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Dear fellow Ephs,
Spring is in the air but the weather is still as brutal as always. Why not take a professor or staff member to a nice dinner and get to know them a bit better before Spring Break?
The Nutting Family cordially invites you to ask a professor or staff member (administration, chaplains, health services, Davis Center, campus life, CSS, facilities, dining services, etc.) to a partially subsidized, three-course meal at the Faculty Club for this special dinner. This Lyceum Dinner will be held at the Faculty House at 6:45 pm on Wednesday, March. 15th, 2017.
Due to popular demand and to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules, this dinner will be flexible in terms of how many people can be in each party. 1, 2, 3… up to 7 students may invite any ONE member of the faculty or staff to dinner. (We are trying this out still so things may revert in the future.)
Another important clarification: if selected to attend Lyceum, it WILL take away your meal swipe for dinner on 3/15/2017. If you are a senior and not on a meal plan, don’t worry you can still attend! Just clarify on the form that you don’t have a meal plan and the Nutting Fund will also cover your meal!
Spaces are given on a first-come, first-served basis, with preferences given to:
1) those with parties of 4 (3 students and 1 faculty/staff)
2) those who have not yet attended a Lyceum dinner
The entrée options for this dinner are:
-Honey Glazed Grilled Salmon with cranberry relish
-Mustard Crumb Chicken
As always, forward a confirmation email from your guest; your registration will not be considered until we receive the guest’s confirmation email.
The online registration form will close as soon as all spaces have been filled. If you have any questions, please email WilliamsLyceum@gmail.com.
To the Williams Community,
As provost and president, respectively, we’re delighted to announce, following a national search, the appointment of Liz Creighton ’01 as dean of admission and financial aid. Liz, who currently serves as deputy director of admission, will assume the new role May 15.
This is a new position, reporting directly to Dukes as provost. As dean, Liz will provide leadership to our efforts to attract and support talented students from across the country and around the world. She’ll use her leadership skills, vision, and creativity to further strengthen Williams’ position as a national leader in both admission and financial aid work, while breaking new ground in shaping how these two areas collaborate to deepen the socioeconomic diversity of our student body.
Liz joined the admission staff at Williams in 2006 and served in several roles before being named deputy director in 2011. As deputy director she has overseen the daily operations of the admission operation and guided work that enabled us to enroll the most ethnically and socioeconomically diverse student body in college history. She has overseen important initiatives including improving our use of data to aid in recruiting and enrolling exceptional students from low-income backgrounds; the expansion of Windows on Williams and Williams Previews, which provide funding for 350 talented students who couldn’t otherwise afford to visit campus; creation of a remote college counseling program for 200 high-achieving, low-income students; and partnering with our communications office to develop a comprehensive communications strategy and publications stream.
Before coming to Williams, Liz worked in Harvard University’s Development Office, where she managed the fundraising portfolios of the university provost and directors of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, serving on a team that raised $40 million for the institute during its first two years.
Liz earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Williams in 2001 and a Master’s degree in education from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2010.
We want to thank the members of the search committee—Danielle Gonzales, Bum Shik Kim ’19, Rhon Manigault-Bryant, Ngoni Munemo, Marlene Sandstrom and Chris Winters ’95—for their diligent work that has led to this wonderful outcome for Williams.
Please join us in congratulating Liz on her new role.
Dukes Love, Provost and Professor of Economics
Adam Falk, President
In light of President Trump’s recent executive orders, and of the increasing interest within our community in the sanctuary movement, we – the undersigned – would like to share with you the status of our work on the Williamstown Immigrant Trust Act.
The Williamstown Immigrant Trust Act is a draft ordinance for the town of Williamstown. If passed, it will: ensure that the Williamstown Police Department (WPD) will not participate in the enforcement of federal immigration law; strictly limit the circumstances under which the WPD may comply with federal “civil immigration detainers”; prevent the WPD from surrendering sensitive personal information to federal immigration officers without a judicial warrant; bar the WPD from allowing federal immigration officers to question detained individuals solely for the purpose of immigration enforcement; and require the WPD to protect the due process rights of persons subject to federal immigration requests. The act will also limit the collection of immigration information by all town officers, and prohibit the use of town resources to create a registry based upon race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.
Many of these policies are already held by various agencies of the town government, including the WPD. The practical effect of this ordinance will be to turn those policies into law, ensuring that federal action against undocumented members of our community is as expensive and difficult as possible. Because many of America’s largest cities – including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago – already have sanctuary policies in effect, it is very unlikely that the passage of this ordinance will draw federal attention to Williamstown in particular.
This act is based closely upon a legal template developed by Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, whose office has provided guidance with regard to the legality of the draft ordinance. In the course of our work on this project, which began in November, we have also been in communication with the National Immigration Project, the Latinx Caucus of the College Democrats of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Association of Chiefs of Police, and we are grateful for the support of the Coalition for Immigrant Student Advancement here at Williams.
