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Hallway snitch

This makes me ashamed to be a Williams grad.

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#1 Comment By rory On September 28, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

so this reminds me of one of the more hilarious moments of mistaken identity from my years at williams.

junior year i lived in greylock on the third floor. below me: football players. above me: football and basketball players.

in short, there were a lot of weekend parties in the dorm. I didn’t care generally, as I stayed up late enough to just outlast the parties or I was out at a party myself. One weekend, however, the party bothered a friend of mine who lived in the dorm as well. He had to get up ridiculously early (I believe to take the MCAT or something of the sort) and was studying. I can’t remember what day of the week it was.

He called security, the party got broken up and I knew nothing of what happened (I was across campus). I wake up the next morning and have received over the listserver for the house a hilariously poorly written (I remember that being part of my annoyance with it) email about how people should have just approached the guys to tell them to keep it down and they would have done so.

Mind you, it was the football and basketball team, the dorm is co-ed, and the party was late at night.

Anyway, I reply back defending the act and saying that they should have emailed the dorm that they were throwing a huge bash (I saw the remnants that morning) in case anyone had a problem. Imagine the single individual who had to study trying to stop a whole party?

Long tory somewhat shorter, they assumed from my response that I must have been the person who called security and the next night while throwing a similarly loud party (in which they left a cd skipping for about 30 minutes until I turned it off after they had left) they started chanting “RORY! RORY! RORY! RORY!”.

A year later, I found out who actually called security.

weed and loud parties are two different things, obviously. and my story has no moral, it’s just funny.

#2 Comment By kthomas On September 28, 2009 @ 4:26 pm


Anyone have any idea of what happens today if someone, say, actually takes this (expletive deleted) to court?

Recognizing that I may be as hopelessly out-of-touch as the Deans, every incident that I knew in the 90s resulted in the judge throwing the charges out.

Unfortunately Ransom Jenks is no longer running Security.


#3 Comment By Dick Swart On September 28, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

Help me, Ronit! Help, Help me, Ronit!

I have no understanding of this story.

When the College stood in loco parentis, when I gave out cigarette samples, when, if you could see over the counter, beverages were available, and recognizing that grass was more typically mowed then, this story wouldn’t have happened, regardless.

Not because the College has changed, not because the laws may be different, not because doing something illegal does make you liable (“do the crime. do the time”), but because the people involved almost certainly knew one another or were within one degree of separation, and “ratting out” was not an acceptable form of behavior at this level.

Have social relationships and the interconnectedness of a small campus so broken down?

Please bring me up-to-date. Help me see the story.

#4 Comment By hwc On September 28, 2009 @ 4:57 pm


The state police raid on a party that resulted in 31 Haverford students being charged with alcohol infractions was instigated by a phone call to the police from a student. I have read of similar occurences at many colleges. Williams is hardly alone.

The fundamental problem is that what is considered acceptable by some students is viewed as unwelcome behavior by others and there is a failure (probably on the part of both) to find suitable accomodation. A likely scenario is that the reporting student tries to talk to a JA/RA who tells the student that it’s part of college and they should just learn to “deal”. The student feels frustrated and goes to the police.

When I first heard this kind of story, I immediately thougth “snitch”, too. On the other hand, it’s that student’s home, too. Fundamentally, these situations would occur less often if students felt like the lived in “the real world” a little bit. They think that the campus gives them immunity and therefore there is little need for discretion. Blame it on the 60’s.

#5 Comment By kthomas On September 28, 2009 @ 5:26 pm


This — along with the other two today– is a frustrating post to read.

How to put things?

One of the greatest values I found at Williams, were those of personal relationships and “handling” and “working things out,” one-to-one.

Deep Springs is of course a little more intense in that matter, as one cannot escape or avoid any person or issue for long– except into the desert and the mountains and solitude.

That’s not quite the point I’m trying to get to. Relationships matter– that’s now said so much as to be trite.

But there is a difference, say, between a town where you can walk into the chief’s office if you have a problem with him, and a faceless bureaucracy which hides itself from power and responsibility.

There are many academic “theories”– small town and mass society — my mind goes immediately to Germany and Berlin in the 40s, and their confrontation–

what it seems to me is that the United States has developed a mass, interchangable “widget,” largely formal economic society or community–

— we have few theories or ways of calculating what the cost of that is–

what we’re seeing at Williams is the State bureaucracy of an MTSU (or Berkeley), and the management techniques of .. the past decade, colonizing what is left of little islands of independent culture such as Williams(town).

There’s a place for rules and regulations– but we have bureaucracy and smallmindedness and petty policy, over personality and relationships and understanding.

Anyway: I bore myself at that point.

Other things I was thinking– I’ll see what kind of culture there is at the Oxford and Cambridge club this weekend, and if it embodies something of what I value at Williams.

There exist, of course, fine balances between levels of culture in Europe– locality still exists. (Can you imagine– “there’s no there, there!” was said about Berkeley?)

I certainly do not intend to name names, or recite details or talk to the police– but I can bring up a fairly good list of the Deans’ unprescribed-yet-scheduled pharmacological purchasing habits in the 90s, from whom and how and how it got to Williamstown, and, well, other than the good-old-fashion hypocratic “compromise” of principles and truth in the Deans’ note above, which I unequivocally despise, this may also be in play in whatever is going on between the Chief of Police and Security and the Deans.

No need to mince words– I’m not beholden to Hopkins– I’m saying something like, that the Deans, despite all their leftist aspirations, are —– academics with little political experience or capacity, insulated from the processes of the world, petty in their own way– in the end, what is happening to them, and how they act and react, is part a reflection of history and processes developing beyond their comprehension, and outside their capacity to act; part, a reflection of leftist academia to form principled stands, act without duplicity and deception, and simply be honest and forthright in its dealings.

There I go again. Apologies.

My old friends in Norway once told me of running in Vigeland park– into the President. That’s about the size, and type, of government I’d like.

I am also thinking hard about the symbolic act of opening the mansion at Los Pinos to the poor and needy, and moving the Presidential residence to the Zocalo.

Well– time to go spend some time, learning about testbeds of Democracy in Europe.

#6 Comment By PTC On September 28, 2009 @ 9:02 pm

Funny thing… first thing I think of while reading all of this is- thank god I lived out in town during college.

I guess the people who got busted will learn how to use a “hit towel” now… like they do at Exeter?

Seriously- live in town people. You could rent a country villa in Pownal Vermont and shoot shotguns naked all night long if you wanted to. After you establish some friends Frosh year get crazy in the hills. You are in the country, you may as well enjoy it.

#7 Comment By PTC On September 28, 2009 @ 9:08 pm