Toward a better English department

Last week, students circulated a petition calling for a boycott of classes taught by the English department that do not “engage critically with minority issues.” The petition came directly following Professor of English John Kleiner reading a quote including the N-word in class. It also includes recent criticisms of the department concerning issues with the number of positions, hiring and experiences of faculty who specialize in minoritized literature, student experiences within English classes themselves and the curriculum of the department.

Town, gown and trash: Improving composting at the College and in Williamstown

Given the substantive lack of composting options in and around the College and Williamstown as a whole, we at the Record believe that the College and town should develop a more holistic solution to managing and reducing waste. We hope that productive solutions will prioritize waste reduction, awareness and stewardship in the community. 

Composting is a process by which organic matter is broken down to create natural fertilizer for farmers, as well as to fill for construction projects.

Restoring campus trust: Working toward a better student-CSS relationship

Recent campus events and activism have highlighted a history of fraught relations between Campus Safety and Security (CSS) and minoritized students, particularly Black and Brown students, at the College. Students have recounted experiences of bias and racism with CSS officers, while CSS officers report an erosion of trust with students.

Toward fairness and accountability

Last Tuesday, College Council (CC) denied Williams Initiative for Israel’s (WIFI) request to become a registered student organization. CC members voted anonymously, and only three council members participated in the contentious debate, with none stating the reason for their decision.

We must do better

When students from the Afro-American Society occupied Hopkins Hall on April 4, 1969, the Record published an editorial that day responding to the students’ demands for, among other things, the formation of an Afro-American studies department and affinity housing for students of marginalized identities. The editorial offered broad support to the majority of the Afro-American Society’s demands but couched its language in calls for moderation and critiques of the “uncompromising tone” of student activists, terming them “a narrow and selfish interest group.” 

This was hardly an isolated incident.

On the need for affinity housing

Creating space for minoritized students

On Friday, the Coalition Against Racist Education (CARE) Now released an open letter to the Board of Trustees with a list of 12 demands calling upon the College’s trustees to fulfill their “obligation to the well-being and safety of its students, faculty and staff.” A group of student activists seeking to continue “in the legacy of Black-led organizing efforts on the Williams College campus,” CARE Now was formed last year, its name recognizing the original CARE movement that occupied Jenness House in 1988. CARE Now’s letter indicates ways in which students believe the College can work toward making the College a less harmful place for those of marginalized identities and to take steps toward becoming a more inclusive institution.

Building an equitable community: Making change to ensure staff can thrive

Williams College claims as its mission, “to provide the finest possible liberal arts education.”  Achieving this lofty goal depends not just upon the students and faculty, but – crucially – upon the efforts of the College’s administrative and support staff. The College community, before it can engage in any learning, must be safe, well-fed and in clean surroundings.

The time is now: Calling for the College to act upon recommendations and make Asian American studies a reality

In its recent report on the status of Asian American studies (AAS) at the College, a Curricular Planning Committee (CPC) working group recommended that the College make two tenure-track appointments for faculty with specialized training in AAS and formalize an AAS program with a concentration. 

In offering its students the finest possible liberal arts education, the College must include this critical field of study that both offers unique methodologies and perspectives and strengthens other disciplines. In this critical moment for AAS at the College, after past attempts have been met with dismissal and hesitation, we at the Record call upon the College to take action and to commit to implementing the working group report’s recommendations without delay.