“The Importance of Community” (Nov. 14, 2011)
Dear Fellow Ephs,
Please take the time to read this entire email. As we’re sure you have all heard, we will not be having classes tomorrow. Over the past 48 hours, hundreds of students have come together and rallied against the horrific, criminal words that were written Friday night. Many of you may be wondering why we are making such a big deal about this? Why are classes cancelled because of one criminal act? It is easy to brush this off as the actions of one ignorant person. It is easy to label this as an isolated incident. It is easy to say that Williams is not a campus filled with hate and overt acts of racism and move on.
We cannot do that. We cannot hide from the evils of these words and the acts of discrimination that take place on a daily basis at Williams. We cannot take this night as a night to party or take tomorrow as a day to catch up on work but rather must view this time as an opportunity to engage with our community. We must all take time away from our hectic schedules to listen to each other and engage in difficult conversations that happen far too rarely at Williams.
In standing up together as a community against discrimination, we ask that you wear purple and yellow tomorrow in a sign of solidarity and support for our community. Below is a schedule of events for the day. We want to stress the importance of both attending these events and taking this day seriously.
Timeline of the events
For those seeking safe spaces, please take note to the following: tonight, starting at 10:30 Rice House, Jenness, and Hardy, will be safe spaces with for students to come together and sit, talk, and process what has happened in the last 48 hours. Although staff from the MCC and Psychological Services will arrive on Monday morning for those seeking to talk, we encourage students who need a place tonight to feel part of a safe community to join with others seeking solace with others.
10 am in Currier Quad:
We Deserve to Live Rally Against Discrimination and Hate March.
11 am on Paresky Lawn:
President Falk’s Address to the Student Body, Faculty, Staff, and Administration.
Student’s Personal Stories about how racism, homophobia, sexism, classism, and other discrimination permeates our campus on a day-to-day basis.
12 pm in Dining Halls:
Lunch in which we encourage you all to reflect upon these earlier events and provide support for your peers who have been affected by discrimination and hate at Williams.
2 pm in Baxter Hall in Paresky:
An Open Mic Forum in which students will gather to share personal stories and reactions to this hate crime and other instances of discrimination on campus.
7 pm in Goodrich Hall:
A more practical discussion will be held with Lily Rodriguez about future demands on the administration and how to move forward about address discrimination on campus. There will also be a discussion about the specific series of events that culminated in today’s events.
There will be safe spaces designated throughout the day for students to discuss their anger, sadness, and disappointment with the college community and initial administrative reactions.
If you take out anything from this discussion, the 200 students that mobilized together against discrimination wanted to leave you with this note…
“A student wrote “All Niggers Must Die” on the 4.5 floor in prospect. Students, faculty, and staff are mobilizing for change. Join us in solidarity to denounce discrimination.”
Francesca Barrett and Nick Fogel
College Council Co-Presidents