Conversation sessions to engage the Williams community regarding the development of this MOU were conducted in the spring of 2021. In total, eleven sessions were conducted; four for students, four for staff members, and three for faculty members.
Conversations continue to take place on campus and with the broader Williamstown community, moving closer to the finalized version of this MOU document.
Questions and feedback can be directed to [email protected].
Message to Williams community- March 2, 2021
Dear Williams community,
We hope this message finds you well, taking good care, and starting the spring semester healthy and strong. We all faced a great deal, individually and collectively, last year: a global health crisis and the ongoing pandemic of racism and racial injustice across the country. We continue to be reminded, too, that Williamtown is not immune to problems including harmful bias and discrimination. We want to describe in this message an important step we are taking to contribute to reshaping local policing and key aspects of community life for the better. Continue reading…
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a document that outlines the terms of an agreement between two or more parties. Although it is not usually legally binding, it does outline expectations that the parties have mutually agreed to.
Having a document that contains guiding principles and values agreed upon by the parties, and details operations that are consistent with articulated principles and values can be a powerful tool in our community (standing as a reminder of what the parties agreed to, setting forth expectations, detailing ways of operating, helping to ensure accountability).
- Convene the MOU working group and discuss questions and information to share with the Williams community and the larger community about this process (e.g. what an MOU is, and what it means in terms of accountability)
- Engage Williamstown leadership regarding the development of an MOU
- Develop a website containing information on the process, a portal for gathering input and recommendations, and listing opportunities for engagement
- Host a series of conversations for campus constituent groups to share their thoughts, highlight their experiences, and contribute to the MOU
- Host conversations with the broader College and the Williamstown community to encourage sharing of thoughts and experiences
- Share proposed principles and values for this MOU that were identified in phase 1 with the broader College and Williamstown community. Obtain feedback and make adjustments
- Engage Williamstown officials and leaders regarding MOU content
- Share draft of MOU
- Obtain feedback on draft MOU and make adjustments
- The College has always had a relationship with Williamstown - its officials and leadership in schools and law enforcement and local businesses. Over the years, although many of the relationships have been mutually beneficial, there are several instances in which members of the college community have had negative experiences in Williamstown. These negative experiences have been with local law enforcement, in schools, and broadly in the town community. On the heels of a recent wave of racial violence in the country and allegations about racial and gender discrimination and bias within the Williamstown Police Department, we sought to move forward with an MOU with the town to address broader racial and ethnic discrimination that has been prevalent over the years.
- With regard to the Williamstown Police Department, allegations made public about racial and gender discrimination were at the fore of conversations between and among town leadership and the Diversity, Inclusion, Racial Equity (DIRE) Committee, and throughout Berkshire County.
Please use these forms to share your thoughts, experiences, and questions. These forms are anonymous and you may provide your name and/or contact information only if you wish to do so. Questions can also be directed to [email protected] or you may contact any of the working group members.
MOUWorking Group Members
Aseel Abulhab ‘15, Assistant Director for Intergroup Relations and Inclusive Programming, The Davis Center, Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Bilal Ansari, Assistant Vice President for Campus Engagement, Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Jamie Art ‘93, General Counsel
David Boyer, Director of Campus Safety & Security
Twink Williams Burns ‘06, Strategic Adviser for Admission and Financial Aid Community Engagement
Jennifer Ceolinski, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Christopher Goh, Professor of Chemistry; Faculty Fellow of The Davis Center and Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Leticia S. E. Haynes ‘99, Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Austin Huang, Student, class of '21
Kelsey Jones ‘08, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Education
Shinko Kagaya, Professor of Japanese
Gretchen Long, Professor of History
Mohammed Memfis, Student, class of '21
Ngonidzashe Munemo, Interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Professor of Political Science; Chair of Global Studies
Vaness Oeien, Student, class of '22
Akhir Stewart ‘17, John A. Lowe III '73 Special Collections Postbaccalaureate Fellow
Williamstown in the News
Examples of MOU’s
Some MOUs between school systems and local law enforcement agencies have been developed in partnership with communities/leveraging community input