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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2019 VOL. CXXXIII, NO. 21 CARE Now’s expanded letter

Students raise concerns about CSS

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Students organize first ever Black Previews By JEONGYOON HAN and REBECCA TAUBER RECORD STAFF A group of current students at the College organized Black Previews, programming for Black students admitted to the class of 2023 that is designed to provide both supplements and alternatives to Previews, the admitted students programming organized by the Office of Admission, in an attempt to more accurately portray the experience of Black students at the College to prospective students. Black Previews events, which are open to all ’23s and include a cookout, academic panel, extracurricular discussion, party and more, began Tuesday night and will continue through Wednesday night. This is the first time that students have coordinated events for prospective students who identify as Black. The events were created with the aim to give Black prospective students the opportunity to enter shared spaces with current Black students, and to better understand life at the College from the perspective of some Black students, according to organizers, some of whom found Previews events to be “exclusive” when they attended as prospective students. Prospective students are welcome to attend both Black Previews and Admissions-organized events; for example, prospective students could chose to attend either or both of the dinners offered by Black Previews and Previews. Isaiah Blake ’21, one of the organizers, said that stu-


Current students created affinity programming for prospective Black students during admission's Previews this week. dents, including those who are affiliated with Black Student Union, felt compelled to create Black community for prospective and current Black students alike to foster inclusion at a predominantly white institution. “Every time we create space for community, we create the affinity spaces that we’ve been calling for,” Blake said. “Creating Black community is beautiful, but always threatening to institutions of power. But it always gets created because it’s necessary. Black community helps us survive predatory violence.” Seyi Olaose ’22 and Blake attended last Tuesday’s College Council (CC) meeting to request funding for Black Previews, and they expressed

Push for affinity housing builds By HAEON YOON EXECUTIVE EDITOR Students at the College have articulated a vision for living spaces of affinity around a common identity – including but not limited to race, culture and sexuality – as an antidote to feelings of tokenization and isolation that students say the College’s current housing options fail to address. Students say that they have began conversations on affinity housing last spring with administrators, who say that affinity housing will be a key topic of consideration as the College moves forward in the strategic planning process. A group of students met with administrators on Monday about a current attempt to create an affinity space through the housing lottery. One of the 12 demands published by Coalition Against Racist Education Now (CARE Now) on Friday requested the establishment of “affinity housing for Black students (and all other marginalized groups).” This demand calls back to the 12th of the 15 demands made by students of the Afro-American Society in 1969, when they occupied Hopkins Hall and called for the creation of a Black cultural center in which Black students could live. Alia Richardson ’19, co-chair of the Black Student Union (BSU), advocated for the reconsideration of the College’s current housing system in a Record op-ed that was published three days after a BSU town hall that included a discussion of affinity housing (“A case for affinity housing: Why the College should reconsider the housing system,” Nov. 14, 2018). “Affinity housing would grant students who share an aspect of their identity the opportunity to live together in an intentional community with shared values and goals, allowing these students to feel supported and have their identities affirmed by those who live around them,” she wrote. Following the 1969 Hopkins

occupation, Mears House became an autonomous space for Black students to gather and express their culture, but in 1983, the College reapportioned Mears House into offices and moved the African, Black and Caribbean groups to Rice House in 1983. It is unclear why the 1983 change was made, although some Black students have referenced a 1980 cross burning took place on Perry lawn, after which the BSU library in Mears House was broken into and ransacked the Wednesday afterward, with numerous Black students receiving threatening phone calls. Currently, the BSU has “pseudo-autonomy” over Rice House, one of the legacies of the Hopkins occupation and 12th of the list of demands published in March of 1969, according to Rocky Douglas ’19, co-chair of the BSU. Douglas emphasized the importance of Rice House to Black students at the College in a December op-ed for the Record (“We belong where we are: A love letter to Rice House,” Dec. 5, 2018). “In that historic house, we work, we cook, we converse, we congregate, we praise, we dance, etc., ad infinitum. Dozens of students study in the Alana Haywood library on the second floor each week,” she wrote. Though not a residential space, the support Black students have expressed from spending time with each other at Rice House has been cited to be the key to their survival at the College, according to Douglas. “At one point, in response to comments about the microaggressions, feelings of tokenization and isolation many minoritized students have experienced in entries, I said, ‘Thank God I found Rice House, because I think that’s the only reason I was able to survive,’” Douglas wrote. Richardson reexamined student interest in the establishment continued on Page 4

displeasure at the ways in which CC treated the request and interacted with them, characterizing the experience as racist. Blake said he was “appalled by how this was handled.” Olaose elaborated on the necessity for Black Previews at the meeting. “A lot of the events at Previews are very exclusive and do not really show students what it is like to be a Black student at Williams,” Olaose said, emphasizing the importance “to connect Black prefrosh with students on campus and help them commit to Williams.” Student organizers have informed prospective firstyears of the events in various ways, including handing out programs to student hosts

and to Black-identifying students, according to Olaose at last week’s CC meeting. Additionally, organizers have used social media to inform members of the community about Black Previews, including the Instagram account, “Black Williams 2023” (@blackpreviews). The account’s description reads, “I love you. I love me. I love us. I love we. #BlackPreviews <3 <3,” echoing words chanted at the Feb. 21 March for the Damned, which was organized by the Coalition Against Racist Education Now (CARE NOW). Current students helped organize Black Previews, work which involved planning events, creating shirts and programs and more.


We Must Do Better When students from the Afro-American Society occupied Hopkins Hall on April 4, 1969, the Record published an editorial that day responding to the students’ demands for, among other things, the formation of an Afro-American studies department and affinity housing for students of marginalized identities. The editorial offered broad support to the majority of the Afro-American Society’s demands but couched its language in calls for moderation and critiques of the “uncompromising tone” of student activists, terming them “a narrow and selfish interest group.” This was hardly an isolated incident. Indeed, over a period of decades, the Record has systematically contributed to the College’s tendency to reinforce the status quo until forced to respond by student efforts that are almost always spearheaded by those of marginalized identities. These problems have persisted into the present day. We must face the ways we have failed students who sought, with, in their words, actions and bodies, to make this campus a better place for them and for all members of the community. We have fallen short of our obligation to consistently report on the stories relevant to marginalized members of our community, leading many to feel, justifiably, that the Record does not serve them. Too often, our editorial board has also passed judgment on the validity of campus activism from a privileged position that affirms apathy and passivity, in the process undermining positive change and upholding those in power. With these shortcomings in mind and a firm commitment to amend our future actions, we hope to participate in institutional remembrance in that it is the only antidote to institutional forgetting and erasure. Doing the work of owning our own history is honoring the contributions of student activists past and present. A dichotomy of support and inaction is a familiar refrain from the Record and other campus institutions regarding those who call for change. Last week’s 50-year anniversary of the creation of Africana studies calls us to reflect on the broader systems of institutional inertia, passivity and forgetting. Indeed, continued administrative inattention and resistance drove students who, seeing their needs unmet by the College, occupied Hopkins in protest. The Record in particular has a long history of upholding the instutional passivity and the status quo. When students held the hunger strike that ultimately spurring the creation of a Latina/o studies program, the Record published an editorial under the headline, “Strike devalues legitimate goals” (April 27, 1993), writing, “The group is delegitimizing its worthy ideological effort by tying it so closely with unreasonable requests.” On Feb. 29, 2012, the Record published an editorial titled “Working within our means: Examining the College’s curricular priorities,” which opposed the creation of an Asian American studies program and calling into question the utility of such a concentration. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

CC pressed on racial bias in funding By NICHOLAS GOLDROSEN MANAGING EDITOR At Tuesday evening's College Council (CC) meeting, a student publicly called for accountability from CC for its conduct at its April 9 meeting and its funding process for a student-led event for Black admitted students during the College’s scheduled Previews period. Isabel Peña ’19 called for CC to “establish a permanent fund to support efforts like Black Previews,” to investigate the conduct of Office of Student Life (OSL) Associate Director Mike Bodnarik and implement bias training for CC. The meeting ended without CC taking any action on the proposal, although CC is already planning on implementing antibias training. Peña’s request for a permanent fund came from her desire for CC to institutionalize funding for these projects rather than pitting students against each other. The original idea of such a fund was actually an idea, which was not ultimately approved, from the class of 1994 for its 25th anniversary gift. In addition to the request, Peña and Tyler Tsay ’19 called on CC to reexamine its bylaws in light of CC’s strong historical connections to the College’s leadership. “It is a tool of the institution as much as it is what we believe to be a form of political power we have,” Tsay said. They also called for an investigation into interference from OSL that might be depleting CC’s funding.

A larger protest had been planned, but cancelled because of student fears about safety after last week’s meeting livestream was distributed by several online sites. The call for accountability follows CC’s April 9 meeting, where a group, represented

in which requests made by Black students receive extra scrutiny from CC compared to requests made by predominantly white organizations. “You see, I’m looking at the budget that we’re seeing and approving here and I’m seeing all the ways in

“[CC] is a tool of the institution as much as it is, what we believe to be, a form of political power we have.” Tyler Tsay ’19 by Seyi Olaose ’22, had requested $795 in funding for Black Previews, affinity programming for Black students during the College’s annual Previews events. CC debated the request last week at length; some members expressed concerns that the event would not be open to all students or might conflict with programming scheduled by the office of admission. Olaose clarified to CC that the event would be open and that it would be supplementing, not replacing, official College programming by the Office of Admission. At that meeting, CC first voted to deny the funding request by a vote of 9 to 10 before later adopting the funding by a voice vote. Olaose and Isaiah Blake ’21 returned to the meeting and spoke about the experience of seeking funding from CC. Blake highlighted the ways

which white men constantly get space and affinity, and money and resources afforded to them,” Blake said at the meeting. “And every time we try to create a space for understanding and create some form of community, we are stopped at every single level. Every single level.” In response to Blake's and Olaose’s remarks, CC Vice President of Student Affairs Tristan Whalen ’22 then asked that the stduents give CC “the same respect that we give everyone who comes here.” Blake pointed out, however, that the same respect is not given – that Black groups are subjected to excess scrutiny when asking for money. A Record review of CC meeting minutes from 2016 through present shows a disparity in how funding requests from groups of predominantly Black students

are handled; their requests have tended to garner increased scrutiny and debate from CC. Since 2016, CC has debated 60.7 percent of requests from Black students, majority-Black groups or programming events focused on Black students; it has adopted 39.3 percent of requests without debate. For all other requests, only 26.7 percent were debated; 73.3 percent were adopted without any debate. Many CC members also used the purported opposition of Bilal Ansari, acting director of the Davis Center, to the event to justify not funding it. Ansari, however, clarified that his position was not one of opposition to the programming. “[Olaose] came to me a few days prior requesting to put on a program, to give an alternative for Black students who are coming here for Previews. As acting head of the Davis Center, our goal is to encourage such efforts to work through the minority coalition,” Ansari said at yesterday’s CC meeting. “So I asked, are you working with BSU, or with Sisterhood, or with any MinCo or RSO to assist with this Black Previews? She said no – I was encouraging them to work toward our mission of fostering coalition building. I made a mistake – my error – that when I then, after speaking with these students, reached out to Olivia and said that we had met, I didn’t make clear we wanted to encourage them to do what they wanted to do, but





Using body cams to hold CSS accountable

Bolin Fellows find sense of community

“Mind of the Mound” opens at MASS MoCa

Club sports compete at home



The Williams Record

April 17, 2019

We must do better (continued from page 1) Editor-in-Chief Danny Jin

Opinions Editors Kenia Cruz Guardado Kevin Zhang Yang

Managing Editors Nicholas Goldrosen Jane Petersen Productions Manager William Newton Director of Communications RB Smith Technology Manager Aki Takigawa Executive Editors Cassie Deshong, Lydia Duan, Jeongyoon Han, Brooke Horowitch, Kaira Mediratta, Rebecca Tauber, Samuel Wolf, Charles Xu and Haeon Yoon News Editors Rose Houglet Arrington Luck

Features Editors Nigel Jaffe Irene Loewenson Arts Editors Lily Goldberg Phillip Pyle Sports Editors Sofie Jones Jack McGovern Photo Editors Sabrine Brismeur Business Staff Rishad Karim, Ali Ladha, Mehr Sawant and Nelson Walsh

We do not, however, intend simply to indict past Record editorial boards from some moral high ground. Indeed, such reflection is necessary for the current editorial board as well. Too often, we have covered the problems that minoritized community members face only after they are brought to widespread attention by student activists. Students have made calls for affinity housing for at least 50 years, including at a town hall that the Black Student Union held last November. Until now, however, the Record has not covered this issue, despite its importance to many students and particularly to students of color. CARE Now on Friday named affinity housing as one of 12 demands from the Board of Trustees, confirming its continued relevance. Also discussed at the November

On the need for affinity housing


Creating space for minoritized students

On Friday, the Coalition Against Racist Education (CARE) Now released an open letter to the Board of Trustees with a list of 12 demands calling upon the College’s trustees to fulfill their “obligation to the well-being and safety of its students, faculty and staff.” A group of student activists seeking to continue “in the legacy of Black-led organizing efforts on the Williams College campus,” CARE Now was formed last year, its name recognizing the original CARE movement that occupied Jenness House in 1988. CARE Now’s letter indicates ways in which students believe the College can work toward making the College a less harmful place for those of marginalized identities and to take steps toward becoming a more inclusive institution. Each of CARE Now’s demands deserves serious consideration and a thorough response from the Board of Trustees. We at the Record, while acknowledging that we do not hold any form of moral authority on the matter, look to CARE Now’s leadership as we collectively examine how to combat institutional violence at the College. A failure by the Board to respond would be indicative of the very institutional negligence to which CARE Now draws attention. Affinity housing, the third of CARE Now’s 12 demands, has been advocated for by students as early as 1969, when the AfroAmerican Society, which occupied Hopkins Hall in demonstration, named affinity housing as one of its demands.

