You're invited to Claiming Williams next Thursday

Williams students, faculty and staff,

It is my pleasure to invite you to participate in Claiming Williams next Thursday, February 2, 2023.

For those new to the college, Claiming Williams was created in 2008 when students, joined by staff and faculty, responded to a series of racist and sexist incidents by pushing for Williams to make itself more inclusive. Every year we cancel classes on the first Thursday of spring semester and engage in events and discussions about how to do so. Recent racist incidents are a continued reminder of the need to work actively, to make Williams a safe and welcoming home.

In that spirit, this year the Claiming Williams committee has organized programming around the theme of justice and institutional power. Their theme connects to many of the topics and projects our community is engaged with right now, from studying and addressing Williams’ history to imagining a future for campus diversity, at a time when the Supreme Court is deciding the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions. You can find a complete schedule of events on the Claiming Williams website. The day will also include keynotes by rower, award-winning author and activist Arshay Cooper and Princeton professor Imani Perry, author of this year’s Williams Reads book, South to America.

All events are free and open to students, faculty and staff. The keynotes are also open to the wider public. Managers: staff are an important constituency for Claiming Williams. Please encourage them to participate if they wish to do so.

In closing, I want to thank the Claiming Williams Steering Committee for organizing the program. This year’s theme and schedule are the products of their vision, and their effort as campus community members. I also want to sincerely thank Bob ’67 and Susan Bahr and the whole Bahr family. Support from the Bahr Family Fund for Diversity and Inclusion helps make Claiming Williams a keystone of our annual calendar, as well as a central component of our diversity and inclusion work.

I hope many of you will join us on Thursday!