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Vigilante George Zimmerman

A new display went up in Paresky yesterday.

Close ups:

1) I assume that this display has official permission from Williams, otherwise it would have already been taken down, as the big sign was last week. True? If so, how long will it be allowed to stay up for? A week? A month? Forever?

2) I don’t recall seeing other such prominent displays on Paresky. Does anyone? Will other groups be allowed to display in the same manner? I am sure that, say, Williams Catholic would love to put up pro-life posters of similar size.

3) How much are these efforts connected, if at all, to our two named controversies: Green/Love Black Joy and White Male Vigilantes? It could be that there is no connection that these posters, or ones like it, would have gone up even if Green/Love had never resigned and/or McPartland had never moved their memorial. But my sense is otherwise, that these posters are a direct response. Comments welcome!

4) What a pathetic summary of the Trayvon Martin case! If Martin was really “racially profiled and fatally shot by vigilante George Zimmerman,” then why didn’t Barak Obama’s Justice Department, run at the time by Eric Holder, charge Zimmerman? Were Obama and Holder proponents of white supremacy? I have my doubts!

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That Nigga Look Just Like Me

Hung on Paresky yesterday:

Our source notes: “Money for this came from somewhere. Who is funding this stuff?” Good question! The Record should find out.

Another view:

Could someone explain the messaging? I know that the line is from “Nikes” by rapper Frank Ocean. Lyrics:

These bitches want Nikes
They looking for a check
Tell ’em it ain’t likely
Said she need a ring like Carmelo
It must be on that white like Othello
All you want is Nikes
But the real ones just like you, just like me
I don’t play, I don’t make time
But if you need dick I got you
And I yam from the line
Pour up for A$AP, R.I.P. Pimp C
RIP Trayvon, that nigga look just like me

But why that line from these lyrics at Williams in 2019? Is what happened to Professors Green and Love akin to what happened to Trayvon Martin? Does that mean that Maud Mandel is George Zimmerman?

I am honestly curious about the meaning. Any ideas?

Or is this a sign that Professor Neil Roberts is more involved in the protests than I would have expected. Background from 2012:

Neil Roberts, assistant professor of Africana studies and faculty affiliate in political science at Williams College, has guest edited a symposium in the journal Theory & Event, published in September by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

The symposium features eight essays on what Roberts calls the Trayvon Martin event. “An event,” Roberts explains, “differs from a tragedy. A tragedy entails a plot, set of actions, and conclusion, often foreclosed and backward-looking. An event is an occurrence mutually reinforced by past actions and future outlooks, conversations, and prognostications on what we must do to decipher its meaning in its wake. The shooting of 17-year-old Martin is no different.”

One of the essays was:

“Stuff White White People Know (or: What We Talk About When We Talk About Trayvon)” by Mark Reinhardt, Williams College Class of 1956 Professor of American Civilization.

“My core assumption in the paper,” says Reinhardt, “is that white supremacy continues to be a fundamental political fact in the U.S., albeit one whose form has mutated in such a way that most white people deny, and probably do not believe, that it continues.”

Is Maud Mandel one of these white people? Just asking! Or perhaps IQ-realist Nate Kornell is
involved? (Probably not.) Professor Green also has views on Trayvon Martin. And here is a cartoon from Chan Lowe ’75.

ABC reporter Matt Gutman ’00 won an award for coverage of the Martin shooting. Claudine Rankin ’86 wrote Citizen: An American Lyric, a book with some connections to the case which are difficult to summarize.

Are there other Eph connections?

Anyway, later yesterday, College employees “temporarily removed” banner and post these signs:

What advice do you have for the protestors and/or for President Mandel?

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Video of Thursday’s Protest/March

Thanks to Phacelia Cramer ’19 for posting this excellent video of Thursday’s protest/march. This looks much closer to 200 people than to the 50 that other correspondents had estimated. Alas, I can’t figure out how to save a copy or embed it here. Damn you Facebook!

1) One chant: “I love You. I love Me. I love Us. I love We.” I have never heard this at a protest before. Have readers? Is it connected to the increasing therapeutic tenor of our culture?

2) Another chant: “What side are you on, White People, what side are you on?” Hmm.

3) Where was President Mandel? I think the single cleverest decision that former President Schapiro made was, at the height of the Stand with Us movement a decade ago, to join a protest march even though the march was clearly directed against him and the Williams Administration. Could President Mandel use the same trick? Should she?

