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Reassessing values amidst change on campus

Published: March 6, 2014, 1:44 am ET
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photo by Caroline Van Ummerson /The Collegian
Opinions Editor

President Ayers announced his resignation that will take effect in 2015. Trustee Paul Queally made controversial comments at a secret society meeting in New York City. Greek life has been restricted more than ever, with at least two fraternities on probation. The apartment buildings are being dwarfed by new high-rises. This is the last print edition of The Collegian. And I am the new Opinions Editor.

To be a reductionist, this year has brought many interesting issues to campus. Whether these issues are spiraling out of one common fountain or occurring simultaneously out of pure coincidence is a difficult question to answer. Regardless, with each new occasion comes a reflection on and revision of values.

Some upperclassmen argue that University of Richmond isn’t the same school as it was when they first arrived as wide-eyed freshmen. “This school definitely has changed over my past four years,” senior Jake Hinkebein said. While in some cases I argue that these roadblocks must stop, I also encourage patience. Hinkebein agrees: “The seniors during my freshman year complained about the school, too. It’s a natural cycle. I think it’d be strange if UR remained stagnant for years at a time.”

Richmond is special to me, as I imagine it is for much of the student body, because of its insurmountable beauty, the caring and close-knit community and the endless opportunities for fun and adventure. When any of these aspects of Richmond are threatened, my first instinct is to reject any and all transformations. Other students tend to feel the same way.

However, with a tiny bit of faith and patience, we can recalibrate and learn to adapt. The good changes, such as new and improved housing, may cause nostalgia for the days of apartment hopping on the 1600 block. But, eventually, we come to realize this facelift will help continue attracting high-caliber students and ultimately, it will start new traditions.

Similarly, while it may seem oddly coincidental that President Ayers decided to step down during such a scandal-filled week, I urge students to recognize the great work he has accomplished. And maybe it is best for fresh talent to take over in order to implement another impressive long-term goal.

My support for some changes should not undercut my dislike of others. I do still believe that issues involving Greek life, for example, should be dealt with swiftly, maybe even left untouched. Some traditions, much of which make up the unique fabric of our school, should remain unregulated and unaltered.

As for me, the new Opinions Editor, I am excited to start a new chapter with The Collegian. Although we are moving completely online, yet another change on campus, my goal is to continue providing powerful content that engenders debate. I love this university and all that it has to offer, and my hope is that modifications to our school will only be of good nature and benefit us all.

Thanks for reading and keep on being opinionated.

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