The College did not respond to the Afro-American Society’s demands and has continually ignored such demands. In the past year alone, a discussion at a Black Student Union (BSU) town hall meeting in November, as well as an op-ed by Alia Richardson ’19 (“A case for affinity housing: Why the College should reconsider the housing system,” Nov. 14, 2018), discussed the organization of student housing around common identities. The longevity of this issue demonstrates that the call for affinity housing will not extinguish over time, so long as the College fails to address the residential needs of the marginalized members of its community. We at the Record wholeheartedly support establishing affinity housing at the College. As a community, we must recognize that the College is a predominantly white institution in which students of color often feel tokenized, both in their residences and more broadly on campus. Establishing affinity housing will not singlehandedly solve this problem, but it will assist in making the College a more welcoming, supportive and safe community for minoritized students. Some say affinity housing reinforces division, arguing that having minoritized students cluster in one space would be harmful to the broader campus community. We believe, however, that allowing for a space where students can express their identities without fear of tokenization or marginalization

will encourage students to exist more freely in the broader campus community, rather than recede from it. It should also be noted that there currently exists a de facto system of affinity housing among the predominantly white, upper-class athletes who reside on Spring Street and Hoxsey Street during their senior years. This point was brought to our attention Richardson’s op-ed: While these off-campus homes are rented on the private market and not a part of the housing lottery system, the fact that they serve as a place where teams can congregate while people of minoritized identities do not have an equivalent space is a cause for concern that can be resolved with affinity housing. Furthermore, affinity housing has successfully been implemented by many of the College’s peer institutions, including Amherst, Bates and Wesleyan. For those who believe that the College is too small to successfully implement affinity housing, or that it would lead to community disarray, the endurance of such houses at these similarly small, predominantly white schools is an important counterexample. We look forward to hearing from the Board of Trustees regarding affinity housing and CARE Now’s other demands. The bedrock of a healthy campus is a willingness of all members to center the most minoritized voices, and the action items raised by CARE deserve acknowledgement and a considered response from the Board.

The opinions expressed in signed columns are not necessarily those of The Williams Record editorial board.

town hall were student relations with Campus Safety and Security; we similarly delayed further investigation of that issue until now. Likewise, we wrote about longstanding and endemic “violent practices” that the College has perpetuated on faculty of color only after the leaves of Kimberly Love and Kai Green ’07. These gaps in reporting remind us that we cannot claim to have served all members of our community in the past, and some may find it difficult to believe that we will do so in the future. We recognize, however, that the only way for us to regain trust with those whom we have inadequately served is to expand our efforts to write, in truth and in fairness, stories that reflect the harms and issues that marginalized students, staff and faculty face at the College.


tually impede progress. Passivity is not a neutral stance nor a helpful one. Going forward, we at the Record commit to do better. This process must start with understanding our relationship with the community we serve. In building this understanding and trust, we pledge to hold a town hall before the end of the semester, in which all will be welcome to share their views and their critiques. This conversation is not a one-off event, however, but part of a process of reflecting on and reckoning with the historical position of the Record. As the College uses the Africana studies anniversary to reflect on the cycles of institutional forgetting that often necessitate events such as the Hopkins Hall occupation, we must take the opportunity to examine our own complicity in that forgetting.


In writing our front page editorial for this week, the Record's board reflected upon the above April 4, 1969 editorial, published as students from the Afro-American Society occupied Hopkins Hall.

Op-Ed and Letter Submission The Record welcomes op-eds and letters from all members of the College community. The Opinions section is designed to reflect the varied views and ideas of the College community, and the publication of any letter or op-ed does not indicate an endorsement of the views contained therein. Submissions should be sent to and by Sunday at 5 p.m. for inclusion in the next Wednesday issue. Op-eds range in length from 650-800 words, and letters are 500 words or fewer. The Record will not publish pieces that have appeared in other publications. Pieces submitted to the Record are not guaranteed a spot in the upcoming issue. For Record policy information, please see our website,


CORRECTION In the April 10 article, “Students, faculty spar over free speech, speaker invitations,” the name, Nico Perrino, was misspelled. Also, “Licensing company reprimands theatre department,” stated that director Shadi Ghaheri and dramaturg Catherine Maria Rodriguez had not responded to the Record’s request for comment. However, defunct emails were used to contact them, and they never recieved the Record’s request to comment. These errors were corrected in the online edition, and we regret them.

Furthermore, we must look inward at the Record board’s composition as we reevaluate our reporting. That our board has insufficient representation from certain marginalized groups affects both the manner in which we cover stories and our ability to investigate stories that are important to the community. We must be cognizant of this deficiency as we work to forge a more diverse and inclusive board with the ability to write stories that better reflect the experiences and concerns of our broader community. As we craft editorials as well, we must be mindful not to undermine calls for change with distanced equivocation. Indeed, an endorsement of principles can be offered without any real or material commitment toward bettering campus and indeed can be accompanied by calls for restraint that ac-

To the editor: I am writing to express my exasperation regarding the op-ed “Standing against the right of return: Analyzing the logical inconsistencies in BDS’ arguments,” published in the Record last week. I am a proud Jewish student, and I stand in unwavering solidarity with the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement and the Palestinian Right of Return. Contrary to what the op-ed suggests, BDS is a nonviolent, rightsbased movement started by ordinary citizens in Palestinian civil society. It targets

oppressive policies and the institutions and companies that uphold them, not Jewish people. Anyone who is interested in learning more about BDS should feel free to reach out to me; my unix is eak2. I resist the notion, articulated in the op-ed, that safety and security for Jews will come in the form of a militaristic nation-state. I truly do not believe that it is possible for Jewish safety to come at the expense of Palestinian human rights. Furthermore, the op-ed contends that Israel should be celebrated as “a refuge for Jews everywhere.” But Israel is not my homeland; it is not my birthright. I am proud to be a member of a vibrant Jewish diaspora that has thrived for thousands of years, and to suggest that an ethno-nationalist state project halfway across the globe is my true home is not only offensive, but is eerily reminiscent of Trump’s hateful rhetoric: Trump recently stated to a group of Ameri-

can Jews that Benjamin Netanyahu was “their” prime minister, for example. Williams students: If you oppose white supremacy, Muslim bans, and deportations in the US, then you must oppose them in Israel as well. Criticizing Israel for its decades of occupation, human rights abuses and statesanctioned violence is not antisemitic. In fact, to call the struggle for Palestinian dignity, equality and freedom antisemitic is deeply insulting to the atrocious lived experiences of violent antisemitism my ancestors faced. I know that my Jewish values compel me to oppose injustice in the world wherever I see it. Like thousands of Jews across the country and across the world, I stand with BDS, the Right of Return and Palestine – not in spite of my Jewishness, but because of it. Eliza Klein ’19 is history major from Cambridge, Mass.

April 17, 2019


The Williams Record

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TRUSTEES OF WILLIAMS COLLEGE By Coalition Against Racist Education Now (CARE Now) We are the Coalition Against Racist Education Now (CARE Now), an active and growing collective of student activists born out of resistance to the 2018 faculty petition on free speech. We garnered over 300 student and alumni signatures in protest of predatory and hate speech. We organized a 200-strong March for the Damned on February 25th after the departures of Professors Kai Green and Kimberly Love due to the violent practices of the College. We hold the truth of discursive and institutional violence to be self-evident. This year alone, there has been a mass exodus of faculty of color. Many junior faculty of color are considering medical leave due to the unmitigating stress of living in an unsupportive and callous environment; staff are similarly under supported by the institution with a lack of growth opportunities or access to basic living necessities; and too many students are admitted to the Jones 2 Psychiatric Ward each year. Dozens of faculty of color leave campus each weekend to avoid the emotional detriment of existing here at the College. The College has proven incompetent in fulfilling its fundamental mission

“to provide the finest possible liberal arts education” by failing to support those responsible for educating, mentoring, and supporting students. College administrators have sat on a ‘Faculty-Staff Initiative Report’ from the last mass exodus of faculty of color in 2009, and yet the administration has not adequately addressed the findings of this report over the past decade: “We understand that improving the professional quality of life for staff and faculty of color, and thus the institutional culture at large, would only improve the experience of Williams students. We have witnessed how departures of staff and faculty of color or their absence in particular fields/ sectors impact negatively upon the lives of students— both students of color and white students who turn to staff and faculty members of color for curricular and/or extracurricular support. This negative impact ranges from the disruption/suspension of research projects to an increased sense of isolation. We, therefore, hold that a sizable and long-term community of staff and faculty of color is vital to the studies and lives of students

across the College” (FacultyStaff Initiative, 2009). We remind the Trustees of their obligation to the wellbeing and safety of its students, faculty, and staff. The present moment demonstrates a managerial and fiduciary failure to provide a safe, respectful, and livable school community. The Trustees must respond thoroughly and with haste to this failure with tangible, monetary investment. Therefore, we compel the Trustees to accomplish the following: 1. Commit to a complete process of reparation and reconciliation to Indigenous peoples including the increased hiring and admittance of Indigenous faculty, staff, and students as well as the reallocation of property back to Nations impacted by the College’s ongoing settler occupation. 2. Approve the pending request for $34,000 additional funding to the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity in full for the purpose of supporting student-led Heritage Month events, as well as the increase of $15,000 additional funding for incoming Minority Coalition groups. a. Establish mechanisms that increase funding

to OIDE biennially in direct proportion to the growing number of minoritized bodies on this campus. 3. Improve community spaces and establish affinity housing for Black, queer, and all other minoritized students. 4. Create permanent and unmitigated networks of support for faculty of color, including, but not limited to: a. Community space for faculty of color and additional housing resources. b. Free weekend faculty-staff shuttles to New York and Boston. c. Benefits for single and/or queer faculty like those offered to heteronormative, nuclear family units. d. An external, third party tenure review process and a formal defense in the appeals process for tenure candidates. e. More robust grievance process beyond the OIDE with stronger support for faculty. 5. Immediately approve and fund the two requested hiring lines for Asian American Studies. Additionally, immediately use opportunity hires to fill critical gaps left by departing faculty of color. a. Expand Ethnic Studies and Women’s, Gender,

and Sexuality Studies through the hiring of new open-rank faculty and the establishment of new fellowships. b. Hire specialized openrank faculty by the 2020-2021 academic year to teach courses in Indigenous Studies, Trans* Studies, Disability Studies, and Fat Studies under the umbrella of INTR. c. Hire open-rank faculty in Africana Studies and Latinx Studies, including an Africanist. d. Expand Bolin Fellowship to 4 positions each year, with at least one under INTR. 6. Recognize that the Davis Center is currently operating with only two full-time underpaid and overworked staff members. As such, immediately hire sufficient staff members to ensure the efficient operation of the Davis Center. 7. Hire additional therapists, with a focus on trans therapists and therapists of color. a. Introduce traumainformed survivor support training for IWS therapists (see Stonewall Center). 8. Increase hiring and pay for staff at the Office of Accessible Education and streamline support for students, staff, and faculty who

take medical leave and/or time off. a. Increased admission and hiring of students, staff, and faculty with diverse abilities. Peer universities, like UC Berkeley, are recognizing the value and importance of having nonverbal, neurodiverse, deaf, blind, and other crip students in the classroom. b. Ensure all college buildings are in compliance with ADA guidelines within 5 years. 9. Fund a thorough external independent investigation into the practices and interactions CSS has with students, namely minority students. a. Such an investigation should be accompanied by mandatory Anti-bias training and Suicide prevention training for all officers. 10. Increase pay to a living wage and eliminate pay inequality for staff in Dining Services and Facilities. 11. Hire an independent advocate specialized in survivor support, effectively removing the no-contact order (NCOs) investigation responsibilities from Dean Marlene Sandstrom. 12. Hire three more Title IX coordinators who will meet the demonstrated needs of survivors.

