“Climb high, Climb far, Your goal the sky, Your aim the sky”
Many generations of students have entered Williams past these words etched in stone upon a gateway to Williams College. They have left Williams to shape the nation and world through their deeds and work in a variety of fields. Williams College notes on its website that “over the past thirty years especially, [it has] actively recruited a student body that is markedly more diverse in many dimensions, including race, national origin, and the educational and socio-economic background of its families.” And through the leadership of its diverse alumni, the college can rightly claim to be a part of tangible cultural, political and economic changes that have ushered new freedom and greater opportunity. For it’s own staff and hiring “Williams is committed to enriching its educational experience and its culture through the diversity of its faculty, administration, and staff.”
On Feb. 14, 2018, The Williams Record editorialized with a piece titled “Building on our values: A call for equity in construction hiring at the college.” They concluded the piece with “Both inside and outside of the classroom, we discuss and promote equity and social justice. We should uphold these values in all facets of our community – a community that includes our construction workers just as much as it includes students, faculty and staff. We hope that the College will play an active role in ensuring that future construction hirings are made with these values in mind.”
Williams College is upholding its values and leading by example. As the college seeks to renovate and expand its facilities it has adopted a diversity in contracting policy setting goals for its construction contractors to minimally meet 5% women work hours and 7% people of color work hours. While the numbers are low, they are important thresholds for a region that has seen very little diversity in the construction industry and in setting these goals for its work, the college is starting to play a leading role in reshaping the homogeneity of the construction industry.