Collaborating with all sectors of the College community—students, staff, faculty, and alumni—and with off-campus partners, the Center initiates and supports dialogue about and action toward access, equity, and inclusion at Williams and elsewhere. The Center:
- Leads campus conversation on issues of diversity and equity, especially around race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socio-economic class, first-generation status, religion, ability, and other intersectional identities;
- Advises, mentors, and supports students from historically underrepresented and underserved groups;
- Supports affinity groups and their programming;
- Works with academic departments and programs to advance pedagogical and curricular initiatives that foster inclusion and effectively address issues of power and equity;
- Serves as a resource for students, staff, and faculty.
The Davis Center is a part of the Vice President’s Office for Institutional Diversity and Equity, which also consists of the Vice President, Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity, and Office of Special Academic Programs. Together, this unit seeks to strengthen Williams College’s commitment to inclusion by ensuring that diversity initiatives are advanced and celebrated.
To the University of Virginia Class of 2021, the Charlottesville community, and allies:
We, members of the Williams College Class of 2021, stand in solidarity with the brave counter-protesters at the University of Virginia who stood up to the contemptible displays of white supremacy between August 11th and 12th, 2017. As students, we are learning to utilize open hearts and minds to craft communities in which everyone has a voice, and to utilize reason and facts instead of opinions and bias to reach conclusions about the world around us. The racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and general bigotry promoted by the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville is antithetical to all of the ideals of our institutions and, ultimately, our democracy as a whole.
White supremacy is not a legitimate political ideology, nor is it an acceptable form of representation in our society. Calling this white nationalist movement by its preferred name, the “alt-right,” aims to mask its true identity and normalize its actions. The movement must be named for what it is: a hate-fueled attempt to exclude and erase historically oppressed people. The hate groups that gathered in Charlottesville committed acts of domestic terrorism against peaceful protesters, people of color, and various other marginalized voices who mobilized peacefully to express their dissent.
To the University of Virginia’s Class of 2021: though the events that took place on and around your campus are discouraging, we urge you to push past them. As you travel from diverse backgrounds to a place that will be your home for the next four years, do not allow the politically and racially charged climate in Charlottesville disillusion you from the vibrancy of college life. To stand, steadfast and undeterred, in the face of violent bigotry is a feat few must endure. For your bravery, we wholeheartedly stand with you.
For all of the members of marginalized groups that may feel threatened, and for all others who are also thoroughly outraged, we lend you our strength. We lend you our strength to fight hatred, to war with prejudice, and to surmount the pressures that exploded violently in Charlottesville. We believe that there is so much more to a person than what can be deduced from first glance, and we believe that the Class of 2021 embodies this truth.
In every mode and form, it should be the duty of this generation to eliminate white supremacist thought. The healing of racial, social, cultural, and religious divides starts with us. We must all pledge to continue seeking equality for every repressed identity. We must all refuse to be silent in the face of racism.
With small actions, we can slowly but surely begin to expunge the many prejudices that remain ingrained in our society. From simple acts such as checking in on a friend, to more publicly demonstrative ones like pursuing equality on the streets, we can make headway against the discrimination and hatred that has been passed down through many generations. We must all vow to engage in peaceful protests, to support our marginalized companions affected by unwarranted hostilities, and to fight against fascist rhetoric in all of its many incarnations.
Today, we commit to working with you to make a better world — one where intolerance and injustice are unacceptable, and silence and complacency are not an option.
Members of the Williams College Class of 2021
“Somebody has to stand when other people are sitting. Somebody has to speak when other people are quiet.”
– Bryan Stevenson
“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”
– Angela Davis