To the Williams Community,
Events over the past week have shown how wonderfully vibrant our queer community is, how much closer we’re getting to the inevitable day when all of its members feel deeply welcomed and completely safe here at Williams, and, alas, how we are not completely there yet.
The Dively Committee on Human Sexuality and Diversity joined many departments, offices, and student groups (listed below) to bring noted lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel, whose work is taught in several Williams courses. At two well-attended events, she shared her unique brand of intelligence, wit, and warmth, in one case being joined on stage by one of her inspirations, local cartoonist Howard Cruse. These were great occasions by all accounts.
We also understand that, days earlier, the Queer Student Union’s First-Year Pizza Dinner was a similarly upbeat and encouraging event, reaching out to all first-year students.
This progress in the respecting of queer culture comes despite the lingering resistance of some in our community. Several of the Dively Committee posters in Goodrich Hall announcing the Alison Bechdel events were defaced with deeply offensive writing aimed at the women those posters depicted, and some of the flyers in Pratt House for the Pizza Dinner were repeatedly torn down.
Such behavior has absolutely no place at Williams and must be rooted out. We encourage anyone with knowledge of these occurrences to contact any of us, or anyone in Campus Safety and Security. We remind you that such information can be sent anonymously at http://security.williams.edu/?page_id=74 .
We also invite you to join us at Queer Pride Days in April. There we will be able to celebrate our community, and also consider ways to respond to these attempts to disrupt it. The day is surely coming when our campus community includes with full enthusiasm all its members, including those of every gender identity, sexual orientation, and gender expression. And every time someone acts to delay that day, we must work even more to hasten it.
Adam Falk, President
Sarah Bolton, Dean of the College
Francesca Barrett and Nick Fogel, College Council Co-Presidents
Sponsors of the Alison Bechdel events:
American Studies, Art, Claiming Williams, Comparative Literature, Dively Committee, English, Minority Coalition, Office of Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity, Queer Student Union, President’s Office, Women’s and Gender Studies.