The Williams Record

Ella Marx, Managing Editor

Ella Marx ’24 is a history and religion major, and a Jewish studies concentrator, from New York, N.Y. She is a managing editor, and she previously served as editor-in-chief and as the executive editor, a section editor, and a staff writer for the news section.

Email: [email protected]

All content by Ella Marx
Noah Cape and Matt Seltzers posters, which were placed in Paresky Center following Thanksgiving break, were defaced twice. (Photo courtesy of Noah Cape.)

College says graffiti on Israeli hostage posters called for violence, breached ‘both College values and Williams policies’

Ella Marx December 19, 2023
On Dec. 13, the College became aware that posters in Paresky Center had been defaced with graffiti that "supported violence against Israelis," violating College values and policies. College staff took the posters down. The posters had originally been put up by Noah Cape '25 and Matt Seltzer '24 to raise awareness about Israelis held hostage by Hamas.
The case was heard by the Northern Berkshire District Court. (Ella Marx/The Williams Record)

Former student suspended, admits to photographing others in dorm bathroom

Ella Marx December 6, 2023
The College has suspended a former student for sexual misconduct after he admitted in Northern Berkshire District Court to two misdemeanor counts of photographing an unsuspecting person nude.
Photo courtesy of Theo Duarte-Baird.

One in Two Thousand: Theo Duarte-Baird ’26

Ella Marx November 15, 2023
Each week, the Record (using a script in R) randomly selects a student at the College for our One in Two Thousand feature, excluding current Record board members. This week, Theo Duarte-Baird ’26 discussed an unexpected favorite class, art on campus, and the many foods one can eat with a spoon.
If passed, a Massachusetts bill would charge colleges with legacy admissions.

Proposed Mass. bill aims to end legacy, donor preferences in higher education

Ella Marx October 3, 2023

A bill introduced in the Massachusetts state legislature seeks to prohibit wealthy institutions of higher education from considering applicants’ legacy statuses or relationships to donors — unless...

Five in Two Thousand: Annie Lu ’23,  Tali Natter ’23,  Cameron Pugh ’23,  Bellamy Richardson ’23,  and Kitt Urdang ’23.5

Five in Two Thousand: Annie Lu ’23, Tali Natter ’23, Cameron Pugh ’23, Bellamy Richardson ’23, and Kitt Urdang ’23.5

Ella Marx May 9, 2023
For the last issue of the Record to be released this semester, Editor-in-Chief Ella Marx ’24 sat down with members of last year’s Record management team to discuss their retirement from the Record and memories from leading the paper.
(Photo courtesy of Shirley Lin.)

Williamstown to vote on adopting ranked choice voting system

Ella Marx and Grady Yuthok Short April 18, 2023
At this year’s Town Meeting, Williamstown voters will determine whether the Town should move away from its current voting system. A warrant article backed by the nonprofit Voter Choice Massachusetts would implement ranked choice elections for Town offices.
The field house was closed indefinitely after the discovery of a structural fault. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Anonymous alum donates $1 million after Field House closure

Ella Marx April 11, 2023
An anonymous alum has donated $1 million to the College in response to the Towne Field House’s indefinite closure due to the deterioration of a support beam that compromised the building’s structural integrity.
Fred Krupp and Sara Bloomfield will receive honorary degrees and speak at the College’s commencement and Baccalaureate, respectively.

EDF President Fred Krupp, U.S. Holocaust Museum Director Sara Bloomfield to speak at commencement, baccalaureate

Ella Marx March 15, 2023
Fred Krupp, the president of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), will deliver the 2023 commencement address on June 4. Sara Bloomfield, the director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., will deliver the College’s Baccalaureate address on June 3.
The Putnam Exam was administered at the College (Julia Goldberg/Williams Record)

Seven Williams students among top Putnam finishers, one in top 200

Ella Marx March 1, 2023
Seven students at the College placed in the top 500 undergraduates of the 3,415 who competed in the annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition on Dec. 3, 2022.
Professor Magnús Bernhardsson awarded Icelandic Grant of Excellence

