A Time of Redemption

Parker Caldwell

I have had an interesting four years at Colgate. Three new massive buildings, five “global lead­ers” lecture and a new president to see me off. Abroad, I was able to travel throughout Europe and meet impressive politicians and global actors. At Colgate, I was able to lead teams and proj­ects, learn how to succeed on a team and meet the people I plan to be friends with indefinitely.

In terms of faculty, professors here are still awesome – I think they always have been, at least most of them. I can’t argue when they posit that they are the university’s most valuable asset. I feel comfortable saying that a number of professors here have changed the course of my life in a powerful way.

Less important than my classroom learning, though, is the brilliant education I have received outside the classroom here. I honestly feel that my time in the bubble has prepared me for excel­lence in the real world in an unimaginable way. Through opportunities with Colgate Club Water Polo, Theta Chi Fraternity, the Student Government Association, the Maroon-News and the COVE, I am now able to understand people and situations on a level that I never expected to be able to. As I move into the professional world, I will doubtlessly enjoy my day-to-day life less than I do now. However, I feel confident in my ability to learn, adapt and excel. It is because of my holistic education at Colgate University that I am confident in writing this.

If I wanted to go to a generic liberal arts school, I would not have applied early to Colgate four years ago. As a naïve high school student, Colgate struck me, and as a jaded Colgate senior, I now understand why. Colgate is appreciably unique in a striking way.

The work hard/play hard lifestyle ruins some people who can’t work smart, and it is wasted on those who don’t know how to play well. For countless students, though, Colgate’s unique culture provides an excellent arena for personal development and a hilariously fun playground for the most-fun four years of one’s life.

All of this praise being written, the years of 2007-2010 were a dark time at Colgate University. Rebecca Chopp had, in my opinion, a perverse and subversive vision for the University. I hope she is happy at Swarthmore, and I am confident she is. I write this because for about a decade she attempted to turn Colgate into Swarthmore, or any of the other faceless, elite liberal arts colleges in this country.

I do not forgive her for this. While here, her administration sacrificed student safety and well-being in favor of her and her colleague’s personal reputation. The fact that the Officer Furner DUI issue was never resolved, and the fact that the student body was never apologized to is entirely unacceptable in my qualified opinion.

The recent drama within the Dean of the Faculty’s office is completely unreasonable. The students at Colgate and the faculty at Colgate are far too good to deserve the pervasive incom­petence, negligence and borderline corruption that I have observed at Colgate over the past four years.

In what I can only assume is an effort to protect themselves from bad publicity, Colgate prohibits policies that are in the common sense interest of students, of which there are too many for me to go into now, and many of which have been brought up in this paper’s commentary section throughout the year.

Ever since President Herbst has moved in, though, I’ve noticed impressive changes in the cul­ture of the Colgate Administration – definitely in Campus Safety and possibly in ResLife (maybe it needs another 2 years). I’m not yet sure whether correlation stems causally from President Herbst’s arrival, though I certainly give him the benefit of the doubt. Plenty of administrative organization here is utterly nonsensical, but I will not turn this article into a catalogue of my complaints.

I think I will always love this place, and I hope to see more positive change as plan I stay in touch with the Colgate community over the coming years.