A welcome from the 2010-2011 editorial board
We hope that your years at Wash. U. are and will be a time of direct engagement with your surroundings, during which you can apply the critical thinking skills you learn in your classes to the world around you. And as a student-run editorial board, we’re here to help you do just that—our job on these opinion pages, as we see it, is to facilitate dialogue between members of the community.
Next year, the students, faculty and community of Wash. U. will continue to engage with a variety of issues, and while we can’t predict the future, there are several issues that will likely make headlines next year. In this first issue, we’d like to acquaint you with them.
Last year, conflicts evolved between students living north of campus and their University City neighbors over a “zero tolerance” noise policy under which the University City Police Department issues a summons every time a police officer received a noise complaint. This summer, students have worked to make peace with their neighbors and reduce the number of citations and arrests, but the quarrel is by no means over. The role that the University will play in its resolution remains to be seen.
Even as new LEED-certified buildings continue to be constructed, Wash. U.’s Board of Trustees contains leading executives from Peabody and Arch Coal, two major St. Louis-based players in coal production. This affiliation has proved to be a controversy among students, reaching a head last year when Student Union passed a resolution decrying the University’s leadership role in the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization. As a leading research university, Wash. U.’s stance on the environment has the power to affect not only the University itself, but St. Louis, our nation and our world.
Student and faculty diversity on campus.
Last year, Student Union brought to bear several initiatives that aim to promote increased student and faculty diversity. U/FUSED, a new multi-campus group, aims to promote socioeconomic diversity. The Diversity Affairs Council (DAC) aspires to allow the student body better to react to issues of prejudice. These initiatives are still in developing stages, and their assessment of and impact on campus diversity will continue to evolve next year.
The undergraduate experience at Wash. U.
Though it is by nature and definition a research university, Wash. U. devotes vast quantities of resources to improving the four-year experience for its undergraduates. With the construction of College Hall, the Residential College system may become a more fundamental aspect of campus life—and the ways in which the undergraduate community relates to the intellectual community of our faculty will continue to evolve.
Washington University in St. Louis?
This spring, a tobacco ban will take effect for both St. Louis City and St. Louis County, following already-enacted bans on Wash. U.’s campus and in the nearby suburb of Clayton. The ways in which students react to the campus tobacco ban will continue to develop, but perhaps more interestingly, Wash. U.’s influence on the community tobacco ban was large, representing a public health initiative driven by our medical school. Other agendas such as public transportation have been heavily promoted by the administration, and we have no doubt that Wash. U. will continue to interact politically with the St. Louis community next year.