For the last week, the latest draft of the act has been before Town Manager Jason Hoch and other members of the town government. They have thus far been very receptive to this proposal, and we will be meeting with them to decide on the act’s final wording as soon as possible. It is our hope that the Immigrant Trust Act will be passed as a warrant article at the 2017 Williamstown Town Meeting this May, which is the earliest occasion on which the town as a whole can act upon this issue.
If you have questions or concerns, or if you would like to be involved in the fight to protect all the members of our community, please contact Benjamin Williams at email@example.com.
Benjamin Williams ‘17.5
Williams College Democrats
Williamstown Democratic Town Committee
Woodrow Wilson Professor of Political Science
Attorney at Law
Four Freedoms Coalition
To the Williams Community,
I’m pleased to write with the news that, after a national search, Megan Morey will join Williams as our next Vice President for College Relations. Her first day will be May 1.
Megan currently serves in an analogous role at Amherst College, as chief advancement officer. Many of you undoubtedly remember her from the seven years she worked at Williams, 2000–2007, first as senior development officer and then as director of leadership giving.
At Amherst, Megan earned the trust and appreciation of the entire Amherst community for her work to plan and carry out their Lives of Consequence campaign, which raised $500 million and achieved an impressive 72.5 percent alumni participation rate. Under her management, Amherst’s advancement program raised an average of $56 million a year in support of school priorities, including Amherst’s deservedly well-known commitment to financial access and diversity. She also collaborates closely with the college’s chief communications officer to integrate development communications with college-wide messaging, something that’s equally important here at Williams.
An experienced senior advancement professional, Megan will assume leadership of our Teach It Forward Campaign and all the work of the Office of College Relations, including development, alumni relations, advancement information services and career services. Among her early priorities will be working to enhance collaboration that maximizes the opportunities for alumni support in all its forms. Indeed, the search committee was impressed by her commitment to valuing the diverse ways in which our alumni can add value to the college and our students’ education.
Megan earned her B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University in economics management and French. She began her career in development at her alma mater, then progressed through positions of increasing responsibility at Denison University, Barton College and the University of Redlands.
I’m grateful to the members of our search committee—Leticia S.E. Haynes ’99, Dukes Love, Collette Chilton, Rob Baker-White ’80, Liz Creighton ’01, Jamie Art, Martha Tetrault, and Keli Gail as chair—for their work in a process that produced such a superb outcome. Thanks, too, to the whole College Relations staff, both for their participation in the search and for maintaining such strong fundraising momentum throughout. As you may have heard, we recently crossed the $500 million mark with two years yet to go in our $650 million campaign. Finally, I especially want to express my sincere appreciation to Keli and to Lew Fisher ’89 for their efforts as interim OCR Vice President and Associate Vice President for Development, respectively.
I hope you’ll join me in warmly welcoming Megan back to Williams.
This evening, Campus Security received a report from a college alum who had been walking on Spring Street at 9:30 when a pickup truck pulled alongside him. The truck’s occupants, whose faces were covered, yelled a racial slur at him and sped away.
Campus Safety immediately notified the Williamstown Police, who responded to the incident. Our alum is safe and is aiding authorities with their efforts to identify the perpetrators. This was a reprehensible attack: an assault on one of our own, and on our shared values.
We have no reason to believe the people in the truck were members of the college community. And we haven’t received reports of any other, similar incidents. Even so, Campus Safety has increased patrols and both CSS and Williamstown Police are on the lookout for vehicles matching the description.
Please use caution if moving around campus or town tonight. Travel in pairs or groups if possible, and be alert to your surroundings. If you see anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or suspicious, move to a safe location and call 597-4444 immediately. Our chances of catching the people responsible will be much greater if you communicate the information to Campus Safety right away. Do not engage with any person of concern.
If you’re alone and feel unsafe or want an escort to your destination, contact 597-4444.
Please be safe, and we’ll provide further updates if and when new information becomes available.
All best wishes,
Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
Phone: (413) 597-4261
Fax: (413) 597-3507
To the Williams Community,
On this first day of this new semester, I’m reflecting on the meaning of community, both the one here at Williams and the many communities, local and national, that we’re a part of. Recent events are testing that sense of community—of cohesiveness and mutual collegiality. Especially now, when faced with such challenges, we need to renew our commitment to the values that make us who we are.
We’ll start that work tomorrow, when, as we do every year at this time, we’ll devote the day to Claiming Williams and our efforts to make Williams a more inclusive community. This is one of my very favorite days of the year, and this year’s program on the theme of “Moral Courage” couldn’t be more timely. I urge you all to attend, listen, learn, and commit to making this campus the kind of community we want it to be. And that the world needs us to be.
