Williams College grants pro-Israel group official status

Williams College administration bypasses students’ refusal to register pro-Israel group.

Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA ,

Williams College
Williams College

Bypassing students’ refusal to register a pro-Israel group at Williams College, administrators gave it an official status.

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 non-profit promoting freedom of expression on American campuses.

Williams College “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 noted 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 is “pleased to see this result, and we hope it signals that Williams intends to keep its promise to students,” the group wrote.