Claiming Williams: Justice & Institutional Power

Thursday, Feb 2, 2023

Deadline for event submission: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2022

Recent and upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decisions are worrying reminders of the institutional powers that are beyond our control but affect all aspects of our lives.  These powers can span every scale imaginable, shaping our individual experiences and notions of justice and just reparation.  Recent and harmful incidents on our campus reflect the reverberations of intergenerational injustices that, in many respects, are embedded into the foundations of our campus and nation.  The theme of Claiming Williams 2023 invites all members of our community to consider for themselves how institutional powers, both at Williams and beyond, systematically intertwine to impinge on our identities and well-being and reinforce structural oppression and systemic racism.  Claiming Williams 2023 would also like us to envision ways of countering and reimagining institutional powers that resisted institutionalized oppression in an effort to support the most vulnerable and achieve lasting justice.

Claiming Williams 2023 wants to hear your ideas.  Upon reflection and inspection, how can we untangle the myriad ways that historical oppressions manifest themselves in our lives?  How do the legacies of institutional behavior continue to perpetuate harm and injustice?  And how can we work together, collaborate even, to right so many historical and lasting wrongs to bring about a justice that resounds across our community?

The date is Thursday, February 2, 2023. Proposed events can be either virtual or in-person. Unless specified events are open only to the Williams community.

For more information on previous years’ events, please see the Claiming Williams Archive.

A Brief History

Claiming Williams was born after a series of racist and sexist incidents in January 2008 sparked a grassroots student movement that was joined by staff and faculty, and became known as Stand with Us. The hope was that the community would work proactively to prevent hurtful, hateful incidents, rather than just responding afterward.

The College celebrated the first Claiming Williams Day on February 5, 2009. Read more on the Mission & History and Archive pages.

Claiming Williams Day

Claiming Williams Day occurs on the first Thursday of the Spring semester. Classes are suspended and the campus engages in events and discussions about building and sustaining a more inclusive community. Claiming Williams Day takes shape around proposals generated by students, staff, and faculty.

We urge you to get involved – by serving on the Claiming Williams Committee, by proposing an event, or by participating in the events of the day. The Claiming Williams Steering Committee is eager to assist members of the community who want to propose an event or discussion: please contact us if you have an idea.

Mission Statement

Claiming Williams invites the community to acknowledge and understand the uncomfortable reality that not all students, staff, and faculty can equally “claim” Williams. By challenging the effects of the College’s history of inequality that are based on privileges of class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion, we will provoke individual, institutional, and cultural change.

Claiming Williams Day 2021 – February 18 – From Racial Injustice to Restoration