On holding CSS accountable

We forget ourselves under the title

A proposal to equip officers with body cameras

Reimagining student governance at the College

By TARAN DUGAL It’s 2019. The College is enjoying its first year under the tenure of its first-ever female president and the Africana studies department recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding. It is important to remember, however, that the fight for profound change must not be forgotten or forsaken in the presence of these fruits of progressivism. Numerous deep-rooted issues of injustice and inequality on campus still remain unresolved, each one as relevant and consequential as the other. That said, it would be an arrogant and impossible task to sufficiently address each of these issues in necessary detail in one article. Instead, I will focus on a specific issue on campus – the accountability vacuum of Campus Safety & Security (CSS) – and propose a partial solution to that issue: the purchasing and equipping of body cameras. Students and staff of color are, perhaps more than anyone else in the College community, well acquainted with the many institutional injustices that continue to plague the United States’ justice system, especially the lack of accountability faced by corrupt and immoral officials in positions of power and authority. A significant number of students of color, myself included, have had antagonistic interactions with authoritative figures – be it police, judges, state-assigned lawyers – that have lent themselves to an inherent distrust of authority. While the badge might represent safety and order to

some, to others, it represents unspeakable trauma grounded in a potent and justified fear. As a result, widespread distrust and wariness toward CSS, a force staffed with a less-than-remarkable number of people of color (PoC), should not be surprising. It should not be taken as a slight against CSS, either. Instead, the administration must recognize, understand and support the perspective from which its students are coming from and work towards nullifying any concerns regarding safety that students might have. Indeed, insofar as CSS aims to “enhance the quality of life at Williams by providing a safe and secure environment that is conducive to learning, and is consistent with the educational goals of this diverse institution, while building community partnerships that foster trust, mutual respect and cooperation,” as its mission statement claims, it only makes sense that they and the administration would support the purchasing and equipping of body cameras. It is undeniable that the use of body cameras would directly lend itself to a safer and more secure campus environment, and would also foster community relationships that prioritize trust, respect and cooperation. In fact, the very presence of body cameras alone would go a long way in improving transparency between CSS officers and members of the College. Additionally, it seems that this increased transparency would significantly help in reducing the accountability

vacuum enjoyed by CSS, as the everyday interactions between officers and students would be well documented and preserved. It is no secret that many students, especially those of color, have often taken issue with the way in which CSS and its officers have conducted their business. Hopefully, the use of body cameras would not only help in eliminating altercations between officers and students, but also in building a strong foundation of trust that would benefit the College community as whole. The idea of equipping campus security forces with body cameras is not a new one. Michigan State, Northwestern, Rutgers, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, Wisconsin and the University of Chicago all have already implemented the use of body cameras, either with their campus security or police force. These efforts ought to be commended. In taking such action, these institutions have not only demonstrably acted in promoting the rights and safety of the members of their PoC communities, but have also implicitly spoken against the overwhelming wave of police brutality and judicial injustice that currently terrorizes the United States. It is of my earnest opinion that Williams ought to learn from these peer institutions and follow in their footsteps. Only by taking small, proactive steps such as these can we as a community actualize real change. Taran Dugal ’20 is a poltical economy major from Ridgefield, Conn.


By ISABEL PEÑA and TYLER TSAY We forget what College Council is – a body fashioned after the flaws of institution. Student management positions have always been breadcrumbs, approved by and handed to us by administrators as some figment of autonomy, their main function to be an intermediary, to redirect the energy or concerns of the student body away from the administration back onto itself (Record articles from 1914, 1934). College Council serves as a petri dish for students to learn the violent practices of institutional rule and recreate mechanisms of authority. We police ourselves like an institution, disregarding common sense for a slew of technicality, bylaws and amorality. Why is it we find ourselves unable to reimagine a campus with more conscientious student governance? We are so allured by the ability to control each other’s funding that we have grown complacent with our governance system, such that we accept division and pain as the only realities our student body can achieve. Since Williams’ inception, the College has been in place to maintain a stifling order upon the campus. Every year around Previews, around the time the Trustees arrive, administrators speak of the successes of higher staff pay without questioning the lack of mobility once staff enter the College. They flaunt Africana studies and Latina/o studies without supporting departments and programs suffering from our growing numbers of faculty of color on leave or leaving (Singham, Mutongi, Kolb, James, Njoya, Green, Love, Manigault-Bryant, ManigaultBryant, Wang, and others). They ignore investigations of sexual assault and violence committed at the hands of tenured professors and use legalese to erase faculty-staff testimonies from the record. They ignore budgetary needs for the Davis Center and instead pit the Minority Coalition against College Council for funding once again. In keeping with this environment, College Council continues to reproduce the biases of the administration. For instance, last week, College Council engaged in blatant anti-Blackness disguised as strict adherence to constitutional rules and bylaws. When Black femme organizers requested funding for Previews programming aimed at creating space for Black pre-

frosh, they were met with an onslaught of questions. This interrogation fixated on the presumed exclusivity of Black Previews and failed to reckon with the fact that Black Previews is not about exclusivity, but about inclusivity and belonging. Black students have taken on the extra labor to independently fill a gap in Previews programming that the administration and Office of Admission has overlooked. Notably, the barrage of questions came primarily from white men and non-Black members of color on College Council. Why was Black Previews funding met with bureaucratic resistance when a $16,000 funding request for the Williams Ultimate Frisbee Organization took six minutes? Why did College Council not discuss the fact that the Office of Student Life (OSL) has been charging club sport expenses, namely rugby, directly to the OSL p-card, rather than the student account as per the official College Council treasury rules? Why do we bend the rules for some groups but penny-pinch, berate and attack Black students trying to make Williams a

Why is it we find ourselves unable to reimagine a campus with more conscientous student governance? more livable space? Should we not celebrate and enthusiastically throw our support behind student-led initiatives? In the meeting, Council member Tristan Whalen ’22 demanded Black students give College Council “the same respect that we give everyone who comes here” (CC minutes, April 9, 2019). Yet, it is clear Black student organizers were not met with the same respect that other student groups, namely club sports or majority-white groups, enjoy without second thought. All of this happened in the same room, on the same night, April 9, 2019, in Hopkins Basement – under the many offices of the administration. College Council has been made a shield under which its members learn to selectively target people of color, to infiltrate safety and reason like administrators. We say abolish it, remake a student government that holds more autonomy from the institution and implements common sense rather than bylaws. College Council

needs to work to repair the harm caused through meetings that reproduce institutional and interpersonal racism. And yet, we also recognize that College Council is an echo of the institution. It is where students direct their rage and anger, only because it is more accessible to us than Hopkins. We do not question what lies outside our reach. We do not storm into the President’s Office demanding stronger funding lines and fairer methods of supervision by OSL. We are so caught in the pettiness of student-to-student political drama that we forget who lies behind it all. It is in the interest of the institution to have a divided campus, one that cannot unionize with staff, one that cannot walk out of classes in support of faculty of color like students did last week at Yale. We must reimagine the possibilities of our student governance, such that we can engage in the much more critical work that is left to be done. --------We, the authors of this oped, recognize that we will never know the experiences of Black students in last week’s College Council meeting, and tread lightly so as to not speak on their behalf. Rather, we point to this incident and invite the Williams community to reckon with our complacency with what we call “trickle-down institutional violence.” Existing on a college campus does not have to be unfair, unkind, or amoral. We have resigned ourselves to division, so much so that any attempt to achieve a better campus is ridiculed as naivete. In contrast, activists are more than aware of the harsh realities of the situation. We differ in that we imagine and work towards a world that does not necessitate division, where we are protected under the same banners as everyone else. This place holds witness to the generations of students who use their positions on committees, College Council and beyond to enact violence and diminish the position of students from minoritized backgrounds. Student organizers for Black Previews and CARE Now are already attempting to reimagine a campus that does not necessitate the harsh realities of the current system, but instead, challenges complacency in favor of a new institution. Isabel Pena ’19 is a history major and Latina/o studies concentrator from Anaheim, Calif. Tyler Tsay ’19 is an American Studies major from Pasadena, Calif.


The Williams Record

April 17, 2019

Black activist mothers from Chicago to discuss love, justice By LYDIA DUAN and KAIRA MEDIRATTA RECORD STAFF After losing their sons to gun violence in 2014 and 2016, respectively, Dorothy Holmes and Shapearl Wells built political legacies for themselves in memory of their slain children. These Chicago-based mothers and activists will share their stories today at 4:15 p.m. in Rice House. Titled “Love and Justice,” the panel was organized by Professor of Humanities Joy James, who met Holmes and Wells at a conference at the University of Chicago in 2017. The Chicago event was one of three such transnational forums so far involving mother-activists from the United States, Brazil and Colombia, with the other two conferences having been in Staten Island in 2016 and Cali, Colombia, in 2018. At the Chicago event, these women “shared their struggles and strategies of resistance against police violence, mass incarceration and the unrelenting injustices facing Black communities around the world,” according to the conference’s description. Throughout these three conferences, James said she saw an evolution in how these women are expected to express their trauma. Early on, the mothers levied specific critiques of capital, policing and government. Over time, however, James noted that corporate structures and academic institutions tended toward sanitizing the mothers’ platforms, where audiences sought to consume performative narratives of loss, such that “grief itself was becoming a commodity,” she said. James described an academic audience’s desire for a palatable message from the safety of distance, rather than the mothers’ institutional critiques and modes of activism. She characterized the “we want to know, but we don’t want to be traumatized by it” attitude as, “‘We don’t really want to


Holmes, Wells and other activist mothers stand before a banner in Colombia that reads, “Who feels for our dead? May the mothers’ pain transcend borders.” have to change the world to make sure more teens aren’t killed in this way… We want to help, but we don’t want a confrontation.’” In this vein, James recognized the commodification that comes with celebrity, where the status itself is “shaped by dictates of appearance and performance.” The fact that Holmes and Wells are not high-profile in the public eye is the power that James sees inherent in their activism. She noted Holmes' and Wells’ refusal to perform to audience expectations because “their pain was their pain and that was their private matter… They weren’t trying to join any kind of organized machinery that was going to leverage their suffering to some kind of educational moment.” James explained that the mothers’ disinterest in fame made it so that “their loss created a kind of space where people

would want to listen to them, but not leverage them into a kind of commodity... I think in part because they resisted that themselves.” She observed how the mothers, in reserving space for themselves, “resonated with a kind of class that really has nothing to do with celebrity,” and how this was perhaps her favorite thing about them. “I think the mothers have a graciousness of their will that’s not performative,” James said. “It’s like, ‘I don’t care who you are, or who you work with… I’m not seeking anything from you. But when it comes time, I’ll tell my story.’” James also introduced the idea of the “cover-up,” where these mothers would not capitulate to state attempts to cover up the severity of their loss. Reflecting on the influence of Debora Silva – a Brazilian maternal activist and leader of Mais de Maio – James recalled Silva’s account of her interactions with

