Washington University’s fall academic calendar is unique—starting a full week before most private universities, with two one-day breaks (Labor Day and fall break, which falls a week after Columbus Day), a traditional Thanksgiving break and then ending with a three-day reading week and five days of exams. In the research I have done, I have yet to find a university of the same caliber or size with a directly comparable schedule.
Last week, we printed an op-ed submission entitled “Professors’ endorsement of Israel boycott deserves condemnation” in the pages of this Forum section. The writer’s conflation of anti-Semitism with criticism of a government is a reckless accusation and in no way a defense of the academic freedom or nondiscrimination he claims to hold dear.
A police officer shot and killed Vonderrit Myers, a black male, Wednesday night on Shaw Avenue—this is the only undisputed truth we have as of today. Meanwhile, people have pressed protesters to justify the inclusion of Myers within the Ferguson October demonstrations that took place over the weekend.
It’s Sunday, and the MetroLink is packed with football fans. I emulate my inner-sardine and stand to one side of the door, barely clutching onto a pole. I’m from the fringe of Chicago, so I’m no stranger to public transportation. Being cramped in a small space where the awkward, accidental groping of sweaty strangers is inevitable almost feels like second nature.
Within two weeks of being here, campaign posters for College Council elections saturated my dormitory. A few weeks later, event invitations to elect Freshman Class Council members littered my Facebook and bombarded my notifications. How were students who had been at a school for less than a month already investing themselves so heavily in vying for extracurricular positions?
Last week, I listened to Columbia law professor Patricia Williams lecture at Washington University for the second time. In her talks, Williams, who also writes for The Nation magazine, has emphasized the power of words and the extent to which the words used to surround an event or a photo can dictate how it will be received.
Since the killing of Mike Brown over a month ago, Twitter has driven worldwide attention to protests and ongoing abuse by law enforcement. The feeds of activists, including Antonio French and the Lost Voices, have kept focus and dialogue on Ferguson alive.
Rather than splitting their time evenly, students trade their sleeping hours for working hours as a way to demonstrate their commitment to achievement. Students here compete to see who can make their life the most miserable and then brag to their friends about their supposed accomplishments.
Transferring the tax burden onto the small, progressive part of our society that owns electric cars or hybrids is illogical and ineffective. The green car tax won’t raise enough money to make back the money lost by normal drivers and it will stunt growth of the fledgling industry.
Despite the smiling faces that grace the covers of our brochures and viewbooks, unhappiness certainly has an ominous presence on campus. I guess it isn’t completely surprising that this is such a common sentiment—after all, Washington University is an intensely high-pressure environment. It’s almost too easy to fall into the clutches of feeling inadequate, overwhelmed, lonely and everything in between.