Successful communities reflect on and live their values, and our year of inquiry, Confronting Climate Change, is a wonderful opportunity to consider more deeply our commitments to the sustainability of the way we humans live on Earth. Thanks to great work by the C3 committee and the Center for Environmental Sciences, we’ve got an impressive roster of events and speakers this spring. It includes visits by two leading figures: Columbia professor Jim Hansen, the scientist and former NASA Director who risked his government career by giving frank testimony to Congress about climate change; and writer and activist Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and author of The End of Nature—considered the book that introduced the idea of climate change to a general audience. I hope we’ll all participate in this and other Confronting Climate Change programming. This is the only planet we have to call home, and we must all learn to care for it.
Our community is always growing and changing, and it’s a special pleasure to welcome two recent arrivals: Shawna Patterson-Stephens, director of the Davis Center; and Wendy Adam, director of Psychological Counseling Services. Given how important holistic diversity and support for mental health are to a flourishing Williams community, I’m thrilled that we’ve attracted to Williamstown such wonderful leaders as Shawna and Wendy.
Continuing with happy news, we’re celebrating the award of tenure to four members of the faculty: Rashida Braggs in Africana studies, Nick Howe in environmental studies, Tim Lebestky in biology, and Kate Stroud in psychology. All four are committed teachers and scholars with a talent for introducing students to interdisciplinary ways of thinking, and we’re fortunate that they’ll enrich our community for many years to come.
We’re also continuing to see an outpouring of support from our alumni and friends for the Teach It Forward campaign. Focused on the college’s most important core priorities—students and faculty—the campaign speaks to enduring Williams values that continue to resonate deeply with those who know and love the college. Financial aid, of course, is the most important priority of Teach It Forward; and to cite just one example of the impact of enhancing our financial aid endowment, last week Williams was featured on the PBS NewsHour website for our national leadership in building and supporting socioeconomic diversity in our student body.
Finally, the board of trustees held their annual winter meeting in late January, and we’ll post a summary report on the revamped Board website shortly. The highlight of their weekend was an open reception for students, held Friday evening at the Faculty House. The trustees were grateful that so many students took time on a Friday evening to get to know them and share their thoughts on Williams. Our trustees are college and national leaders who’ve successfully applied their Williams education to their lives, careers, and causes, and they’re a rich source of advice and ideas. We’re looking forward to making this reception, as well as the open meeting held in October, an annual event.
I hope you’re all energized and ready, as I am, for a new semester. Let’s get off to a strong start with Claiming Williams. I’ll see you there tomorrow.
If you need some inspiration, check out stories and words of wisdom from some of your fellow Ephs in this video! And, check out the Your 32 series on the Humans of Williams Facebook page to read stories of course exploration!
This advice, we hope, is as true for first-years as it is for seniors. It is never too late to try something new.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, please contact Jeffrey Rubel (firstname.lastname@example.org). We love hearing from you!
To the Williams community,
On Friday President Trump signed an executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” It declared numerous changes in American immigration policy, including an immediate 90-day ban on entry into the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. It also sharply restricts the admission of refugees and imposes a religious test for refugees from certain countries. The full text of the order can be found many places online, including here.
The news is still fresh, and events are unfolding quickly. But it’s already clear that this action has great potential to harm students, faculty, staff and their families, both at Williams and around the world. We’re doing everything we can to support those in our community who’ve been placed at risk.
Our staff worked quickly to ascertain whether any members of the campus community, including students from the Center for Development Economics, were outside the country when the order went into effect. I’m relieved to report that our students are all accounted for. We’re still working to confirm the same for faculty and staff, and will keep you informed. A special thank you to Assistant Dean Ninah Pretto for advising international students to be cautious about traveling abroad during this time. Even so, the order places great stress on international students, faculty, and staff; those who are immigrants or children of immigrants; many Muslim members of our community, and others. We’ll continue to assess the situation as it develops and take appropriate action to support those affected. If you need or want support we have many resources available: please contact the dean’s office, our chaplains, the Davis Center or Counseling Services for help.
The president’s order is inconsistent with Williams’ essential values. It conflicts with our non-discrimination policy, which forbids discrimination on the basis of national origin, religion, and other identity attributes. On Saturday night a federal judge issued a stay on deportations under the order, and a number of organizations and individuals have announced plans to challenge the order’s constitutionality in the courts.
This is a distressing time, but Williams prepares us for moments when moral courage is required. We can—and must—show the world we’re capable of something greater and nobler than fear.
Attached please find a schedule for third quarter physical education offerings. Registration will begin on People Soft January 30 and run through February 2. (Please note only students who still need credit can register during the first 24 hours)
For more information about PE including details about the PE requirement please visit: http://athletics.williams.edu/physical-education/. Classes begin the week of Monday, February 6, 2017.
As a reminder the college requirement for graduation is 4 credits of physical education. Students who do not complete the requirement by the end of their sophomore year may not be eligible to study abroad as juniors. If you have any questions I am happy to help,
Go to People Soft
Under student self service
Click on PE class registration
Dear International Students,
We have received many messages from the international student body concerned about the executive order signed late Friday evening that bans the entry of immigrants and non-immigrants (including dual citizens and green card holders) from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Already we have seen individuals being detained by authorities at airports. The current timeline for the ban is 90 days, however it is uncertain what will happen after this period.