Students push for affinity housing CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 of affinity housing last spring, when she conducted preliminary levels of student interest in affinity/identity housing at the College, for her senior seminar (AFR 476, “Black Radicalism”). In a poll that was distributed among a group chat with Black students at the College, when asked the question, “If Williams had identity/affinity/culturally specific living options, could you imagine yourself choosing to live in this type of house?,” nine out of 18 students responded “yes,” and six students responded “maybe.” BSU town hall conversations have tied the demand for creating safe residences at the College into campus-wide discussions. “In addition to the fact that we don’t have affinity housing, there are people trying to bring speakers here who are silencing our identities, which goes to show that as a whole, Williams isn’t necessarily dedicated to making it the space that is supportive of students with marginalized identities,” Richardson said. “I think with the more recent movements, and with the departures of professors Kai Green [’07] and Kimberly Love, affinity housing is also brought into this larger discussion of, ‘What is Williams doing wrong for students of color?’” Vice President for Campus Life Steve Klass said that, with regard to goals for residential life at the College, he shared some common sentiments with students. “The most appropriate and effective way in which to think about residential life is as holistically as possible, as an integrated four-year experience that speaks to the core of our identity as a residential liberal arts college,” he said. “These include the ongoing JA-led conversations on many aspects of the entry system; the productive conversations on affinity and program housing; ongoing conversations on the nature and composition of private market off-campus housing; and weekly conversations on the programming and staffing that support upperclass housing and what kinds of models might be best for Williams in the context of all these other questions.” Although some arguments against affinity housing expressed fear that affinity housing might promote isolation, Richardson affirmed the need

for communities of affinity while emphasizing that space exists interaction across difference elsewhere in campus life. “There is a valid argument that you’re not going to be exposed to a lot of different people and different interests. But you already have that through the entry system, [and] we have that every day in our classes – it’s not like if you live in this house you’re completely isolated from all of campus, people still live with and engage in with the wider campus community,” Richardson said. Peer institutions also offer variations of affinity housing. While each institution has its own name and interpreted systems of affinity housing, they share similarities, acording to Richardson. All intentionally created residential spaces and communities require and have faculty or staff liaisons who assist with programming efforts in the particular community. In addition, students interested in living in intentionally created residential spaces can submit applications to specific houses, contrasting with the standard housing lottery system that is the only on-campus housing selection process in place at the College. Wesleyan offers program housing based on “shared hobbies, experiences, cultural interests and identities,” supporting “the creation of interwoven communities of interest that otherwise would not be as connected.” The Malcolm X House, which Wesleyan describes as “a residence for students at Wesleyan who wish to live in an environment dedicated to the exploration and celebration of the cultural heritage of the African Diaspora at Wesleyan,” was established following a 1969 student demonstration, one that took place two months prior to the occupation of Hopkins Hall at the College. Richardson highlighted the success among the College’s peer institutions in intentionally creating safe and inclusive spaces. “There is this argument, ‘Oh, Williams is so small – it’s not really going to work.’ But it works well in other schools! So, that’s just a lot of people trying to silence and further tokenize underrepresented identities here and say, ‘Oh, you should be dispersed among all the regular houses, [and] you don’t need your own space,’” she said. There are current efforts by students to intentionally create

safe residential spaces for Black students at the College through the current housing lottery system. Shane Beard ’20, who is the Minority Coalition representative and community outreach coordinator of the BSU and the housing coordinator for Hubbell House next year, is working to make Hubbell House an informal type of affinity housing for Black students. “While he can be intentional about the programming he provides, the students who actually have access to Hubbell [in the lottery] are random,” Richardson explained. Richardson said that while “pick groups” in the housing lottery allow students a mechanism to “live around other people who share some aspect of their identity,” she finds it insufficient and unsustainable that students are dependent upon a lottery to curate their own living spaces. There have been steps taken by members of the administration to craft and plan how affinity housing might look at the College. “I’ve already begun some conversations with colleagues at places like Wesleyan and Amherst regarding how they launched these programs and what they learned along the way,” Klass said. Klass said, however, that process are not always easily transferable from a peer institution to the College. Klass explained how other institutions already have residential assistants and similar forms of staffing in residence that facilitate the management of affinity houses, along with larger central Housing offices. “We can’t just cherry-pick the pieces we want to consider without understanding the full context.” Nevertheless, Klass stressed that the push for affinity housing will be a central residential life topic in the upcoming strategic planning process over the next few years. Richardson emphasized the current urgency for the College to take concrete planning steps toward the creation of affinity housing. “I think right now, the College and the trustees, are interested in thinking about how we can revamp the residential life system, and in that planning, I think it’s really important for them to think about affinity housing, despite fears that it’s separatist,” she said. “Especially in light of recent college events, I think the College really needs it.”

the authorities. Silva would be offered scholarships and other bandage attempts at consolation. When asked, “What do you want?” Silva responded with the only thing she wanted: “Bring my child back.” “Which they [the state] can’t do,” James said. “For me it was brilliantly stated … if you want to act like a god who’s in charge of life and death, and you get to kill people, then bring them back.” James explained that what the mothers had endured propelled their politics because of this type of ultimatum: in describing the mothers’ rationale, it becomes clear that any state attempt at consolation is insufficient. “It’s that level of loss that becomes a form of almost a political language that just peels back all the cover,” James said. “‘There’s nothing you can do for me because I only want one thing back … so I have the ability to critique you as much

as I want, as long as I want and organize as I will.’” The mothers’ resistance to being suppressed, for James, connected to the realities of Black suffering at large. “Everybody’s interchangeable because we don’t have specificity. We just became this form of national geographic vulnerability, like, ‘Oh my God, look what they did to the elephants; oh my God, look what they’re doing to Black people.’” For James, however, the mothers retained their own personal grief and pursuit of political justice … resisting being “put in a blender” following the notion that “‘I’m not a stand in for somebody else’s grief.’” It was with the mothers that James saw a form of caring that she had previously never seen. In the Colombia forum in 2018, James was privy to the personal ways in which the mothers cared for one another through their shared grief. James re-

called how, while in Colombia, they attended a wake for a son whom one of the mothers had recently lost to gang violence. The other mothers sought to connect with this newly grieving mother, going so far as to “open old wounds to their own grief, [because] they felt they had to walk through that in order to fully embrace her grief in the moment and be able to hug her.” For James, this “care in the face of dying – in really violent ways – [functions on] a whole other level” than conventional care. James said she intends for the event with Holmes and Wells today to differ from the usual academic discussion. By asking the mothers to share their stories and how they see connections between love, justice, care and resistance, she hopes the College will collectively explore the mother’s personal and political network as an alternative to celebrity culture. She also plans to discuss Chicago, which she described as “notorious as a machine city” in its police corruption, gang violence and failures to meet the needs of its citizens. James finds that although the College offers many amazing opportunities, the unexpected ones are sometimes the most rewarding. She stressed the value of “listening to people who love dearly and went through incredible loss and then reinvented themselves to make that loss intelligible, in order to help create a world in which that kind of suffering and tragedy is just not routine.” The title, “Love and Justice,” reflects a knowledge and awareness that these elements are more powerful working in tandem, according to James. “You lead with love, and then you couple it with justice, so it’s not privatized love or privatized selfcare,” James said. “It’s love for self, family, community, tied to justice, and that becomes the compass.”

CARE Now demands formal response from Trustees to twelve-point open letter By CHARLES XU EXECUTIVE EDITOR On Friday morning, Coalition Against Racist Education Now (CARE Now), a self-described “active and growing collective of student activists born out of resistance to the 2018 faculty petition on free speech,” sent an open letter of 12 demands to the College's Board of Trustees in an email to the student body. The letter demanded a “formal and public response by the Board of Trustees” addressing CARE Now’s twelve objectives by today. As of press time, the Board of Trustees has not responded to the letter. The letter calls attention to “a mass exodus of faculty of color” this year, as well as stress induced by the College’s environment for faculty, lack of growth opportunities available to staff and the frequency at which students require psychiatric assistance. “We hold the truth of discursive and institutional violence to be self-evident,” the letter reads. It calls upon trustees to uphold “their obligation to the well-being and safety of its students, faculty, and staff.” The letter’s objectives range from redressing the damage done through settlercolonialism by engaging in a “complete process of reparation and reconciliation to Indigenous peoples” to increasing funding toward Minority Coalition groups and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity to expanding the number of trans therapists, therapists of color ande Davis Center staff members. Other hiring objectives in the letter include increased hiring and pay for staff at the Office of Accessible Education and increase diversity and pay for staff in Dining Services and Facilities. Other objectives include funding permanent support networks and com-

munity space for faculty of color and hiring an independent advocate “specialized in survivor support, effectively removing the no-contact order (NCOs) investigation responsibilities from Dean Marlene Sandstrom.” The demands also call for the establishment of affinity housing for Black students and marginalized groups and the immediate approval and hiring of two faculty members for Asian American studies. During its meeting on Friday at 1 p.m., the Board of Trustees received this list of demands and engaged in discussion within the board and with President of the College Maud Mandel. On Saturday morning, CARE Now activists presented their ideas to two trustees who later reported their conversation with students back to the board. Rodsy Modhurima ’19, the student who sent the campuswide email, and other members of CARE Now did not provide comment, but Modhurima sent the Record an updated and expanded letter following Saturday’s meeting between CARE Now and trustees. Board chair Mike Eisenson ’77 commented on the trustees' progress on many of the listed goals. “Many items on the list reflect objectives shared by the College, trustees and the community as a whole, on which we have been working for years,” Eisenson said. “In many areas we have made progress, which might not always be evident to students in just four years on campus. In other areas we have not yet made the progress we would like to see. Student input, including discussions with CARE Now and others, help inform our thinking about how Williams can best work toward our goals.” While the grassroots CARE Now movement emerged during the protests against hate speech and the departure of Kai

Green ’07, assistant professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies, and Kimberly Love, assistant professor of English, this year, its origin dates back more than 30 years to the student collective CARE. On April 22, 1988, minoritized students connected to CARE took over Jenness House, which housed the Dean’s Office at the time. The students’ occupation, which lasted three days, called attention to 15 demands addressing three areas of concern including “the minority presence on the Williams Faculty,” “the minority experience in the Williams curriculum” and “minority students and student life at Williams.” Similarly, CARE Now's letter calls attention to and quotes the 2009 Faculty-Staff Initiative. “We understand that improving the professional quality of life for staff and faculty of color, and thus the institutional culture at large, would only improve the experience of Williams students,” reads the portion of the letter quoting the report. “We have witnessed how departures of staff and faculty of color or their absence in particular fields/sectors impact negatively upon the lives of students—both students of color and white students who turn to staff and faculty members of color for curricular and/or extracurricular support. This negative impact ranges from the disruption/suspension of research projects to an increased sense of isolation. We, therefore, hold that a sizable and long-term community of staff and faculty of color is vital to the studies and lives of students across the College,” the 2009 report said. “The administration has not adequately addressed the findings of this report over the past decade,” the letter reads. “The present moment demonstrates a managerial and fiduciary failure to provide a safe, respectful and livable school environment."

April 17, 2019


The Williams Record

Stop & Shop workers Conference explores democracy, freedom go on strike By SAMUEL WOLF EXECUTIVE EDITOR

By REBECCA TAUBER EXECUTIVE EDITOR New England Stop & Shop workers went on strike on Thursday after months of tense negotiations with the grocery chain. Five United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) chapters, representing 31,000 workers in the area, organized the strike. UFCW Local 1459, one of those five chapters, represents workers in Western Massachusetts. Workers’ issues with Stop & Shop and its proposals include the chain’s plans to “reduce holiday + Sunday pay for parttimers, bonus instead of wage increases, unlawfully withhold info from the union bargaining, reduce number of sick days for new hires, raise healthcare premiums by up to 90 percent” and more, according to a Facebook post from the Support Stop & Shop Workers page that explained why workers at the grocery chain were striking. Stop & Shop released a negotiations update on Sunday, reiterating information about its final offer that was released last week. “The wages and benefits we provide for our full-time employees – across all of our stores – are among the best among New England supermarkets – and pay and benefits for part-time associates are very competitive,” the release said. “This contract offer is no exception.” The company listed wage increases, health care benefits, retirement benefits and paid time off as some of the features of the offer. The workers, however, insist that the offer does not reflect large profits and tax cuts of Stop & Shop and its parent company, Ahold Delhaize. “The company is claiming the proposed cuts are necessary

but is unlawfully refusing to provide financial information to verify that claim,” a letter to UFCW Local 1459 members said on the chapter’s website. The UFCW locals have released a petition aimed at company president Mark McGowan and a call for support from other unions and community members. In the days following the walk-out, workers, wearing signs that read “Stop & Shop employees on strike, please respect our picket line!” have formed a picket line outside stores to encourage buyers to refrain from shopping at Stop & Shop. Students at the College have also made efforts to support Stop & Shop workers, standing on the picket line at North Adams location and encouraging shoppers to go to Big Y or Wild Oats instead. Students have also sold brownies to raise money for the strike fund and created a group chat to organize carpools to the picket line. “Everybody who might ordinarily go to Stop & Shop can play a part by refusing to cross the picket line; in fact, this is crucial to the success of the strike,” said Kyle Walker ’19, a student involved in efforts to support the workers. “As Williams students, we have an opportunity here to stand in solidarity with community members. Every single person who joins can make a difference!” Negotiations continued on Monday; meanwhile, the North Adams Stop & Shop has remained open from 8 a.m.–8 p.m., but only with self-checkout. “We’re going to continue to be on strike until we reach an agreement, a fair and equitable agreement for our members,” UFCW Local 1459 president Tyrone Housey said in a video posted on the chapter Facebook page.

