Sad news from Williams

Dear Williams parents and families,

Your student may have shared the sad news about a student who died on the Williams campus yesterday.

The death of a student is heartbreaking to parents, students and all of us.

We are now taking the atypical step of reaching out directly to you: Our goal is to make you aware of the situation and inform you about resources available to your student. We invite your help to make sure they know where to turn for help. It is an important thing that we can all do for them right now.

Below is the message we sent to all students this morning about available resources. We shared the same information with faculty and staff. Please note that we are not publicizing the identity of the student or any other details at present, out of respect for the family. We need to give them space and time to mourn.

Everyone needs to choose their own ways to grieve. The community itself can often be an important source of comfort and hope. The college takes a multifaceted approach, offering varied opportunities for people to come together. Our deans, chaplains, mental health and Davis Center staff have been with students throughout the evening and morning, and continue to offer many types of support. If you interact with your student in the coming days please help us help them, by encouraging them to use the opportunities available to them.

We have also opened a Dean’s hotline so that family members can reach the college with specific concerns about the safety of your student, or any other person. Please call the hotline at 413-597-5440.

Thank you for your partnership to actively support our students.

Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased, as well as our entire community of students, faculty, staff and alumni. We are holding all of you in our thoughts, as well.


Gretchen Long
Dean of the College
Frederick Rudolph ’42–Class of 1965 Professor of American Culture


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To the Williams community,

Maud sent an all campus message last night, informing you all of the death of a student. Please know that staff are planning to hold space today and also to host a community-wide vigil tonight. We will share details about the vigil in a followup message.

If you need or want immediate support, we encourage you to reach out to Integrative Wellbeing Services, Chaplains, Deans or Davis Center staff. People from those and other offices are clearing time to be available for everyone today. And we know that everyone needs to grieve in their own way. So if you have concerns about your college obligations, please talk to your faculty member or your class dean.

If you want to be with people:

  • The Davis Center (located for now in Bascom House) is open and welcomes any member of our community if you want to gather.
  • The chaplains will be in their offices on the second floor of Paresky much of the day, and they encourage you to come to Paresky 201 if you want to hold space and connect with others.
  • If you believe you or someone you know is in danger, please call Campus Safety at 413-597-4444 and they will connect you with the right resources.

We are not informing the whole community of the identity of the student for now, out of respect for the family. We need to give them space and time to mourn.

Right now, I and all my colleagues are thinking of our community and want to create opportunities to help people be with each other at a sad time.

We will be in touch again as soon as we have further news to share.

Jim Reische