On Inquiry and Inclusion

In November, President Maud S. Mandel and the Faculty Steering Committee, chaired by Professor of Classics Amanda Wilcox, released a statement on inquiry, expression and inclusion at Williams. The statement was informed by recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee on Inquiry and Inclusion and reviewed by the entire faculty.

The statement affirms Williams’ commitment to free inquiry and inclusion, stating: “At Williams, our educational mission is to cultivate an inclusive environment in which each member of our community is equally respected and equally invited to speak and be heard. This goal unites the college’s core commitments to freedom of expression and inquiry and to building a community in which everyone can live, learn and thrive, as enunciated in our codes of conduct for faculty, staff and students.”

In an announcement to the campus community, Wilcox wrote that the statement is the “product of a sustained, thoughtful consideration of both general questions and the specific circumstances and commitments” of the college. She added that the “whole process has been an exercise in speaking and listening to one another respectfully and openly, as members of a community whose idioms are quite various and who have serious differences of opinion and even, sometimes, of values, but who are united in a shared mission to teach and learn from one another.”

Mandel, meanwhile, thanked the community for “the intelligence and passion that many of you have shown in discussing, debating and sometimes protesting this most crucial issue.”

“Freedom of expression and inquiry matters. Inclusion matters. Both values are essential to the health of any community and especially to a healthy learning community,” Mandel added. “For Williams to continue reaching its highest educational aspirations, we need to maximize our commitment to both values. We need to run toward the hard things.”
Read the college’s entire statement at bit.ly/inquiryinclusionstatement, and read more about the ad hoc committee and its report at bit.ly/inquiryinclusioncommittee.