Williams Students End Four-Day Hunger Strike
Thirty-one students at Williams College ended their four-day strike for a tenure-track appointment in U.S.-Latino studies yesterday after the administration agreed to allow some student involvement in filling the position.
Students and faculty signed an official agreement affirming the college's commitment to a tenure-track appointment in U.S.-Latino studies that has been vacant since it was created in 1991.
The students, who had drafted a set of demands on Saturday asking for increased participation in the search for and selection of the U.S.-Latino studies professor, agreed to a consultative role in the appointment procedure, said Williams Director of Public Information Jim Kalesar.
According to the agreement, one-half of the search committee for the U.S.-Latino studies post will be composed of students selected by the Williams minority coalition, an alliance of all the major minority groups on campus, said Anim W. Steel, a junior who went on the hunger strike.
But the students will only be allowed to consult during the search and not to vote in the final selection. The history, political science, anthropology-sociology and Romance Languages departments, from which the interdisciplinary major will draw, also reserve the right to limit the students' influence on the decision.
The strikers said yesterday they were not fully satisfied with the compromise, but after several meetings with faculty and administrators in the last three days, they were glad their concerns had been taken seriously.
"I think some positive relations came out of this," said Steel. "But there are other more negative things and specific grievances that marr the whole procedure...It's not over."
The compromise was largely based on motions passed on Tuesday by the Williams faculty in an emergency meeting in response to the strike.
The faculty agreed not only to make the appointment in U.S.-Latino Studies, but also to ask all departments to review the possibility of students involvement in recruiting all faculty. The faculty, however, did not concede its right to determine faculty appointments and promotions.