Professor Magnús Bernhardsson awarded Icelandic Grant of Excellence

Ella Marx February 22, 2023
Magnús Bernhardsson, professor of history and chair of global studies, has received one of four 2023 Grants of Excellence from the Icelandic Research Fund to study the education and social inclusion of Syrian and Iraqi children who were designated as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and came to Iceland from 2014 to 2019.
Letter from  the Editor:  Expanding our opinions section

Letter from the Editor: Expanding our opinions section

Ella Marx February 22, 2023
In this letter from the editor, Editor-in-Chief Ella Marx informs the College and Town community of the Record's updated opinions policy.
“A very solid and admirable C-”: Instructors respond to the use of ChatGPT at the College

“A very solid and admirable C-”: Instructors respond to the use of ChatGPT at the College

Ella Marx and Inés Garcia February 15, 2023
At the start of the spring semester, students noticed something different about their professors’ syllabi and welcome-to-class announcements: Many included guidance on, prohibitions of, or encouragement to use ChatGPT — as long as it’s cited.

College to contribute $5 million to construction of new fire station, pending proposal’s approval

Ella Marx and Julia Goldberg February 8, 2023
The College’s Board of Trustees voted on Jan. 20 to contribute $5 million, at a rate of $1 million per year for the next five years, to the construction of Williamstown’s new fire station — if Town voters approve the proposal to build the station.
This week in Williams history: The origin of Claiming Williams

This week in Williams history: The origin of Claiming Williams

Ella Marx February 8, 2023
“This week in Williams history” is a column dedicated to looking back at memorable moments in the College’s past through articles in the Record. This week in history, the College responded to a racist incident; one year later, it hosted the first Claiming Williams day, due largely to student activism in response to the racist incident.
Letter from the Editor: Old commitments and new beginnings

Letter from the Editor: Old commitments and new beginnings

Ella Marx January 25, 2023
In a letter to the Williams community, Editor-in-Chief Ella Marx ’24 reaffirms the Record's long-standing values, while describing her vision for its future.
Williamstown police officers unanimously support the use of body cameras.

Williamstown appoints Michael Ziemba as its first permanent police chief in two years

Ella Marx December 28, 2022
Since December 2020, Michael Ziemba has served in several different roles within the Williamstown Police Department (WPD), including lieutenant, acting chief, interim chief, and — as of Dec. 20 — permanent chief.
The Select Board acts as the executive branch of the Towns government. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Lin.)

Williamstown seeks to review Town Charter

Ella Marx November 30, 2022
The Charter Committee hopes to perform a larger, more comprehensive review of the Town Charter, solicit input on the revision from Town officials and residents, and propose changes to the charter at the 2024 Town Meeting.
Jóhannesson talked about fostering “positive patriotism” in his conversation with Bernhardsson on Nov. 9. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Lin.)

President of Iceland Guðni Jóhannesson visits Williams, discusses presidency

Annie Lu and Ella Marx November 16, 2022
Jóhannesson, Iceland’s sixth and current president, came to Williamstown on Nov. 9 and gave a talk titled “Cool Iceland: The Fascinating Challenges and Opportunities of Being a Small State.”
The admission office fielded questions about international admission and aid. (Photo courtesy of Devika Goel.)

ISA advocates for need-blind admission policy for international applicants

Ella Marx November 9, 2022
The College does not practice need-blind admission for international applicants like it does for domestic applicants — but members of the International Students Association (ISA) hope to change that. On Nov. 2, the ISA hosted a public dialogue alongside members of the College’s admission team.
The Sustainable Living Community is based in Garfield House on South St. (Annie Lu/The Williams Record)

Sustainability TAPSI house launches campus-wide compost project

Ella Marx and Emily Zas October 18, 2022
The Sustainable Living Community (SLC) will provide metal compost bins to upperclass dorm kitchens across campus this semester. The move, which was announced in a Daily Message, is a response to the College’s removal of compost bins in residential areas for this academic year. The SLC said it hopes to expand the project to first-year dorms and co-ops.
Photo courtesy of Jaden Block ’24.

