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Maud Reverses CC’s WIFI Decision

WILLIAMSTOWN – Maud Mandel has formally recognized Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI) according to an addendum to an existing article at Forbes.com. Moving forward, WIFI will hold the status of a recognized student organization (RSO). Forbes reports staff identified an alternative pathway for recognizing WIFI which involved a team of administrators and a single representative from the Williams College Council.

This action took place after Maud’s initial, tepid response which said WIFI would receive almost the same advantages as RSOs on campus. It was foreshadowed by a stronger, revised presidential statement which asserted WIFI would be receiving all benefits given to RSOs and that it would be treated equally. The statement from the Williams College Director of Media Relations appears after the break.

At the May 14 meeting, the committee decided to give WIFI formal RSO status. The Williams College Director of Media Relations issued a statement regarding this process and the final decision.

After Williams’ College Council (CC) voted last month to deny a proposal from Williams Initiative for Israel (WIFI) to become a CC-approved RSO, college administrators discussed the fact that the college’s Student Handbook described a parallel path to RSO status that had not been engaged in this case. This involved a committee made up of administrators and CC reps . . . We notified College Council of the process described in the Handbook, and asked them to designate a representative for the committee. On Tuesday, May 14, the committee considered WIFI’s request, as required by law, and voted to grant RSO status to WIFI. WIFI is now an RSO with the full rights, privileges and responsibilities that label entails.

As far as I can tell, Maud and her administration are not done with the College Council yet. The Director of Media Relations – who up to now has been missing in action – further reported that

This experience has pointed to the value of a discussion with Williams students about student governance. As we move forward, we will continue to support students in thinking about the kind of governance they want and deserve. In addition, we will be working alongside the current Council to identify best practices relative to bylaw creation and support, managing meetings effectively, and any other structural issues that will be helpful for good student governance.

As I have noted previously, there are many irregularities in the procedures of the College Council.

The whole thing, at least what I observed, is a complete mess. The conduct of the College Council is so far beyond the normal workings of a genuine deliberative body that I can state, with full confidence, that it is not a proper learning experience for the students.

Thankfully, Maud realized the gravity of the out-of-control, potentially illegal situation and has taken action to protect the college from a Title VI investigation and a negative finding which would have put all of the schools federal funding at risk. She slapped down leftist identity politics at Williams College yesterday. Good for her.

Hat tip: KC Johnson.



8 Comments (Open | Close)

8 Comments To "Maud Reverses CC’s WIFI Decision"

#1 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On May 16, 2019 @ 8:54 am

Corrections welcome, but there seem to have been four stages to the College’s response:

1) After CC WIFI vote, do nothing. Hope no one will notice.

2) After people notice, issue statement saying that WIFI will have most of the privileges of a student group. Hope no one will complain about the “most”.

3) After complaints, revise statement (without telling anyone!) so that it now says that WIFI has “all” the privileges of an official student group. Hope no one will complain that WIFI is still not an actual student group.

4) After more complaints, overrule CC and make WIFI and official RSO.

There is a nice Record article to be written, going through these steps in detail, with the associated dates.

#2 Comment By John Drew On May 16, 2019 @ 2:25 pm


I’ve made it perfectly clear that I’m OK with “thoughts” that I disagree with being left in the comment sections of my posts. All I’m doing is weeding out vulgar language, trolling and physical threats of violence.

If you have something substantive to say, I don’t have any problem with that appearing as comments on my posts.

I’m more concerned about limiting the graphic, ugly, threatening language we have seen from dcat. That should have no place here. At least not as part of material I have posted.

Do you want me to post some of the truly over-the-top garbage dcat has vomited out over here?

It is alarming stuff, the sort of material that gets people reported to their campus behavioral assessment teams (BAT).

#3 Comment By 0xEph On May 16, 2019 @ 3:08 pm

All I’m doing is weeding out vulgar language, trolling and physical threats of violence.

You have deleted comments of mine that were not vulgar, trolling, or threatening (physical or otherwise).

#4 Comment By Dal On May 16, 2019 @ 3:24 pm

So this is a good thing. Maud shows some cojones.

Just makes you realize how quickly she could dispense with other campus nonsense if she wanted to.

#5 Comment By John Drew On May 16, 2019 @ 3:32 pm

The College Fix has a good overview of how Maud evolved on this issue, taking WIFI from almost equal, to separate but equal, and now to full RSO status. See,

Williams College bypasses student government, recognizes pro-Israel student group

I suppose the issue will not entirely go away, however. I assume that WIFI will still need to go to the College Council to get funding for their efforts.

If the College Council continues to discriminate against WIFI, then I suppose Maud can avoid a Title VI action by simply funding their requests directly.

#6 Comment By John Drew On May 16, 2019 @ 6:03 pm

A staffer from FIRE is now saying the most important result of the WIFI controversy is that Williams College is asserting,

Under Massachusetts state law, a college’s student handbook is a binding contract between students and the institution.

Ultimately, this comment might have the greatest impact on freedom of speech at the school.

Peter Bonilla on Twitter

After viewpoint-based denial, Williams Initiative for Israel finally receives recognition

#7 Comment By fendertweed On May 16, 2019 @ 6:21 pm

I don’t think the concept of student handbooks being so interpreted is necessarily recent. It’s related to longstanding decisions in employment law cases that employee handbooks may creat contractual rights.

#8 Comment By John Drew On May 16, 2019 @ 7:29 pm

Out of curiosity, I opened up the on-line student handbook to take a look. As far as I can tell, the existing procedure doesn’t include a yes or no vote by the College Council at all. The procedure reads,

A committee of representatives from College Council, the Office of Student Life, the Office of the Vice President for Finance & Administration, and Athletics will meet to review your application and any materials provided, and will notify the contact included on the form once a decision has been reached.

A little bit of good news here too. On the spreadsheet that lists all of the current RSOs I see WIFI is already on the list.