Prior to Winter Study, we sent a travel advisory asking all F-1 international students reenter the U.S. prior to 1/20/17, which students followed. I have reached out to F-1 international students directly impacted by the ban and they are currently in the U.S. and safe. I know many of you may be feeling great anxiety not only for yourselves, but for your family and friends. I want you to know that we are here to support each and every one of you and will be available for meetings Monday and throughout the week. We are also in ongoing communication with an immigration attorney.
It deeply saddens me that I must send you this email, especially as the daughter of immigrants, who sacrificed much, so that I could have a better life. It infuriates me that individuals are being targeted and discriminated against because of their religion. I chose to be an International Advisor, because I believe that this country is made greater with immigrants. I believe this country should always be a place where all people can seek refuge and safety.
We encourage you to reach out to the Dean’s Office, the Chaplains, the Davis Center, Counseling Services for any support you may need during this troubling time. If you have questions and concerns, do not hesitate to contact me.
Dear fellow Ephs:
The beginning of the spring semester is a few days away! I hope you are looking forward to a wonderful spring 2017 and all the learning that will come with it!
Sometimes though, emailing a professor can be a bit scary (even though it shouldn’t be!). How formal should I be? What should I say? How should I even begin? You are not the only one asking these questions.
Good news! We have some answers for you.
Last fall, the Committee on Educational Affairs assembled a resource: A Guide to Emailing Professors. And it’s only one (double-sided) page! With two free sample emails! The guide is a collection of email-related tips from professors and students. (You can find it attached to this email.)
Yours in a love of sending emails,
Jeffrey Rubel ’17
Student Chair, Committee on Educational Affairs
Contact the CEA: Feel free to reach out with any questions about your own academic experience or with suggestions/ideas about how to improve the overall Williams curriculum. We love hearing from you! Your idea could shape how we learn and teach at Williams. (Send questions, thoughts, reflections, and ideas to Jeffrey Rubel at email@example.com)
Thank you to the following people for their submissions to the guide: Professor Ralph Bradburd (ECON), Professor Phoebe Cohen (GEOS), Professor Susan Dunn (HIST), Professor Stephen Fix (ENGL), Professor Paul Karabinos (GEOS), Professor Anthony Nicastro (RLIT), Professor Lee Park (CHEM), Professor Greg Phelan (ECON), Professor Leyla Rouhi (RLSP), Professor Tom Smith (CHEM), Professor Janneke van de Stadt (RUSS), Jackie Lane ’16, Luis Urrea ’16, Em Nuckols ’16, Stephanie Caridad ’18, Gary Chen ’18, Jack Greenberg ’18, Alexandra Griffin ’18, and Allegra Simon ’18.
Also, thank you to Stephanie Caridad ’18 (CEA) and to Celeste Pepitone-Nahas ’17 and Chris Lyons ’17, co-chairs of the Mental Health Committee, for editing earlier drafts for the guide.
Supported by the Deans Office and the Committee on Educational Affairs.
This is another email to encourage all students to come out and participate in this year’s Winter Study Workshops. This week has even more opportunities to participate in, including movie screenings with Men For Consent, military presentations from the Student-Veteran Association and screen printing with Williams Vista. Also newly added to the calendar is the Sustainable Investing Symposium, organized by TL Guest ‘17 and Don Carlson ’83, which will have interesting panels and events all day Thursday and Friday.
If you are interested in joining a class, please email the organization to find out time and location info.
If you have any questions about the program or are still interested in hosting a workshop, feel free to contact me. If you have questions about a specific workshop, feel free to reach out to the club unix.
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dear Williams Community Members,
Over the last three days, Campus Safety and Security has responded to several thefts in public spaces on campus, as well an incident in an academic building.
These thefts have involved bags and backbacks that have been left unattended. Please make sure you are securing and attending your items.
If you have information about these incidents or see something suspicious, please contact Campus Safety and Security at 413-597-4444.
Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable weekend,
Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
Phone: (413) 597-4261
Fax: (413) 597-3507
Class of 2017,
Dear Members of the Williams Community,
I am pleased to announce that Shawna Patterson, Ph.D. has been appointed Director of The Davis Center. She will assume the role on January 9, 2017. Shawna brings a wealth of experience to the role, as she focuses on approaches that enhance the academic, social and civic experiences of community members, especially students, in a manner that involves collaborative partnerships and innovation. We are excited to leverage her experience working on issues of diversity, equity and social justice and collaborating with and in support of students, faculty and staff.
