The Williams Record

Max Billick, Executive Editor for Town News

Max Billick ’26 is a prospective history and economics major and Jewish studies concentrator from San Francisco, Calif. He is the Executive Editor for Town News and previously served as Town News editor, College News editor, and a staff writer for the news section.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MaxBillick

 

All content by Max Billick
(Ella Marx/The Williams Record).

Select Board votes down proposed ceasefire resolution

Max Billick April 10, 2024
The Williamstown Select Board voted 4-1 against adopting a proposed resolution signed by 421 Town residents that calls for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire in Palestine and Israel” at its meeting on March 25. Members of the Select Board said they voted against the resolution on the grounds that it was not their place to weigh in on political issues outside the Town, while others disagreed with the text of the proposed resolution.
Photo courtesy of Max Billick/The Williams Record

Town residents vote in presidential primaries, elect party committees

Max Billick March 6, 2024
Town residents and voters across the commonwealth cast their ballots in the Massachusetts presidential primary election on Tuesday, March 5.
Max Billick/The Williams Record

How the College’s Motorcoach can work for more students

Max Billick March 6, 2024
In an op-ed, Max Billick '26 offers some to solutions to make the Motorcoach work for students who come from farther afield.
Gerrard’s office in Stetson Hall centers around a “ceremonial” chess set. (Max Billick/The Williams Record)

Fingers, blessings, chess boards, and Darwin: A look inside professors’ offices

Max Billick and Isabella Hayden March 6, 2024
When students enter their professors’ offices, they often encounter a desk, computer, bookshelves, and perhaps the occasional poster. However, some professors have taken the opportunity to turn their offices into shrines to their personal and academic pursuits.
Test well at new WCMA site fails, College to continue geothermal efforts

Test well at new WCMA site fails, College to continue geothermal efforts

Max Billick February 28, 2024
Following the failure of a geothermal test well at the site of the new Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), the College will continue to explore the use of geothermal energy.
One in Two Thousand: Berit Olsson ’24

One in Two Thousand: Berit Olsson ’24

Max Billick February 21, 2024
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, Berit Olsson ’24 discussed her motivational tactics in both studying astrophysics and completing ultramarathons, as well as her progress on her Williams bucket list.
Town residents spoke during Monday’s Select Board meeting. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Lin)

Town residents, students advocate for Select Board resolution on Gaza ceasefire

Max Billick February 14, 2024

Members of Berkshires for Collective Liberation, a group made up of Town residents, and students from the College’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) spoke in favor of a proposed resolution...

Career center adjusts ASIP to broaden access for shorter internships

Career center adjusts ASIP to broaden access for shorter internships

Max Billick February 14, 2024
The ’68 Center for Career Exploration will adjust the parameters of the Alumni Sponsored Internship Program (ASIP) for summer 2024, allowing shorter internships to qualify for grants and introducing a new sliding scale for the size of each grant, which will vary according to the length and format of the internship, as well as each student’s financial needs.
Photo courtesy of Gwen Tauber.

Faculty, alums, College community remember Professor of Political Science Emeritus Kurt Tauber

Haley Zimmerman and Max Billick February 7, 2024
Kurt Tauber, Professor of Political Science Emeritus, died on Jan. 25 at the age of 101. He taught at the College from 1960–93 and is fondly remembered by students, family members, and former colleagues.
This Winter Study, members of the first Global Scholars cohort visited the U.S. Embassy in Paris. (Maya Prakash/The Williams Record)

Professors, members of cohort, reflect on first year of Global Scholars program

Max Billick and Charis Woo February 7, 2024
The first 12-student cohort of Global Scholars, a program established last fall, recently concluded its first year of mentorship, travel, and research symposia. Last week, the students returned from Paris, having formed close bonds within their academic cohort and developed a broader perspective on international relations and interdisciplinary learning.
Photo courtesy of Meike Kaan.

Kaan to succeed Reische as Chief Comms. Officer

Max Billick February 7, 2024
Meike Kaan, who is currently the College’s associate vice president for communications, will succeed Jim Reische as chief communications officer (CCO) on July 1.
Noor Naseer/The Williams Record

Charter Review Committee proposes recall provision, other amendments

Max Billick and Sonia Zinkin-Meyers January 24, 2024
The Charter Review Committee (CRC) presented its proposed amendments to the Town Charter to the Select Board on Jan. 22. The Select Board is now drafting warrant articles based on the proposals, which voters can approve at the Town Meeting on May 21.
Fitch, Lambert to be out of 2024-2025 housing lottery; Thompson, Hubbell to return

Fitch, Lambert to be out of 2024-2025 housing lottery; Thompson, Hubbell to return

Max Billick January 24, 2024
Fitch House will be unavailable in the upcoming general housing lottery because it has been set aside for use as overflow first-year housing in the 2024-2025 academic year. Thompson Hall, which was closed for renovations last spring and this fall, and Hubbell House, which is set to close due to structural issues, will return to use as upperclass residence halls.
Photo courtesy of Shirley Lin.

