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76 Years of What?

Things people often mean when they tell me they read The Commentator:

  • They read YUToday
  • They read Commentary
  • They have seen The Commentator

The number of Yeshiva University publications, and its recent multiplication, has left many students confused about the difference between the various newspapers. That’s why I want to clarify what distinguishes The Commentator from many of the other publications piled by the haphazard hundreds in (and around) the Wilf and Beren Campuses’ matte blue receptacles (I’ve heard that some have even made it as far as the internet). I also hope to make it clear why I, personally, chose this paper.

The Commentator, first of all, is run entirely by undergraduate students. So we’ve already drawn a fundamental distinction between The Commie and YUToday, which is run by YU’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs. The purpose of YUToday is to make sure the right people know how awesome we are. It is crucial for a university to put out such a publication.

University President Richard M. Joel assures Commie Editors-in-Chief that he does not believe The Commentator should operate as a press organ of the University, a YUToday with less gloss and more Seven Up, Seven Down. Rather, he elaborates, it is fundamentally necessary for students to develop voices of their own and express them constructively. Our university, countries, and world present us with more than enough issues to keep our minds whirring day and night—but if we want to play any part in resolving such tensions, we must constantly seek to improve our powers of expression and communication. The Commentator is one of a few student outlets for such expression.

Yet merely expressing our tension, confusion, or frustration often falls painfully short of the longer-term relief brought by practically fixing the source of the problem. Everybody needs a good venting session once in a while—er, daily—but while friends, commiseration, and an exaggerated imitation of that baselessly pretentious kid in your Bible class might make you say hey, I can totally get through this, there’s a more productive way.

When something here at YU doesn’t work out for you, you can convey your angst by emitting a resounding, semester-spanning moan, or take a few moments to filter your thoughts, with the aim of concretizing them in a dignified, accessible, and persuasive manner. As Yeshiva students, we can work to actually minimize the number of university issues we have to complain about. Our administration reads The Commentator cover to cover.

The Commentator boasts vibrant sections detailing YU news, history, social life, sports, the arts, technology, and more. With careful editorial discretion, we hope to showcase the thoughts and feelings of some of the best of YU’s undergraduate leaders and thinkers. But we also have the equally important goal of bringing about practical change in our university, of working with the right authorities to ensure, in order to meet student needs, that our institutional structure and mentality are always evolving.

Change can start with students if they work to refine their voices, and engage their peers and YU officials respectfully and respectably. Change might not ever come if our public reactions to YU imperfections are purely vitriolic, demonstrating neither discretion nor respect. When writing for The Commentator, students constantly keep in mind that their words might in fact effect change. Whether their work will merit such change depends largely on a student’s own judgment.

So as it turns out I’ve failed to distinguish The Commentator from a few other publications with mostly similar intentions. You’ll find it hard to find a student newspaper editor who’s not a little too obsessed with changing YU for the better. There will always be a little overlap between some of our newspapers, maybe even some confusion (my dad thinks I edit Commentary). But one difference I know for sure is that The Commentator is the paper that made YU great for me.

Our team is driven and supportive, endlessly committed to our bombastic mission statement. I’ve learned invaluable skills and lessons from Commie editors past and present. Also, we have a decently sized office that’s great for hanging out, so while you’re working to effect real change, you can get in a good venting session.