Bias incident: Graffiti on Soldiers Monument

Williams students, faculty and staff,

On Sunday morning, a Campus Safety officer, responding to a call from a local resident, found that the pedestal of the Soldiers Monument in front of Griffin Hall had been defaced with graffiti of a Confederate flag and the word “Rebel,” each about 6 inches high. A Custodial staff member came to the site and removed as much of the graffiti as possible, then covered the remaining traces until Facilities colleagues could more thoroughly scrub the stone today.

The Campus Safety Services team (CSS) will try to identify the person or people responsible for the graffiti. They will also alert the Williamstown Police. If you have any information that might be relevant, please contact CSS at 413-597-4444. If you noticed the graffiti at any time over the weekend before CSS officers came onto the scene please share that information with them, too, since it might help us pinpoint the time of the offense.

The Confederate flag and the word “Rebel” are commonly used as symbols by white supremacists and other extremist factions. The appearance of those marks is more evidence that we live in a world where people hold racist and otherwise hateful ideas. When someone defaces our campus—our own home—with symbols of those ideologies, it becomes especially personal. I will join you all in defending the right of every member of this community to live and work here free of bias or intimidation.

The Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s (OIDEI) Racial Justice web page includes information about anti-racist and related efforts by Williams students, staff and faculty, both locally and nationally. If you want to participate in those efforts or organize new programming and opportunities for reflection, contact the OIDEI staff at [email protected] so they can help coordinate the work. Our colleagues in OIDEI, the Dean’s Office, Integrative Wellbeing Services, the Chaplains’ Office and other areas will help anyone who wants personal or group support.

As members of the Williams community, we have to make this a place where everyone is equally able to pursue their education, do their work and live their lives with an equal sense of belonging.