Williams students may neither join nor participate in fraternities during their time at the College. This policy was first adopted in 1962, and it is strongly supported by the College community. The College will take disciplinary action against students who are found to be participating in such organizations. Penalties may include suspension or expulsion from the College.
To insure that all students understand the history of and reasons for this policy, the Board of Trustees of Williams College issued the following statement in June, 1989:
It has now been twenty–seven years since the Board of Trustees of Williams College determined that the academic aspirations of the College, and the educational and social needs of our students, would best be served by abolishing fraternities and inaugurating the residential house system. The Trustees note with particular pleasure the role the residential house system has played in insuring that all Williams students would be fully integrated into the life of the College. In making all important decisions over nearly three decades, the College has had as its central goal the sustenance of a community characterized by openness, academic vitality, and equality of opportunity.
Mindful of the College’s history and committed strongly to the College’s goals, the Trustees wish to reaffirm the policy that Williams students may neither join nor participate in fraternities during their time at the College. The Trustees’ views on this subject were most recently expressed in the statement appearing below, approved in October, 1976 and later endorsed unanimously by the faculty. In light of efforts to reestablish fraternities on other campuses, and of apparent interest among a handful of Williams students in reviving fraternal organizations here, the Trustees are reissuing and affirming that statement, and expressing full support for the officers of the College in their efforts, disciplinary and otherwise, to insure that it is understood and adhered to in the Williams community.
Statement of the Williams College Board of Trustees Concerning Fraternities (1976)
To avoid misunderstanding, we wish to make clear our support for the rights of students to form or join any of the many formal or informal groups that are appropriate to this college community and consistent with Williams’ educational program. But we remind all concerned that the regulations of the College prohibit participation by undergraduates in fraternities as a matter of educational policy and that violations will be subject to appropriate penalties.