Most recently, Shawna served as a House Dean at the University of Pennsylvania; she also worked at Michigan State University, Penn State University, and Florida State University. Over the years, Shawna worked on the implementation of intercultural programming, advised students, responded to critical incidents on campuses, facilitated diversity trainings and collaborated with community stakeholders to co-sponsor discussions around social justice issues. At Michigan State University, she supported diverse student populations, developed inclusive residential curricula for residence halls and advised student organizations. She also worked in collaboration with stakeholders across campus to respond to critical incidents of bias, prejudice and sexual assault and harassment. At Penn State University, she oversaw the safety and security functions for the residential housing system, and worked to foster an environment that valued diversity and demonstrated a commitment to social justice. While there, she also helped develop a curriculum around global citizenship and reflective praxis.
Shawna has also been a lecturer and instructor at Florida State University, Michigan State University and the University of Pennsylvania. She received a doctorate from Florida State University where her dissertation was titled, Love and hip hop: The meaning of urban reality television in the lives of Black college Women. Her published articles appear in the International Journal of Doctoral Studies, Alabama Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review and Journal of Student Affairs at New York University.
Please help me welcome Shawna to the Williams community and support her as she collaborates with students, faculty and staff to contribute to the intellectual life of The Davis Center.
I thank the search committee, Vice President Steve Klass (chair), Michael Ding ’18, Raquel Douglas ’19, Katie Kent, Molly Magavern, James Manigault-Bryant, Ngoni Munemo, Claudia Reyes ’18, D. L. Smith, and G. L. Wallace, for their diligence and commitment to the process. In addition, I thank the dozens of students, staff and faculty who took the time to participate in this incredibly important search.
Leticia Smith-Evans Haynes, Ph.D.
Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity
Williams College | Williamstown, MA
To the Williams Community,
As you may know, voters in Massachusetts approved a ballot question in November that changes state law to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for those 21 and over. That new law is due to take effect December 15, and it permits the possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in limited amounts by people 21 and over and removes criminal penalties for such activities.
That ballot measure, however, doesn’t change federal law and doesn’t mean that Williams will now permit marijuana.
One might assume that with the new law the college would, in its policies and practices, treat marijuana much the same as alcohol. But we have a long-standing policy against illicit drug use on campus and within the college community, and the federal government still considers marijuana to be an illicit drug. The college must abide by federal laws, including the Drug-Free Workplace Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. If we fail to comply, the college could become ineligible for federal funding and financial aid programs for students.
Given the scope of those federal laws, the college’s policies must therefore continue to disallow marijuana in our community.
That marijuana is still considered an illegal drug federally means it is prohibited for students entirely by our code of conduct, both on and off campus. That applies to students in off-campus housing, and it applies when students are engaged in college-sponsored activity away from campus. Also, it remains illegal—and against college policy—to send or receive marijuana through the mail.
College policy also prohibits faculty, staff, guests, and visitors from using, possessing, distributing, or being under the influence of marijuana while on campus or during college activities.
Throughout Massachusetts, officials at both the state and local levels are currently wrestling with many questions concerning the implementation of the ballot initiative and the conflict between state and federal laws concerning the legality of marijuana. In addition, we don’t yet know what the incoming administration in Washington might do with respect to federal enforcement policies concerning marijuana. We will keep you informed should any decisions or changes in policies by government agencies have implications for the college. In the meantime, if you have specific questions, I encourage you to reach out to any number of relevant offices, including the Dean’s Office, Campus Safety and Security, and Human Resources.
Greetings from Williamstown!
I write to invite you to take part in a Williams initiative that we hope will be of interest to you. This is the second year we’ve invited alumni to share a memory of a retiring faculty member who impacted their Williams experience. Introduced as an important component of a broad engagement initiative calledPurple with Purpose, response to this program has been powerful in all the ways you might expect. Last year, the six retiring members of the Williams faculty each received a hardbound book of well-wishes and memories from alumni (more than 250 submissions to be exact).
This year, twelve Williams faculty members will retire, including William Wootters who has taught Physics at Williams since 1982. As a former student of Professor Wootters or the Physics department, we invite you to share a specific memory or story of Professor Wootters’s impact on you. You can contribute your memory by submitting this form. Samples from last year are provided below.
Thanks in advance for considering a contribution; it will mean the world to Professor Wootters and your college.
Brooks Foehl ‘88
Director of Alumni Relations
Here are a few selections from last year’s submissions:
“I still hold Professor Kassin as one of the best, most challenging mentors I’ve had in my life. He pushed me to deliver my very best work, in ways that I hadn’t experienced before (or since). I had so much respect for him… and I am so thankful for the time I got to work with him.” Katharine (Kami Neumann) Reagan ’96
“Professor Morgan was the first mathematics professor that really made me feel mathematics was a major I was capable of pursuing. Professor Morgan made teaching CONFIDENCE, not just mathematical CONTENT, a hallmark of his courses. In effect, he taught me more than my major; he helped mold my life. I’ll forever be grateful that he believed I could be successful and helped me believe in myself.” Kristin Grippi ’00
“I remember fondly [Professor Beaver’s] broad and deep intellect, passion for knowledge, and commitment to teaching. One could discern, behind the glimmer in his eye and barely concealed smirk on his face, that the history of ideas were for him a wellspring that continued to bring contentment and inspiration.” Gilles Heno-Coe ’10
We value your feedback!
