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A Guide to Emailing Professors

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!

More than likely, over the next few months of the spring, you’ll be emailing your professors. They love to hear from you!

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.)

Your professors teach at Williams because they care about you! They want to hear from you, and they want to connect with you. Don’t be afraid to send them an email with a question, or to set up a meeting, or to find a time to just chat!
Your professors an important part of the Williams community and your experience at the College, so we hope you connect with them this semester. They love hearing from you! And we hope this guide is useful for all students––from first-years to seniors.
Please be in touch with any questions or comments. We, like your professors, love hearing from you!

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


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.

Guide to Emailing Professors PDF

Winter Study Workshops

Hello Williams,

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.

Alex Besser
Vice President for Academic Affairs




Several Thefts on Campus

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,

Dean Sandstrom

Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
Williams College
Phone: (413) 597-4261
Fax: (413) 597-3507


2016-2017 Yearbook On Sale Now!

Class of 2017,

The 2016-2017 yearbook is on sale now! This is a great way to remember your time at Williams. You’ll be able to look back at classmates, clubs, sports, profs, and events (including graduation!). This year we’re also including a “Senior Look-Back” section for your memories from freshman through junior year. Send in pix documenting your entry life, sophomore slump, junior year and/or study away to jl12 by January 20th. Make sure to let us know which year your pictures are from!
Order your copy before March 1st for $75 plus shipping — prices go up on this date and supplies may be limited.
Order the yearbook:
Like our facebook page:

Announcing: Winter Study Workshops!

Hello Williams,


Happy second week of Winter Study. Thanks to all who have signed up to participate with Free University. If you still are interested, feel free to sign up here.
This year College Council is introducing a new program: Winter Study Workshops. Every evening Monday through Thursday during Winter Study, teams and student organizations will be hosting events open to the whole student body. Check out the calendar below to see which workshops you would like to attend!
If you are interested in joining a class, please shoot an email to the organization so they can have an idea of workshop size. They can also share with you location info and if you need to bring anything.
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.


Alex Besser
Vice President for Academic Affairs
FreeUniversity2017CourseCatalog WinterStudyWorkshops2017

Announcement: Director of The Davis Center

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.
Vice President
Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity
Williams College | Williamstown, MA
(P) 413.597.4376


Free University 2017 Course Catalog!

Hello Williams,


Hopefully everyone is settling into their Winter Study routines. College Council is excited to announce the course listing for Free University 2017! This is your chance to learn a new skill or activity, taught by fellow Williams students. Now is your chance to sign up and see what there is to learn.
Below are the classes for this year’s Free University. If you are interested in joining a class, please contact the instructor directly at their listed unix. They will organize with you and other interested students to arrange meeting times and locations. Class size is up to their discretion and many do have limits, so please only contact an instructor if you are serious about being active in the class.
If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact me. If you have questions about a specific class, you may direct them to the appropriate instructor.


Alex Besser
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Free University 2017 Courses
Ballroom Dance
Instructor: David Vascones (
Ever wanted to learn how to dance the foxtrot, waltz, salsa, and tango?  Learn these and MORE ballroom dances in a fun, casual atmosphere this Winter Study.  Beginners are especially welcome!

Read more


College Policy Regarding Marijuana

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.


Adam Falk


[Williams College] Honor the Retirement of Prof. Bill Wootters

Greetings from Williamstown!

Saul Kassin with his memory book

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.

Best wishes,

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.


Standing with Standing Rock

Dear Ephs,

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.

Yours truly,

Suiyi Tang

VP of Community and Diversity, 2015-16


Announcing Free University 2017!

Hello Williams,

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!

Alex Besser
Vice President for Academic Affairs


Gaudino Scholar Appointment

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.


Adam Falk


Chief Communications Officer Appointment

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.


Adam Falk


Vigil for Sophia Wilansky ’16

​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)


Caring for Our Undocumented Students

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.


