Here is the WSO announcement for Claiming Williams 2015. Let’s deconstruct it!

Thursday, Feb 5 is Claiming Williams Day! All day. Classes are suspended while the campus engages in events and discussions about building and sustaining a more inclusive community. Come, participate: no desks, no grades, just learning and action! action! http://claiming.williams.edu/

Are classes really “suspended?” Not that I can see. To suspend something, you need to schedule it in the first place and then suspend it. Since no class was ever scheduled to meet on Thursday February 5, 2015, nothing has been “suspended.”

But this language allows the Administration to pretend that it cares more about Claiming Williams (CW) than it actually does. More importantly, it allows the
steering committee to believe that the event is more important than it actually is.

Why should we care—about what happens in New York City, in Ferguson, in North Adams, at our southern border, in Gaza, to our planet?

Gaza? Really? A constant danger with events like CW is that they are too often captured by those with outside ideological concerns. How many people at Williams could find Gaza on an unlabeled map? How many could provide even a vague overview of the issues involved?

A more competent and honest steering committee would make Claiming Williams about, you know, Williams.

Why should we care about the effects these issues have on our own campus community? The Claiming Williams Steering Committee began meeting this fall as vigils and teach-ins focusing on these questions were occurring across campus and elsewhere.

Whenever people start telling me what I “should” care about, I suspect that they are treating me as means, rather than an end. They want me to care about what they care about. Instead, they ought to ask me what I care about.

We saw organizers of these actions, often from groups most impacted by the events that sparked them, taking on extra burdens during already difficult times; we saw members of our community unsure about how to be good allies around issues that foreground our differences of privilege and belonging; and we saw signs of “issue fatigue” setting in as the term got underway.

That is a lot of left-wing gobbledygook for one paragraph. And the semi-colons don’t help.

First, are the “organizers” here the Ephs involved with on-campus vigils and teach-ins? I am unimpressed when absurdly privileged Williams students complain about “extra burdens.”

Second, note that there are only two groups: organizers and their allies. What about students who disagree with the organizers? There are certainly many students on campus who disagree with the Left’s position on, say, Gaza and illegal immigration. Don’t their views count? Aren’t they part of Williams?

Third, if by “issue fatigue” you mean lots of Ephs growing bored and annoyed by your constant demands that we care about what you care about, that we agree with what you say, then, I bet you saw lots of signs.

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