We, the freshmen of Frosh Revue, want to add our voice to the conversation regarding our show. We hope to shed light on what Frosh Revue truly is—not the distorted version that has emerged over the last few days. The FRamily is important to us, but The Record represented only a piece of the story, and that fragment has exploded into something at odds with what Frosh Revue stands for. The 2014 Directors have been enacting changes since the beginning of the year to make Frosh Revue a more supportive, comfortable space. We, the cast, are excited by these changes and are eager to build off of them. Frosh Revue has meant different things to each of us. We hope only that this incident starts a constructive dialogue about hazing on campus but does not needlessly pit the student body against Frosh Revue. We’re excited to perform this weekend and hope to demonstrate to the Williams community what Frosh Revue is about, something that we’ve attempted to accomplish further in the following series of Frosh perspectives.
To quote that one Bob Dylan song from the ’60s, “The times, they are a-changin’.” It’s true–we live in a time of dramatic social and societal change. Allow me to be self-indulgently prosaic for a moment and consider about some of the things that have occurred in the past decade: we elected an African-American President, legalized marijuana (medically and recreationally) in several states, flew private spacecraft out of the atmosphere, and developed cars that don’t even need drivers. Personally, I think that’s pretty damn impressive.
It’s Friday night–thank God. It’s my time to shine. I’m going to shower and throw on my best looking clothes. Does this shirt look good? Do these shoes match this pair of pants? Maybe I can even find a girl tonight–that’d be sweet.
Reports are in of a new student news organization on campus, designed to provide a fresh outlook on student life and to serve as a forum for discourse that otherwise wouldn’t be taking place. Calling itself the “Williams Alternative Alternative,” the new group seems conceived in opposition to the current ubiquitous news source on campus, the Williams Alternative. Given the Alternative’s monopoly on revealing investigative journalism, biting satire, and thoughtful op-eds, the WAA is taking a different approach. “It all started when two friends and I were talking about issues on campus and realized that there’s a real lack of trite, surface-level journalism at Williams,” says Bryce Chandler, the WAA’s co-founder and editor-in-chief. “When the campus gets riled over important issues like racism and sexual assault, there’s no place to turn to for simple, self-affirming coverage written by people who don’t care about it very much in the first place. We also figured that if something seemed especially divisive or complicated, we could just choose to not cover it at all, and complacent readers would be assured that there’s nothing to worry about.”
This past Mountain Day, students were left stranded on the trails to and from Stony Ledge due to what experts claim to be “the most selfie’d moment in recent history.” Though the trip downhill is often the quicker journey due to the weight of five* apple cider donuts helping gravity aid Williams students downward, stopping to get “just one more picture” created serious traffic jams. The Williams College Health Center reported at least 12 students coming in with swollen ankles due to repeated “Flat Tires.” One student recounts, “I was just walking down the trail when I saw the perfect autumn leaf that I just had to get a picture of. Next thing I know someone ran into me and stepped on my ankle. The doctor’s say it’s broken, but it’s well worth the Instagram likes.” Doctors estimate that she’ll be on crutches for three weeks. Another student complained, “What was supposed to be a 45 minute trip down took at least 55. Ugh, sometimes I hate this school.”
Every year, Williams’ unusual first-year entry system is the subject of controversy and debate, with some welcoming the feeling of community it creates and others accusing the school administration of using it to foster a sense of artificial diversity among the student body. This year, the comments of one especially disgruntled freshman may do something to shift attention to this debate. Brian Donald, a resident of Pratt 3 in Mission Park, newly-arrived from New Canaan, CT, has been making it known loud and clear that he feels out of place in his entry. An outspoken racist, Mr. Donald says it’s obvious that Williams “hand-picked me for my entry because of my racism” so that “they can pat themselves on the back for having checked that off the ‘diversity’ list.” Mr. Donald further explained that “in the entire rest of my entry, there isn’t a single other openly racist person. So whenever race comes up, people always look to me, as if I represent every other person in the world who thinks that people should be judged based on their skin color and heritage. I don’t like being treated like the only part of me that matters is my bigotry.”
What is the “moment of truth” for a liberal arts education? Is it when you open the envelope that tells you if you’ve been admitted to graduate school? Is it after you’ve interviewed for your first job or internship out of college, waited anxiously, and the phone rings with the final decision? Are these the moments that determine whether or not your liberal arts education has proven worthwhile? These are important moments, to be sure, but in my view they are not an appropriate measure for the value of a liberal arts education.
When President Falk emailed the student body at 6:06 am on Friday that Mountain Day, was, indeed, upon us, it would be a stretch to say many students were particularly surprised. The week leading up to Mountain Day was characterized by endless discussion of the rather healthy odds that Friday would be the day; most of us knew that the weather would be nice and, barring unforeseen climatic disaster, Mountain Day would occur.
“…And who am I?
That’s one secret I’ll never tell.
You know you love me.
Rape and sexual assault are ubiquitous at Williams. Not the acts themselves, I pray, but a stroll through any building on campus yields a thousand different posters politely reminding you to get consent before proceeding with other evening activities. Students regularly flock to events like Take Back the Night. All freshmen undergo sessions of RASAN talks as part of the small handful of student organizations afforded official time-slots among the First Days rituals. Sexual assault awareness is tightly woven into the more general fabric of Williams culture, and every year, it’s increasingly the case.