Chess Club returns to tournament play, wins at Bennington

Ella Marx October 18, 2022
The College’s Chess Club competed in the first in-person competition that the club has attended since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many club members, this was their first in-person chess tournament and their first rated competition.
The Honor and Discipline Committee is looking to formalize its internal norms to provide greater consistency. (Samuel Riley/The Williams Record)

College opens the Rice Center for Teaching

Ella Marx September 27, 2022
The College has launched the Joseph L. Rice III 1954 Center for Teaching, the first center at Williams dedicated to helping faculty develop their pedagogies and providing them with resources for their development as teachers.
Berkshire DA will not charge officer involved in fatal shooting of 22-year-old Pittsfield man Miguel Estrella

Berkshire DA will not charge officer involved in fatal shooting of 22-year-old Pittsfield man Miguel Estrella

Ella Marx September 20, 2022
Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington will not press charges against the police officer who fatally shot Miguel Estrella, a 22-year-old Pittsfield resident, in March.
The Adithya Vaidhyan Trio’s musical performance rang across Spring Street. (Ella Marx/The Williams Record)

Summer Sundays seizes Spring St.

Ella Marx September 20, 2022
When Nigel Jaffe ’22 visited the College this past weekend on his way to a concert in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., he expected to find his alma mater quiet and sleepy on a Sunday afternoon early in the fall semester. To his surprise, Spring Street was abuzz with art. Musicians, artists, and vendors selling wares lined the sidewalks for the final iteration of this year’s Summer Sundays series.
Williams joins Supreme Court amicus brief supporting use of race in college admissions

Williams joins Supreme Court amicus brief supporting use of race in college admissions

Julia Goldberg and Ella Marx August 27, 2022
When the Supreme Court hears concurrent cases Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina this fall, the respondents will count the College among their supporters.
Gabe Miller/The Williams Record

Randal Fippinger and Jane Patton elected to Williamstown Select Board

Ella Marx May 11, 2022
Randal Fippinger and Jane Patton were elected yesterday to serve three-year terms on the Williamstown Select Board, defeating Bilal Ansari to win their seats. Patton was elected to the board with 921 votes, according to unofficial results released last night by the town clerk. Fippinger garnered 881 votes, and Ansari amassed 677.
Williamstown Select Board approves Robert Menicocci for next Town manager

Williamstown Select Board approves Robert Menicocci for next Town manager

Ella Marx May 3, 2022
The Williamstown Select Board unanimously approved a contract on April 25 for Robert Menicocci to become the next Town manager. Menicocci’s contract is for one year at a salary of $155,000 and can be renewed by agreement for two additional years.
Photo courtesy of Williams College.

Two years after receiving degrees, members of the Class of 2020 will celebrate on campus

Ella Marx April 19, 2022
This July, members of the Class of 2020 and their families will celebrate their graduation from the College back on campus — over two years after alums from the class received their degrees.
(Ella Marx/The Williams Record)

March in Pittsfield commemorates life of Miguel Estrella, killed by police shooting

Ella Marx April 12, 2022
A large crowd gathered in downtown Pittsfield on Sunday to march in response to the killing of Miguel Estrella, a Pittsfield man who was fatally shot by police responding to an emergency call on March 25.
Students raise awareness on campus about war in Ukraine

Students raise awareness on campus about war in Ukraine

Ella Marx March 18, 2022
Students gathered outside Paresky yesterday to attend a rally organized by Ukrainian student Diana Sobolieva ’25 against the current war in Ukraine. This came after a discussion about the war with Sobolieva, fellow Ukrainian student Alina Luchyshyn ’23, and professors on Monday night.
The facilitated dialogue event on Saturday took place at Mount Greylock Regional High School.

Town community engages in facilitated dialogue about police-community relationships

Ella Marx and Julia Goldberg March 15, 2022
The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Community Relations Service and the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) implemented the DOJ’s Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships (SPCP) program for the Town this Saturday.
Feb. 28 Select Board meeting: Search for permanent Town manager continues

Feb. 28 Select Board meeting: Search for permanent Town manager continues

Ella Marx March 2, 2022
At Monday’s meeting, Select Board member Hugh Daley announced that the search committee for a permanent Town manager has finished accepting applications. The Town is currently engaged in its second search for a permanent Town manager over the past year.
Part of a wooden stake that once held a Black Lives Matter sign still stands outside the First Congregational Church. (Photo courtesy of Ella Marx).

