Racist slurs found written into dust on cars in Whitman St. parking garage

Annie Lu and Bellamy Richardson

Cars were defaced with racial slurs written into dust on the back windshields. (Bellamy Richardson/The Williams Record)

Students discovered racial slurs written in the dust on the windshields of approximately six cars parked in the garage on Whitman Street, near the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, and reported the incident to Campus Safety Services (CSS) on Saturday evening. This is the latest in a series of bias incidents that have occurred on campus this fall, following an anti-Black racial slur written on a chalkboard in the Writing Center’s meeting room and the defacement of the Soldiers Monument with graffiti of a Confederate flag and the word “Rebel.”

Li Platz ’24 owns one of the cars that was defaced with the N-word, which was written in dust on the back windshield. She and her friends were on their way to a concert in North Adams when she noticed the racial slur on her car, she told the Record.

“The N-word was written in full,” she said. “At that point, we were pretty shocked, but we didn’t have time to really look around, and we didn’t really notice anything crazy, so we just wiped it off and then drove to the concert.”

But when Platz and her friends returned to campus at around 10 p.m., they noticed similar offensive words and drawings on several other cars’ windshields. “[The vehicles] had been defaced either with just the racial slur or … a caricature of Donald Trump or something, and then a few cars had some other phrases written on them,” Platz said. “At that point, we were like, ‘We need to call CSS and report it.’”

Platz’s friend called CSS to report the incident, and officers arrived to take pictures of the back windshields of the cars before wiping off the dust, removing the racist words and images.

After receiving the incident report, CSS reached out to the Williamstown Police Department (WPD), according to Director of CSS Eric Sullivan.

So far, CSS and WPD have not identified a culprit for this specific incident and cannot explicitly link it to the other recent bias incidents. “Excluding the statue incident (because we identified the individual and the circumstances involved), there is no way for us to link these cases together other than the repeated unacceptable words used,” Sullivan said.