Town hires Ruth Russell as health inspector, ending months-long vacancy

Inés Garcia and Max Billick November 29, 2023
Ruth Russell began her term as Williamstown health inspector on Nov. 13, succeeding Jeff Kennedy, who retired in August after 23 years in the role. Russell’s appointment marks the end of a months-long vacancy and search process by the Town’s government. 
After winning moot court regionals, Wanamaker and McDonald will compete in the preliminary nationals in January. (Photo courtesy of Claire McDonald.)

Alice Wanamaker ’25, Claire McDonald ’26 win moot court regionals, advance to nationals

Max Billick November 15, 2023

Alice Wanamaker ’25 and Claire McDonald ’26 won the Windy City Regional moot court competition in Chicago, Ill., on Saturday, beating 23 other collegiate teams to win every round. They will advance...

Students share experiences of prayer at the College and off campus

Students share experiences of prayer at the College and off campus

Max Billick November 8, 2023
When students arrive at the College, some feel unmoored from the ways in which they practiced their faith at home, including attendance at houses of worship. While on-campus spiritual communities are part of many students’ religious lives at the College, some students seek spiritual community beyond the College’s campus.
The new facility will be completed by spring 2025. (Photo courtesy of Mount Greylock Regional School Committee)

Mount Greylock Regional School to build $3.5 million track facility

Max Billick November 8, 2023
The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to accept a $3.5 million bid by construction firm William J. Keller & Sons to build a new track and field facility at Mount Greylock Regional School (MGRS), pending the successful completion of negotiations. 
Student organizers held their meeting in Griffin Hall. (Max Billick/Williams Record)

[Photo] College to reevaluate Winter Study in the face of faculty discontent

David Wignall November 8, 2023

Student organizers held their meeting in Griffin Hall. (Max Billick/Williams Record)

After a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, Bates College locked down its campus. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

In Other Ivory Towers: Bates locks down campus after mass shooting

Max Billick November 1, 2023
In the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since January, a gunman killed 18 people and injured 13 more at a bar and a bowling alley in Lewiston, Maine, on Oct. 25. Bates College, which is located in Lewiston, canceled its classes and ordered students to shelter in place from the night of Oct. 25 through Oct. 27. 
An illustration of a typical cottage court shown in a Planning Board presentation. (Photo courtesy of the City Council of Ashland, Ore.)

Planning Board considers cottage court bylaw to increase housing supply

Max Billick and Alina Ramirez October 25, 2023
The Williamstown Planning Board is continuing to draft a warrant article for Town Meeting this spring that would allow for the construction of denser and more affordable housing as part of “cottage court” developments, which would consist of four to 12 buildings, the majority of which would be single-family homes, built around one common area. Under the bylaw, developers would be able to build “cottage court” developments in the Town’s general residence district “by right,” without any special approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals. Residents will have the chance to vote on the bylaw’s adoption at Town Meeting. 
Rhiana Gunn-Wright, a climate activist, holds a lecture on the Green New Deal.

Former colleagues, students remember award-winning poet and former professor Louise Glück

Max Billick October 18, 2023
Louise Glück, an American poet noted for her raw portrayals of the human experience and a senior lecturer in the College’s English department from 1984 to 2004, died of cancer at her home in Cambridge, Mass., on Friday. She was 80.
Where are swipes used for dinner on weekdays?

Where are swipes used for dinner on weekdays?

Max Billick October 4, 2023
Temesgen Araya, director of Dining Services, provided the Record with data that reveals where students use meal swipes for weekday dinners.
Banned Books Week ran from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7 this year.

[Photo] Banned books celebration cautions against censorship

Julia Brennan October 4, 2023

Banned Books Week ran from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7 this year.