Adam Falk


Advice and support: Friday’s the last day to switch a class to pass-fail or to withdraw

Dear Students,


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.
Read more


Griffin Vandalism was a Hate Hoax

Latest all-campus e-mail:

From: Adam Falk
Date: Monday, November 14, 2016
Subject: An update on the vandalism in Griffin Hall

To the Williams Community,

We write to inform you that Campus Safety and Security has identified the people responsible for the vandalism in Griffin Hall that occurred over the weekend. Two students were identified and interviewed, and during interviews they admitted that they alone were responsible.

The students told CSS that they had committed the vandalism to bring attention to the effects of the presidential election on many within our community. The use of “AMKKK” was not a specific reference from anyone affiliated with or supportive of the Ku Klux Klan, nor was it intended as a threat. Rather, we understand it was meant to signify AmeriKKKa, a spelling of America that references racism in our society.

The students will be held accountable for their actions through the college’s disciplinary procedures. Their actions did much more than damage property; they harmed our entire community and caused considerable fear, among students in particular. We are deeply distressed that anyone in our community would feel compelled to express themselves in such a destructive and harmful way. We understand that many continue to experience anxiety and fear in the wake of the election. Acts such as this vandalism are not the answer, and they will not be tolerated in our community.

Our thanks go to CSS for its tireless and thorough investigation and to all those who offered assistance in this effort. Please know that the deans, chaplains, Davis Center staff, and Psychological Counseling Services staff are available to provide support at any time.


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

1) EphBlog told you so! To be pedantic, this was perhaps not so much a hate hoax — as in 1993, 2011 and 2012 — but just simple politically-inspired vandalism as in the hockey rink vandalism of 2015.

2) Instead of getting the campus all riled up with those absurd e-mails, a smarter Administration would have, from the start, raised the possibility of a hoax and mentioned the historical examples. Why terrify students, especially students of color, with a claim that white racist KKK members were roaming the Williams campus? (Cynical reasons would include both that students like to be terrified and that, without constant racial controversy, there would be no need for a highly paid “VP for Institutional Diversity and Equity.”

3) EphBlog should have guessed the “AmeriKKKa” usage. Who else recalls the Amerika mini-series of 1987?

4) “caused considerable fear, among students in particular.” But that was because of Administration incompetence! Will Falk et al be held accountable? I have my doubts!


Student Support and Resources During a Challenging Time

Good Evening,

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
4. Chaplains
5. Deans
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 (; (414) 793-5727); Caitlin (; (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


student support

Dear Students,

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.

All best,

Dean Sandstrom

Marlene J. Sandstrom
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
Williams College


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.


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


A Path Forward, Together

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.


Adam Falk


In support of one another and our community

Dear Students, This election season has been one of the most fraught, divisive, and difficult in history, and has been challenging for all of us.  Many students (as well as faculty and staff) are feeling acutely upset, overwhelmed, and frightened this morning. Please take this opportunity to reach out to your classmates, to offer support, to be open to discussion, to be ready to listen, and to remind everyone you see on campus that our community stands ready to support all of us. In times of stress, one of the most helpful things we can do is come together and exchange our ideas, beliefs, fears, and plans for strategic action.  Please take the opportunity to do this, both inside and outside of the classroom.  Find ways to engage with each other, with faculty and staff, with your families and friends at home.  Above all, take good care of yourselves. In addition, there are many additional resources available to you, and I encourage you to use them.  Please come see us in the Dean’s Office, in the Davis Center, in the Chaplains Office, and in the Health Center.  We are here to talk, to problem solve, and to listen.  You don’t need to have a specific question or concern…..just a desire to connect and find support.  And if you are aware that a friend or classmate is struggling, please help them find their way to us.   All best wishes, Dean Sandstrom


All Day Today: Reflection and Conversation at The Davis Center

Good morning,


The Davis Center will be open throughout the day and evening to provide a space and place for reflecting, connecting and caring.  Members of the community should feel free to stop by at any time.  There will be food available.


Leticia Smith-Evans Haynes, Ph.D.

Vice President

Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity

Williams College | Williamstown, MA

(P) 413.597.4376


Call for Nominations for an Olmsted Prize

To the Class of 2017,

Did you have a teacher in high school who made a big difference in your life? Someone whose teaching inspired you and whose dedication helped you on your path? 

