N13 founder and Colgate alumnus Scott Williams ’80 was disappointed and dismayed to find that a group of Colgate men had stolen and tampered with the rickshaw that sat outside of the N13 entrance on Saturday, August 26. The restaurant used the rickshaw as a marketing tool, as well as a carriage for joy rides.
Williams described the events of that Saturday evening as “wanton theft,” on the N13 Facebook page. He also reported that he was both “stunned and hurt” by the behavior displayed, especially since the students involved belonged to the same fraternity which his father and uncle joined during their time at Colgate.
Over 21 Colgate alumni, parents and current students are associated with the opening and coordination of the N13 business, which made the incident highly upsetting to Williams. He felt disrespected by the Colgate community, one that he and N13 feel very much connected to.
Two students involved in the affair came forward and apologized for their behavior. Although they held themselves accountable, Williams still feels strongly about meeting with the rest of the fraternity chapter.
“They have an obligation to make the community better, not worse. I sense this is a larger cultural problem,” Williams said.
Williams hopes that his meeting with the fraternity will initiate a greater sense of respect for local populace. After discussing the rickshaw occurrence with Hamilton locals, Williams understood that he is not alone in his feelings of frustration.
“[Others feel that] Colgate students are entitled and disrespectful of people other than themselves,” he said.
During the incident, members of the Colgate community walked by indifferently. According to Williams, the bystanders are equally to blame, as they too are responsible for maintaining a respectful and gracious student body.
“Nobody who was there said ‘Stop, that’s wrong,’” he said.
Williams also feels that the men’s behavior was reminiscent of the behavior that takes place at the Old Stone Jug. Colgate students have coined the term “Jug Jacket,” which essentially means a sweatshirt that is up for grabs.
“People just sort of take whatever coat is available. We never did that when we were there,” he said.
He has considered that this sense of entitlement may not just be a Colgate issue, but a generational one. Williams also debunked claims that alcohol was the root of the problem, explaining that alcohol was prevalent during his own time at Colgate. The drinking age was 18, beer cost 25 cents a serving in the student-run pub, and Spring Party Weekend involved having a truck containing 83 kegs.
“Colgate was a wash of beer in the 1970s …There was beer everywhere. We may have trashed our own stuff, but we didn’t trash other people’s property,” he said.
The culpable men will pay the cost to replace the rickshaw, and will clean the prep kitchen and basement of N13.
“It’s penance. They will pay us with the sweat of their brow,” Williams said.
Williams thinks it is important that the Colgate student body understands and respects the rest of the community.
“Get to know the people who live in this village. They’re just like you. There are stories behind every face, behind every business,” he said.
Williams affirmed his love for Colgate, and stated that once restitution is paid, the men responsible will be welcomed back to N13.
Contact Lucy Feidelson at [email protected]