Neither Good Nor Godly:
The Fall of Williams College

To see the campus of Williams College is to read the story of America.

To see the beauty of brick and gold yield to the banality of steel and concrete is to read a story about the decline and fall of both a college and a country. It is a story about the deconsecration of a building and the desecration of an idea, of a chapel that looks like the state house of a city upon a hill, that bears the likeness of the State House atop Beacon Hill, that embodies the spirit—that is the work of the Holy Spirit—where faithfulness to God complements fidelity to the Constitution.

To see the halo above the house of the Lord, to see the brilliance of providence amidst robes of purple mountains majesty, to see a landmark of liberty in a capital city, to go from a chapel without congregants to a statehouse with no memory of the principles of the Congregational church, to go from one end of Massachusetts to the other—from the Berkshires to Boston Harbor—is to go from an abandoned colony of enlightenment to a commonwealth of intellectual darkness.

Steven Gerrard, professor of philosophy, is witness to the fast undoing of certain unalienable rights at Williams. 

His column about the transformation of Williams from a Christian college to a college without Christian ideals or gentlemanly behavior—he calls it a “comfort college”—is a warning about the death of the life of the mind. “When the pursuit of knowledge slips down the hierarchy of virtues,” Gerrard writes, “so do the accompanying virtues that nurture its discovery.” 

That he writes with firmness in the right, that he sees the rightness of the truth, that he hears the marching of the truth, that he seeks to join hands to restore the truth, proves that one righteous man exists—that nine other souls may exist—to spare Williams from destruction.

For the sake of a great institution, let us pray for the arrival of 10 good men.

About Bill Asher

Bill Asher is a writer and retired executive. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.

Photo: Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images

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