Submit your comments here to let us know what you think about this and other Purple with Purpose initiatives.
I hope this email finds you well, in the last weeks before winter break. For many of us, this semester has been an especially long one—I write to both offer encouragement and a last word of solidarity.
As many of you know, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies are currently engaged in a struggle for water rights at Standing Rock, North Dakota. While many of us prepare for impending celebrations of heart and hearth, hundreds of water protectors persist in sub-zero temperatures and waning physical wellbeing, to ask the federal government and the corporate sponsors of the Dakota Access Pipeline to leave Sioux lands alone. This is a fight about water rights and sacred lands near Standing Rock, North Dakota, but more so, this is continuation of a centuries-old indigenous struggle for human rights. The Dakota Access Pipeline was rerouted through Standing Rock because Bismarck’s residents, who are 90% white, feared it would poison their drinking water. Indigenous people are being forced at gunpoint to accept ecological risks that North Dakota’s white residents refused. Furthermore, the pipeline cuts through Standing Rock sacred lands and passes over indigenous graves.
Last week, 167 water protectors were injured, including Sophia Wilansky ‘16, a Williams graduate, who is facing potential amputation. The United Nations is currently investigating North Dakota law enforcement for human rights abuses.
Williams students, past and present, have already travelled to Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with water protectors. Here on campus, Divest, the Davis Center, and the Zilkha Center (to name just a few) have organized donation drives and made phone calls to elected officials. They—and we—are working to educate each other about the violence occurring in North Dakota right now, as well as the centuries-long history of colonial violence against indigenous people in this country. We cannot forget that our very own Williams College was built on land stolen from the Mohican people.
Now I am asking you to take a stand. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is calling for influential organizations and individuals to stand with the water protectors, and we want to hear your voices. Please fill out this single question survey to let us know what you think: should Williams stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline?
Your voices matter. These responses will help us better understand the desires of the student body, and serve you accordingly. As the Williams College mission statement reminds us, “an education at Williams should not be regarded as a privilege destined to create further privilege, but as a privilege that creates opportunities to serve society at large, and imposes the responsibility to do so.” The engagement and collective care demonstrated by the Williams student body, faculty, and staff in response to recent events have been vital to our continued thriving together. I hope I speak for many when I say that I am both humbled and grateful to share in this community with you.
VP of Community and Diversity, 2015-16
College Council is happy to announce the Free University 2017 Winter Study Program!
Free University was founded in the 1980s to promote the diversity of interests and ideas at Williams by organizing classes taught by students, for students. For the only time in your Williams career, grades don’t matter; there are no papers to write or tests to take. Free University gives you the chance to do something truly unique with your peers.
Past courses have included “A Smashing Time: Advanced Super Smash Bros. Theory, Strategy, and Technique”, “Bake It Till You Make It”, and “Twerk”.
This year we are also encouraging any clubs, teams, and student organizations to sign up. You can do either a full Free University program or a 2-hour evening workshop. This is a great way to get exposure for your organization for potentially interested students and a way to share what you’re passionate about with the general college body.
If you have any idea at all, teach a course! Free University is a great, no pressure space to share your talents and interests with the student body. If you are interested in teaching a course, please contact me (ajb7) with your idea by Monday (December 5th) at 11:59pm. Please include a course title and a short description. Funding and logistical support will be provided by College Council, if needed. Soon after, I will email the campus with a course listing and sign up information.
Please join in on a great Williams tradition!
Vice President for Academic Affairs
To the Williams Community,
I am pleased to report that Susan Engel, senior lecturer in psychology and the Class of 1959 Director of the Program in Teaching, has agreed to serve as the college’s next Gaudino Scholar. Her two and a half year appointment to this post will begin January 1, 2018. Susan will be the 16th faculty member to hold this title. The position has been active since 1982 and is named for former political science professor Robert Gaudino. The Gaudino Scholar creates and promotes opportunities for experiential education and uncomfortable learning.
Susan will bring to this role her considerable expertise as a scholar of developmental psychology and education. Her areas of specialty include teaching and learning, the development of narrative and autobiographical memory, and the development of curiosity. Her most recent book, co-authored with her son, is titled A School of Our Own: The Story of the First Student-Run High School and a New Vision for American Education.
For her Gaudino project Susan intends to explore the processes that lead to deep intellectual change, particularly among college students. She is especially interested in exploring how engaged conversations in the classroom and beyond promote the consideration of unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable points of view and, ultimately, influence how students form opinions and change their minds.
Susan will succeed Lois Banta, professor of biology, who has served in this role since July 2014. My thanks go to Susan and Lois for their willingness to serve the college in this capacity.
To the Williams Community,
I’m delighted to announce that after a national search the college has appointed Jim Reische as Williams’ next chief communications officer. He’ll arrive in Williamstown and begin in his new role in early January.