Students witness racist incident; questions remain unanswered

Ella Marx and Kiara Royer February 16, 2022
On Feb. 12, Arianna Barzacanos ’24 and Iman Shumburo ’24 were walking in front of Chapin Hall when they saw three young individuals walking on the sidewalk towards Paresky holding a Black Lives Matter sign and shouting the N-word at cars passing by.
(Photo courtest of Waged Jafer)

College hires its first ombudsperson

Ella Marx February 16, 2022
The College has hired its first-ever ombudsperson, establishing the position as a confidential resource for faculty and staff seeking guidance on issues and questions related to the workplace.
Though the JA role will become a paid position, JAs will not become mandatory reporters.

Residential life leaders to receive compensation

Ella Marx February 9, 2022
The College will provide compensation for student leaders of residential life beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year. Stipends will be granted to Junior Advisors (JAs), members of the JA Advisory Board (JAAB), Residential Directors (RDs), House Coordinators (HCs) and Theme/ Affinity/Program/Special Interest (TAPSI) Housing Community Coordinators.
Editors Julia Goldberg and Ella Marx attended one of the Log’s weekly trivia nights, where they competed among members of the College and Town communities for a first, second, or third place title. (Photo courtesy of Nigel Jaffe.)

An inside look: Student hosts and technicians present Thursday night trivia at the Log

Julia Goldberg and Ella Marx February 9, 2022
Student hosts and technicians of Log Trivia take the Record behind the scenes of this beloved Williams tradition.
Independent investigation finds former WPD chief, sergeant engaged in sexual and racial workplace harassment

Independent investigation finds former WPD chief, sergeant engaged in sexual and racial workplace harassment

Kevin Yang and Ella Marx January 26, 2022
An independent investigation commissioned by the Williamstown Select Board concluded that former Williamstown Police Department (WPD) chief Kyle Johnson and former WPD sergeant Scott McGowan engaged in multiple instances of sexual and racial workplace harassment from 2002 to 2019.
College reports its highest COVID rates

College reports its highest COVID rates

Ella Marx January 26, 2022
Amid rising national COVID-19 cases due to the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, the College reported record cases over Winter Study, 263 as of publication.
First week of spring semester to be held remotely

First week of spring semester to be held remotely

Ella Marx and Cameron Pugh January 13, 2022
Jan. 13 | 5:30 p.m. The first week of the spring semester — Feb. 2 through Feb. 9 — will be held remotely, President Maud S. Mandel announced in an all-campus email today. Barring significant changes to the on-campus COVID-19 outlook, in-person instruction will resume on Feb. 10, Mandel wrote. Claiming Williams Day, which is scheduled for Feb. 3, will also occur remotely.
College confirms in-person classes to begin on Jan. 10, extends take-out only service in dining halls

College confirms in-person classes to begin on Jan. 10, extends take-out only service in dining halls

Kent Barbir, Ella Marx, and Megan Lin January 7, 2022
Winter Study courses will return to in-person instruction on Monday, Jan. 10, Chief Communications Officer Jim Reische announced in an all-campus email this afternoon. Dining halls will be open for take-out only through Jan. 16 — all seating areas inside these areas will be closed, Reische wrote.
Athletics facilities usage to remain closed to most students, varsity sport spectators restricted until Jan. 10

Athletics facilities usage to remain closed to most students, varsity sport spectators restricted until Jan. 10

Ella Marx and Kiara Royer January 7, 2022
Jan. 7 | 3:20 p.m. The College will allow student spectators to attend several of this weekend’s varsity athletic competitions and will allow faculty and staff spectators starting Monday, Jan. 10, Chief Communications Officer Jim Reische wrote in a Jan. 6 email. Student spectators who meet certain COVID-19 criteria will be allowed as spectators starting this weekend. 
College announces first week of Winter Study to be held remotely, students to quarantine upon arrival

College announces first week of Winter Study to be held remotely, students to quarantine upon arrival

