On the morning of October 4th, a guillotine assumed a commanding presence over the dreary Williams College campus. Sitting on a ten by forty foot stage equipped with a podium and speakers, the murderous structure towered over the marble blocks on Paresky lawn. Hanging over the guillotine was a purple banner with the words “Ephsecution 2018.”
“It’s a real shame that we have to do this,” said Brynn Parker ’20, JA to the accused Ned Jones ‘22. “Ned was a good kid, but we told everyone that the showers were a no-peeing zone, and we want to make it clear that our entry rules are no joke. We DNA tested the shower drain, and found that the urine was Ned’s. Public execution was the only choice.”
Employees from Goff’s Williams Shop manned a large table out in front of Sawyer Library selling special edition merchandise including purple and gold T-shirts saying “Bleed Purple” and fun stickers reading “My Son Was Ephsecuted At Williams” for parents. Dining services were also present, delivering a picnic featuring skewered Ned-kebabs.
As well as being a fun and festive event, the execution showcased Williams’ inclusive capital punishment policies. “Williams is actually the first school in the nation to have need-blind executions,” commented Dean of Financial Aid Elizabeth Creighton. “It doesn’t matter if you come from a privileged background, non-privileged background, or anything in between. Executions are the great equalizer.”
As Ned walked up to the guillotine to meet his fate, a crowd of students jeered and threw tomatoes. Two cloak-wearing professors gently lowered Jones’ to his knees and set his neck in place. President Maud Mandel’s voice cut through the noise.
“I’m new here, so I have the opportunity to share my first execution at Williams with many of you,” she said, addressing the first-years in the crowd. “When I was at a different university, we’d tie cinderblocks to the feet of the accused and throw them in the Providence River. But do you know what? I think this neck slicing machine will do just fine.”
“I’ve gotta say, this is actually great for school spirit,” offered Dean Dave Johnson, “I haven’t seen something like this that brings the whole community together since we stoned that witch to death.”