Administrators at Williams College gave a pro-Israel group official status, bypassing the refusal by a student council.
The prestigious Massachusetts institution on Tuesday registered the Williams Initiative for Israel group, or WIFI, Williams’ director of media relations Gregory Shook told FIRE, a nonprofit promoting freedom of expression on American campuses.
Williams “had a legal obligation to offer that process if WIFI requested it, which they did,” Shook wrote.
Last month, the council at the small liberal arts college in Williamstown voted not to admit WIFI as a recognized student group.
“After the College Council’s vote, college administrators discussed the fact that the college’s Student Handbook described a parallel path” to registration, Shook added, “that had not been engaged in this case.”
WIFI is now a student association “with the full rights, privileges and responsibilities that label entails,” Shook told FIRE.
FIRE had protested the refusal to recognize WIFI, calling it a “viewpoint-base denial.”
Quoting from Williams’ code of conduct, FIRE said it states that the college is committed to “being a community in which all ranges of opinion and belief can be expressed and debated.” FIRE said it was “pleased to see this result, and we hope it signals that Williams intends to keep its promise to students.”