The Williams College Council and anti-Semitism

Those of you who say you skip the posts about coddled and entitled students, go ahead and skip this one. It’s just a short update on the anti-Semitism of students at Williams College, whose College Council denied a pro-Israel organization (WIFI) status as a recognized student organization while giving that status to a pro-Palestinian one (SJP). There’s little doubt about the reason for this double standard, which, though in violation of many College rules, has been tacitly accepted by the college’s administration (who didn’t do anything except mouth disappointment and say that the unrecognized Jewish group could still use University facilities). The minutes of the meeting are kept secret except from Williams students, and the vote by the College Council against giving formal status to the pro-Israel organization (13-8) was by secret ballot so the cowardly miscreants could hide their names.

What purports to be a record of the Williams College Council, and a report by its secretary, one “Lance”, has appeared here and can be downloaded here. I have no doubt that it’s authentic, as it originated on a Williams-alumni website (EphBlog), but one must always be a bit wary. Here’s the header:

And on page 2 you find the relevant part from the person who took the minutes (my emphasis):

Lance: Hi there, I’m the minutekeeper. My name is Lance. Anyways, thank you so much for your thoughtful email. If you’d like to tell me… so, just a procedure from CC, because I want to be done with it too, I understand. If you say that a certain thing was misattributed to the wrong person, I was handling 12 different guests that were sitting in geographically different locations, I had to look down while typing, right? So it is a bit challenging, but for instance, I don’t remember which guest number you were and I don’t remember which guest number you were. I also don’t know which guest number I attributed your guest number to, right? But if you want to send me a quick correction, because clearly you know which ones are misattributed, I can easily change those numbers real quick. That is always how we do it, that is why we approve them in the next week’s minutes. As for ‘in shambles’, I only didn’t type down two things: 1) personally identifying information – if someone who said something that was deeply personal, I tried to limit that to preserve anonymity; 2) clearly anti-Semitic things I didn’t type down. I want [sic, must be “won’t”] repeat them, but I didn’t type those things down. So those are the only two things I didn’t type. If that is a mischaracterization that you are uncomfortable with, I don’t know what to tell you. Those are the only two things I didn’t type. Again, there is an audio recording. I can’t actually, accurately 100% transcribe things, though I do try my best. But that is really all I can say. If there are specific edits, I’d love to hear them. I can just edit them real quick, we can vote on it, and we can move on to this training.

So not only the names of those who voted on each side were kept secret, but so were “clearly anti-Semitic things” that were said. This shows that there was some anti-Semitism espoused at the meeting, but for some reason (you can guess why), it wasn’t recorded.

It’s telling that with all its efforts to expunge hate from the Williams campus, the administration doesn’t seem to care much about the anti-Semitism that, I suspect, is rife among its students. That’s because, of course, Jews don’t count as PoCs (the new acronym for “people of color.”)

If you read this, Williams administrators, will you investigate? I don’t think so.



  1. Posted May 9, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I never miss the posts on campus issues. I’m very grateful someone on the left is doing the work of exposing this palpable nonsense! Better that than the conservative monopoly on the issue which is too often hyper partisan and sometimes exaggerated. Your careful, properly researched liberal critique is much appreciated by some of us, worry not.

    • Posted May 9, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Appreciated by me also, as I keep trying to ‘wrap my head around’ (as we used to say) what the heck is going on, and how did we end up with this mess.

      • Martin Levin
        Posted May 10, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        +1 Canada is not immune to this nonsense, which seems mostly a disease of the Anglosphere.

  2. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted May 9, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I think you are addressing a serious issue here so it’s certainly worth the space on your web-site. One point I am not quite in agreement with you about, though, is your implied view that a secret ballot was not the right way to decide on the status of the pro-Israel organisation. Whilst it is true that a secret ballot allows people to vote without embarrassment for positions that they might be ashamed of if the ballot was public, this surely cuts both ways. If there is a public show of hands it sometimes takes a lot of courage to vote against the majority view and who is to say that in this particular meeting that the vote would not have been even more decisively against approving the pro-Israel organisation if it had been a non-secret ballot? I would add that beyond the simple embarrassment/social pressure to vote one way or another, non-secret ballots also open up voters to even uglier forms of ‘persuasion’.

    • Posted May 9, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but somehow Congress manages to do this. PLUS the students elect the College Council representatives and don’t they need to know how the people they elect vote?

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 9, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    … a report by its secretary, one “Lance” …

    Say, you know who else was named “Lance”?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 9, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      There was also <a href=""Lance&quot; the skag dealer from Pulp Fiction.

      Dunno about you, but I’m sensing a trend here.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted May 9, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        That first video is “blocked it in your country”.
        The second one though.. yes ‘Lance’ could have written that 😁

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 9, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          First one is “Lance” the surfer-dude in Apocalypse Now, the only GI besides Marin Sheen’s Capt. Willard, IIRC, to survive the trip up river to Col. Kurtz’a camp among the Montagnards in Cambodia.

          He could’ve written that Williams College Council report, too, I think.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 11, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      If you’re collecting “Lances” for something less productive than a “Jousting re-enactment”, then Lance Stroll will be starting qualifying timing for the Barcelona Grand Prix … a few minutes ago.

  4. Richard Sanderson🤴
    Posted May 9, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    We don’t skip the “campus madness” ones, because they often demonstrate a wider sickness in society, including antisemitism from “woke” lefties.

    I bet all the cowards who voted against such a society are all self-proclaimed “anti-racists”. Probably have it written in their Twitter bios, etc.

    Yet, there are some on the regressive left, including the odd “humanist” and “skeptic”, who keep insisting we are imagining this stuff. Even after we get daily examples of evidence of it.

    Keep shining the light – it is the best disinfectant.

  5. Eric
    Posted May 9, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Prof. Coyne,

    Your highlighting the excesses of the Control Left and your defense of science, civility, reason and rationality are the reasons why I read your blog every day.

    The fixation with cats and ducks eludes me though.

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 9, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink


  7. JB
    Posted May 10, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Wow, an admission that antisemitic things were said at the CC meeting. I’m sure the university admins will be looking into this right away. Because it’s _wrong_ to espouse hate against a group of people.

    Oh wait, they’re Jews… ok, nevermind then.

  8. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted May 11, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The minutes of the meeting are kept secret except from Williams students,

    When I was a student, that would have been an euphemism for “shouted in a public square, accompanied by sounding brass and clashing cymbals”.
    Maybe tweeting it to @realDonaldTrump with an emphasis on it’s secrecy would achieve greater secrecy.

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