I Say, What Has Become of My Once-Esteemed Legacy? Notes On the State of Williams College and Its Greater Townshippe, from the Desk of the Ghost of Ephraim Williams


Well, it has been nigh upon six-and-twenty decades that I have lain in this rather dismal grave, and since I gave my life so valiantly to thwart the economic and military advances of the dastardly Frenchmen and their allies amongst the Native Peoples, the state of the world above my rank tomb has changed and progressed ever and ever faster, and without relent. I must admit, for the greater part of the last century I have spent much of my time creating ominous noises in homes throughout New England, attending ghost-only BDSM parties, and haunting the office of Al Gore – but from time to time I do like to check in on my little “pet project”, Williams College and its eponymous Towne, to see how fares my legacy and, more importantly, how it stands in the Forbes Ranking.

Yet while I have long sought an outlet to publicize my thoughts and grievances related to my titular institution and its surrounding municipality, that wretched rag known as the “Record” has just as long ignored me, favoring instead bouts of yellow journalism, odious self-flagellations from its editorial board, and a veritable onslaught of pieces of Opinion from someone named Emily Calkins, who by the sheer volume of her literature I presume to be a kingmaker of unrivaled influence amongst the students present there.

Thus it was with great joy and optimism that I discovered this “webbe-site”, dedicated to the underserved amongst us and to submissions intended to bring humor to the halls of my little College, which by its positioning in the barren hills of rural Colonial Massachusetts heard not a chuckle for the first five decades of its existence. So here I do intend to publish my thoughts on the state of the College, its inhabitants, and its culture, and by doing so encourage various adjustments to grow and strengthen my legacy on this earth and in the US World News and Report:

1) I must admit I have not kept abreast on changes to the English tongue, but I am quite confident the phrase “free school” has not deviated from its meaning in my time. Upon my death I had not two thousand dollars to my name, and yet I see the College charge its pupils now a sum more than twenty times that? In my day, the purpose of a Collegiate education was to bring together like-minded young wealthy white men, that they might read ancient texts and masturbate in dimly lit, windowless rooms. Assuming this mission has not changed, I am thus astounded by the fee Williams charges its pupils. I fear soon that our nations brightest, wealthiest and whitest young men will soon flee abroad, to masturbate in dimly-lit windowless rooms at schools in the Far East for a fraction of the price.

2) Why must I, floating eerily throughout the halls of Campus, overhear so many young pupils bemoan how “boring” they find my namesake town, how “small” and “dull” they find its “party scene”? Did they, perhaps, confuse “Northwestern Corner of Massachusetts” as some sort of euphemism for the newest chic neighborhood in Manhattan? As aforementioned, the primary purpose of Williams College has always been the reading of ancient texts and masturbating in dimly lit, windowless rooms, and there is simply no better place for that than the rolling purple hills of the Berkshires. Save your bemoaning for when upon you graduate and finding dimly lit windowless rooms will be a struggle unto itself.

3) Ever since Homeland ended, I have been fraught for entertainment, and so it was with great merriment that I did overhear the scandalous circumstances surrounding the College Council election of this year. But by God, what ever has happened to the youth of today’s culture that they take these proceedings with such gravity, and worse, with such autonomy? When I commanded a brigade into Battle beside Lake George, I watched scores of eighteen-year-olds march into a hail of gun-fire and death, and I heard nary a peep of dissent. If I did, I shot them. That was how we raised adolescents in the days before Williams even had its first classroom. Now I see, as I spy upon pupils from my ghostly dwelling in Goodrich Hall, sophomores and juniors politically assassinating one other with photos from All Hallow’s Eve, denigrating their already sham elections, and making the administration dance and twirl as the crafty Swiss do control their novel wooden puppets. The role of the Administration must be, as it was in the earliest days of the school, to secure funding, to provide for a suitable Faculty, and to ensure an ample supply of dimly lit, windowless rooms in which wealthy, white young men might masturbate freely and without abandon. The students on my campus run amok with autonomy, and it must be squelched, lest my legacy collapse into a ruin of democratic fervor.

4) Stop the puns upon my name. This is an ultimatum, and if not met I shall bring previously unthought-of havoc upon Williamstown and all its inhabitants. If need be I shall haunt every Goodrich dance, every dingy Greylock basement bout of revelry so that all Williams students can find no carnal release save for alone, at night, in their dimly lit windowless rooms.

Well, my celestial spirit grows weak, and I fear I soon must return to my dreary tomb. May you all take these condemnations to heart and begin at once to reform my titular College, to return it to its former glory, and to ensure my prominence in the Earthly realm for centuries more to come. As I assume it is now, let Williams remain a prestigious and widely known brand, known not just in New England but indeed the world over as a famous center of higher learning, a proud legacy of its brave and cherished founder.


The Ghost of Ephraim Williams


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