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.

Calling for accountability, transparency from CC

As College Council (CC) begins its fall term following the chaos and controversy of last semester, we encourage its members to consider the following issues and suggestions. We recognize that there is much work and thought required to restore confidence in CC and acknowledge that this list is not comprehensive, but hope that it is a constructive first step as CC begins reform.

Seeking clarity in protest policy: Students deserve input, clearer guidelines

In a Sept. 5 email, Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom notified students of revised and updated policies for campus protest, postings and speakers, citing the administration’s desire to be “as clear and transparent as possible in describing [its] policies around freedom of expression.” While we at the Record appreciate these efforts in increased clarity, we believe the lack of student input in developing these policies, the ambivalent language of the policies themselves and the potential chilling effect of threatened disciplinary action alongside this vagueness all pose serious concerns to student activism at the College.

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.