Toward a more inclusive community

Dear Williams community,

In the last few days, I have been troubled by things I have seen and read on our campus.

Earlier this week, a member of staff found a college space defaced with an anti-Black racial slur. It’s unacceptable that twice in such a short period, words and drawings that express white supremacist beliefs were found on our campus.

These actions that target members of our community stand diametrically opposed to everything we seek to foster in an educational institution and a collective community. As this week’s Record op-ed on antisemitism on college campuses suggests, expressions of intolerance undermine our mission to live in a community of mutual respect. Williams only works when we can learn from one another with generosity and without fear.

As part of my own commitment to fostering a more fully inclusive campus, I am hoping to partner with members of Senior Staff to host one of the sessions at this year’s Claiming Williams Day.  For those who don’t know, Claiming Williams is held each year at the beginning of the second semester; it was born in January 2008 after a series of racist and sexist incidents on campus sparked a grassroots student movement that was joined by staff and faculty to work together to prevent hurtful, hateful incidents.

Each one of us is responsible for the collective community we co-create.  I hope you will join me at Claiming Williams and–every other day of the year– in ensuring that Williams is a place that stands for those values.