Ella Marx, Tali Natter, Bellamy Richardson, and Kitt Urdang December 30, 2021
The first week of classes and events during Winter Study will be held remotely, and students will quarantine in their dorm rooms upon arrival to campus until they receive one negative COVID-19 test result, President Maud S. Mandel announced in an all-campus email this morning. 
(Devika Goel/The Williams Record)

Fall approval ratings survey shows decreased approval for CSS, Dining

Ella Marx and Kiara Royer December 8, 2021
The Record sent its twice-annual survey to 500 randomly selected unixes last week to gauge whether students approve, disapprove, or feel neutral about College policies and institutions.
The Select Board originally intended to find a permanent Town Manager by November, but instead will begin a second search in January. (Ella Marx/The Williams Record)

Select Board keeps Blanchard as interim town manager

Ella Marx and Rachel Schmidt December 1, 2021
The Williamstown Select Board voted 4-1 on Nov. 18 to retain interim town manager Charlie Blanchard through the end of April while it continues to search for a permanent town manager.
Sergeant who filed lawsuit alleging WPD misconduct leaves department

Sergeant who filed lawsuit alleging WPD misconduct leaves department

Ella Marx November 2, 2021
Sergeant Scott McGowan left the Williamstown Police Department on Oct. 31, eight months after the Town placed him on paid leave in response to an employee complaint.
Rhiana Gunn-Wright, a climate activist, holds a lecture on the Green New Deal.

In Other Ivory Towers: Univ. of Florida blocks faculty from testifying in voting rights case against the state

Ella Marx and Kiara Royer November 2, 2021
The University of Florida prohibited three of its professors from serving as expert witnesses in a lawsuit challenging Florida’s new law restricting voter rights, raising concerns about First Amendment rights.
The Select Board announced that it will start a new search for a permanent town manager  in January. Photo courtesy of Willinet.

Williamstown Select Board rejects both finalists for town manager, restarts search for permanent hire

Ella Marx October 27, 2021
The Williamstown Select Board has decided to hire neither of the two candidates who were selected as finalists for the town manager position during a months-long search, which followed the February 2021 resignation of former town manager Jason Hoch ’95.
The Stockbridge-Munsee Historical office drafted the land acknowledgment with Committee on Diversity
and Community (CDC) drafted the acknowledgment with Assistant Professor of American Studies Eli Nelson

College publishes land acknowledgment recognizing its place on ancestral Mohican land

Ella Marx October 19, 2021
The College has adopted a land acknowledgment recognizing that it stands on the ancestral territory of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans. The acknowledgment was written and adopted in collaboration with the Stockbridge-Munsee Historic Preservation Office and comes amid ongoing institutional conversations surrounding the College’s history.
Approximately 2,130 students are enrolled this semester, a figure 115 students higher than the average fall enrollment between 2016 and 2019. (Sam Riley/The Williams Record)

College scrambles to keep up as larger on-campus population disrupts dining, housing

Ella Marx September 22, 2021
A lack of silverware, longer dining hall lines, and a shortage of caps and gowns for seniors participating in Convocation: The first few weeks of the academic year have been marked by logistical challenges, caused by shipping delays, the national labor shortage, and an especially large on-campus student population.
Williamstown Select Board summer recap: DA Harrington answers questions about Brady list, DIRE committee adds new members

Williamstown Select Board summer recap: DA Harrington answers questions about Brady list, DIRE committee adds new members

Ella Marx and Saud Afzal Shafi September 14, 2021
Over the summer, the Select Board hosted Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington to answer Town residents’ questions about policies concerning police officers who have committed or been accused of committing misconduct. The board also confirmed new members to the DIRE committee and announced plans to release the findings of an investigation into WPD misconduct.
National civil rights group calls for WPD Officer Eichhammer’s removal for hanging Hitler photo

National civil rights group calls for WPD Officer Eichhammer’s removal for hanging Hitler photo

Eichhammer claimed photo in locker was a joke; Town manager unwilling to fire him
Ella Marx August 7, 2021
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a national civil rights organization that focuses on racial justice, published a letter on Monday calling for the removal of Officer Craig Eichhammer from the WPD for the officer’s display of a photograph of Adolf Hitler in his station locker.
Students will no longer be required to wear masks while outdoors, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated. (Annie Lu/The Williams Record)