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Answer Wisely

This is the current status of the bottom of the big poster in Hollander Hall which we highlighted yesterday. I think that the comments are . . . pretty good! Reader opinions welcome. And thanks for the photos. Keep them coming!

I have selected “White Male Vigilantes” as the category for all posts related to McPartland’s actions and the response there to, abbreviated as WMV.

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Crowd of White People

This display is in Hollander Hall. Perhaps some readers could send us photos of the answers.

1) There was some abl/PTC discussion about the people/resources being put into this effort. I agree with abl that there might very few (10?) students actively engaged, with perhaps 50 supporters who aren’t putting up posters but do come to the marches. I also agree with PTC that there is (official?) college support (via the Davis Center?) for these efforts. No student printed out that poster and her dorm room printer. No one puts up a poster of that size without College permission, implicit or otherwise. Can someone on campus provide some local color?

2) There was a march/meeting/protest yesterday at Paresky. Details are scarce. But this CARE Now handout was distributed. Kudos on the graphical design of this document! It looks very professional.

3) There are two candidate names for the McPartland-related portion of this controversy: “White Male Vigilantes” and “EverPurple.” The former is how an anonymous student referred to McPartland. The latter is a reference to Evergreen State, a school’s whose descent into PC nonsense Williams would do well to avoid. Which do readers prefer?

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The Pillory of McPartland

Professor McPartland’s duties, as a philosophy, a teacher, and a mentor to students, have been jeopardized by the Hollander Hall backlash:

  • The man is deeply dedicated to the principle of free speech and equality. Opportunists on both sides of the political aisle will now attempt to connect his principles and actions either to a racist agenda or as a sacrifice done in support of the persecuted right. These are distortions of his real beliefs. Nevertheless, they will out into the campus and beyond, allowing others to hijack his beliefs.
  • Minority students who wish to work with him will hesitate to ever approach McPartland, now. He’ll be known as the ‘racist’ professor, and such a label is as damning as it is indelible. Yes, he is tenured, but this won’t prevent the jury of popular opinion from denigrating his reputation. If people won’t approach him, how can he properly teach?

The worst part of all this? This could happen to any other professor who happens to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong professional capacity. As a student who cares for that unique bond between professors and students formed by an education in Williams, I worry for the future where all are subject to the pillory.

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Tell The Truth

Schapiro Hall at 9:00 AM today.

There is a report of a similar sign on Spring Street. Comments:

1) Can you imagine the convulsions that Williams would undergo if the sign said “How do you tell the truth to a crowd of black people?”

2) Do we need to separate out these two controversies? The debate about McPartland’s actions, and the responses thereto, are important enough to justify a new category. What name shall we use? I like “White Male Vigilantes.” Reader comments welcome.

3) How should I interpret the image at the bottom? Where does it come from?

4) Who is paying for these displays? A big poster board like that is not free, nor, I suspect, is it sold on Spring Street . . .

5) Thanks to our readers for these great photos!

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Inclusive Space

One source sent this photo of a note taped to Professor McPartland’s door:

You will never guess what happened next!

1) I believe that these events have not been staged. That is, I think that real students, who actually support McPartland, put up the initial note, fully (and naively?) expecting other students to sign it. (McPartland, by all accounts, is a widely liked and respected teacher.)

2) I think that (different!) real students saw the note, and then wrote their honest feelings about McPartland. There are no hate hoaxes here.

3) “White Male Vigilantes?” Sign me up! And this would also make for a cool rock band name.

4) Is it a coincidence that McPartland, who (regularly?) teaches a Winter Study course on boxing, is one of the more high testosterone members of the faculty? Note that he could have taken this sign down from his door at any time . . .

5) Should any of the students involved be punished? Of course not! Lest you think this is an absurd question, recall President Mandel’s latest e-mail:

The following night, an unknown individual or individuals entered Hopkins Hall after hours, when the building was closed, and papered the outer doors of many office suites with flyers vilifying Professor McPartland by accusing him of extreme racism. I’ve been told these images are now also circulating on social media. This incendiary, offensive and damaging attack has no place at Williams. Senior Staff and I removed the Hopkins Hall flyers immediately on Friday morning. Flyers and materials that have been placed on and in front of Professor McPartland’s office door in Schapiro will also be removed. Williams is not as inclusive as it must become, but these acts have hurt our efforts.

“[N]o place at Williams” certainly suggests (just to me?) a violation of the (extremely broad!) student code of conduct. What do readers think?

Isn’t Mandel suggesting that students who put up posters, or at least posters which vilify, will be punished?

