In what direction is our community headed over the next 10 and 15 years? How will the College improve to become more equitable, inclusive, sustainable and transparent?
Three Pillars: Imperfect but improved; The Record endorses Task Force proposal, despite shortcomings
Voting on a referendum that offers the choice between two distinct paths forward for student governance at the College opened last Sunday and will close on Friday night. A Yes vote would abolish College Council (CC) and endorse the Three Pillars Plan, a proposal put forth by a student-elected Task Force to create three elected bodies that fulfill and reform the primary functions of CC.
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.
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.
Friday’s climate strike at the College and the broader Global Climate Strike movement call attention to the necessity for leaders to take meaningful action on the climate crisis. We thank the organizers of the strike for their work in forefronting this issue in campus consciousness.
In 2014, Yoonsang Bae ’17 sexually assaulted another student while on campus. After lengthy legal proceedings, the Berkshire Superior Court found him guilty of rape on Sept.
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.
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.
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.
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.