College to loosen COVID restrictions, graduation ceremony guest limits

Annie Lu, Megan Lin, and Ella Marx May 19, 2021
The College will loosen its COVID-19 restrictions in accordance with state rules, as well as broaden participation in the Class of 2021’s graduation ceremony, President Maud S. Mandel announced in an email to the College community on Tuesday. 
May 10 Select Board meeting: Blanchard chooses Ziemba as interim police chief, board discusses role of DIRE committee

May 10 Select Board meeting: Blanchard chooses Ziemba as interim police chief, board discusses role of DIRE committee

Joey Fox and Ella Marx May 16, 2021
At the Select Board’s May 10 meeting, Interim Town Manager Charles Blanchard announced that after receiving six applications, he had chosen Acting Williamstown Police Department (WPD) Chief Mike Ziemba as interim police chief. 
Yard signs for the four Select Board candidates have taken over the Town’s lawns and green spaces. (Photo courtesy of Andi Bryant.)

Double-header Select Board elections heat up over racial justice, Town civility

Joey Fox and Ella Marx May 5, 2021
As Election Day fast approaches, the Record spoke with three Select Board candidates, as well as local advocates and activists, to better understand the dynamics of two races that will define the Town government for years to come.
April 26 Select Board Meeting: Board votes on draft warrant; continues search for town manager, police chief

April 26 Select Board Meeting: Board votes on draft warrant; continues search for town manager, police chief

Ella Marx and Emily Kuwaye May 3, 2021
The Select Board reviewed proposed articles in the draft warrant that will be presented at the annual Town meeting on June 8. The board also heard updates on the searches for the permanent town manager and interim police chief.
The candidates for the three-year term on the Select Board are Tony Boskovich (Above Left) and Jeff Johnson (Above Right). The candidates for the three-year term on the Select Board with one year remaining are Wade Hasty (Center Left) and Albert Cummings (Center Right). The candidates for the seat on the Planning Board are Ken Kuttner (Below Left), Susan Puddester (Below Center), and Roger Lawrence (Below Right). (Photos courtesy of Tony Boskovich, Jeff Johnson, Wade Hasty, Ken Kuttner, and WilliNet.)

Contested races on the ballot for Town elections in May

Joey Fox and Ella Marx April 21, 2021
After a turbulent year for Williamstown marked by reports of police misconduct, the continued hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resignation of several Town officials, Williamstown voters will go to the polls on May 11 to vote for two new members of the Williamstown Select Board alongside several other local races.
The Select Board interviewed Charles T. Blanchard for the position of interim town manager, with the recording posted on WilliNet. (Photo Courtesy of WilliNet.)

Select Board chooses Charles Blanchard as interim town manager

Ella Marx April 7, 2021
At a special meeting on Monday, the Select Board unanimously chose Charles T. Blanchard, the retired town manager of Palmer, Mass., to serve as the interim town manager of Williamstown.
WPD employee complaint alleges that sgt. who filed lawsuit committed misconduct himself

WPD employee complaint alleges that sgt. who filed lawsuit committed misconduct himself

Ella Marx April 7, 2021
The Berkshire Eagle recently obtained a copy of the employee complaint against Williamstown Police Department (WPD) Sergeant Scott McGowan alleging that McGowan, who filed a lawsuit against the Town and WPD in August alleging misconduct, had himself perpetrated sexual and racial harassment. The complaint led the department to place McGowan on paid administrative leave last month.
March 22 Select Board meeting: WPD officers suspended for illegal searches

March 22 Select Board meeting: WPD officers suspended for illegal searches

Also: Board to interview interim town manager candidates tomorrow
Maddy Lawler and Ella Marx March 28, 2021
At the Williamstown Select Board meeting on March 22, Acting WPD Chief Ziemba said that the officers who illegally searched the records of WPD critics' have been suspended without pay. Also at the meeting, the board discussed the selection processes for the interim WPD chief and town manager and broadened the scope of Levenson’s investigation.
Some professors will give their students extra Health Days in addition to the College-designated Health Days this spring. (Taryn McLaughlin/The Williams Record)