Jim brings a wealth of experience and expertise in strategic communications, including five years as vice president for communications at Grinnell College, where he worked closely with President Raynard Kington and served as Grinnell’s first VP for communications, developing a staff of creative professionals and enhancing internal communications while helping to increase alumni and volunteer engagement and position the college nationally on issues of importance in higher education, including affordability and access.
He comes to Williams from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., where as chief communications officer he has, among other things, overseen the development of new admission marketing and communications strategies and the successful launch of a new website for the college.
Jim’s career in higher education began at the University of Michigan, where he served as a senior acquisitions editor and then executive editor of the University of Michigan Press. He then moved to the university’s development office, working as an editor and senior writer and then as assistant campaign director, helping to guide the strategic planning of the university’s $4 billion Victors for Michigan campaign.
Jim earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from the University of Michigan, and master’s degrees in history and in Russian and East European area studies from Michigan and Harvard, respectively.
My sincere thanks go to the members of the search committee—Denise Buell, Liz Creighton, Lew Fisher, Brent Heeringa, Fred Puddester, and Danielle Gonzalez—for their dedicated work that has led us to this wonderful result, as well as to all those who participated in the interview process and who provided me with valuable input and perspective, including the terrific members of the communications office. And I’m especially grateful to Jim for his willingness and ability to get here so quickly, to ensure a smooth transition as outgoing chief communications officer Angela Schaeffer heads to her new role at Trinity College at the start of the new year.
I look forward to welcoming Jim and his wife Aimee to Williams and the community.
To the Williams community,
By now, many of us have learned the dreadful news that Sophia Wilansky, class of 2016, was severely injured while demonstrating as a water protector on Sunday night in connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota. Sophia is now undergoing a battery of surgeries on her left arm.
We invite you to join us tonight at 7:30pm as we gather in reflection and prayer for Sophia, her family, friends, and all those affected. As we focus our thoughts and prayers on her recovery and healing, our space this evening aims to link up with the wider circle of vigils being convened elsewhere nationally for Sophia during this period of intensive surgeries.
We will assemble at the Matt Cole Reading Room, located on the first floor of the Class of 1966 Environmental Center (home to the Zilkha Center and CES).
In peace and prayer,
Sharif A. Rosen
Muslim Chaplain /
Asst. Dir. for Community Engagement, Center for Learning in Action (CLiA)
To the Williams Community,
Caring for everyone in our community is what defines us at Williams. So it’s no surprise that in recent days a great many faculty, students, staff, and alumni have expressed worry about the possible effects of the incoming presidential administration on our most vulnerable populations, especially our undocumented students. Our community has come together to ask Williams and me, in particular, to do all we can to protect and support our undocumented students.
I assure you we will. The concern is a serious and well-founded one, given that we heard from the president-elect throughout the campaign that among his first actions as president would be to rescind many of the executive orders enacted by President Obama, including the one that established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program grants certain undocumented immigrants who arrived as children renewable two-year work permits and exemption from deportation.
At Williams, as at colleges and universities across the country, we are working to do all we can to support DACA students and prepare for what might come. The many petitions to create “sanctuary campuses,” including the one I received this week, reflect this broadly shared commitment to care for our students. The petitions vary in what they seek, but they are inspired by sanctuary cities, where local laws prevent police from asking about people’s immigration status and generally don’t use local resources to enforce federal immigration laws.
How that concept might apply to a private college isn’t clear, and how such a declaration might inadvertently harm our undocumented students is a deep concern of mine. This concern is shared by immigration law experts with whom we’re consulting, as well as by many other college presidents with whom I’ve spoken this week. We worry, for instance, about the possibility that the new administration might seek to deport first those students at campuses that announce publicly that they intend to shield their students in some way from federal authorities.
What we reaffirm now is that we will not release information about students’ immigration status unless compelled to do so by a court order or legal action. That’s our current practice, and we adhere to it strictly. Indeed, all confidential student information is similarly protected, as we abide faithfully by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Some of the sanctuary petitions and related activism have called on institutions to prevent federal authorities from entering campuses to enforce immigration policy. Legal counsel tells our peers and us that private colleges and universities do not have the ability to offer such absolute protection, and it would be a disservice to our students to promise what we can’t actually provide.
There are many things we’ve already been doing to protect and support our undocumented students. Indeed, many of the measures articulated in sanctuary petitions are standard practice at Williams. We welcome undocumented students, and we evaluate their applications in the domestic applicant pool under our need-blind admission policy. And we meet 100 percent of their demonstrated financial need—as we do for all students—providing them with additional grant money if they are not permitted to work in the U.S. (and therefore couldn’t fulfill a work-study requirement). We will continue to do all of this.
