“Warring Against a Neighborhood”: A Conversation With David Simon on Police Brutality and the War on Drugs

BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 19: David Simon, creator of the television show "The Wire", poses for a portrait on September 19, 2010, in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images for the MacArthur Foundation)

Editor’s Note: David Simon is a former police reporter for the Baltimore Sun, which enabled the research for his book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood. He is best known for his Emmy Award-winning show “The Wire,” which detailed the institutions and lives of Simon’s native Baltimore. He spoke at Williams on Wednesday, September 14, as part of the Class of ’71 Public Affairs Forum on Inequality. While visiting, he set aside some time to speak with the Alternative. Below is an unedited transcript of that conversation.

Williams AlternativeWell, let’s just begin. Obviously you’re a police reporter from from Baltimore. So my first question is how do you feel that Black Lives Matter has affected Baltimore and the way you think about Baltimore?Read more

Purple Bruises: My Thoughts on Mob Rule at Williams College – John C. Drew


As one of the last conservatives to have ever taught at Williams College, I feel vindicated in reporting that this once prestigious school has now devolved into a form of mob rule. Based on the aggressive language used to intimidate students like Zach Wood, it looks to me like the college is now dominated by hard leftists who have more in common with Joseph Stalin than with FDR. … Read more

Response To The Trustees’ Decision – The Williams Endowment Initiative And Divest Williams


Trustees of Williams College,

We are dismayed that you have rejected the request of students, faculty, staff, and alumni to divest the College’s $2.3 billion endowment from investment funds that include the world’s 200 largest publicly traded fossil-fuel companies. Despite support from 71% of students who voted in record numbers in a student referendum, 55% of faculty, and hundreds of alumni, you instead chose a less ambitious path that fails to provide the leadership so desperately required to confront the biggest challenge of our time. Perhaps most alarmingly, in making this decision, you declared that fossil fuel companies’ campaigns to attack science, spread misinformation, and impede informed democratic decision-making are consistent with the mission and values of the College. This is not consistent with the Williams we know and care about. … Read more

The Squirrels and I; or Tale of a F-1 Non-Resident Alien – Carlos Malache


If I went to my bedroom, what do I expect? My bed. If I go to a war-zone, death; If I go to a prison, prisoners; if I go to a hospital, sick people and doctors trying to cure them; if I go to a palace, kings and queens; in churches, clergy and laity; in a school, teachers and students. If I go to homes I find families.

What do I mean by this platitude? If I come to the U.S., I find “Americans.” If I’ve come to a post-industrial society, I expect bureaucratic migratory grinding as a first welcome, from the cubicles of their human assembly line. I wish the random checks randomly got not-so-random–checking me every time because of me. But precisely there’s the beauty of it: it’s nothing personal. Precisely there is the catch: it’s not because of you, you brown, black, yellow, South American, Arabic, Indian, African, you; … Read more

A Good Word for Adam Falk – Alex Sun


Students are discontent about a lot of things, and they have a right to be. Today, the newest phalanx of student discontent is directed at the man at the top: President Adam Falk. This discontent has become increasingly obvious since the article “Where the Falk Are You” found its way onto these hallowed pages. The article, which argues that President Falk has been absent on campus life, has touched a collective nerve on the student body. Common descriptions of the President from students include “shifty,” “glib,” and “awkward.” These descriptions are usually made in jest, but, nonetheless, they paint a negative image. … Read more

Happy Spring Break! – Williams Alternative

Source: Eleanor Taylor, New York Times

In College and Hiding from Scary Ideas” – Judith Shulevitz, The New York Times

“[W]hile keeping college-level discussions ‘safe’ may feel good to the hypersensitive, it’s bad for them and for everyone else. People ought to go to college to sharpen their wits and broaden their field of vision. Shield them from unfamiliar ideas, and they’ll never learn the discipline of seeing the world as other people see it. They’ll be unprepared for the social and intellectual headwinds that will hit them as soon as they step off the campuses whose climates they have so carefully controlled. What will they do when they hear opinions they’ve learned to shrink from? If they want to change the world, how will they learn to persuade people to join them?”

Survey Reveals CSS Officers Tired of Being Treated Like “Frankensteins” – Quentin Cohan

HOPKINS HALL – A recent anonymous survey of the Williams College Safety and Security staff revealed that a number of the crew feel misunderstood by the student body due to the misinformed impression that when they arrive at parties they are there to break them up, when they are actually there “because we just want to kickback and have a good time. We were kids once too after all.” … Read more

CC Candidates Promise to Give “Face to the Faceless” – Quentin Cohan

Eschewing standard rhetoric, College Council Co-Presidential Candidates Taylor Swanson ’16 and Avery Bluth ’16 presented their platform at this week’s presidential debate in which they promised to give a “face to the faceless” students on campus. “Every year somebody promises to give a voice to the voiceless on campus, but we wanted to distance ourselves from that tired platform,” Swanson said in an interview after the debate, “we wanted to do something different, and this is a important issue.”Read more

“Democracy is Overrated”: College Council Reveals All – Publius


Taking part in a combined press conference on Monday, members of College Council discussed just how cool they felt to be at the center of Williams College’s latest political scandal.

“I never in a million years thought I’d be using words like ‘interim’ and ‘annulment’ seriously,” said CC president Erica Moszkowski (‘15). “I had just finished season three of House of Cards when the Record published its op-ed and my first thought was ‘Here we go, Ms. President’. [double-taps podium with fist]” Read more

On social media and self-discipline – James Hitchcock

I lack self-discipline. I’m a self-loathing millennial in this way; I procrastinate on work, sometimes wash down one post-class beer with an unnecessary second, and have put off Sunrise Hikes for three years running in favor of two more blessed hours of sleep. I’m by no means alone in this; I suspect many other college students–both from our present generation and those to whom we’re heirs–partake and partook in the same extensive tradition of mediocrity. Yet one demarcation between us and them in this realm of overindulgence is the omnipresence of social media among young people today. Much has been written about sites and apps like Facebook or Yik Yak–mostly overwrought hand-wringing that serves as a convenient example of the heightened level of self-awareness we feel about the online identities we create and neurotically maintain.

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