Bias incident followup—Soldiers’ Monument

Dear Williams community,

Earlier this month I reported that the Soldiers’ Monument outside of Griffin Hall had been defaced with graffiti. Today I write to share news about the outcome of our investigation.

Thanks to information shared once the incident was reported, CSS was able to identify a suspect, a visitor to the area, who admitted responsibility. The individual will be posted (banned) from campus indefinitely.

We cannot always communicate with campus about the outcomes of campus incidents. Some investigations result in disciplinary processes that are confidential by policy or law, while others run into dead ends. So I wanted to share news, in a case where we are actually able to do so. Many thanks to CSS for their quick and effective response, which yielded results against the odds.

Deeper issues demand our continued action, however: Associate Professor and Chair of American Studies Jan Padios described the challenge aptly, writing in this week’s Record (“What Remains When the Graffiti’s Gone,” 10/19/22), “One can scrub away the graffiti, but the underlying harm still remains.” I ask that we all join in working to prevent such harm, and in addressing it when, despite our efforts, it still occurs.

This should be a community where each of us can be our fullest selves, living well and without fear.