Now’s your chance to say thank you—with our help. Every year during Commencement Weekend, the college honors several teachers with the Olmsted Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching. We bring the recipients to Williamstown and present them with the award and a $3,000 prize, and an additional $5,000 goes to each teacher’s school. They’re celebrated at a special dinner and during Ivy Exercises that weekend.

I can tell you that the teachers who receive these prizes are incredibly honored by the tributes from the students who’ve nominated them, and the weekend during which they’re celebrated stands out as one of the most memorable experiences of their lives. It’s also enormously meaningful for all of us on campus to meet and thank a few of the many devoted teachers whose work helped bring you to Williams. And as we do so, it’s a chance for Williams to honor teachers—and teaching—broadly and very publicly, on an occasion when the world is watching.

I write now to invite you to nominate a teacher who’s had a profound impact on your life. There’s more information—including guidelines and a nomination form—online. The deadline for submitting a nomination is Tuesday, January 3.

I hope you’ll take this opportunity to participate in one of Williams’ most wonderful traditions. 


Adam Falk


November Lyceum on 11/15/2016

Dear fellow Ephs,

Hope your midterms season is winding down because…it’s time for the second Lyceum dinner of the year!

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 Tuesday, Nov. 15th, 2016

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 11/15/2016. That’s why we ask for your student ID’s on the registration form. Sorry for the confusion in the past and we hope this won’t deter you from signing up! The meal swipes help pay for a portion of dinner. The Nutting Fund pays for all of the faculty/staff guests’ Lyceum meals and for 1/2 of each Lyceum meal for students with meal plans. 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 (still best chance for the class of 2020 out there yayy).

The entrée options for this dinner are:

-Salmon with maple-dijon glaze

-Chicken with sundried tomatoes and basil cream sauce

-Vegetable Strata

To register, please fill out the online form at:

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



Lyceum Coordinator


Pre-Registration is now open! It’s time to explore courses!

Greetings, Ephs!

Welcome to Spring 2017 Pre-Registration! This is an opportunity to think about all we can explore and learn in the upcoming semester.

It’s time to make the most of Your 32 courses.

Many of your professors and classmates––and even President Falk––have been changed by one course they took outside of their comfort zone. They made the most of their 32! You can hear their stories in this short video.

As you’re choosing courses for the spring, you may want to consider:

  1. Taking a class in every division. This help you complete your divisional requirements, and it will encourage you to have a diverse schedule!
  2. Taking a class in a discipline you have never studied before. There are so many departments at Williams, and all of them are incredible! Try something new––perhaps you’ll fall in love with astronomy, or theater, or sociology, or any other discipline.
  3. Taking a class that uses different teaching methods. Never taken a tutorial before? What about a course with an experiential component? Always wanted to try a lab course? This spring could be your semester to take a course in a totally different format!

Your 32 courses are an incredible opportunity to explore interests, challenge yourself, and learn about incredible topics. Take a risk. Try something new.

And, email professors to learn more about their courses! There is even a handy guide to help you write these sometimes-daunting emails.

This advice, we hope, is as true for first-years as it is for seniors. It is never too late to try something new.

These are Your 32.

They are Your Chance to Explore.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you!

Yours in a love of course exploration (and Halloween),
Jeffrey Rubel ‘17, Allegra Simon ‘18, and Alex Besser ’17

Committee on Educational Affairs and College Council

The Williams Honor Code

Dear Students,

As we begin the second half of the term, it seems like a good opportunity to remind everyone of our honor code and its importance.

The Williams Honor Code was created and is administered by students. It is meant to embody our shared values about the importance of academic honesty, and our commitment to abiding by a set of rules meant to insure that integrity.

And yet, in the midst of the semester, when students are feeling so many kinds of pressure, the temptation to cut corners, borrow work, or get help of a kind prohibited in a given course, can be overwhelming. We urge you to resist that temptation, even when you think it won’t be noticed, won’t cause any lasting damage, or will save you from a terrible or even failing grade. First, no grade is worth violating the trust of the community. Second, though you may think the chances of getting caught are slim, we can assure you that if you are reported to the committee and it is decided that you did indeed violate the honor code, the consequences are far worse than whatever grade you would have gotten on your own.

