GRINNELL, Iowa - There are no classes today at Grinnell College in response to the violent death of a Grinnell resident.
The action comes after the body of 44-year-old Michael Williams, a Black man, was found in a ditch fire along a rural road near Kellogg last week.
Grinnell College President Anne Harris sent a letter, saying it’s time for the school and the town to recognize the connection that the killing has to a long history of oppression of Black Americans.
She said classes are cancelled so the college can recommit itself "to equity and inclusion and to recognize the violent loss” of a community member.
She asked students to contribute suggestions for building the community and prevent the suffering of neighbors.
"This stark and brutal murder in the national context of racial injustice has struck intense fear for safety of our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) colleagues, friends, and families," said Harris. "National context has become local experience. The investigation is underway to bring justice to Mr. Williams and his family."