This would be nuts, obviously. I was going to write 1,000 or so words explaining why. Do I really need to?

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Tense and Emotional

Latest from President Mandel on Green/Love Black Joy is below. There is a lot to process here, but, in the meantime:

1) Could someone send/post a copy of the “flyers vilifying Professor McPartland by accusing him of extreme racism?” Mandel reports that these flyers are “circulating on social media.” Future historians will thank you!

2) If you are a student who is being attacked/threatened by the Administration about these flyers (or anything else), EphBlog is here to help. We may disagree with your views, but we will eagerly defend your rights to share them. Academic Freedom for All!

Williams faculty, students, and staff,

Last week I sent an email sharing that some materials from the memorial in the first floor hallway of Hollander Hall had been moved by a faculty member. I explained that we were gathering information, and I now want to share what I’ve learned. I welcome the chance to hear from anyone else who was there and still wants to share their perspective.

As many people know, students and others had placed notes and objects in Hollander to demonstrate support for Assistant Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kim Love. In my first message I noted that Senior Staff and I had decided these materials weren’t impeding movement through Hollander and should be left undisturbed for a period of time. To clarify, we were aware the materials would eventually have to be moved due to their placement in the hallway. However, our plan was to allow them to remain until we could discuss long-term options with students.

While we were working to initiate that conversation, staff members responsible for campus and environmental safety, as well as Associate Professor Keith McPartland, the faculty chair of the building use committee responsible for Hollander Hall, exchanged calls about their shared concerns that the materials violated the fire code and posed a potential risk to people in the building. Professor McPartland, having clarified that they did violate both state law and campus policy, relocated the portion of the memorial that was on the floor, where it could have impeded evacuation or passage by people with disabilities. He moved it to a nearby location where students could reclaim it and didn’t disturb materials along the walls or in front of office doors. He also offered to help students reinstall the work in an alternative location that would be visible without creating an obstruction.

Students confronted him in Hollander and objected to any tampering with the memorial. People who were present report that the interaction was tense and emotional.

The following night, an unknown individual or individuals entered Hopkins Hall after hours, when the building was closed, and papered the outer doors of many office suites with flyers vilifying Professor McPartland by accusing him of extreme racism. I’ve been told these images are now also circulating on social media. This incendiary, offensive and damaging attack has no place at Williams. Senior Staff and I removed the Hopkins Hall flyers immediately on Friday morning. Flyers and materials that have been placed on and in front of Professor McPartland’s office door in Schapiro will also be removed. Williams is not as inclusive as it must become, but these acts have hurt our efforts.

I’ve had many conversations with people and groups concerned about the issues raised on our campus over the last few weeks: issues of identity, bias and racism in our college climate, and also of respect and basic humanity towards each other. Here are some of the steps that are happening as we move beyond individual meetings to community solutions:

Students who were stewarding the Hollander memorial have removed materials that violated the fire code and ADA. There are serious concerns about racism and other forms of bias on campus. We want students involved in addressing them and will work to find ways to do so, knowing that the process will require us to confront discomforting truths.

Starting the week of March 4, I’ll hold a series of small gatherings in my home where anyone concerned about campus climate and our support for faculty, students, and staff can communicate to me directly. We’ll continue to schedule such gatherings as long as there’s interest. People will be welcome to sign up individually or in groups. We’ll send a Daily Message later this week with instructions on how to do so.

With Senior Staff, faculty leaders, and others, I’m going to make sure all the takeaways from these and other conversations are imported directly into the college’s ongoing work on inclusion and into the strategic planning process.

Meanwhile, I’ve also begun talking with the Faculty Steering Committee, members of the student body, and other staff and faculty about ideas for a way forward. Individuals have been publicly maligned. Relationships have been strained or broken and now need to heal, so that we can all return to the work we have to do together. I include everyone in that mandate: Faculty, staff, students, and administrators all need to address issues within our discrete communities, as well as broader problems among constituencies and across our community as a whole.

This is a long message because the situation is complex and campus deserves as much information as I can provide. But it’s just a starting point. Each of us came to Williams to engage in a truly great learning community. We define that greatness by the reach of our intellectual ambitions and the openness and inclusivity of our culture. Such commitments are simple to express but hard to achieve. The actual work has tested our resolve and our bonds, and we’ll almost certainly be tested again in the future. But I also believe Williams has what it takes to persevere and transcend its challenges to become a better place. In fact, I believe we have to. I’m grateful I’ll be working toward that goal in partnership with all of you.