So please, as you launch into these next weeks of hard work, keep the honor code in mind. If you have any questions about what is or is not permitted in a given course, ask your professors. They expect such questions and are happy to have the chance to clarify their own specific rules for papers, projects and exams. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed about a particular assignment or your workload in general, remember that there are many good avenues for getting help (your professor, the Dean’s Office, the MSRC, the Writing Workshop, and others). Please reach out to those resources rather than compromising your commitment to academic integrity.


Susan Engel, Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Honor Committee
Walford Campbell ‘17, Student Chair of the Honor Committee
Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of the College


2017 Spring Break Out Trip (BOT) application now open!

Dear Students,

All current Williams students are invited to apply to one of the ten Break Out Trips (spring break service trips) being offered for 2017! Read about the wide variety of trip options at, and apply online at application deadline is Sunday, November 13th

Each trip’s leaders will host an informal Q&A session this week for interested participants as follows (the full schedule is also available at

Monday, October 31st

  • 7:30-8:30pm - New York City Youth Outreach (Paresky 210)
  • 8-10pm - Global Medical Training – Dominican Republic (Paresky 207)

Tuesday, November 1st

  • 7-8pm - Ghana ThinkTank: Strengthening Cultural & Environmental Sustainability in Detroit (Paresky 207)
  • 7-8pm - Sustainable Nutrition in the Ecuadorian Amazon (Paresky 210)
  • 8-10pm - Teaching English in China (Paresky 207)

Wednesday, November 2nd

  • 5-6pm - Chaplains’ Interfaith Service Team – Tuscaloosa, AL (Paresky 205)
  • 7-8pm TEED (Technology, Environment, Education & Dance) Program – Ghana (Paresky 210)
  • 8:30-9:30pm - Meaningful Mystic (Paresky 210)

Thursday, November 3rd

  • 7-8pm - ServeUP – New Orleans (Paresky 210)
  • 8-10pm - Berkshire Break Out Trip (Paresky 210)
Please note that you may apply to only one trip as your primary selection.  Upon submitting the online application form, it will be sent automatically to the organizers of the trip you have selected.  The organizers may then reply back to you with some trip-specific follow-up questions.  Please respond to these questions within 24 hours.

Remember that you are not obligated at this time to make a full commitment, financial or otherwise, to the trip.  Upon notification of your acceptance to a trip later in November, you will have another full week before your commitment form is due, and until at least early 2017 before any payments are required.

Break Out, Williams!

Colin Ovitsky, on behalf of the Break Out Trip Committee:

Paula Consolini, Center for Learning in Action
Mike Evans, Zilkha Center
Ben Lamb, Student Life
Sharif Rosen, Chaplains’ Office
Rick Spalding, Chaplains’ Office
Nora Lee ’17
Megan Maher ’17

Halloween, Costumes, & Cultural Appropriation

Happy Halloween!

As you are aware​ from Dean Sandstrom’s email from earlier this month​, ​the holiday can present some challenges with costumes and cultural appropriation​​​.​ P​​​lease read the following information as something to think about with Halloween parties scheduled throughout the weekend.

If you are planning a costume, it’s worth noticing the ways in which costumes can be harmful if they mock or caricature a culture. Before you put on someone else’s culture as a costume or as a joke, think about how your costume might be experienced by someone from that culture, especially if individuals from the culture have been subject to racism or discrimination.

For “A Short Guide to Cultural Appropriation,” click on the attachment (it was developed by Rhon Manigault-Bryant, ​Associate Dean of the Faculty, ​Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Faculty ​Affiliate in Religion). An excerpt:

Cultural appropriation is an aspect of human exchange that refers to the taking of someone else’s culture (expressions, dress, intellectual property, artifacts, knowledge, art forms, etc.) without “permission.” Cultural appropriation is very tricky to navigate as there are fine lines between attributing “ownership,” showing one’s appreciation for, and mocking or parodying another culture. The stakes are also heightened when aspects of culture are taken from minority groups or groups that have traditionally been oppressed or marginalized, and, as a result, those who take, borrow, or ‘exploit’ those aspects of culture benefit from them in terms of capital, power, prestige, and popularity. This benefit often occurs at the expense of the very group from which aspects of culture were appropriated.

