Our community suffers from a case of apathy toward issues that deserve a great deal of attention.
The explosive, fiery debate ignited by the 2004 ?Natrat? taught this community a lot about itself. But the fire has died. Our campus has returned to its aloof status quo: an environment bereft of debate among most students. In such an atmosphere, underlying problems will not change, and it is inevitable that some event in the future will cause another wildfire of anger and disgust.
In the January 10 special edition of The Tartan, which featured our organization?s letter of intent to the community, the report of the Presidential Commission on ?The Natrat,? and commentary from both administrators and members of The Tartan?s editorial staff, we reaffirmed our commitment to providing a valuable newspaper that will spur constructive discussion.
The Tartan received very little feedback on our special issue. Should we interpret silence to mean that everyone agrees? I?m certain that we should not. Just as many news sources are criticized for underreporting the good in the world, we often receive feedback only when things go wrong.
But I am afraid this silence is a symptom of yet another problem: Inclusive discourse is difficult to achieve in the face of overbearing but unsupported diversity rhetoric.
A study of the influences on college students? openness to diversity quotes a student who spoke up at a public forum: ?I don?t want to go to a diverse university. If you want to go to a diverse university, then apply to one. Why ruin it for people here?? The student later claimed that other people at the meeting felt the same way, but avoided involvement because of the stigma attached to dissent on the subject; they excluded themselves from engaging in the discussion, and their beliefs remained unchanged.
We know that there are people who do not want a diverse and accepting campus, and it is up to those who do to prove that there is a better way. But if the accepted framework for discussion is too rigid and is not backed by efforts to include everyone, the students whose opinions fall outside the boundaries will disengage and become further isolated; progress will be impossible. To create an environment that will achieve real progress, there must always be a fire burning.
I am dedicated to fostering an environment of pluralism at The Tartan; we have learned the lesson well ? the hard way. We want to reach out to the community for new contributors, for thoughtful individuals with a different perspective. The result should be a newspaper with a rich Pillbox, broader coverage in News, and a robust and provocative Forum.
We are beginning an active drive for recruitment, and many professors have invited us to visit their classes to tell their students about the opportunities offered within The Tartan. We will be in contact with student organizations, working to reach a broad cross-section of the population. My thanks go to the professors who have been welcoming to The Tartan, and I hope that people we approach in the future will be equally helpful.
The staff of The Tartan is excited and proud to publish the first issue of the new year, which promises to be marked by great improvement. Unfortunately, we are without sports writers, so we are unable to run a full Sports section. Our sports editor, Christian D?Andrea, is enthusiastic and encourages new writers to approach him. All the members of the editorial staff, new and old, have engrossed themselves in their work and are eager to develop the content and form of The Tartan. On behalf of the entire staff, I thank you for your contributed support and readership.