Seated at a large wooden desk in his motorcycle paraphernalia-lined office and sporting a neatly trimmed silver goatee, Dave Boyer, commander-in-chief of Williams College Safety and Security, spends most of his time similarly to other College inhabitants–reading through hefty packets of information about Williams. Boyer spends most mornings sorting through the previous day’s “incident reports,” the lengthy compilations of all the security officers’ reports over the previous 24 hours. “That’s a big portion of the mornings,” Boyer says, “to review the previous incidents, to pass that information on to the departments that require it.” Though his job is to go after bad guys (i.e, misbehaving students) he is much more IRS than CIA. At this point in his career, Boyer says he is in meetings or doing administrative work about 90-95% of the time–though he would prefer a different percentage.
The unlikely culprit of a recent cultural appropriation scandal in our dining halls.
WHITMAN’S DINING HALL – Recently, several students have stepped forward claiming that they take offense at the college’s decision to feature hamburgers as a regular meal option in its dining halls. These students of various German backgrounds consider the appropriation of the food item culturally insensitive and a flagrant mockery of their heritage. “It just sickens me to see hamburgers on the menu almost every day. I bet most of the people who eat them have never even been to Hamburg,” claimed one particularly angry student who has chosen to remain anonymous. Upon further investigation, this reporter discovered that the student in question isn’t even from Hamburg. When confronted, the student responded, “Well, Lauenberg is a suburb. It’s only an hour away. I visited Hamburg a lot growing up, though.”
Got a little too hammered last night? Feel like you might have alcohol poisoning but the cost of an ambulance ride and a night at North Adams Regional Hospital is a little out of your price range? Sophomore Alex Huang’s new start-up has you covered.
I was asked to write something about the liberal arts, to join a conversation that was started because it seems we lack a shared sense here at the college of what it means to be where we are, and to devote ourselves to the work we are doing together. My colleagues Peter Low and Lee Park have written already in the Record about the trends at Williams that make this inquiry pressing, and have done a beautiful job of historicizing the various ways that the liberal arts have been thought—as, among other things, an ethics, a commitment to radical forms of freedom. I would like to write with similar clarity, but have been struggling with knowing what I can say. It’s clear enough that the crisis in the liberal arts is tied to the rise of neoliberalism and an increasingly rapacious capitalism that seeks to instrumentalize and monetize every gesture, every thought, and every impulse we have as human beings. It seems to me that one of the most important questions is therefore what the role of the liberal arts education might be in resisting its seemingly unstoppable ascent, creating a space where we imagine ourselves for once as neither consumers nor products. As a nonprofit institution, the college has the incredible privilege of being responsible to the public good, rather than to the profit of private shareholders. The idealism with which I approach the question of our purpose seems to me therefore a necessary aspect of the liberal arts education: at best, I think, the college offers us a unique opportunity to look deeply, in community, across disciplines, at what we face.
We walk amongst you. “Isn’t he that kid from Minnesota? No—Alaska.” The Canadian students’ experience here at Williams can be summed up in that small anecdote. The fact is, most Williams students, seemingly headed towards the top of their fields, can’t identify us from the rest of the populace as we walk from class to class, clothed in toques and flannels—apologizing to everyone who accidentally bumps into us. Though not entirely our experience, the following has been compiled from a series of interviews with fellow ‘hosers’ who were asked to describe how they felt being a Canadian at the College. No longer will we be shunned watching TSN alone on our computers while the common room is dominated by whatever college sport the season dictates you Americans watch. These are the confessions of the Canadian student’s experience.
Adam Falk has been adamant that he stands on no particular side when controversy tarnishes this campus. That all changed this year. “Bloomberg, the hate crimes, the infamous cereal fiasco. All nothing compared to the shocking news I just discovered. Our alumni marriage statistics are at an all time low!” After the discovery that Ephs don’t actually marry other Ephs at a rate of 40%, Falk has spearheaded the movement to get numbers back up. “There were several proposals at first. I even suggested utilizing my signature move – having a forum on the topic. In the end we decided the best option was Date Night at our swankiest establishment, the ‘82 Grill.”
I’ve been asked quite a few times since I’ve gotten here, “Well, how are you liking it? How is Williams?” My answer is usually, “It’s great! I really love it here.” I genuinely stand by this answer. I am quite happy here and everyday I find myself more thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given, the incredible professors I have access to, and the growth I’ve experienced every day.
Occasionally though, when I’m asked this question, I sense a tinge of cynicism or maybe just genuine curiosity as to what I “really” think about Williams. Then, I answer a tad less idealistically. I’ve told a few professors rather blatantly “Everyone here is far more concerned with academic credentials and grades than with actually growing and engaging intellectually.” The resounding reaction has been the same each time: “You hit the nail on the head.” … Read more
PARESKY CENTER–A blind survey of 250 freshmen revealed that there is a consensus among the class of 2018 that Rachel Seles could have, and should have, gotten with somebody better than the boy she did–one Arnold Pfeiffer. According to sources who preferred to remain anonymous because of fear of retribution, Ms. Seles is considered a “catch” by members of her class, and “one of those girls who is fun, pretty, well-liked by students and professors alike, and always stops to chat with friends.” According to those same sources, Mr. Pfeiffer is not as highly considered. “He wears bean boots and a Patagonia fleece a lot,” one source told, “which are fine or whatever, but in terms of style, personality, or looks he’s nothing special. Honestly, he’s kind of a squid.”
Anyone standing in front of the Chapin Hall steps Friday morning between the hours of 10:00 and 11:00 A.M. may have been unknowingly witness to a sorry sight: second-year Williams student Adam Gumbrecht sitting on the steps, discreetly using his iPhone to page through the Forbes and U.S. News & World Report college rankings, with the hopes of reassuring himself of his value in this world before the physics test he was taking at 11:00 completely destroyed his self-esteem once again. Mr. Gumbrecht had initially been delighted when the rankings released earlier this year had validated his choice of college, and he kept Williams’ #1 spot firmly in mind when he returned in September to the school where, the year before, he hadn’t been successful in classes or making friends, having in fact spent countless sleepless nights wondering whether it would ever feel like the right place for him.