It was the Sunday night before class, and confusion reigned supreme on campus. With Hurricane Sandy set to make landfall in several hours, students stayed up late waiting for information about classes the next day. Confused Facebook messages flew back and forth. Some students announced defeat in the waiting game and decided they were just going to skip class for their own safety in spite of forthcoming news.

These past few days have been the moment of student journalism and expression at Amherst. Students published their accounts and expressed their points in various publications and columns. From The Student, The Indicator, AC Voice and student blogs of all kinds, the voice of students rang out for calls to action — and action came to campus in force. After Angie Epifano’s account (“An Account of Sexual Assault at Amherst College”) went viral, President Martin reached out to the Amherst community within less than 24 hours of our publication.

The news of former professor Carleen Basler’s academic plagiarism came as a shock to the entire College community, with several students and faculty expressing intense dismay at the revelations about someone who is revered an idol, mentor and friend. While we at The Student do not wish to opine on the particularities of Basler’s case, we do wish to use this incident to highlight an important problem that not only plagues members of the College’s own academic community, but also elite institutions across the map: the lack of adequate support networks for the high pressures of academia.

The first fall breeze brings with it the fresh and confused faces of first-year students who still don’t know the way to Val and the inevitable “new school year” resolutions which upperclassmen come up with: “this year, I won’t pull any all-nighters” or “this year, I’m actually going to find out what the inside of the Alumni Gym looks like.”

This week saw a lot of tension on campus on the subject of mass emails, sparked by a student voicing a grievance that many shared on campus: that the annoying nature of mass mailings requires students to avoid the temptation to an end to the unofficial use of the campus email addresses. Students responded in various ways to this complaint — some of them reactionary and unpleasant in nature. We would like to explain why we see the event as a clash of student interests, while offering visions for the future of peer outreach at the College.

It’s hard not to feel empowered and inspired by Amherst students lately. Last Monday, somewhere between 250 and 500 students met on the steps of Frost to remember Michael Brown’s death with a moment of silence and a walk around the quad chanting “hands up, don’t shoot.” On Sunday, anyone on or around the first-year quad could see the group of UMass and Amherst protesters who walked through the town to raise awareness about the injustice of the non-indictment in the Eric Garner case.

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