I shouldn’t get too involved in the WSO back-and-forth, but this thread mentioned an EphBlog post, so let’s review some history!

Ian Mitchell writes:

Yeah, like David Kane’s stuff isn’t [subject to interpretation]. Here was what happened…I heard it from the victim David Rivera and Ron…it happened about four years ago, when Rivera, who’s Hispanic, was called the N-word by a student on campus. Ron, although not offended (the only way to do that is question Israel’s existence), wanted to stand up for Rivera and made a WSO discussion. Granted, he mis-ID’d the person as an athlete, though ultimately, the Dean wanted to make amens by hiring a Hispanic teacher. If David wants to fill in the details, he can go ahead.

Again, my position is that we should do everything we can to record these events. What happened? Write it down. Tell the story. Be transparent. History matters and we (meaning Ephs on campus) need to keep track of what happens at Williams. Comments:

1) Start here for the original description of the incident, which occurred less than 3 years ago.

We write to tell you that an awful incident has been described to us. Two Latino students report that as they were conversing outdoors in the early hours of this morning, a drunken student, apparently Caucasian, yelled to one of them a vulgarity and addressed him as “nigger,” approached them and stared in a hostile manner, made fun of the Spanish they then began to speak, and ran away.

2) Mitchell is wrong to assert that Trinidad claimed that the miscreant was an athlete. Trinidad wrote:

I was walking home from visiting friends at Perry House. I came across another good friend (whose name will be concealed since he was the target of this incident) who was walking towards Schow Science Library in order to do some research for a class. We stopped and conversed for about 20-25 minutes. In that time an inebriated Williams student of Caucasian background was attempting to urinate and did urinate on the lawn between Morgan House and Jesup Hall. Suffice to say that the conversation between my friend and I came to politics. My friend made a comment, “I’d rather have Clinton than Bush (as president).” The student of Caucasian background heard this comment and proceeded to yell from his current position, still located between Morgan house and Jesup Hall, “Fuck you Nigger!” to my friend.

Now, this may have happened. It may not have. But Trinidad’s subsequent behavior does give one pause. I stand by my initial comments:

Leaving aside the appropriate punishment, if any, for this jerk, shouldn’t identifying him be relatively easy? There are only so many students at Williams. Trinidad, after all, claimed to know that the perp was a Williams student, meaning, presumably, that he had seen him before. If Trinidad, a senior and his (upperclassman?) friend, do not know the student by name, than it seems likely that he is a first year. If the College really wants to find him, then we need an exact time for the incident along with a more detailed description: height, weight, hair color, clothing, et cetera.

In the WSO thread in which I asked Trinidad to tell us these details (back when alumni could participate on WSO), he replied that security had asked him to not share such details. Jean Thorndike, head of security, later claimed that this did not happen. Trinidad later deleted the whole WSO thread.

3) Mitchell is probably confusing this incident with the one that happened a week or so later during which a large Williams student, who Trinidad misidentified as a football player, came up and did some weird shouting and arm flapping. (Details were hazy.) Trinidad misinterpreted this as a racial attack. In fact, the (idiotic but harmless) student had been pulling the same stunt with Ephs of all colors.

4) Is it true that “the Dean wanted to make amens by hiring a Hispanic teacher?” Do tell! I assume that the “Dean” here is Roseman. I find it inconceivable that she would promise a student anything about a specific hire. But who knows?

5) I hope that the other student, whose name has not been made public before, will retell the story. My guess would be that something did happen, but that the slur came from a non-student who Trinidad, at least, was too quick to assume was a student. If they knew it was student (meaning they had seen him before), then they would have been able to identify him. Since they didn’t, it seems likely/possible that he was just a local resident. Drunk townies have been yelling the most offensive things imaginable at Ephs for generations. That’s a problem with Williamstown, not Williams.

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