Hello Campus,

College Council was shocked and dismayed to learn of the use of racial slurs in Williams Hall this weekend and we are personally and deeply offended. We want to update you a little on the details of this incident and lay out a plan for what we’ll be doing in the near future to strengthen our community and deal with this incident and others like it.

What happened?

Over Friday night, ‘nigger’ was written on three posters in Willy E. Since the writing was found, two deans and Campus Safety have been working hard to find out as much about the incident as possible. When and if the students who did this are found, discipline will be at the discretion of the dean’s office. Any help that anyone can give on this matter should be directed to the anonymous tip line, either online or on the phone. (x4444 or http://www.williams.edu/admin/security) In addition, you are encouraged to seek out any trusted faculty or staff member and your information will be forwarded on.

What can you do?

We are also shocked to learn that there have been other incidents in Williams hall this year, as well as anecdotal evidence that says this type of incident is not rare. We want to raise this point now to show that there are many incidents that are not reported, but are still viewed by students as hurtful and malicious. We are asking you for your stories about things like this that you have experienced. If you have any stories to share, and don’t feel comfortable posting them on WSO or sharing them with your friends (or even if you do) please email me (08mjg) or Kim (08kmd). These stories will not be
made public, but will be read by a few all-campus leaders to help us address broader issues of community.

What will we do?

This incident is hurtful and alarming, but it is also an opportunity. We can focus the community around issues of respect, student citizenship and residential life, and have those late-night discussions with friends. We can think about how the college should deal with incidents like this and what sort of community we want Williams to be. There will always be those who take advantage of events like this to be divisive, but I can assure you that College Council will not allow this to create more conflict, and I encourage you all to help us work together for a positive solution.

Many schools have student run discipline boards, others have social honor codes. We want to engage the campus and ask, what can we do, both structurally and on a very informal level to foster respect and protect our community against harm.

College Council will address this type of process during the second half of our meeting on Wednesday night. Please come and share your views for a way forward. We will meet at 8:30 in the Henze Lounge (upstairs in Paresky).

Thank you for your concern,

Morgan Goodwin and Kim Dacres
College Council Co-presidents

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