Faculty prepare for upcoming spring Health Days

Ella Marx and Emily Kuwaye March 17, 2021
In lieu of the traditional two-week long spring break this semester, the College has created three Health Days in the hopes that the absence of classes will provide students space for rest and rejuvenation. As these dates approach, the Record spoke with faculty on how they are preparing for Health Days. 
March 8 Select Board meeting: Patton announces second recent WPD complaint; board hires search firm for town manager

March 8 Select Board meeting: Patton announces second recent WPD complaint; board hires search firm for town manager

Also: Thomas suggests Select Board stipend, gets tepid response
Irene Loewenson and Ella Marx March 14, 2021
At the March 8 meeting, Patton announced that two recent employee complaints have been “brought up” in the WPD. Also, the board chose a firm to conduct the town manager search and discussed compensating future board members.
WPD sergeant placed on administrative leave

WPD sergeant placed on administrative leave

Ella Marx March 13, 2021
Williamstown Police Department (WPD) Sgt. Scott McGowan was placed on paid administrative leave last week after he was named in an employee complaint. According to the Berkshire Eagle, the complaint alleged bullying and verbal harassment of other officers.
Boyer came to the College in 1989 seeking a position in the athletic department before he was hired as a CSS officer. (Photo courtesy of Dave Boyer.)

Director of CSS Dave Boyer to retire after 32 years at College

Kiara Royer and Ella Marx March 3, 2021
Director of Campus Safety & Security (CSS) Dave Boyer will retire this August after 32 years at the College.
Feb. 22 Select Board meeting: Board plans hiring process for interim police chief, town manager

Feb. 22 Select Board meeting: Board plans hiring process for interim police chief, town manager

Also: In annual review, Select Board praises Hoch for leadership of Town
Ella Marx February 28, 2021
At the meeting on Feb. 22, the Williamstown Select Board planned for the hiring of an interim town manager and an interim chief of the Williamstown Police Department.
A panel discussed racial justice and police accountability for a Claiming Williams Day event. (Ella Marx, The Williams Record)

Claiming Williams Day event contemplates civic engagement in Williamstown

Maddy Lawler and Ella Marx February 24, 2021
Members of The Williams Record, Williamstown Racial Justice and Police Reform (RJPR), and the Williamstown Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity Committee (DIRE) spoke about civic engagement, racial justice, and police accountability in Williamstown at a Zoom webinar on Thursday.
Jason Hoch, who has served as town manager since 2015, announced that he will resign.

Williamstown Town Manager Jason Hoch to resign

Kevin Yang, Jeongyoon Han, and Ella Marx February 21, 2021
Williamstown Town Manager Jason Hoch ’95 announced Friday that he will resign from his position. He will stay on the job for up to 60 days and oversee the transition through May while the Select Board hires an interim town manager. Hoch, an alum of the College who has served as town manager since 2015, came under scrutiny after Williamstown Police Department (WPD) Sergeant Scott McGowan alleged in a August 2020 federal lawsuit that Hoch did not adequately investigate allegations of racism and sexual assault within the WPD.
All applicants in the fall of 2022 and 2023 may choose whether or not to submit results from SAT and ACT exams. (Sarah Lindeman/The Williams Record)

College goes test-optional for 2022, 2023 applicants

Rachel Jiang and Ella Marx February 17, 2021
All applicants in the fall of 2022 and 2023 may choose whether or not to submit results from SAT and ACT exams. This initiative will continue the test-optional policy implemented for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.
Feb. 8 Select Board meeting: Town Manager Hoch slows hiring process for interim chief after criticism

Feb. 8 Select Board meeting: Town Manager Hoch slows hiring process for interim chief after criticism

Also: Select Board picks attorney to investigate WPD misconduct
Kevin Yang and Ella Marx February 17, 2021
Town Manager Jason Hoch ’95 said at the Feb. 8 Select Board that he would slow down the search for an interim police chief after several Town residents criticized him for fielding candidates without first assembling an advisory committee.
WSU circulates petition urging professors to respect Health Days

WSU circulates petition urging professors to respect Health Days

Ella Marx February 10, 2021
The Williams Student Union on Jan. 26 started a petition on Change.org encouraging professors to keep the three Health Days in the spring semester free from classwork and assessments. The petition has amassed nearly 600 signatures at the time of publication.
‘This is our homeland’: Stockbridge-Munsee Historic Preservation Office establishes itself in Williamstown

