Since returning from abroad, I’ve found myself picking up on all sorts of new and different phenomena at Amherst that didn’t exist last May. We have a musically maniacal Provost and a Dean of Faculty without Einstein hair; Frost Cafe’s serving iced coffee in a Polar Vortex and Val’s ditched the Jamaican Jerk for, of all things, Turkey Burgers. Even Keefe has spiffy (well, spiffy-ish) new lights and circular couches. I got an email about a package last week as I checked online the status of the laundry machines in the basement of my dorm. I could go on. But in the spirit of change — though we’ll have to wait a semester to assess whether or not it’s been for the better — I am excited to announce that Brendan Hsu and I will together serve as the new Editors-in-Chief of The Amherst Student for the remainder of the school year. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank two former editors, Alissa Rothman and Brianda Reyes, for their tireless and impressive work at the helm of The Student over the past few years. While Alissa studies and runs her way around London, Brianda will, luckily, stay close to The Student as she works to create the paper’s first-ever advisory committee, comprised of current students, staff, faculty and alumni. Brianda’s legacy and importance to The Amherst Student cannot be understated — under her leadership The Student managed to become one of the only financially independent college newspapers in the country, and published Angie Epifano’s crucial account, to name only a few achievements.
Since accepting the position at the end of last semester, Brendan and I have talked with faculty, alumni and our peers in an attempt to better understand and define the role of The Student on campus in 2014. Although the answers we’ve received have been varied, what stands out is the continuing necessity for campus-wide dialogue and activism, no matter how uncomfortable the conversation or easy it may be to whittle away somewhere subterranean in Frost. Our fellow publications, AC Voice, What’s Left at Amherst, The Indicator and even the wily Muck-Rake have perhaps, in their own ways, done a more formidable job of stressing this, but it more than bares repeating. Brendan and I feel passionately about bringing The Student more thoroughly to the discussion, with the hopes of both bettering The Student and helping to improve the College and the experience of attending Amherst.
So, to put our money where our mouth is, we’ve already made one important stride: beginning February, The Student will no longer withhold reported cases of sexual assault from the Campus Crime Log. By placing these instances within the Crime Log — far and away the newspaper’s most popular segment — we hope to draw attention to the fact that sexual assault, like several other problems on campus, is far from solved.
In the end, our mission begins with the student body, and as the only student newspaper on campus we need your help. Every conversation you have in line at Val or issue you vent about to Barista Tony deserves to be heard, and The Student is eager to serve as your sounding board. But more than anything, even if you don’t want to come write (and apologies for the shameless advertisement), you should at least make sure you stay up to date on all the campus publications, because they’re filled with damn good writing and sparking important conversations. As an Amherst student, you owe it to yourself and others to embrace and challenge these topics. We look forward to joining you.