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.

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.

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.

Centering inclusiveness in the College’s educational mission: A call for renewed attention to issues of minority faculty and staff well-being

With the recent leaves of Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Kai Green ’07 and Assistant Professor of English Kimberly Love, the College’s need to foster an inclusive environment to support faculty and staff from all backgrounds and of all identities has become ever more apparent. This concern has been long-standing; the Faculty-Staff Initiative (FSI) Report in 2009 centered the retention of faculty and staff of color as a pressing issue.