A number of staff members in the Dean’s Office and elsewhere provide support and guidance to undocumented and DACA students, including: Rosanna Reyes, who serves as the advisor to undocumented and DACA students; Ninah Pretto, who provides support and guidance on seeking legal advice and immigration assistance and helps students navigate U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and other resources; Tina Breakell, who supports and advises undocumented and DACA students interested in study-away opportunities; Michelle Shaw, who serves as the primary Career Center contact for undocumented and DACA students; Gary Caster, their primary contact for emotional and spiritual support through the Chaplain’s Office; and Molly Magavern and the entire Davis Center staff, who offer myriad support and resources to help all students, especially those from historically underrepresented and underserved groups, thrive at Williams.
Our most immediate concern is for our undocumented students. We also are worried about others in our community who may face an uncertain future with regard to immigration law, as well as those with undocumented family members. Staff in the Dean’s Office are caring for our undocumented and international students, and we are working with immigration law experts, peer institutions, and higher education associations not only to understand any potential policy changes and their effects, but also to do everything we can to prevent policy changes that would bring harm to our students and to promote policies that protect everyone in our community.
We are deeply committed to this work, and we ask you to do what you can as citizens to demand from our government that it continue to uphold our country’s fundamental values of equality and freedom.
As we make our way towards the final weeks of the semester, I’m writing to remind you about options that may be helpful, including support and also the pass-fail option for courses. Please note that the deadline for changing a class to pass-fail is this Friday, November 18th. That is also the deadline to withdraw from a class.
We understand that this is an uncertain and challenging time for our community and wanted to reiterate our support for the student body and our interest and investment in student safety.
We wanted to take the time to remind you of the resources available to us all during this difficult time:
1. Peer Health (Call-In-Walk-In hours Sun-Thurs from 7-10pm in Paresky 212)
2. Campus Safety (available 24/7 at 413-597-4444 and can direct you to other resources)
3. Davis Center
6. Psych Services
7. Office of Student Life
8. Student Groups/Peers
9. Additionally we want to make ourselves available as another resource for support. Please feel free to text, call, email, or stop us: Michelle (firstname.lastname@example.org; (414) 793-5727); Caitlin (email@example.com; (845) 803-6854).
Please contact any of these resources at any point. Also, please look out for one another—we’ve been so impressed by the student support being shown and hope to see that continue.
We also hope you’ll consider these two events tomorrow as well:
You Are Not Alone- This is an amazing evening of solidarity and support for students who have been impacted by issues affecting their emotional, psychological, or social well-being, organized by Mental Health Committee from 7-8:30 tomorrow in Goodrich. We highly encourage your attendance, as it is an incredible way for our community to show support for one another.
Open College Council Meeting w/ V.P. Klass and Dean Sandstrom- We had already planned for Dean Sandstrom and V.P. Klass to come to our meeting tomorrow, but as always our meetings are open, so if you have any questions, ideas or concerns, especially in light of recent events, we will be meeting with them both at 7:30pm in Hopkins 001 tomorrow evening.
We recognize these events unfortunately overlap, so please attend whatever feels most helpful for you at this time. If you don’t make it to the CC meeting, feel free to reach out to your class reps and the exec board, or attend our next meeting on Tuesday, 11/29.
Again, we are here as a resource as well, so feel free to reach out. Please take care of yourselves and look out for one another.
Michelle Bal & Caitlin Buckley
College Council Co-Presidents
We understand that news of this weekend’s vandalism in Griffin Hall has hit many of you hard, and that it was especially troubling for this to happen during what was already a very fraught and difficult time for many members of our community.
I am writing to remind you that the deans, chaplains, members of the Davis Center staff, as well as members of the Psychological Counseling Services are all available to support students at any time. Please don’t hesitate to contact any of these people if you’d like to talk or are concerned about the well being of a friend. We all stand ready to help.
Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
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.
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
To the Williams Community,
Election night brought to a conclusion the most divisive American presidential campaign in recent memory. Many members of the Williams community, including—but not limited to—women; immigrants, both documented and not; people of color; Muslims, Jews, and other religious minorities; and LGBTQ people have felt directly and deeply the rhetoric of this campaign. The rhetoric was threatening and destructive both to the individuals at whom it was aimed and to our society’s most essential values.
Even before Election Day, there had been a deep worry—which I share—that the vitriol would continue beyond the campaign season. It is essential that we recommit ourselves today, as American society at large and as a Williams family here, to the fundamental respect and care for each other that underlie all healthy communities.
On the national, state, and local levels, this means engaging in politics, each of us working as hard as we can to ensure that the laws, policies, and practices of our government reflect concern for everyone in our world.
Here at Williams, it means renewing our commitment, as we should do every single day, to a fully inclusive, equitable community in which everyone can thrive. It means treating each other with deep respect, as we attend particularly to those who feel most vulnerable in this, or any, moment.
I’m inspired by the ways I see our community already seeking to unite this morning, and I’m reminded once more of the fundamental relevance of a Williams education. Our work—to educate global citizens who are informed and empowered to lead and who feel a responsibility to help create the community we all most fervently desire to live in—today seems more important than ever.
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