Friday was the last day of class, the last day of college. I finished off with “PSCI 215: Race and Inequality in the American City” with Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies and Political Science Mason B. Williams. He went above and beyond with online learning to make sure we were all getting adequate professor time; he split us up into small groups and spent significantly more time video calling with us than he would have had to for in-person classes.
When you tell the story of your life and experience at Williams College, of what you did and how you grew during your time here, what will you include and what will you leave out? Do you talk about your frosh entry and the friends you made along the way?
In my experience so far, online learning has kind of sucked. But given that we’re stuck with some form of it next year, it’s useful to consider exactly why I feel this way.
We have experienced a great deal of change in the last two months. The word “unprecedented” has become a part of our everyday vocabulary, and things that were big parts of our lives at the beginning of March, like going to class and spending time with friends, have become unthinkable.
At 3:29 p.m. on May 19, I was sitting at my kitchen table writing my REL 200 final paper. I then received a text message from my friend saying, “it’s out,” at which point I scrambled over to my email and, with a racing heart, panic-read the news.
I recognize that this kind of a decision is unimaginably difficult to make, from all angles.
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.
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?
For us at the Record, as for the rest of the Williams community, the past several months have been tumultuous. Since we departed campus, scattering ourselves around the country and globe, the Record board has been wrestling with how to provide trustworthy and compassionate journalism during a trying time.
Over the past two months, our publication schedule, our editorial process and much of our content has shifted.
Content Warning: Sexual Assault
What do you call a 2,000-page overhaul of legislation that strips power from one of the most vulnerable populations in the sphere of higher education? If you are anyone with a conscience or a brain, it would be an incomprehensible miscarriage of justice. But if you’re Betsy DeVos, it’s just a Wednesday.
I was asked to write a brief reflection piece as I head into retirement at the end of June after a 32-year career in higher education that culminated in my current role as VP for Campus Life here at Williams.