In solidarity with Black Lives Matter: Where the Record, and the College, have faltered, and necessary next steps

Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Tony McDade. Ahmaud Arbery. Tamir Rice. Oscar Grant. These are the names of only a few of the Black people who have become victims of state-sanctioned police brutality. The deaths of these people are directly tied to the anti-Black violence that first brought enslaved people to Jamestown in 1619, and that has permeated this country ever since. This violence — a system directly enabled by white supremacy — is embedded in our nation’s institutional structures through mass incarceration, hyper-surveillance of Black bodies, economic inequities and inequitable distribution of wealth.

The College’s plan leaves student voices unheard and questions unanswered

In our editorial last week, we urged the College to reach out purposefully to students before making decisions about next year. We affirmed that safety concerns and directives from the government come before all else, but we asked that the administration systematically collect our opinions as well. Based on the all-campus email that President Maud S. Mandel sent on Tuesday regarding her plan for next year’s academic model, it is clear that the College made no such concerted effort.

Before deciding on fall plans, ask the students

As a tumultuous spring semester concludes, our scattered community has started shifting its attention to the fall. Will students be able to return to campus in September? If so, under what conditions? If not, what alternative learning environment will be provided?

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.