On Saturday, the College hosted a conference, “Democracy and Freedom Between Past and Future,” that explored the meanings of the terms “democracy” and “freedom” within the contexts of slavery, gender, class and power. Sponsored by the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Program in Democratic Studies and organized primarily by Neil Roberts, associate professor of Africana studies and W. Ford Schumann faculty fellow in democratic studies, the conference ran from 9 a.m.–5 p.m, in Griffin and featured professors from institutions ranging from Brown to Vassar to the University of Toronto. “I’ve spent a large part of my own academic career trying to think about what we think about by the idea of freedom,” Roberts said to open the forum. “Today, we’re trying not only to explore these different terms, the terms ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom,’ but also trying to think through: What is a democracy?” He went on to discuss how the concept that democracies are dying or decaying, as is frequently discussed in the current geopolitical era, is meaningless without first understanding what democracy meant in the first place. Roberts also noted the academic diversity of the extended panel that he assembled over the preceding months. “What I was hoping was to ask the people whose work I think extremely highly of to shed light on these and other questions,” he said. “It was very intentional to have a dialogue across not just the humanities and social sciences, but also the physical and natural, about the conference theme.” The panels were broken up in four sections to select pieces that relate to one another, as well as ones that draw contrasts or different modes of thought.


Panelists address “Pluralism, Economy and the Public Sphere” as part of the conference on democracy and freedom. The first panel of the conference, “Enslavement, Dignity, and Genres of Freedom,” featured two professors: Nick Bromell, professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Jasmine Syedullah, visiting assistant professor of sociology at Vassar. Professor of History Gretchen Long moderated the panel, saying, “I have seen this conference spewing out in drafts on the printer and hearing him across the hall on the phone… I was really pleased when he asked me to moderate this first panel.” Bromell and Syedullah both began by reading their papers, which grappled with the nature of freedom in a society with legalized slavery. Focusing on Frederick Douglass, Bromell argued that Douglass was not a “natural rights liberal” but rather a believer that human rights emanate from human faculties and that these faculties give people the ability to assert their rights. “Power comes up many more times in his work than freedom and liberty combined,” Bromell said, emphasizing Douglass’ active interpretation of human rights. For Douglass, Bromell argued, enslavement was not only physical domination but also a means of mental subjugation meant to erode slaves’ abilities to believe even in their own rights.

“Douglass’s theory of power probably originated in his firsthand experience of the ways that the slavery system strove to make the slave doubt his own fitness for freedom … to destroy their dignity as human beings,” Bromell said. Syedullah focused her talk on “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” an autobiography written by Harriet Jacobs, who was enslaved in her early life. Examining the modes of slave resistance in the search of freedom, Syedullah argued that escaping to the North was not the only way to achieve freedom but that smaller freedoms could be gained by actions from within. “[The book’s] narrative of resistance lays out geographies of containment,” Syedullah said. “In this way, it references a lot of the notion of boundedness in a community.” She also emphasized the importance of community togetherness in molding a form of liberation, even if it just presented itself while hiding in nature or, as Jacobs did, in a “loophole of retreat.” Syedullah added, “Enslaved communities knew the protocols of the patriarchal institutions … required coming together rather than standing one’s ground on one’s own.” After the presentation of papers, the professors engaged in a question-and-answer period,

during which an audience member expressed gratitude at hearing Douglass and Jacobs discussed together. To this, Bromell responded that he often told himself, “What you really should be doing is writing a book that puts Douglass and Jacobs in dialogue with one another,” adding that the two figures’ musings complement one another. In response to another question that Syedullah was asked about how the anguish of oppression is represented in art and media, she recounted a time when watching Steve McQueen’s 2013 film “12 Years a Slave” that a man in the theatre could not bear to watch an enslaved woman give a scream of anguish. “We can’t even sit with the representation of sorrow, or grief, without wanting to mute it,” she said. This panel was only the first of four in the day-long conference. Three other panels – “Disposability, Fugitivity, Resistance: On the Relationship Between Democracy and Freedom,” “Pluralism, Economy and the Public Sphere” and “Language, Struggle and Belonging” – each ran approximately 90 minutes in length and featured three prominent academics in the studies of resistance, freedom, pluralism and belonging. All students, faculty and community members were invited to attend.

Students call for Students of color raise concerns about CSS accountability from CC on funding, bias By KRISTEN BAYRAKDARIAN STAFF WRITER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 we wanted to strongly encourage them to work with other minority groups.” Ansari, furthermore, said that he was upset with the way his name was used by some members of CC, without his presence at the meeting. “My name was used as a whip on a black female’s back, and I don’t like to be in that position – at all,” he said. “I’m very grateful that Linda [Worden ’19], who’s worked with me and my office for the past three years, so that my voice was heard, by proxy.” In response to yesterday’s proposal, CC Co-Presidents Olivia Tse ’19.5 and Ellie Sherman ’20 noted the ways that CC had fallen short. “CC has for a long time been a space dominated by white males, and it can be frustrating, intimidating, and painful for individuals of minority groups who try to come into that space…,” they said. “Our hope is to use the anger and frustration that we

have seen and experienced to ensure that College Council does not return to business as usual without some major changes, including serious reworking and paring down of the bylaws, restructuring our budgetary approval process, implementing mandatory Anti-Bias training and the distribution of an educational resources list for every iteration of council, pushing for increased diversity in our student representation, and working to make the space of College Council more accessible and comfortable for those who have historically been excluded from that space.” Yesterday, though, Peña called on CC to hold itself accountable tangibly. “You should try to repair your relationship with Black students on this campus by putting your money where your mouth is,” Peña said. Research assistance for this article was provided by Jeongyoon Han, Irene Loewenson, and Rebecca Tauber.


Black students and students of color have, as early as 2017, expressed discontents in experiences with Campus Safety and Security (CSS) that they believe demonstrated implicit bias. Students and administrators are collaborating in hopes to begin listening sessions among CSS, Vice President for Campus Life Steve Klass and those who have reported negative interactions with CSS. In an open letter to the Board of Trustees published on Friday, the Coalition Against Racist Education Now (CARE Now) called for the College to “fund a thorough external independent investigation into the practices and interactions CSS has with students, namely minority students.” After meeting with trustees on Saturday, CARE Now added, “Such an investigation should be accompanied by mandatory Anti-bias training and Suicide prevention training for all officers.” Recent events and initiatives on campus have brought to the forefront the roles of race and implicit bias in student-administrative relations with CSS’ treatment of Black students and students of color. In November 2018, the Black Student Union (BSU) hosted a town hall in which one of the main concerns voiced by the students in attendance was racially biased interactions with CSS officers. Many students of color used the space to share personal testimonies of what they characterized as racial targeting by CSS officers in the presence of peers and members of the administration. Additionally, last Wednesday, All Campus Entertainment (ACE) changed the weekly Stressbusters event theme at the last minute from “CSS Appreciation Night” to “Eat like a Spring Fling artist.” The organizers explained in a Facebook post that “ACE recognizes tensions between CSS and students of color at Williams and has decided that the dialogue needed for progress requires a time and space different from what we can offer.” The history of the issue goes back further to 2017, however, when Bilal Ansari, the College’s current director of campus en-

gagement and acting director of the Davis Center, returned to the College after three years away, and almost immediately began hearing personal stories of harm from students. “I came back in 2017 and when I heard [what was happening], I [couldn’t] sit quietly by,” Ansari explained. His first reaction was to go right to the source. “That’s when it became clear,” Director of CSS Dave Boyer said. “We had situations that ... were complicated and charged before Bilal came back, and when he came back he [brought up the] same situations we were also struggling with, but [now] we were hearing it for the first time from the perspective of students.” In fall 2017, Ansari invited Boyer to speak to members of the BSU in in an effort to “start a positive relationship, to start the dialogue around what can we do to change the disproportionate calls on Black and Brown folk, and how can we change the negative perception that Black and Brown folk have toward CSS.” Indeed, Ansari made it clear that the issue was not simply a case of racism or racial targeting of students of color by CSS, but also of students of color potentially being disproportionately reported to CSS by other students. “Students can call anonymously and tip and CSS has to respond,” Ansari explained. “It leaves no responsibility to the caller so people can, and have continued to, [utilize CSS] instead of having the human contact... CSS is disproportionately doing the work that College students should be doing among themselves.” Ansari continued. “[The anonymous tip line] is weaponized by students who want to target other students, or students who don’t want to confront other students… It is a convenience that takes students off the hook from having a conversation. It’s easier to just dial a number and call, despite the emotional harm that that does to other people who come from communities in which their relations with people with badges causes anxiety, stress [and] straight up fear.” Amari Yirgu ’22, who spoke about just one of her multiple experiences with CSS at BSU’s November town hall, shared

similar sentiments. “I think a lot of white students on campus don't think too much about calling CSS because they genuinely do believe that it’s campus security and safety,” Yirgu said. “I think there's a dissonance and misunderstanding between white students and students of color on campus about how CSS actually makes us feel. It does not make me feel safe.” Several initiatives have thus been put into motion to combat multiple aspects of the concerns. One is addressing students who feel they have been harmed or unfairly treated by CSS. In conjunction with CSS and Austin Huang ’21, Ansari is working to create listening sessions among CSS, Vice President for Campus Life Steve Klass and those who have reported negative encounters with CSS. These sessions are modeled off of programs used by the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, a Department of Justice project “designed to improve relationships and increase trust between minority communities and the criminal justice system.” Huang, who worked at the organization during the summers of 2017 and 2018, is planning on scaling the listening session model to make it applicable to Williams. Huang explained that the model he observed was centered around the coming together of community members and police officers with the goal of vallidating community experiences and beginning a process of healing, in addition to helping police understand the needs of their communities and how to move forward. Along with Ansari, “a number of us – Dave Boyer, Steve Klass, Marlene Sandstrom, [Dean of Faculty] Denise Buell – [are] looking at existing policies and practices with an eye toward considering what ought to be changed,” Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity Leticia Haynes explained. Residential life is one area that can be expected to change. Klass specified that “one of the most beneficial outcomes would be to take the burden off of CSS, who have to respond to issues that could be addressed more directly by housing staff. The current over-use of the anonymous tip

line by students to resolve basic issues like smoking in the house, loud music, etc. can be reduced dramatically by providing a different kind of staffing model.” There is also discussion about creating a more transparent tip line and CSS calling process. Yirgu and Cleveland Lavalais ’21, both students who spoke up about their experiences at the town hall, have agreed to be some of the first students to take part in the listening sessions in an effort to ensure that their experiences are not replicated by future students of color. “I feel like if I don't share my story and try to make a change here, there's going to be another frosh or whoever comes here years later and has to deal with this, and I'm over the pain of my people,” Yirgu said. “No one's going to check them except for us,” Lavalais said. However, not all students feel as comfortable to take part in these listening sessions. Ansari made clear that “there is [still] a lot of trust that needs to be built first, and I don’t know if students even want to sit and talk anymore. I hear a lot of students say ‘I’m tired of listening. I’m tired of sitting and talking. I’m ready for action.’ That’s where a lot of my students are right now. I don’t blame them. I get it.” Given the recent conversations surrounding institutional forgetting on campus, there is a certain sense of cynicism and mistrust towards the administration and following administrative channels in an effort to enact change, students said. Moreover, as Lavalais pointed out, asking students who have had negative encounters with CSS to sit in a room and talk to them is potentially distressing. “[Students] first of all just exhausted by being here generally, and having had run-ins with CSS and having to continually talk about it can also be exhausting and traumatizing,” Lavalais said. “Williams does not operate well top down. It operates best from the bottom up, when students call for something, when students are involved in something, when students are actively working for something of change that is meaningful and lasting and sustainable,” Ansari said.


