This is not the column I had planned on writing this week. I had a couple hundred words written about awards shows and their place in American culture, inspired by the wacky Oscars broadcast this past Sunday. Then, early yesterday morning, we all received an email alerting us to the fact that transphobic vandalism had been written on the mirror of a gender-inclusive bathroom in Frost Library. Receiving this email dismayed and horrified me, as I’m sure it did for many fellow students. So, when I sat down to finish my silly awards show article, I realized that I could not.

Before we imagined what community looked like, we simply wanted it. Students and the institution both often rely too heavily on aesthetics. We try to create a community that looks and behaves a certain way, but we don’t always listen to the underlying emotional drive for social connection. Relational drive becomes sidelined for the sake of the relational product, and we lose sight of why we were trying to connect with others in the first place.

Dear Alumni, Whom I Love:

‘Thank you so much for your support’ — which has, today, granted me a polite one or overstepping two cider donuts. These donuts are essential. When I bite into one and get lost in its somehow both fluffy and dense center, I forget for an instant that I am placing myself as indebted to you in order to obtain a plain gray tank top.

Yesterday, “Variety” reported that Jimmy Kimmel, host and executive producer of ABC’s late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” was considering retiring from his position when his contract expires in 2019. He has hosted the show since its inception in 2003, which makes him the second-longest tenured late-night talk show host, trailing only Conan O’Brien.

Speaking and listening across political divide in these times is challenging. We are intent on bringing conservative ideas to liberal campuses, or bringing liberal ideas to conservative campuses. We are focused on pulling in thoughts beyond our standard lines of thinking. We seek to break the assumed bubbles in which we exist. However, these efforts are often ineffective due to an absence of true listening.

The following piece was first delivered as a paper presentation to senior English majors.

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