This election year is a special one: the first time this particular body of Amherst students will experience a presidential election on campus.

This election marks an intersection too; it is a means through which the community at Amherst intersects with the world at large. We bring what Amherst gives us to the voting booth, to determine the course of this country and the role of government in our lives.

Some people on campus may lack the courage to speak up yet still believe that the meritocratic culture of Amherst College provokes a sense of personal inadequacy among students of color. Others, like Katrin Marquez, recognized the inadequacy but misidentify its source. In last week’s issue, she disclosed how a faculty member puzzled her by paying more attention to her ethnic background than to her academic interests in an early advising meeting.

I have a confession to make. I was admitted to Amherst College because there are too many women in the applicant pool. They needed more men to reach the 50/50 ratio. They read “Matthew” at the top of my application, clearly a guy’s name, and were willing to overlook my other shortcomings and accept me into the College.

In the last issue of The Student, Katrin Marquez ’14 wrote an article about the College’s commitment to a policy of affirmative action. The article was sharply critical of the policy, and she raised a number of good points to support her criticism. For example, despite our policy towards “diversity,” the campus is visibly polarized along racial, ethnic and class lines.

Class of 2016, please get an alarm clock that works well. I have tried many. There was even a time when my younger brother ordered a Sonic Boom alarm clock, which is exactly what it sounds like. It lived up to its name by shaking my mattress, blasting siren sounds and flashing red lights. It was way too much for me and my roommate. But I am now pleased to announce I have finally settled on a Casio 128 alarm clock, with a small, blue screen and a chipper, rousing alarm tone.

The past few months have involved considerable discussion of the “War on Women.” This war seems to be largely sensationalist rebranding of a conglomeration of some very important debates. While there is no excuse for comments about “legitimate rape,” Democrats probably don’t do the national discourse much service in framing the issue so violently. In her Republican National Convention speech, Ann Romney tried to win women’s sympathies and, ultimately, votes for her husband, Mitt Romney. Unfortunately she chose to speak to women as if they lacked brains.

The men and women of our armed forces are facing continual, catastrophic assaults that threaten not only their individual well-beings but also the effectiveness and cohesiveness of the military as a whole. These assaults don’t originate from Al-Qaeda, the Taliban or any of the groups that we have declared as our enemies. These assaults, distressingly, originate from within our own military. Every day our military personnel face sexual assault and battery from other members of the same military, frequently from those they have been drilled to trust at a religiously absolute level.

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