We’re Not in 2010 Anymore

Sara Steinfeld Class of 2014

Well, hello, Maroon-News readers! It’s been a while! I would say that I missed you, but it would seem that the atmosphere of readers at Colgate now is quite different than what I experienced during the four years I spent writing about my sex life. I even noticed it when I was in Hamilton for Homecoming just a few short weeks ago. So, when the Commentary editors asked me to write an alumni column for this special edition, I felt like it was time to come back, especially because I know how much you all missed me (don’t even try to deny it). 

The theme of this edition is, “The Future of Colgate.” It initially seemed like a weird theme to me since I’m perfectly happy to keep my relationship with this university frozen in time between 2010 and 2014. But, in light of recent events, I just don’t think I can realistically do that anymore.

Having a job in social media is a little bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, I get to have my voice heard by a large number of people and can (attempt to) influence their opinions. On the other hand, though, I have access to a constant flow of information, and in some situations, I just wish I didn’t. I don’t know what will happen at Colgate between the time I submit this article for editing and the day it goes to print, but I know that what I’ve seen so far does not leave a good taste in my mouth as far as the integrity of the University goes. 

Where to begin? I could talk about the steady downward spiral that Greek Life seems to be enduring, but I don’t think that’s a problem we need to rehash. It’s an open secret that President Herbst has wanted Greek Life out of the picture since he began his tenure at Colgate, and as a proud alumna of Delta Delta Delta, I think we all know where I stand in that regard. My biggest concern about the future of Colgate lies in the following three events: the sit-in at Admission that went on from September 22-26, the pro-Palestine protest that preceded the Shimon Peres lecture on October 25 and the vandalized mattress used for Carry That Weight Day on October 29. 

Let me just say this before I begin so as to (hopefully) avoid angry backlash: Free speech is free speech, and everyone has the right to stand up for whatever they believe and fight back against perceived injustices. In fact, it’s an attribute among Colgate students that I admire, and, to a degree, wish I saw more of when I was a student. My problem is that something about the atmosphere of Colgate, to me, seems fundamentally broken in a way that it wasn’t (or, maybe, in a way that I just didn’t notice) before. While, on a personal level, a pro-Palestine protest disgusts me to no end (sorry, everyone who’s going to stop reading now and think me an ignorant bigot), I think the prevalence and the frequency of these protests say something very upsetting about my alma mater. 

Though I never noticed any form of discrimination in my time at Colgate, neither directed toward me nor toward any of my friends, all of whom were of various backgrounds – nor, for that matter, did my sister, who graduated in 2011 – the fact that it grew to such an unbearable degree is unacceptable. Though I never endured any type of unwelcome sexual advance, I do know of some people who did, and the fact that it rose to such a level and the fact that people do not respect the call for a safer sexual environment is unacceptable. And though I never experienced any outright anti-Semitism, the fact that there was a pro-Palestine protest that occurred just steps from where I resided senior year is unacceptable. When I graduated in May, the nostalgic part of me hoped that, when I returned, Colgate would be as it was. 

But maybe that’s not entirely for the best. Despite the fact that I hate change on principle, and that it pains me to see my school change in such a fashion that may make it unrecognizable to me 10 years from now, the changes that are coming are necessary, and I’m proud of everyone fighting for them. It’s what I should have done.