Another absurd e-mail from Dean Bolton:

From: Sarah Bolton
Date: Monday, December 8, 2014
Subject: Concern From the Weekend, and Support
To: WILLIAMS-STUDENTS@williams.edu

Dear Williams Students,

I write to inform you about a concern that has arisen over the weekend. As many of you are already aware, on Saturday night several students reported to me a photograph showing six Williams students who appeared to have dressed in costumes imitating a racial stereotype, including [What Do You Think Goes Here?].

As is the case when any concern is brought to the attention of my office, we are looking into this matter in order to understand fully what took place and how it may relate to the college’s code of student conduct.

This is a very difficult time for many students, and we are setting up a variety of opportunities for gathering or supportive conversation this week. In addition to their regular daytime operations, the Davis Center will be staffed for the next three nights from 7-9 pm and the Chaplain’s office will be open in the evenings as well, from 8-10 pm. There is a workshop for students wondering how to be allies from 7-9 pm at Hardy House. There is a Stress-busters tonight at Paresky. And, the deans are available to work with students who are struggling to move forward their academic work in this difficult context. Please don’t hesitate to come by or contact any of us.

Sincerely,
Dean Bolton

Obviously, I have left out the key phrase. Here are some options:

1) gang colors and grillz.

2) false mustaches and sombreros.

3) Irish country hats and shillelaghs.

4) horned helmets and fake braids.

5) Indian headdresses and “war paint.”

The cynics among you will instantly dismiss 3) and 4). No Dean at Williams would complain about dressing up like this or this. Those are white caricatures! Making fun of white people is OK!

Answer is 2! Can you believe it? I would have thought this was a spoof. (And maybe a student is spoofing me! Corrections welcome.)

My thoughts on this are the same as always.

First, we need an Eph Style Guide. That was a good idea ten years ago. It is a good idea now.

Second, does Dean Bolton enjoy these mini-controversies? (Insider comments welcome.) If I were Dean, I would find them boring and annoying. If she does not enjoy them, she could decrease the number of complaints that come to her office by not sending out so many all-campus e-mails. The bigger the deal she makes about these stupidities, the more of them will come to her door.

Third, if I were a trouble-making non-liberal student. I would come to Dean Bolton with a similar complaint (about, say, a student wearing a Che Guevara or hammer-and-sickle t-shirt) and demand that she send out a similar all-campus e-mail about that.

Does anyone have a copy of the photo? Send it in. Future historians will thank you!

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