The Williams Record

Ella Marx, Town News Editor

Ella Marx ’24 is a prospective history major from New York, N.Y. She is a section editor for news, and she focuses on news affecting Williamstown and the Berkshires. She previously served as a staff writer for the news section.

Email: [email protected]

All content by Ella Marx
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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

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
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

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

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
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

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

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

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
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

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

February 5, 2021
The Stockbridge-Munsee Historic Preservation Office, which relocated to Williamstown from Troy, N.Y., in October, has begun work on the preservation and protection of Stockbridge-Munsee history.
Jan. 25 Select Board meeting: Two Williamstown employees resign after misconduct complaint

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

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

December 9, 2020
1,824 undergraduates plan to be on campus during the spring semester, a significant increase from the fall.
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
November 11, 2020

Hoch announced his decision to retain Kyle Johnson as WPD chief at a Williamstown Select Board meeting on Oct. 26. (Photo courtesy of Willinet.) At a Williamstown Select Board meeting...

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

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. Confirmed...

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

October 28, 2020

While the 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...

Four College presidents reflect on voting rights, 2020 election

Four College presidents reflect on voting rights, 2020 election

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...

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