The Williams Record

April 17, 2019

One in Two Thousand By NIGEL JAFFE FEATURES EDITOR Belle and I went to the same high school, and even though we never crossed paths there, she managed to spot me in Frosh Quad within my first week at the College. Such is life in the Purple Bubble. On Sunday morning, Belle and I waited in line at the Mission egg station for several minutes while a batch of overeasy eggs was being prepared fresh. Eventually, I decided to just get scrambled instead. Belle caught up with me at the table a few minutes later, and we sat down to discuss dancing techniques, elbow-licking and the dangers of going to amateur barbers on Friday nights. That took longer than I expected. I don’t even have much of an egg preparation preference. I was just lingering indecisively.

Yeah, with eggs. I’m an egg. Nice. Speaking of narratives, do you have any good hiking tales? Maybe some mountaineering?


Let’s brainstorm. [Pause.] Do you think that the mind and the body are two separate things?

I’m not into mountaineering. I like to walk.

Wait, are you recording this?

Some city exploration?

Yeah! This is the “One in Two Thousand” interview.

Riding the subway and staring at people.

We have not said anything that deserves to be published.

Suburban adventures? That’s okay. There’s all the time in the world... sort of.

I don’t understand the suburbs.

How did you stretch that into three whole paragraphs? I just continued writing onto the back of the card... Oh, how did I stretch the content of what I was saying into three paragraphs? Easy! I took them on a narrative of my love for over-easy eggs. Where did the narrative start and end? With eggs, I assume?

I think it looks pretty good. I had been complaining for weeks about how the hair on the back of my head was getting mullet-y. I just wanted my sides tamed a little bit. I didn’t like how I looked like a Chia Pet. I just wanted to look a little more streamlined. Streamlined... Like, aerodynamic? Right.


You should’ve told me. I thought we hadn’t started yet.

Nope. I am going to work on a boat this summer, though. What are you going to do on the boat? Live on it, I think.




[Laughs.] Alright, fine. Starting... now.

Gotcha. I’ve heard that you’re an expert on dancing. My theory is that dancing is 87 percent in the shoulders, 13 percent everywhere else. It’s really important to properly utilize the shoulders. That sounds about right. Do you have any dance idols? No, but there’s this video where a computer-animated Dobby from Harry Potter dances on top of a mountain. I’d say that resonates with my moves. When I was growing up, my sisters and I would all do the

dishes while dancing. That was good practice because the more you were dancing, the fewer dishes you had to do. Very sneaky. What are your thoughts on elbows? Pro, or against? My little sister still does the thing where she licks my elbows without me knowing. [Laughs.] You’re going to have to unpack that one a little bit. Why? I feel like that’s pretty standard fare.

I didn’t know that was a thing! Are elbows just totally senseless? Yeah! You’ve never heard this? You ask me about elbows without knowing that when people lick your elbows, you don’t know? Well, you don’t know! I may. In fact, I sure hope that I know. Everyone knows that when someone licks your elbow, you can’t really feel it. I don’t know why – should we Google it? Or just try and brainstorm?

Hydrodynamic? Yes. Just plain dynamic, even.

Now this is high stress. Does anyone even read this? That’s not for me to say.

It’s really my fault, I think, because I made a three-paragraph comment card a while back about how I wished they had over-easy eggs on Sundays.

did it for me at 10 p.m. last Friday. Now I look like a thumb. I still love my friend, though.

People kind of read the Record. They just... scoff at the headlines and then move on. At the quality of the headlines, or at what the headlines contain? Both. It’s mostly the headlines that say stuff like, “1200 new students admitted to Williams.” Breaking news. Breaking news.

That’s all I ever wanted. I’m going to go get some more coffee. [I leave. Belle is alone with the recording device.] Hey, Nigel. You went to go get coffee. [Laughs.] Are you even gonna be able to hear this over the ambient noise? Probably not. I feel like this is a bad environment to do this in because I’m at once grumpy and feeling small. That’s kind of a bad combo for this activity.

Tell me about your haircut. [I return.] Well, it’s buzzed all around, even though I had very specific hopes for this haircut. One of my friends

I talked to you while you were gone.

Bolin Fellows find sense of Korean Garden stands out with comforting fare community, productivity in writing residency By PETER LE CONTRIBUTING WRITER

By CHARLES XU EXECUTIVE EDITOR The Gaius Charles Bolin Fellowship was established in 1985 to recognize Gaius Charles Bolin, an 1889 graduate and the first Black student admitted to the College. Now, some 34 years later, the Bolin fellowship continues to honor Bolin’s legacy by promoting diversity among faculty, accepting two to three fellows each year from underrepresented backgrounds. This year, Prisca Gayles, the Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Africana studies, begins a two-year residency at the College designed for fellows to finish their dissertations and to hone their teaching and research skills. But Gayles, in addition to her duties writing and teaching, has continued to uphold Bolin’s ideals of inclusivity and community, pioneering a small writing group within the faculty called Write or Die. For Gayles and Susanne Ryuyin Kerekes, Bolin Fellow in religion and Asian studies – who call themselves the “Bolin Twins” – the stress of not only preparing for class but also adjusting to a new environment and handling the pressure of a dissertation can be daunting. A doctoral candidate in Latin American studies (African Diaspora studies-affiliated) at the University of Texas at Austin, Gayles aims to finish a dissertation that, in her words, “examines the relational processes by which movement participants and political stakeholders seek racial justice in an environment where blacks are largely invisible.” To Gayles, this is a task that is even more difficult than teaching. “You’re always teaching and writing, if you are doing a teaching assistantship or as an assistant instructor, teaching or assistant or as an adjunct instructor,” she said. “On the other hand, you have a dissertation which is like this thing that is so much harder to write than anything else has been to write

for me, because I think there is so much pressure on ‘this is the thing that is going to establish me.’” Kerekes, meanwhile, completed her dissertation and doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in the fall but expressed that as a young academic in a small community like Williamstown, she often finds herself in a social limbo. “Most of us are single or don’t have families, so it’s a bit dif-

“When I have a stressful time writing, I write with community.” Prisca Gayles Bolin Fellow in Africana Studies ficult in the social scene to be a member of faculty,” she said. In response to these challenges, Gayles initiated the idea of a faculty writing group, and with the assistance of Visiting Lecturer in Arabic Studies Radwa El Barouni, brought together scholars at similar stages in their academic careers to join a community dubbed “Write or Die,” a spin on the “Bad Boys” quote, “We ride together, we die together.” Gayles explained the thinking behind the name. “It’s a very apt name. One of the most important things you do in academia – in terms of getting tenure and becoming a [full-time] professor – is writing,” Gayles said. “But there’s no structures that are built into writing for success. For teach-

ing, you have your students who are asking for a syllabus [and] you have to make that syllabus. It gives you a guideline… And in writing, unless you create a writing group – unless you take it upon yourself and have that own ambition to do that – there’s not really any builtin accountability structures for writing in schools.” Though it began as an opportunity for faculty members to meet up and work in the presence of one another, Write or Die has evolved into a sanctuary and home for many of its members. Kerekes recognized that her fellow members share similar experiences as faculty members who are single or don’t have families. “It’s a little strange,” she said. “It’s like, where do we fit in? So [Write or Die] has been sort of a saving grace. It’s nice to have this core of family, but also people who know the work and the demands of the kind of work we do.” Write or Die opens itself to fellows in all disciplines, including the artists and physicists in the group. “Sometimes, what writing looks like is just us working together in a group,” Gayles noted. “Maybe someone’s planning a lesson while someone’s writing a job application while someone’s writing an article while someone’s busy writing a dissertation.” For the eleven current members in Write or Die, the writing group adds accountability to their work and research, and, contrary to its name, a healthy dose of positivity. “When I have a stressful time writing, I write with community,” Gayles said. “And so even if we don’t read each other’s things, we’re constantly writing together, or even just a message – we have a WhatsApp group – that says, ‘Happy writing today!’ [and] that kind of a community pushes you… I think it’s very important to build those kinds of accountability structures that are supported by schools but not built into the institutional fabric of schools.”

Last weekend, my friends and I got the chance to visit one of my favorite Asian restaurants in the area, Korean Garden. Located in North Adams, Korean Garden is a popular destination for both locals and students looking for a satisfying Korean and/or Japanese meal with friends and family. Weekends can be extremely busy, especially around dinnertime, so plan to go at odd hours or make a reservation ahead of time. Otherwise, wait times can be 40 minutes to an hour – as I previously learned the hard way. Aside from its name, the restaurant signals its Koreanness with multiple ads for soju, a type of Korean alcohol, plastered on the walls. For someone who is everskeptical of Asian restaurants in the Berkshire area, this was reassuring. The interior is cozy, with tables largely lined on one side. On the other side is a sushi bar as well as an actual bar. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful, though sometimes service can fall on the slower side. If your crew includes a Korean-speaking person, try to greet the owners as well. They love meet-

ing Korean students, and you never know what perks you might score. Though its name suggests a single cuisine on offer, Korean Garden also features a large selection of Japanese dishes, from udon noodles to sushi, which, perhaps surprisingly, outnumbers the restaurant’s modest Korean offerings. Nonetheless, it is the Korean dishes that set this restaurant apart from others in the area. For those who are unfamiliar with Korean food, having a Korean friend to guide you through the menu will be invaluable. After taking our orders, our waitress brought out a complimentary sampling of Korean appetizers consisting of kimchi, sweet beans and more. Everything was fresh, tasty and great for helping to pass the time as we waited for our food (they will also refill your kimchi for free). We shared the kimchi pancake, which was delicious. The crispiness of the pancake, combined with the slightly acidic heat of the kimchi and the sweet-savory soy sauce, will make you want to take that last slice without asking the table. I had the soondobu chigae, a sizzlingly hot and spicy soup with soft tofu and seafood. Served with a side of white

rice, this dish would pair great with a chilly day, though it was 60 degrees outside when I was there. The soup was a bit milder than others I have had elsewhere, but given the area’s demographics, I think this is an intentional choice. If you want a non-spicy soup, the manduguk can offer a filling alternative with its hearty beef broth, dumplings and Korean rice cakes. Another dish that I did not have this time is the hot-stone bibimbap. This signature Korean mixed rice dish, available in meat or vegetarian options, will certainly fill you up and serve as your leftover breakfast the next day. Every time I leave Korean Garden, my belly and I are always happy. It is not cheap – most entrees are in the teens-to-twenties range – but the quality is definitely worth the price. I highly recommend it to people looking to eat marginally off-campus, whether for a special occasion (for me, the eve of my birthday) or no occasion at all. Korean Garden is located at 139 Ashland St. in North Adams. It is open every day except Monday for lunch and dinner. The hours are 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. on Sundays and 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on all other days.


Korean Garden, located in North Adams, offers tasty bibimbap (left), soondobu chigae (right) and more.


