Today is Claiming Williams. Here is the schedule. (Copied below the break for future historians.) Comments:

1) This schedule is incompetent! Here is the committee, and the co-chairs are Bilal Ansari and Gail Newman. Are they to blame?

The main trick to ensuring high attendance at Claiming Williams is to schedule a first event that hundreds of students will want to attend (or be cajoled into attending by their JAs). That event should feature people/items that are popular with students. Everyone loves singing groups! Invite several to perform. Everyone loves honeybuns! Serve them for free. In past years, the organizers have done exactly this, thereby getting lots of students out of bed and engaged. Once they attend the first event, it is easier to get them to go from that to another. There is nothing like that this year, nor was their last year, nor the year before that, nor the year before that. I am noticing a trend!

But this year seems especially weak! Is there a single event before noon that will appeal to a large number of Williams students. Not that I can see. If we are going to go through the trouble of cancelling classes for an entire day, we should schedule events that will engage the whole community throughout the day.

2) What a narrow selection of topics! Claiming Williams has always been (and will always be) filled with leftist sessions. Nothing wrong with that! But, in past years, other sessions, appealing to a different cross-section of the community, have generated large audiences. How about something about athletics at Williams and the athlete/non-athlete divide? What about a session on the drinking culture? A more competent committee would have created such sessions.

Again, nothing wrong with extreme leftists! Some of our closest friends are . . . But there is no excuse for not having (many!) events that come at these issues from other perspectives.

3) In past years, there has been at least an event or two that was non-leftist, something about free speech, or being a Conservative on campus, or being a Catholic or . . . Nothing like that this year.

4) Canada Goose and Book Grants looks interesting, and has a great title. The same session was given last year. This is the event in the morning slot that I would attend.

5) Could the Record please do a minimal amount of reporting and tell us, approximately, how many students attend at least two events? My sense (commentary welcome) is that the College likes to pretend like a large majority of students (1500?) attend more than one event. I bet that the actual number is closer to 500, and maybe as low as 300.

I interviewed 7 students two years ago on a different topic. One was a first year. If we define “participation in Claiming Williams” as having attended at least two events, none of the other 6 participated. This is not a large sample and it was not randomly chosen, but, still! (On the other hand, 6 of the 7 had “participated” in Mountain Day, where participation is defined as going on at least one hike.) Mountain Day still merits cancelling classes. Does Claiming Williams?

I also asked the 6 students what their estimate was for student participation in Claiming Williams. The median estimate was 25%. If only a quarter of the students participate in Claiming Williams, then the College ought to cancel it next year.

6) If any readers attend Claiming Williams, please tell us about your experience in the comments.

Full schedule below

2020 Claiming Williams Schedule

Note: our first keynote for CW 2020 is taking place on Feb 5 at 7:30pm in Chapin Hall. Anthony Jack: The Privileged Poor.
Thursday, February 6, 2020 Claiming Williams Day!

9 a.m. Welcome to the Day!
Baxter Hall, Paresky Center

9:15 – 10:45 a.m.

A Voice in the Conversation: Staff at Williams, Faculty House Lounge

Canada Goose and Book Grants 2, Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall

M.I.X.E.D. (Multiracial Individuals eXchanging Encouragement and Dialogue): An Affinity Space, Dodd Living Room

Regrounding in Self and Community: Embodying Our Shared Values, Paresky 201

Where is the Engagement?, Goodrich Hall

11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Affinity Housing, Griffin 3

Affirm & Celebrate One’s Identity While Navigating One’s Career Path, Weston Presentation Room

Grounded Workshop: Exploring Identity and Place through Photography with Makeda Best, WCMA Museum Shop Room

Histories of the World, Paresky Auditorium

Transitioning in Sports: A conversation without, trans athlete, CeCe Telfer, Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch Service
Driscoll, Mission Park, Lee Snack Bar, ’82 Grill, Faculty House Main Dining Room

2 – 3:30 p.m.

Grounded: Exploring Identity and Place through Photography with Makeda Best, The Clark Art

Reclaiming the Religious Voices of the Marginalized and Alienated, Weston Presentation Room

New Ephs on the Block: Transfer Students at Williams, Faculty House Lounge

Reclaiming Our Bodies: Challenging Expectations of Athletic Bodies, Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall

Move Into the Circle, Dance Studio, ‘62 Center

3:45 – 5:15 p.m.

Change the Subject Film Screening, Paresky Auditorium

Hoda Katebi Workshop: Structural Anti-Muslim Racism with the Fashion Industry and Cultural Production, Dodd Living Room

International Experiences at Williams, Weston Presentation Room

Reinventing ReEntry: Post Incarceral Simulation Experience, Greylock 2nd Floor

Reworking the DPE Requirement, Goodrich Hall

The Shop, Griffin 3

5 – 7 p.m. Dinner Service
Whitman’s, Driscoll, Mission Park, Faculty House

7:30 p.m. Evening Keynote: Hoda Katebi: Decolonizing Fashion from Teheran to Boston, MainStage ‘62 Center

9 – 11 p.m. All-Campus Pizza Party!
Whitman’s Servery

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