When our peer institutions started dropping like flies, many students at Williams were questioning the future ahead of them. When Amherst, leading the NESCAC, announced their decision to go remote on Monday night, the end felt all too imminent and, for those that identified with the concerns that other students were sharing at our peer institutions, all too eerie.
Speaking to my fellow international friends on Tuesday night about their concerns on paying for a ticket home or just the insecurity that home possesses altogether led me to question a few things. Why did we all assume that Williams would follow the status quo? For a school that goes above and beyond when compared to our peers, why were Williams students so distrusting of Maud’s decisions before she had even drafted the email? We had given up on our institution before it had given up on us.
When Maud hit ‘send’ at 10:40 a.m., after probably being up all night dwelling on the implications of a single email, it became all too real. Despite the building consternations, it seemed as though the administration really did think this one through. Williams has decided to defy the status quo and actually pay for travel for those in need, provide convenient and expansive storage options and still allow for those who still cannot go home to stay — not to mention the continued payroll of all staff. We, as a student body, need to spend the next few weeks talking to all our friends at other institutions instead of joining in on the constant bashing of our schools, and realize that such a decision was necessary and that Williams has certainly made the best out of a bad situation.
We still possess the right, and the obligation, to call out our school when the wrong decisions are made. But those complaints mean nothing if, when the school does right by us, we do not show our appreciation and gratitude. This is by no means a good situation, but it’s certainly a necessary one. While Williams only has a tenth of the endowment that many Ivies have, it has not cut the very corners they are being criticized for. For this, we must be thankful.
Onder Kilinc ’23 is from London, U.K.