Goodrich will receive additional revenue from the College when students use meal swipes at the coffee bar. (Kiara Royer/The Williams Record)

Goodrich swipe value rises for first time in over a decade

Max Billick September 27, 2023
Goodrich Coffee Bar now receives $6 in revenue from the College for each meal swipe used there — an increase from the $5 it had collected per swipe since 2012. The increase in the value of each meal swipe will boost Goodrich’s total revenue by around 15 percent. Students will also enjoy greater purchasing power when using a swipe, with the ability to buy up to $6 worth of menu items.
In a recent Record survey, longterm Dining Services employees described discontent with increased workload and stagnant pay. (Kiara Royer/The Williams Record)

Increased pay for new Dining Services employees alleviates staff shortage, frustrates longtime workers

Max Billick and Julia Goldberg September 20, 2023
The College raised salaries for incoming Dining Services employees this summer, filling almost all of the department’s vacancies and reaching the highest staffing levels since 2019. Nevertheless, longtime employees of Dining Services reported dissatisfaction in a Record survey, voicing frustration about overwhelming workloads and a lack of pay significantly higher than that of newer coworkers.
The Select Board unanimously voted not to implement the Residential Tax Exemption for this fiscal year. (Noor Naseer/The Williams Record)

Select Board rejects changes to property taxes for new fiscal year

Max Billick September 20, 2023
At its annual tax classification hearing on Sept. 11, the Williamstown Select Board voted unanimously not to adopt the residential tax exemption (RTE) proposed by recently elected Select Board member Stephanie Boyd. Select Board members left open the possibility of adopting the RTE at next year’s tax classification hearing.
The portion of Route 7 north of the Field Park traffic circle was still blocked as of Wednesday night. (Max Billick/The Williams Record)

Breaking: Greylock Quad residents lose water supply following Route 7 water main break

Max Billick September 6, 2023
A water main break on Route 7 left residential buildings in Greylock Quad without running water on Wednesday and closed a portion of the road. 
College to reconsider admissions policies in wake of affirmative action ruling

College to reconsider admissions policies in wake of affirmative action ruling

Izzy Polanco and Max Billick July 6, 2023
The Supreme Court declared race-conscious admissions practices at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina unconstitutional last Thursday. The long-anticipated decision will significantly alter admissions processes at schools nationwide, including those at Williams.
Upper Lasell gymnasium will close for renovations this summer. (Julia Goldberg/The Williams Record)

Upper Lasell to close for summer renovations

Max Billick May 10, 2023
The Upper Lasell Fitness Center will be renovated over the summer, the College announced on May 1. The renovations will begin June 5 and are anticipated to last until the beginning of the fall 2023 semester. 
The Select Board acts as the executive branch of the Towns government. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Lin.)

Boyd, Harsch, Hogeland vie for two seats on Select Board

Max Billick and Lena Kerest May 3, 2023
Incumbent Andy Hogeland ’76 will seek reelection for his seat, while Stephanie Boyd, a current member of the Town’s Planning Board, and Paul Harsch ’69, a real estate agent, are running to serve on the Board for the first time. 
And Then There Were None, presented by Cap & Bells, will be performed in Currier Ballroom this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Tali Natter.)

Cap & Bells to perform And Then There Were None as final production for academic year

Max Billick and Charlotte Newman April 26, 2023
This weekend, Cap & Bells will present its seventh and final production of the year, an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None.
The Select Board endorsed the warrant articles passage at its April 10 meeting (Noor Naseer/The Williams Record).

Town to test electronic voting at annual meeting

Max Billick April 19, 2023
At this year’s Town Meeting, voters will trial the use of electronic clickers to vote on warrant articles. They will also decide on an article that would allow the Town to use $27,000 to purchase clickers for use at future meetings. 
The field house was closed indefinitely after the discovery of a structural fault. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Towne Field House closed indefinitely due to compromised beam

Max Billick March 29, 2023
The Towne Field House has been closed indefinitely for maintenance. A student first reported that a portion of the climbing wall in the Field House — a multi-purpose, indoor athletic facility that includes the College’s indoor track — had detached from the wall on March 16.
Williams Interfaith Dialogue was slated to be located in Sewell House (Max Billick/Williams Record)

Two TAPSI houses downsized, discontinued after too few applications

Max Billick March 15, 2023
Two of the 2023-2024 TAPSI communities approved by the Office of Campus Life (OCL) have failed to recruit enough students to retain their assigned locations.
Faculty votes to allow students to use prior fifth courses to fill deficiencies