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McPartland in the Crosshairs

Where will the madness end? Your guess is as good as mine. Our story so far:

0) Assistant Professors Kimberly Love and Kai Green ’07 write an essay for the feminist wire in November. It is hard to summarize. Selected quotes:

We write this piece as two untenured junior faculty. We are Black Queer Feminists, serious about our call to research, service, and teaching. We are not safe. And it is not because we do not have tenure that we are not safe. …

We navigate this academic career with integrity and a deep love for knowledge. We are tired of shrinking ourselves to be here! We are tired of holding our tongues out of politeness because our colleagues are not ready to ask certain questions and are not ready to accept certain answers:

Colleague: Can I touch your….?

Answer: NO!

What we have been doing to fit our bodies in these institutions is killing us and we WANT TO LIVE! And not even tenure is worth our Black joy.

1) Love and Green cancel their classes just prior to the start of the spring semester, leaving their students (and departments) in the lurch. Their reasons for doing so are opaque at best.

2) Students (only?) sympathetic to Love and Green create a display/memorial around their (unused?) offices in Hollander Hall.

3) Philosophy Professor Keith McPartland removed the material in his capacity as Chair of the Hollander/Schapiro Users Committee after consultation with Campus Security and a conversation with them about the fire code. (It is hard to believe that no one mentioned this to the Administration. McPartland, and the folks at security, are well-versed in the nonsense which passes for political discussion at Williams. Surely they anticipated a blow-back? Surely they sent an ass-covering e-mail to higher ups?)

4) President Mandel sends a somewhat bizarre e-mail about the removal. Mandel claims that, previously (meaning last week?), “after senior staff and I confirmed that the materials were not impeding movement through Hollander we had asked custodial, CSS and other staff not to disturb them.” Sure would be weird for Mandel to tell CSS not to touch anything and then, a week later, McPartland checks with CSS and they say, “Go ahead. Remove it.” But, then again, miscommunication is the curse of every bureaucracy . . .

5) Students (how?) discover McPartland’s role and decorate/vandalize his office. These photos (four more below the break) are from Thursday morning. Should McPartland be concerned about his future at Williams? What advice would you give him?

What does this mean? We need a scandal name! The saga of Love/Green will be with us for a while. Suggestions? Longtime readers will recall that EphBlog loves to name Williams controversies. Classic examples include: ¿Quién es más macho?, Nigaleian, Safety Dance, Prospect Must Die, Willy E. N-word, Catch Moore If You Can, The Taco Six, Mary Jane Hitler and Self-CARE Now.

“Love” and “Green” are good words to work with. How about “Love Green Black joy”? Suggestions welcome!

Four more photos below. I believe these are from the morning of Feb 14. Thanks to an anonymous reader for sharing them!
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Deeply Distressed

Williams students, faculty and staff,

In recent weeks, members of our community have been leaving notes and materials in front of the Hollander Hall offices of Assistant Professors Kai Green ’07 and Kim Love to honor and support them at a difficult time. It has now come to my attention that yesterday afternoon a faculty member removed these materials. I am in the process of gathering information about what happened, as I am deeply distressed by any interference with students freely expressing themselves in a way that is not disruptive. In fact, after senior staff and I confirmed that the materials were not impeding movement through Hollander we had asked custodial, CSS and other staff not to disturb them. I regret that we did not communicate this message more broadly.

I want to make clear that I fully support those who were expressing their thoughts and feelings through the content that was removed. People have now replaced that content and added to it. I and senior staff will work with students and others to find a way that it can remain without creating a safety hazard.

I have come to Williams with the goal of fostering a supportive and inclusive community where all members of a diverse learning community will thrive. I ask you to join me in continuing to strengthen these values going forward.

Sincerely,

Maud

Time for another EphBlog investigation? Recall J’accuse!

UPDATE: Kai Green’s office is Hollander 106 and Hollander 111. Do you think that a professor with a nearby office might have gotten sick of looking at a bunch of junk piled in the hallway?

UPDATE 2: Thanks to a commentator for pointing out this Record article about the display (picture added above). If I were a professor who had no choice but to deal with that every day, I would get pretty annoyed . . .

UPDATE 3: From a comment:

McPartland removed the material in his capacity as Chair of the Hollander/Schapiro Users Committee after consultation with Campus Security and a conversation with them about the fire code.

McPartland’s office in Schapiro has now been decorated/vandalized in turn.

More details, please.

Entire Record article below the break:
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