Trinity loses students, donations following controversial Facebook posts

Johnny Williams

HARTFORD —  Following the national uproar that surrounded Trinity’s Professor Johnny Eric Williams’ Facebook posts, president of the college said numerous students and donors have withdrawn from the school.

Trinity’s President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, said 16 incoming students have withdrawn and past donors have chosen not to contribute to the school this year, resulting in about a $200,000 loss in donations. Both, the students and donors referred to this incident as the main reason for their decision.

“In the short term, we know that 16 students in the incoming Class of 2021 have withdrawn and cited this incident as the reason, and our admissions team has engaged in conversations with many others who had concerns. This is, however, well within our usual summer “melt,” as we call it, as some students make different decisions about where and when they might matriculate. We remain on track to meet our enrollment and revenue targets and are ahead of where we were at this time last year,” said Berger-Sweeney.

Berger-Sweeney added “at this point, we estimate that impact to be roughly $200,000, while overall giving exceeded $28.6 million, which was a 28 percent increase over the previous year. Finally, we incurred some cost to manage the crisis, including for additional security on campus for a few weeks.

In June, Trinity College was on alert for what police called a “non-credible” threat after Williams posted controversial comments on social media.

A website called “Campus Reform” posted the Facebook comments in question that came from Williams.

In one post he wrote:

I’m fed the EXPLETIVE up with self identified ‘white’s’ daily violence directed at immigrants, Muslim, and sexual and racially oppressed people. The time is now to confront these inhuman EXPLETIVES and end this now.

In another post about white supremacists, he used the hashtag “Let them ________  die.”

Williams, who has been teaching at the college for more than 20 years, also posted a controversial article with the headline “Let them ______ die.”

On July 14, the college said Williams did not violate any policies with his social media controversy.

On June 26, Williams was placed on leave but is expected to resume teaching in January.

You can read Berger-Sweeney’s full statement here.