Faculty votes to allow students to use prior fifth courses to fill deficiencies

Max Billick March 15, 2023
The faculty voted 41-1 on Feb. 15 to permanently allow students to resolve a course deficiency using a fifth course taken before the deficiency was incurred.
OCL to grant more students housing points, adjust flex rooms, reintroduce doubles lottery

OCL to grant more students housing points, adjust flex rooms, reintroduce doubles lottery

Max Billick March 8, 2023
The Office of Campus Life (OCL) will award additional housing points to first-year students living with roommates in especially small doubles, which it will designate as flex rooms — rooms that can be used as either singles or doubles — for the next academic year. OCL will not proactively notify the newly-eligible first-year students that they are recipients of additional housing points until March 18, after the housing application is due on March 10.
The Select Board endorsed the warrant articles passage at its April 10 meeting (Noor Naseer/The Williams Record).

Town Planning Board finalizes bylaw proposals to increase affordable housing supply

Max Billick February 22, 2023
The Williamstown Planning Board finalized four proposals for changes to the Town’s zoning bylaw at its Feb. 14 meeting, all of which aim to increase housing affordability. These changes are intended to increase housing supply by making it easier to subdivide lots, allowing more units to be built on each lot, and permitting cheaper kinds of structures.
Photo courtesy of Sidra Mahmood

Sidra Mahmood joins College as first full-time Muslim chaplain

Max Billick February 15, 2023
Sidra Mahmood has joined the College as the first-ever full time Muslim chaplain. 
Perry delivered the evening keynote for Claiming Williams Day 2023, which was organized under the theme “Justice and Institutional Power.”

Author Imani Perry delivers evening Claiming Williams keynote

Max Billick February 8, 2023
Imani Perry, an author and professor of African American studies at Princeton University, presented the evening keynote address for Claiming Williams day on Feb. 2. In her talk, Perry discussed the role of the South in American history, arguing that it remains a vibrant and complex focal point of American culture.
What’s so special about Special Collections? Inside the College Archives and Chapin Library

What’s so special about Special Collections? Inside the College Archives and Chapin Library

Max Billick and Inés Garcia February 8, 2023
Special Collections holds hundreds of thousands of items. It is composed of two main components: the College Archives, which contain materials pertaining to the College’s history, and Chapin Library, which holds rare books and other special materials outside the scope of the Sawyer and Schow library collections.
The Office of Accessible Education will use new software to process disability accommodations in fall 2023. Photo credit: Ashley Shan/Williams Record

Office of Accessible Education will use new software to alleviate staff shortage

Max Billick January 25, 2023
The Office of Accessible Education (OAE) will adopt a new software program in the fall of 2023 to streamline its workload amid a staff shortage. The program, which is called Accommodate, aims to simplify the process of renewing academic accommodations — the most common kind of disability accommodation handled by OAE.
IWS responds to record student demand for services at Pond House. (Photo courtesy of Shirley Lin)

IWS responds to record student demand

Max Billick November 30, 2022
Integrative Wellbeing Services (IWS) has experienced record demand for mental health services this semester. Amid this uptick in demand, IWS is working to ensure that no student who requests help from IWS will be denied mental health services.
(Angela Gui/The Williams Record)

Inflation spurs College to cut managers’ budgets by 15 percent and student employment spending by 33 percent

Max Billick and Gabe Miller November 9, 2022
The College will cut managers’ budgets by approximately 15 percent and the student employment budget by 33 percent for the 2024 fiscal year, following last year’s 15 percent increase in managers’ budgets. These cuts, representing approximately $8 million and $1 million, respectively, constitute less than 3 percent of the College’s 2022 fiscal year $252 million budget.
The College set the speed limit on the driveway to Tyler to 7 miles per hour. (Josh Kirshner/The Williams Record)

College sets speed limit, improves crosswalk near Tyler in response to student concerns

Max Billick November 2, 2022
The College will upgrade crosswalk infrastructure on Park Street near Tyler House and Tyler Annex and has set the speed limit to 7 miles per hour on the driveway leading to Tyler in response to student concerns about speeding cars and poor visibility on Park Street and the driveway.
Free detergent sheets see high usage but face shortages, barriers to access

Free detergent sheets see high usage but face shortages, barriers to access

Max Billick October 19, 2022
The College launched a pilot program aimed at first-years this year to provide students with free eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets. The sheets are available at a dispenser in the lobby of Mission Park, but many first-years said they are not using them because of their distance from other first-year dorms, widespread shortages, and confusion about the need to create an account in order to use the machine.
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