Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: You and your four friends are trying to get a suite in Taplin, but it only has four rooms. Perhaps your group will have to draw straws. Maybe you’ll all just decide whom to kick out based on messiness, sleep schedules or high volume of sex. The room draw process is stressful, messy and ruinous to friendships. It’s rumored that room draw keeps the Counseling Center in business. In short, it is a commonly held belief that room draw destroys friendships and should be avoided at all costs for the sake of your mental and physical well-being.
Queeriosity is a biweekly column dedicated to discussing LGBTQ student life at Amherst College. If you are interested in contributing to the Queeriosity column, contact the Amherst College Queer Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is my first contribution to The Amherst Student and to Queeriosity, so I’ll take advantage of this opportunity to introduce myself to the whole campus. I’m Evelyn Touchette, a first-year student from Arizona. I work as an office assistant at the Queer Resource Center, and I have something to admit to you all.
It is often apparent to me that most people fear having nothing new to add to the world, of leaving an ordinary footprint. During my spring break, I stayed in the New York Loft Hostel in Brooklyn for about a week. Undeniably, New York City is a booming, living organism, and one grows sonder there, I believe, appreciating that everyone else has a story. Indeed, in an attempt to be unique, people spread out, trying to capture something personal — something that would distinguish them.
Current students might know Tony Marx for recently appearing on Humans of New York to advocate for the modern relevance of the public library. But the former Amherst president should be noted for his agenda that has changed the campus makeup and culture. Pushing for a level of diversity unheard of by our peer institutions, he created some of the generous financial aid packages that allow the Admissions Office to operate need-blind. There should be no doubt that the Admissions’ Office commitment to creating a diverse student body has done wonders for this college.
Amherst makes a promise to its students: that it is small enough to treat us as humans rather than statistics or human capital. Like many students, my time at Amherst has been colored in shades of pain. In my most vulnerable moments, the school did not provide adequate support. Today, I conceive of Amherst quite differently from how I did as a starry-eyed first-year. With that said, I still love Amherst to its core. I have to believe that Amherst can live up to its narrative about itself. I am writing today because I haven’t given up on this school — I want it to come into its own.
It's been three years since the Green Amherst Project first asked the board of the trustees to divest Amherst's $2.1 billion endowment from the coal industry. In that time, the divestment movement has expanded to over 300 universities and numerous religious institutions, foundations and cities; the list of organizations already divested includes institutions both large and small, ranging from Stanford University and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to the town of Amherst, Massachusetts. The divestment campaign at Amherst College has grown at a similar pace.
In her latest op-ed in the New York Times, Judith Shulevitz identifies a recent trend in colleges towards sanitizing intellectual spaces (or as she more bluntly puts it, “hiding from scary ideas”). Shulevitz is one in a rising number of voices fighting back against what they perceive to be the excessive political correctness that has the university and, more broadly, spaces for thought.