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Vandalism in Griffin Hall

To the Williams Community,

We write to share with you news of a disturbing incident of vandalism that occurred over the weekend in Griffin Hall. The vandalism was discovered and reported to the Williamstown Police Department around noon on Saturday by a visitor to campus.

Police determined that the vandalism, while abhorrent, did not create an immediate danger, nor did it constitute a specific threat toward any individuals or groups. Had there been a confirmed threat to our community we would have communicated with you about it immediately. We worried–without any information about the intent behind the act of vandalism–about the impact of an immediate campus-wide notification on our community, including the possibility that it would cause fear. We thought it important and responsible to wait until we investigated further, in the hope we would soon have more complete information to share.

Here’s what we know. Sometime on Saturday morning, what appears to be a wood-stain type substance was splattered down the stairs inside Griffin from the top to the first floor. The visitor who reported it to police described the stain as looking like blood. In addition, “AMKKK KILL” was written on the wall along the stairs in red paint. The same paint was found on some posters on the bulletin board outside Griffin 3.

WPD and Campus Safety and Security began an investigation, and WPD has notified the FBI and the Massachusetts State Police. Both WPD and CSS have continued an active investigation ever since, with CSS interviewing more than 40 individuals.

This vandalism is disturbing and intolerable, no matter what motivated it. In the current post-election climate, we have a heightened awareness for any actions or expressions that may be bias incidents. So far it has not been determined that this vandalism was a bias incident, but we will inform you if that changes, and we hope to report to you soon that the responsible person or people have been identified. If you have any information that might aid the investigation, we urge you to call CSS at X4444.

Sincerely,

Adam Falk, President
Leticia S.E. Haynes, VP for Institutional Diversity and Equity
Steve Klass, VP for Campus Life
Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College

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#1 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On November 14, 2016 @ 10:49 am

AMKKK is interesting. Does anyone know what it is referring to? Possibilities:

1) A misspelling (or something misread). If so, what is the proper spelling/reading?

2) An astrological term.

3) This twitter feed. Might be a Williams student?

4) A Cypriot football club.

It is a mystery! My guess is that the vandals had a longer message to create but were interrupted.

What do readers think?

#2 Comment By Senior Skeptic On November 14, 2016 @ 11:12 am

Is this an emboldened, formerly closeted white supremacist coming out of the Williams woodwork? Or is this a false flag waved by a victim in search of a crime? I think the history of “hateful vandalism” here at Williams reveals which option is more likely…

#3 Comment By Really? On November 14, 2016 @ 11:43 am

To the above: really? My guess is more along these lines:
5. America blended + KKK , referencing the true hatred of folks by white supremacists

#4 Comment By alum 11 On November 14, 2016 @ 12:51 pm

probably an example of performance art nothing to see here

#5 Comment By pseudonymous On November 14, 2016 @ 7:01 pm

We should let this play out. Since this is being treated as a crime, we should expect the authorities will perform a fully transparent investigation that will hold the responsible (and likely disturbed) individual fully accountable, lest future individuals be tempted to perpetrate a disgraceful hoax.

#6 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On November 14, 2016 @ 8:32 pm

Since this is being treated as a crime, we should expect the authorities will perform a fully transparent investigation that will hold the responsible (and likely disturbed) individual fully accountable, lest future individuals be tempted to perpetrate a disgraceful hoax.

You’re joking, right? The Administration continues, to this day, to cover up Jess Torres ’12 role in the hate hoax of 2011. Why would you expect them to act differently now?

#7 Comment By pseudonymous On November 14, 2016 @ 8:51 pm

My usage of “expect” was prescriptive rather than predictive. Perhaps “we should demand” is a better phrase.

#8 Comment By Senior Skeptic On November 14, 2016 @ 11:50 pm

A quick and unsurprising resolution to the vandalism incident – can’t say I got it right, but I wasn’t far off.

#9 Comment By OLJW00 On November 21, 2016 @ 1:09 pm

Yet another hoax (aka Black Flag event) used by people to attempt to impugn/frame others they disagree with ideologically.

Time and again this is the case, and yet the left ALWAYS believes them to be true.