image description
Wood House, the former Zeta Psi fraternity, is now a Williams College residence hall that sleeps 30.

Williams College Investigating 'Unsafe Party'

Print Story | Email Story
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The president of Williams College is calling on the people responsible for a maskless party to come forward and take responsibility for the incident.
In a letter to the college community on Saturday, President Maud Mandel reported that between 80 and 100 people participated in the party at Wood House, a residence hall at the corner of South Street and Main Street.
"When Campus Safety arrived on scene, the attendees fled," Mandel wrote. "CSS noted that many people at the party were either completely without masks or were wearing them around their necks, on their wrists, etc. As you can imagine, the crowd was tightly packed in such a small space."
The school's Campus Safety and Security is investigating the party, which ran afoul of the college's COVID-19 protocols.
Mandel called the incident "deeply disappointing" and said that, as a result, she is postponing a previously announced plan to move the college to Phase 2 of its spring semester plan.
"Specifically, we will not allow indoor socializing with non-podmates, requests for pod mergers, or athletic transportation, since it entails non-podmates traveling together in vans," she wrote, explaining the activities that would have been allowed starting Monday.
Instead, she wrote, the college tentatively plans to enter Phase 2 on March 15 if the college sees no "evidence of viral spread," Mandel said.
"I understand that students are tired of COVID preventing them from interacting with friends and peers," Mandel wrote. "My own friends and relatives and I all feel impatient to see each other, too. If you are feeling exhausted or just need to connect with someone, I encourage you to turn to some of the many safe options available to you, including Integrative Wellbeing, the Dean’s office and the Davis Center, the chaplains, various physical and creative outlets and student groups.
"What we may not do in those circumstances is make choices that put people around us in danger."
Mandel said parties like the one that took place on Friday night have been "superspreader events at other schools."
Mandel wrote that those who planned and/or participated in the party need to "come forward and live up to your responsibility." If they do, they will be asked to finish the semester remotely.
"That information may prompt some of you to consider not owning up," Mandel wrote. "So I will also note that CSS is conducting its standard investigation of the incident. Anyone who has not come forward voluntarily by the end of that investigation, and who is later determined to have organized or attended the party, will also be transitioned to remote learning and will additionally be subject to our full conduct process. That process may very well lead to disciplinary consequences, up to and including suspension."
Mandel noted that the college had the confidence to return to in-person instruction in the fall, in part, because students were required to sign a pledge that they would adhere to the COVID-19 protocols while on campus.
"Last night’s gathering undermined that confidence," Mandel wrote. "If you were involved, I want you to step up and restore our faith in Williams’ ability to safely offer an in-person education."

Tags: COVID-19,   Williams College,   

More Coronavirus Updates

Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 news:

5 Comments welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to

Williamstown's Net Zero Effort to Be Subject of Panel Discussion

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Select Board took a pause Monday from talking about local crises to discuss a global crisis.
Included on the warrant for June's annual meeting is a resolution calling on the town to commit to pursuing a net zero greenhouse gas emissions goal.
Members of the town's Carbon Dioxide Lowering (COOL) Committee, which drafted the resolution, first presented the idea to the board last month. On Monday, the Select Board discussed the proposal during a review of the warrant's first draft. And next week, the whole town is invited to a virtual panel discussion on the initiative with state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield.
"This basically says that Williamstown should pursue a net zero goal consistent with the limits established by the commonwealth," Town Manager Jason Hoch advised the board. "The intent here is to actually do the local plan rather than having something foisted on us by the state.
View Full Story

More Williamstown Stories