Many of us probably noticed the massive banners hanging from the front of Frost Library and Valentine Dining Hall last week. In prominent bold letters, they displayed the question, “When do you conform?” Ironically, the large size of the banners, their positions overlooking the campus’ main quads and their odd wording in the second person all gave them an eerily Orwellian feel, as if they seemed to be aimed at promoting the same sort of groupthink that the question was meant to address.

During my time at Amherst, I have heard many people applaud Angela Merkel as a remarkable politician, yet I feel very few people truly understand just how remarkable the current German chancellor is. Mind you, this article is not about her politics, nor written as a letter of pure adoration to Angela Merkel. In fact, I will openly acknowledge that I have rather mixed feelings towards her, but this does not influence my recognition of her extraordinary position as a politician with an incredibly uncommon background, but most of all a woman in politics.

A few weeks ago, President Biddy Martin and Amherst College joined a list of 245 schools that have formally opposed the American Studies Association’s (ASA) boycott on academic institutions in Israel. Every NESCAC school, institution which holds many similar values as Amherst, joins us on that list.

On Monday, Dean Larimore resigned as the College’s Dean of Students. The Student sincerely regrets his leaving. It was only a year ago, last February, that Dean Larimore was selected through an extensive search process to be the College’s new Dean of Students. Since then, he has established a genuine and meaningful relationship with the students, and many cannot help but feel that his resignation is both abrupt and perplexing.

What is your favorite sitting position in the classroom?
A. Legs spread, hand slung over the chair next to you, lazily twisting up your wrist instead of raising your hand to respond to a question.
B. Slightly in front of everyone else, even when the class is arranged in a semicircle/round table/other ostensibly egalitarian form.
C. Just sit somewhere, I guess.

The vote in mid-December by the American Studies Association to approve the academic and cultural boycott of Israel (as part of a larger call from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement — a movement of more than a hundred Palestinian civil society organizations that includes doctors, lawyers and teachers) unleashed a furious and punitive backlash. The resolution was years in the making, the result of open forums and a membership-wide vote. The boycott does not target individuals, only institutions. Israeli scholars of all political persuasions may visit, lecture and publish.

Surely we deserve to be annoyed at somebody. An obvious choice is Jim Larimore — after an exhaustive national search to find him, did he not realize the sort of job he was getting into? If he didn’t realize that becoming Dean of Students at Amherst after a number of very public failures at the College, would mean that he would have to institute changes in “organization, staffing and management,” then either we failed to mention that to him or he somehow failed to ask about the job description.

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