavior.

    Always two sets of rules… one for town, and another for gown.

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  22. The two students should be thankful they will be given preferential treatment by the enlightened masters at Williams instead of equal justice by the criminal justice system. They and their masters can rest easy knowing they have made the performance of future hate hoaxes more likely and the prosecution of future hate crimes more difficult.

  23. Punish the vandals, President Falk!

    Why do these acts keep happening? Because they know Falk will give them the “outraged liberal” hall pass.

  24. I see that transparency and personal responsibility still aren’t part of the Williams College culture. Disciplined?? How?? I would make my 12 year old clean up the mess and help them refinish the floor. At least when they were done, the would have learned a valuable skill in addition to a lesson in responsibility.

  25. Happy Holidays to those lucky two who decided their personal emotional reactions were more important than the property and the emotional health of the entire Williams College community. May they share their gifts with loved ones and dear friends, and give thanks to the enlightened masters of Hopkins Hall.

    1. Well put. Happy holidays to you.

  26. I am a black graduate of Williams College. I take responsibility for myself and am grateful for the opportunities that have been afforded me. My life is made more difficult not because incidents like this occur, but because cowards like Adam Falk whitewash the incident and do not hold those responsible accountable. Instead of the minority of minorities being held responsible for their deplorable conduct, we all are. Of course, Adam Falk does not care about minority advancement; he cares about his enormous compensation package financed off 21st century slavery (student debt not dis-chargeable in bankruptcy).

    1. This is one of my favorite YouTube videos. It is about college debt. It is “The Beast That Swallows Its Young” by Matt Kresling. See,

      1. Brilliant. I look forward to the day when modern day slavery is overturned. Of course, the slave owners, i.e. ADAM FALK, will fight it to the end.

  27. Looks like BSU is up the the same old shenanigans. #LowTrustSociety here we come!

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  37. We need talk about the benefits that the new website will bring to us. A lot of thanks!

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