As the semester draws to a close, students hunker down to write final papers and prepare for exams. We look forward to leaving campus — perhaps because we are heading home or simply to another place, anywhere that is not here. Snow is starting to fall, and stick, and the tension that comes with exam season feels somewhat mediated by the faith that the holidays will soon arrive. In so many ways, the campus feels situated on an edge of an annual turn. Viewing the space that opens ahead of us gives rise to many different feelings.

In light of the recent election and where Amherst stands in its history with diversity, allyship has never been more pertinent. There are individuals at this college who have been scarred by racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-semitism, classicism, religious discrimination, xenophobia, etc. for most, if not all of their lives. There are also individuals on this campus who have never experienced any of those oppressions.

A week ago, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States of America. Our campus reacted that night, and we continue to react in different ways every day. The feeling on campus remains somber. As we prepare for the peaceful transition of power and what the next four years might entail, it’s important to first consider the ways Amherst College, as an institution, has facilitated or stifled student discourse on the new government.

At this time of year — with big events on weekends and bizarre weather — it can feel hard to sit down and plow through homework. If you happen to be in a humanities class, you might often find yourself heading to class thinking, “who has actually finished all the reading?” Many courses assign infeasible amounts of readings to such an extent that even the professor will explicitly state that they would be not be surprised if many people hadn’t finished for class. Why is this the norm? Rigor does not necessitate large volumes of work.

As a print publication with nearly 150 years of history, the Amherst Student has a substantial archive of student writing. The Student’s office and the College archives house stacks of aged books with every issue that came before this one and will grow to include each one that will come after. Though this routine does document our history, successfully navigating our records seems harder than one might imagine. For example, how does one approach finding all articles on Asian American identities, or all articles discussing sexual assault?

Amherst is often described as an elite institution, a label that typically carries positive connotations. Specifically, “elite” invokes prestige and rigor, framing Amherst as a beacon of achievement in higher education. To a large degree, our campus community embodies these ideals through the various academic, athletic and personal accomplishments on which The Student reports each week. While The Editorial Board is certainly proud of our college, we also wish to investigate the uglier side of the “elite” label.

Critiques of social life at Amherst are nothing new. From the demolition of the Socials to various changes in party policy to the current glaring lack of diverse options, the search for solutions to the problems surrounding social life on campus has reached a new climax. It’s evident that the college experience extends beyond the academic and academically-associated extracurricular sphere. To hinder, rather than nourish, a portion of Amherst life that is undoubtedly crucial to the formation of meaningful relationships is unrealistic in today’s collegiate social climate.

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