The Williams Record

April 17, 2019

At MASS MoCA, myth collides with memory in “Mind of the Mound” By LILY GOLDBERG ARTS EDITOR “Grandma’s out of there,” remarks Trenton Doyle Hancock, nodding his head in the direction of an elderly woman who, after looking around for a few seconds, is slowly backing her walker out of “Mound Museum,” a massive furry black and white striped structure covered in fuzzy pink splotches. “At least she matches the exhibit,” I say, gesturing to the woman’s jewel-toned blue coat. “That she does,” Hancock murmurs. We are sitting on a bench halfway between “Mound Museum” and “Halloween House,” a replica of Hancock’s grandmother’s house, which features a “demon-expelling cross” and a copy of Jet magazine. Passerbys move along. Hancock nurses his Diet Snapple. When I first spotted Hancock, whose largest solo exhibition to date, “Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass,” opened at MASS MoCA on March 9, I almost mistook his tranquility for tiredness. Not that Hancock isn’t allowed to be tired – he’s had a long week. Last Wednesday, Hancock conversed at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center with actor and puppeteer Frank Oz (the performer behind Miss Piggy and Yoda) about mythology, trauma and character building. On Thursday, he gave a private midnight tour of “Mind of the Mound” to “Transparent” creator Jill Soloway, who had just come from her talk at the College with Assistant Professor Jeffrey Israel. And on Friday, Hancock had just finished an audio walkthrough of the exhibition with Professor of Music and fellow creative Brad Wells, who is working with MASS MoCA on


“Mound Museum,” one of the structures in “Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass”, houses objects from the artist’s personal collection. “site-specific podcasts” related to its exhibitions. “Mind of the Mound” is the latest presentation of Hancock’s prodigious mythology of the Moundverse, a project he has been cultivating for nearly two decades. The Moundverse is dizzyingly vibrant – a rainbow path, the likes of which feature heavily in board games, leads visitors from one carnivalesque attraction to the next. Mounds are peaceful human-plant hybrids who remove toxins from the earth and help bring a colorful perspective to the otherwisemundane; in the exhibition, they manifest two-dimensionally in drawings and paintings, and three-dimensionally as physical structures which visitors can walk into. The Mounds are protected from their enemies (the Vegans, who “consume tofu and spill Mound blood every chance they get”) by Torpedoboy, a su-

perhero Hancock created at the age of 10. Many of the pieces in “Mind of the Mound” are narrative, telling the complex story of Mounds either explicitly (panels from a forthcoming graphic novel on the Mounds are blown up in a back room of the exhibition) or symbolically. Hancock aptly describes “Mind of the Mound” as a “family reunion,” in that it brings together pieces that had never before shown together. Whimsical and wondrous, the fantastical mythology of the Moundverse quietly asks those who enter it to question the constructed mythologies of everyday existence. Hancock, who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian family in Paris, Texas, perceives religion as one such institutional mythology. Hancock provides vegans, for example, as examples of self-righteous moralists; allegorically, they stand in for particularly dog-

matic Christians. Hancock also explores personal mythologies in the “Mound Museum,” where he compiles different objects from his childhood, including school worksheets. One such worksheet asks students to list examples of heroes and heroines; for heroes, Hancock provides Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus Christ and Romeo Montague; for heroines, Rosa Parks, God and Supergirl. The amalgamation of source material, references and objects is a crucial aspect of the Mounds themselves – the form of the Mound arose from Hancock’s tendency to collect and accumulate. Sections of “Mind of the Mound” are curated accumulations: “Trenton’s Toy Aisle” presents board games from the 1980s and 1990s exactly as they would be found on shelves, an array of dolls lines one wall, and, of course, in the “Mound Museum,” dozens of toys and mementos

stand at attention. The “Mound Museum” is a nod to Claes Oldenburg’s “Mouse Museum,” a 1972 piece by the pop artist that houses 385 objects, including personal souvenirs and faux food. With “Mound Museum” and its aesthetics of the readymade, therefore, Hancock enters into conversation with pop artists such as Oldenburg and Warhol; to seal the deal, a sign on the top of the “Mound Museum” cheekily reads, “WARHOL IN THIS TOGETHER.” “Mind of the Mound,” however, is decidedly not “pop art.” Oldenburg’s and Warhol’s work questions the ways familiar objects can be represented anew. Oldenburg’s plush food, for example, which is featured in “Mouse Museum,” defamiliarizes the mundane by presenting it in a new medium. Similarly, Warhol’s soup cans are stark and soulless, purposefully de-

familiarized. Hancock, on the contrary, is not interested in reconstructing the familiar so much as preserving the integrity of his minutiae. While Warhol sanitizes objects, Hancock sanctifies them; his collections are not simulacra but totems from the mythology of his own life. The personal relationship that Hancock has to the objects he has collected also relate to matters of identity. During the conversation with Frank Oz, Hancock expressed his desire to create an “everyman” that looked like him – “Black and geeky.” Speaking about Jordan Peele’s recent film Us, Hancock expressed admiration for how Peele’s use of tropes from majority-white ’80s thrillers – such as Jaws and The Goonies – in Us coaxed audiences to reflect on the underrepresentation of black narratives within that genre. By placing a Torpedoboy figurine in the “Mound Museum,” Hancock inserts his hero fearlessly into the swirl of cultural artifacts that shaped him. Hancock’s recognition and embrace of the personal nature of objecthood is truly remarkable in an era when decluttering has become king. Objects are as psychological as they are physical; Hancock’s presentation of his Mounds as celebratory archives reflects this. “Mind of the Mound” presents, at its core, a mode of engaging with the repressed self through intensive selfreflection. Hancock’s high school geometry tests are presented as art, alongside floor length paintings and imaginative drawings. Here, the Mound heals by incorporation. The architecture is big enough to embrace us all.

Box Office Hours: ‘Princess Mononoke’ with Murad Mumtaz By KAIRA MEDIRATTA EXECUTIVE EDITOR As part of its new program “Studio Ghibli Celebration,” Images Cinema will be showing one film per month from the classic Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli from March to November 2019. This month, Images featured Princess Mononoke, an epic story of conflict between humans, gods and nature. The highest-grossing film of 1997 in Japan, the critical and commercial blockbuster still holds relevance today. For this week’s “Box Office Hours,” I viewed and discussed Princess Mononoke with Murad K. Mumtaz, assistant professor of art. Mumtaz’s expertise is in the historical intersections of art, literature and religious expression in South Asia and beyond. He is also an artist in his own right, trained in the traditional practices of North Indian miniature painting. Appropriately, his art often explores representations of the relationship between people and land, as well as traditional versus materialistic culture. Princess Mononoke is set in Japan’s late Muromachi period (approximately 1336-1573). The film follows a confident young warrior named Ashitaka, who is struck with a deadly curse while fighting off an uncontrollable boar demon. To save himself from the evil consuming his body, Ashitaka must journey to the forests of the west. Upon arrival, he is thrown into an ongoing battle between a mysterious wolf-girl named Princess Mononoke, who protects the forest from the endeavors of an exploitative iron mining town, and the town’s leader, Lady Eboshi. Ashitaka attempts to broker peace between the two, with his elk Yakul by his side, while he wrestles with his growing feelings for the princess, otherwise known as San.

Princess Mononoke is often revered as Hayao Miyazaki’s most gruesome yet imaginative tale. Tellingly, my only memories from watching it many years ago entailed the sheer degree of blood and gore involved. Watching it for a second time, however, I was able to process the smaller moments that truly capture Miyazaki’s cleverness and artistry. It is true that the film does not shy away from visions of apocalypse and destruction; the ending almost leaves the forest a desolate wasteland before the healing powers of the mended Deer god restore it. It is the mature content and realness, however, that are perhaps what make it so timeless. I discussed the film with Mumtaz in regard to Indigenous ideas of the linearity of time, or lack thereof. “I think that’s what I love about this movie, the inevitability of the end and the idea of cyclic time – how once everything ends, there’s also a new beginning. And it also resonates with a lot of world traditions and their idea of time,” Mumtaz said. “The Yugas in Hinduism [an epoch or era in Hinduism], for example, they’re divided into four ages. The Golden Age [Satya Yuga] is the first age in which gods are literally walking on earth, and then there’re successive declines. And finally, most Hindus believe we are living in the end of the Kali Yuga right now. And then the idea is that its cyclical – so once the Kali Yuga ends, very much like this movie, there’s a new beginning.” What’s more are the ideas of loss and sadness inherent in the film, different levels of which are present throughout Miyazaki’s various films. “In his other movies, sometimes there’s some aspect of some tragedy that triggers an escape,” Mumtaz said. “In this, it’s very different in the sense that this is the reality, and this is a parallel to what we are

facing right now. This idea of apocalypse is very real. So in that sense it’s not an escape. There’s no sanitization here.” Perhaps the most striking moment in the film comes, however, when the all-powerful Deer god finally arrives in his nightwalker incarnation, appearing as a giant amorphous creature of light and energy. It is just before dawn, and the nightwalker, colored in electric hues of blue, is slowly returning to the sacred center of the forest. There are slight gusts of wind and the rustling of the kodamas or forest sprites, but for the most part, the scene is very still. In this stillness, the viewer feels that this is a secret moment just for them, an encounter with the divine. “One can talk about other sort of levels of reality, according to the traditional belief in which the spirit world resides above our material level,” Mumtaz noted. “And in traditional tribal and religious times, people claimed to have contact with that world, in very much the same way we see in these movies. That’s so typical of so many older traditions, in which you have that liminal space, isthmus, through which you can have access.” Fittingly, the word “mononoke” itselfis not a name but a Japanese term for an otherworldly spirit or shape-shifting monster. Princess Mononoke, for me, seemed to exist in that liminal space – where creatures of all manifestations, from the cute to the heinous to the frightening – can all be found. This conversation with Mumtaz is the fourth in a new Record film discussion series with faculty, staff or community members who specialize in particular aspects of films at Images. For those interested in taking part in this new series, please contact


Princess Mononoke was the second film showing at Images as part of its “Studio Ghibli Celebration.”


“Suffering from Realness,” a new exhibit at Mass MoCA, explores subjective truths and representation in news.

New exhibit probes realness By MAE BURRIS-WELLS STAFF WRITER The term “fake news” has morphed from a barb hurled from the mouth of Donald Trump to a “laughing-throughthe-pain” liberal quip to a pervasive vernacular expression. It has raised the issue of credibility across media platforms and has fueled accused news sites to lean into their missions of responsible, objective journalism. “Suffering from Realness,” an exhibition that opened at MASS MoCA on Saturday, hopes to engage with this dialogue about truth in the media, which even at its most earnest can leave out crucial perspectives or miss certain truths in the pursuit of perfect neutrality. “Suffering from Realness” looks for the subjective truth in, as curator Denise Markonish put it, “What it means to be human … and what it means to be an American.” Importantly, the show seeks out this meaning by looking beyond the sheen of constructed reality that powerful actors, including media organizations, have perpetuated and that citizens take for granted as truth. The title of the show comes from “Ni**as in Paris,” the 2011 song by Kanye West/Jay-Z in which West raps, “Doctors say I’m the illest / ‘Cause I’m suffering from realness.” These lines, which evoke mental illness, can be considered in conjunction with an art exhibit that seeks unadorned truths about the human condition. They seem to ask, “What does it mean to see the world with your eyes open?” The exhibit opened on Saturday with a procession that led the onlookers through the galleries. A band of instrumentalists out in front were followed closely by

a group of men in black carrying an oversized black sculpture of an American eagle. The spectacle was designed to resemble a jazz funeral in New Orleans, and its solemnity was almost confusing – after all, the event sought to celebrate the beginning of the exhibit, not to mourn its end. The eagle sculpture, titled “Requiem,” was created by Vincent Valdez and Adriana Corral, both of whom spoke at Saturday’s event. After the procession, Valdez spoke to the crowd about the inspiration for the massive fallen animal on the ground behind him, which was originally a large pencil drawing. He had been deeply disturbed by the articles and images coming out of a moment in 2011 when dead birds had starting raining from sky in places such as Arkansas and Louisiana. It made him think about what he would do if he were walking down the street and a bald eagle suddenly plummeted from the sky. What would he do with such a charged symbolic moment? Eight years and 900 pounds of clay later, Valdez has his answer, and it has a lot to do with exposing the superficiality of American symbolism, especially regarding its beloved national bird. He pointed out that privilege has defined the way most Americans see the eagle’s iconography; he believes the qualities we associate with it – bravery, freedom and honor – are only a few of the qualities that define the United States. “Requiem” is a reminder that, as Valdez said, “Someone’s privilege might be at someone else’s expense.” As Valdez was speaking, the wall behind him started to evolve under the viewer’s prolonged gaze. Dates like “11.06.2016,” “11.22.1963” and “09.11.2001”

started to emerge from what initially seemed to be just another blank white expanse. Each date represents a meaningful moment for one of the 243 Americans that artist Adriana Corral collaborated with on the project. These Americans came from every walk of life to submit their date and a written explanation of its significance for them. Corral then carved the dates and burned the writing. Corral’s intention was that this wall be “history for the people, by the people.” The collective nature of the project was important to her as it provided more perspectives on realness than an artist could necessarily access alone. Corral’s wall became a monument to the realities that too often go unheard in this country. The effort she took to stamp these realities into an aggressively white space, as well as the way that, as she said, “moments of legibility and illegibility” define the viewing of them and the burning ritual she performed, all infused her artistry with a deep and mindful humanity. Valdez and Corral are only two of the artists featured in “Suffering from Realness.” Other contributors to this bold and multifaceted exhibit include Robert Longo, Wangechi Mutu and Titus Kaphar. Together they provide another kind of power in realness, which shines through in the way the show closely knits their widely disparate works. To witness such a mighty amalgam of earnest, exploratory art strikes some awe in the heart of a budding cynic, and a feeling of faith in collective humanity’s capacity for meaningful good. Perhaps it is the beauty of this radical faith that so draws Corral to collaborate in her work and to be able to say, “I never do it alone.”