Don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions​; ​staff at the Davis Center, Dean’s Office, Chaplains’ Office and Office of Student Life are all happy to help.

Wishing you a good, safe, and fun Halloween weekend.​ (And be sure to visit OSL on the 2nd floor of Paresky on Monday – we’ll have lots of treats to share!)​


Douglas J.B. Schiazza
Office of Student Life * Williams College
pronouns: he/him/his


The Career Center & Its Fabulous Successes

Did you know that 80% of first-years have met with someone at the Career Center already? We’re quite a special bunch, aren’t we? Let’s return, for the second time this week, to the Career Center singing our praises:


We leave you with an upbeat note from Mike O’Connor, Associate Director/Director of the Career Discovery Program…”Congratulations to the Class of 2020, who have been utilizing the Career Center at unprecedented levels! Nearly 80% of the class has met with a counselor already, which is truly impressive. Personally, I’ve been pleased with the number of students whom have already drafted college-appropriate resumes, as this leaves them better prepared to compete for summer job and internship opportunities. Well done, first-years!”


Gee, I wonder why that could be? Is Williams finally on the verge of creating a maximally careerist student body? Has Admissions finally got a handle on how to weed out all the would-be professors and regular ol’ burn-outs? This email from a few months ago is appended without comment — draw your own conclusions as to why frosh are “utilizing the Career Center at unprecedented levels”:

It’s with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Williams Career Family!   At Williams, Career Development as a four year process of exploring, defining, and achieving your life goals; all starting now!

€‹Fortunately, during the first three weeks of the Semester you’ll be meeting with your college Career Guidance Counselor to convert your high-school resume into a college format, learn about incredible internships, and begin thinking about how to make best use of your college years ahead.

All Class of 2020 incoming students are expected to Schedule an appointment immediately.  To do so…

  1. Log into Rt. 2 using your abbreviated email address as your username (e.g., and 7 digit Student ID Number without the W as your password (e.g., 1234567).
  2. Click “Schedule A Counseling Appointment” from the Shortcuts box on the right side of the page.
  3. For this first appointment, please follow these specific instructions. Select Appointment (In Person) under “Type”, and select Date Range as “2016-08-29″ to “2016-9-30″. You may choose your preferred time parameters in the “Time Range” field. Click the + icon underneath “Counselors” to select all available counselors, and choose the days that you’re available (our counselors are here Monday through Friday).
  4. Click “Check Availability” and select a day and appointment time by clicking on a counselor’s name.
  5. Type “Introductory Appointment” and any details you wish to share with your Counselor in the “Reason for Visit” box.
  6. Click “Submit Request” and you’re done!

To get even more out of your appointment €‹bring a draft of your resume modeled after the attached college template.

Enjoy your last few weeks of summer!  We can’t wait to meet you!



Michael O’Connor
Director of the Career Discovery Program
Williams College

(Bolding, pointedly, not mine.)

But since I’m just out of midterms and could really use a chuckle, here, for your enjoyment as much as mine, is the sample resume provided, the Williams student of the administration’s ideality: First_Year_Resume_Template_Updated (1)

Pretty much bang-on, if I do say myself. If you took all the students that get put in the promotional errata and stuck them in a blender, this is just about what you’d get: from NE, plays a sport, has enough gall to study something interesting (Arabic, in this case) but not enough to not major in Econ too, politically “active” (read: aimlessly volunteerist; actual political/social energy is bad, better to be “fostering discussions”) and does some kind of inexplicable thing with computers, “Java” or whatever that’s supposed to mean.

I don’t think I could do a better job of creating a stereotypical Williams student. If anyone in the comments would like to try, please, do.


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