The College has announced that it will reopen the campus to students for the fall semester, though with stringent measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and with a 15 percent lower cost of attendance.
Last Wednesday and today at two extraordinary faculty meetings held on Zoom, President Maud S. Mandel and Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom gave updates on next year’s academic calendar and faculty voted on changes to the class schedule and Pass/Fail policy, as the College figures out what next academic year will look like amidst the pandemic.
Here are the main takeaways from the meetings.
The Williams Black Lives Matter Project, a collaboration between the newly established Williams Student Union (WSU) and Williams Libraries, is aiming to capture student perspectives on the protests, from any place and in any form. With the project, its founders hope to build accounts of the ongoing movement into the historical and institutional record, even with campus itself nearly deserted.
In an email sent to the College community on June 8, Provost Dukes Love, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Financial Planning, outlined the steps the College will take to mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis during the 2020-21 fiscal year. The plan is estimated to save the College approximately $18 million out of its $245 million annual budget.
In my intro course on blackness and mass incarceration, I ask my mostly seventeen and eighteen-year-old students how they would live their lives differently if abolition were achieved. Some say they would change their majors.
Over the past month, many of the College’s peer institutions have announced their plans on whether or how to return to campus for the fall semester. President Maud S. Mandel committed to making an announcement about the College’s plans by July 1, and as that date draws near, the Chronicle of Higher Education has compiled a list of the plans released by over 1,000 colleges and universities. According to their tracker as of Tuesday night, 64 percent of colleges are planning for an in-person semester, 16 percent are proposing a hybrid model, 7 percent are considering a range of scenarios, 8 percent of are planning for an online semester and 5 percent still waiting to decide.
I care. Didn’t you see my repost? The message being sent by most non-Black people attempting to act as allies during the wake of George Floyd’s death, as the international campaign for the Black Lives Matter movement is reignited — unlike ever before.
Faculty members have been asked to inform the College by yesterday, June 20, whether they would teach in person or remotely if the campus were to reopen in the fall. The academic subcommittee of the working group tasked with determining what an on-campus fall would look like sent an all-faculty email on June 10 to address curricular planning in the case that campus reopens in the fall. The College has not yet decided whether or not to open campus in the fall, with the decision deadline still set for July 1.
“In the wake, the river, the weather, and the drowning are death, disaster, and possibility.” Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, pg. 105
Juneteenth celebrates the abolition of chattel slavery in the United States of America in 1865. As we commemorate the anniversary of this glorious event on the precipice of Independence Day, we implore you to reappraise the true cost of the American dream. According to the Declaration of Independence, all humans are guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Instead, white supremacy has robbed Black Americans of their rights using lynching, sharecropping, redlining, voter suppression, mass incarceration, environmental racism and healthcare disparities.