‘This is our homeland’: Stockbridge-Munsee Historic Preservation Office establishes itself in Williamstown

Ella Marx February 5, 2021
The Stockbridge-Munsee Historic Preservation Office works to preserve the history of the Stockbridge-Munsee Community of the Mohican Nation by repatriating culturally significant items and protecting cultural sites and burial places. The office is located at 86 Spring St.
Jan. 25 Select Board meeting: Two Williamstown employees resign after misconduct complaint

Jan. 25 Select Board meeting: Two Williamstown employees resign after misconduct complaint

Ella Marx and Kevin Yang January 28, 2021
Also at Monday’s meeting, Select Board member Jeffrey Thomas announced that he would be stepping down, and the board discussed next steps in the Town’s investigation into Williamstown Police Department (WPD) misconduct and the search process for a new police chief. Here are the main takeaways from the meeting. 
Approximately 83 percent of the student body indicated that they planned to enroll on campus in the spring. (Lulu Whitmore/The Williams Record)

Student enrollment plans suggest increased population on campus in the spring

Annie Lu and Ella Marx December 9, 2020
Based on the intent to enroll form that 2,078 students submitted by the Dec. 1 deadline, 1,824 undergraduates plan to be on campus during the spring semester, a significant increase from the fall. This constitutes approximately 83 percent of the entire student body — when accounting for the approximately 130 first-years continuing their gap year who did not submit spring enrollment plans. Of the remaining students, 161 (7 percent of the student body at large) plan to study remotely, and 93 (4 percent) will be on leave.
Amid dissent, Town Manager Hoch retains WPD Chief Johnson

Amid dissent, Town Manager Hoch retains WPD Chief Johnson

Johnson apologizes, announces investigation into new report that WPD officer shared racist Facebook posts
Jack McGovern, Jeongyoon Han, Kevin Yang, and Ella Marx November 11, 2020
At a Williamstown Select Board meeting on Oct. 26, Town Manager Jason Hoch ’95 announced his decision to retain Kyle Johnson as the chief of the Williamstown Police Department (WPD). The announcement comes as Johnson faces allegations of sexual assault and racial harassment in a federal lawsuit filed in August, and as local police accountability organizers have called for his removal. Following this announcement, in a Monday Select Board meeting, Johnson apologized for “some poor judgement” early in his tenure, and “tolerating and participating in behaviors that should never have occurred in the workplace.” He also said that an investigation had been initiated into new reports that a WPD officer shared racist posts on Facebook.
Governor Baker announces stay-at-home advisory, stricter limitations on gatherings to combat virus spread

Governor Baker announces stay-at-home advisory, stricter limitations on gatherings to combat virus spread

Ella Marx November 11, 2020
On Nov. 6, Gov. Charlie Baker implemented new coronavirus guidelines to combat the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, reflecting a recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.
While Williams Coronavirus Dashboard only reports on numbers of positive test results, other NESCAC schools also provide metrics on isolation, recovery and disciplinary measures. (Photo courtesy of Williams College.)

What the College’s COVID dashboard does — and doesn’t — say

Ella Marx October 28, 2020
Updated every morning, the Williams College Coronavirus Dashboard reports the numbers of positive test results within the past day, the past week and since Aug. 17, as well as the number of completed tests. But despite the up-to-date information it provides, the College’s dashboard displays fewer statistics than many peer institutions. The College’s dashboard does not show that five students have been transitioned to remote status since the beginning of the semester and two students have faced a formal disciplinary process due to violations of the College’s COVID guidelines.
Four College presidents reflect on voting rights, 2020 election

Four College presidents reflect on voting rights, 2020 election

Ella Marx October 21, 2020
The presidents of four institutions of higher education — Maud S. Mandel of Williams College, Wayne A. I. Frederick of Howard University, Ellen Kennedy of Berkshire Community College (BCC) and Jonathan Holloway of Rutgers University — discussed the significance of voting rights and the 2020 election for colleges and universities at a Zoom webinar on Tuesday night.
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