The Williams Record

April 17, 2019

Club sports compete at home tournaments, enter postseason By SOFIE JONES SPORTS EDITOR Several club sports teams competed last weekend, with women’s (La WUFA) and men’s ultimate frisbee (WUFO) earning bids to regional tournaments at the end of the month. Women’s water polo finished its season with its only home tournament, and men’s rugby secured a win in its second match of the season. La WUFA advanced to regionals after placing first at South New England Div. III Sectionals this weekend. La WUFA ended its regular season ranked as the fourth-best team nationally, with a record of 10– 2. The team’s season consisted of two six-game tournaments held in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Harrisonburg, Va. The women began their postseason last weekend, competing at sectionals in Northampton against Amherst, Smith and Mount Holyoke. The team entered as the first seed and maintained its standing, defeating Mount Holyoke 11-6 in the tournament’s finals. La WUFA will host the top eight teams in New England at Div. III regionals on April 27– 28. The top four teams will then advance to the national championships, which will be held in College Station, Texas, on May 18–19. La WUFA has competed in every national championship since 2013. “We are incredibly excited to host regionals,” team president and tri-captain Caroline Weinberg ’19 said before the

tournament. “Four of the top six nationally ranked teams will be here, so it is definitely going to be competitive, but it is also incredibly likely that the four of us move on to the national tournament.” WUFO hosted its own sectionals this weekend and secured a spot in regionals after finishing second. During pool play, the men took down Clark, Providence, Amherst and WPI, losing only to defending national champion Bryant in a hard-fought 15-10 game. Big catches from Tucker Lemos ’19, Kaizen Conroy ’21 and Nathaniel Munson Paolmba ’21 built momentum on Saturday, and the consistent play of Kees Knight ’20 led the team to key victories on Sunday. The record earned the men a spot in the weekend’s championship game, during which Bryant once again defeated them. The men travelled to two away tournaments this season, coming in first at one in New Jersey. “We’ve been working hard for months, and we’re starting to see it pay off,” team president and tri-captain Ari Ball-Burack ’19 said. Regionals will be held at Bryant in Smithfield, R.I., in two weeks. If WUFO finishes in the top four at the event, it will advance to nationals. “WUFO hasn’t gone to nationals since 2009 and, with a deep and talented senior class, there’s a lot of optimism that this could be the year,” Ball-Burack said. “Win or lose, regionals is going to be a high-level, entertaining two


Nate Munson-Palomba ’21 looks to score upfield after catching an under during WUFO’s home tournament at Cole Field last weekend. days of ultimate, and I can’t wait for that.” Women’s water polo hosted its own championship tournament this weekend, competing against six other teams from the New England region. The women won two of their three games, upsetting their competition to earn fifth after entering as the seventh seed. Although the team of 10 graduated six seniors last spring, captain Madja Murati ’21 said that it has had one of its most successful seasons yet. “We’ve been better this season than we have been in the past,” said Murati. “We’re on the up-and-up.”

SAAC promotes mental health awareness

While most of the teams in the league have outside coaching, the Eph team is completely student led. Murati added that the team’s upperclassmen help to train newer members, some of whom had never played water polo before. “It’s this really cool symbiotic relationship that works really well,” she said. The College’s cycling team is in the midst of its racing season. The team recently sent three cyclists to Shippensburg, Penn., to compete in a circuit and road races, as well as a hill climb. Cocaptain Matthew Wiseman ’20 took fifth in the Men’s A division hill climb on Sunday. “We had a great weekend racing our bikes


By WILLIAM NEWTON PRODUCTIONS MANAGER The College’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), in conjunction with the athletics department and NESCAC SAAC, hosted a series of events last week to raise mental health awareness on campus. Organized as part of a NESCACwide mental health awareness week, the programming both reflects broader efforts by students and the athletics department to make mental health resources more accessible and highlights a growing concern over the toll that student-athletes face in juggling their academic and athletic commitments at elite institutions. According to Joe Monserrat, a licensed psychologist who spoke in a NESCAC SAAC meeting earlier this year, only 10 percent of student-athletes have a mental health concern actually seek treatment. In addition to the broader stigmas associated with asking for mental health treatment, he noted that student-athletes may feel particularly reluctant to seek help due to the belief that counseling is not a valid excuse to miss practice and a stereotype that athletes should always push through any personal difficulties that they face. As part of the NESCAC initiative formed in that meet-

Games this week

ing, members of SAAC and the athletics department sponsored three “Lunch n’ Learns” last week with Samantha Livingstone, a speaker and former Olympic swimmer. These focused on some of the unique struggles and issues faced by studentathletes. On a more regular basis, SAAC sponsors weekly injured athlete lunches that give student-athletes an opportunity to discuss their experiences coping with injury, and the athletics department hosts weekly sports psychology walk-in hours. “Only a small portion of student-athletes who suffer from a mental health concern seek treatment,” SAAC co-president Tess Richman ’19 said. “We will continue to make mental health awareness a priority in our yearly planning and hope to increase the number of students that seek help through these efforts.” Though the injured athlete lunches are relatively new, the hiring of sports psychologists has been a growing initiative since 2013, when Associate Director for Student-Athlete Services Carolyn Miles first approached psychotherapist Paul Gitterman about providing counseling services for student-athletes. Since then, two more fellows have joined Gitterman, allowing them to offer walk-in sports psychology hours three times

Men’s and women’s crew Home 4/20, 9:30 a.m.

a week. Similar to Integrative Wellbeing Services’ “Let’s Talk” hours in Paresky, these are designed as unscheduled, informal meetings that aim to make student-athletes feel more comfortable approaching psychotherapy. “These services help reduce barriers to accessing help for people who may be more reluctant to consider psychotherapy,” Gitterman said. “Sports psychology counseling services, specifically, help student-athletes address performance concerns as well as the stressors of trying to manage life at Williams while playing a sport. The content of these meetings varies greatly and can involve topics such as learning mindfulness skills [and] addressing team dynamics, as well as inclusivity and relationship concerns.” While Miles and Gitterman take pride in the progress they have already made, both recognize that there is still considerable work to be done, given the high percentage of students and studentathletes who continue to let their mental health issues go untreated. “I believe [that] continuing on the path we have started to minimize any stigma that still exists around mental health is very important,” Miles said. “Making sure we increase accessibility to mental health services is a priority.”

Men’s and women’s track and field Home 4/20, 12:00 p.m.

annual John Donovan Memorial Tournament, named in memory of former Eph player John (JD) Donovan ’83. All of the tournament’s proceeds will be donated to the Brien Center for mental health and substance abuse services in Berkshire County. On April 27, rugby will end its season with a matchup against Amherst. The team already took down the Mammoths once this year during its fall season. “If we win, my senior class would become the first in club history to have beaten Amherst eight times in a row,” Rugby President Seth Goldstein ’19 said. “I think that would be a great legacy to leave behind.”

College athletic director responds to Sen. Murphy ’96, upholds amateurism By JACK McGOVERN SPORTS EDITOR

A board in Lasell invites students to share the “elephants in my room,” or experiences that go unspoken.

in weather that felt like summer!” Wiseman said. The team will compete once more this season, in a weekend race at the end of the month. Wiseman, who is currently ranked 16th in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference, will also qualify for nationals if he ends the season in the top 20. Many new members have joined the cycling team this year, which Wiseman said has made the season “a major success.” Men’s rugby also competed this weekend, taking down Holy Cross 20-0 on Saturday. The team began its season on April 6 with a win over Wesleyan. Next Saturday, the team will host its

A March 28 report released by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy ’96 of Connecticut criticized “the college sports industrial complex,” calling on the NCAA to pay student-athletes. “The NCAA must start putting the players first – that starts with finding a way to fairly compensate them for their labor,” the report, titled “Madness, Inc.: How everyone is getting rich off college sports — except the players,” reads. Lisa Melendy, the College’s athletic director, said she has “a different take” on the issue. She explained that she would like to make college sports more amateur, not more professional, and described the NESCAC conference as a model for schools at all levels. “The part, to me, that’s broken is that we have this system [at the highest levels of Div. I] where students are part of these colleges and universities, but for many of them – not all – they’re not really students,” Melendy said. Murphy’s office told the Record that the suggested action pertained primarily to high-profile programs at Div. I schools. Yet, when asked whether he believed that the NCAA should also find a way to compensate Div. III student-athletes, Murphy spokeswoman Laura Maloney did not close the door. “Sen. Murphy believes that, at the very least, we need to start with Div. I sports like basketball and football, where students are making millions for their school and receiving a small fraction of that in student aid,” Maloney said. “He recognizes that the system for paying student-athletes, whether at a Div. I or Div. III schools, is very complex. That’s why he thinks the NCAA should start coming up with solutions to this issue.” Melendy cautioned against the possibility of direct payment, explaining that Div. I student-athletes are compensated through athletic scholarships, as well as through the many coaches, trainers and staff members that support

them throughout their college careers. She acknowledged, however, that many studentathletes feel unfairly treated because they are not able to make the most of the educational opportunities that these scholarships are meant to provide. “If you can’t ever go to class, if you can’t major in what you want to major in and your entire life is structured around your athletic life rather than your academic life, that makes the college scholarship lose a lot of value,” she said. While no Div. III schools are allowed to offer athletic scholarships, Melendy said that NESCAC institutions do a uniquely effective job of making sure that student-athletes, like any other students, leave college with the skills that they need to succeed. She emphasized that NESCAC schools play fewer contests than colleges and universities in other conferences, allowing athletes to spend more time in class and less time on the road. Melendy also praised the College’s afternoon practice schedule as a means of ensuring that student-athletes can take advantage of academic opportunities. “I know there’s lots of controversy on our campus about the division of the day, but what it does in this very specific context is allow athletes to not have to choose between practice and classes,” she said. “They are choosing their courses first. They know there’s going to be time set aside for practice.” Melendy, who was named athletic director in 2011 and served as head coach of women’s soccer from 1985–2001, said that she has not heard requests for compensation from studentathletes on campus. In fact, she considers student-athletes at the College fortunate to have access to coaches and trainers, as well as the life lessons and inherent value that come with participation in sports. “Our athletes come to Williams because they want the best education and a high quality athletic experience. They know they can find both of those at Williams. Some of them have rejected Div. I – not big time Div. I, no one’s

playing basketball at Duke — because they want this more integrated life.” Murphy’s report introduced the problems with collegiate athletics through a detailed look at the Feb. 20 injury to Duke men’s basketball star Zion Williamson, the projected first overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Williamson, a first-year, hurt his left knee in the first minute of the rivalry game against North Carolina when his Nike shoe buckled as he tried to change direction. Nike lost the rough equivalent of $1.1 billion on the stock market the next day, according to the report. The report called Williamson’s shoe “a symbol of what college sports has become” and described his injury as a “perfect example” of “how corporations exploit the unique and immoral amateurism of college sports.” Melendy said, however, that Murphy’s report did not account for all the other benefits that Williamson got from his time at Duke. She described the experience of superstar men’s basketball players, like Williamson, as “a paid internship for the year to improve their skills, to improve their visibility, to improve their value to the NBA.” “[Williamson] got a lot of benefit from playing at Duke that is going to turn into money for him down the road,” she continued. “What he didn’t get, which I think is sad, is an education, but that didn’t seem like that was anyone’s intention to start with.” Though Williamson’s injury elevated the nationwide conversation over student-athlete compensation, Murphy’s office said that he was motivated by his love of collegiate sports, including those at the College. Murphy was a member of men’s tennis and a fan of other Eph teams. Melendy shares Murphy’s passion for college sports, but, with her many years of experience in Div. III, is looking to take the conversation in a different direction. “Div. III is very much an integrated educational model, and I wouldn’t want to lose that,” she said.

Men’s golf, Spring Invitational

Men’s lacrosse vs. Bowdoin

Women’s tennis vs. Amherst

Home 4/20, All day

Home 4/20, 1:00 p.m.

Home 4/20, 1:00 p.m.

Profile for The Williams Record

April 17, 2019: Students organize first ever Black Previews  

April 17, 2019: Students organize first ever Black Previews