At this point, it’s hard to defend keeping the Lord Jeff as our mascot. Lord Jeffery Amherst advocated genocide against Native Americans. By celebrating him as our mascot, we tacitly condone both the man and his actions. Not only does this conflict with the values of any modern-day liberal arts institution, our designation as the Jeffs is a cruel irony in the face of increasing pushes for more diversity and representation from Native American students.

This spring semester the College will be implementing as a trial run several changes to its party policy. Last week, Dean Larimore emailed the students regarding these policy changes, and despite its verbiage, the letter summed up an earnest effort by the administration to improve social life at the College. The events of last semester, especially those of Crossett Christmas, demonstrated the necessity of changes to the party policy; this semester will hopefully prove their efficacy.

It is unfortunate how the process of learning and the academic calendar are so out of sync. Learning is continuous and gradual, whereas academic pressure fluctuates and spikes sharply, typically in the months of December and May. Out of this dissonance, emerges the stress of finals.

As Thanksgiving break approaches, many of us are looking forward to spending the holiday with friends and family. Fortunately, those of us who can’t make it home can do the same — the College’s efforts to ensure that there will be a festive, communal vibe on campus are sure to give us all something to be thankful for, even if we can’t be with our families or friends from home.

On Sunday, we all received an email from Dean Larimore announcing the “Social Cup” initiative — yesterday, Val rolled out a set of fresh blue cups that indicate to fellow students that the user is open to sitting with people he or she does not know. The purpose of the initiative is to promote social mingling in Val and to help those who would like to meet new people express that desire in a clear yet fairly unobtrusive way. This initiative is creative and has the potential to dramatically improve our community at Amherst.

On Oct. 11, the Board of Trustees approved a new facilities plan which, among other things, called for the Social Dorms to be razed to make way for a new science center. The plan potentially kills two birds with one stone by ensuring Amherst remains competitive in undergraduate science and by dealing with the dilapidated Socials. While the Socials, at present, may be for many an important focal point for social life, these changes are long overdue.

Most of us are eagerly looking forward to the rest and relaxation we hope to enjoy over fall break. But for students who are not going home over the long weekend, those anticipated days of freedom can turn into long hours of boredom. To preempt this unfortunate turn of events, we are providing you with a list of exciting activities taking place in the town of Amherst over the long weekend.