2012: The Year of the Commentator: Why You Should Read The Commentator This Year More Than Ever
Some might wonder what exactly a YU, student newspaper could publish that would possibly be of the remotest interest—or significance—to deserve more than an ancillary glance or tertiary read-through when so many professional publications sit piled up on the kitchen counter, waiting to be read, but lacking the time and energy to be considered.
Some students, faculty, alumni, and other interested parties will read this paper cover to cover regardless of what I say. They either feel obligated to do so, or are compelled by some natural inclination to flip through the pages of the official student newspaper, perhaps to attain the capability to feign fluency in campus, and other, matters while in astute company.
Other students, faculty, alumni, and other uninter- ested parties will not read any of this paper (except for, if we’re lucky, a guilty glance at the front and back cov- ers) regardless of what I say. Their time is too rare and important to be spent—nay, wasted—on what they con- sider the muffled musings of a few twenty-something- year-olds typing at a dorm-room desk.
To all of you, I would like to submit my argument for why you should read—willingly and delightedly— The Commentator this year. Some reasons might apply to any sunny morning at YU, but please, allow me to assure you that this year you should look to The Com- mentator more than ever.
This year promises to be a watershed moment in YU’s history, let alone American or Israeli.
We are in the midst of the most severe budget cri- sis this university has faced since the Great Depression. Over the past year, fundamental changes have been made to our university in order to balance the budget; tens of teachers fired, departments disintegrated, clubs and support centers cut in half, and we have yet to hear any official statement from the administration as to what has been done, why, and what the future will hold.
The Commentator will report on the budget crisis in all its fiscal glory, uncovering what has already hap- pened, the plans for the future, and the stories behind these changes—however beautiful or whorry they are. The earthquake surrounding the budget crisis has al- ready shaken YU to its deepest foundations and will send aftershocks for years to come. Our in-depth cover- age will guide you in understanding the true impact of this storm.
Fiscal decisions aside, this year also hearkens back to the Great Depression for another reason. For the first time since 1928, YU students will experience a new academic curriculum in their secular classes. Require-
ments have drastically changed, departments taken new shape, and the student jury has yet to pass judgment on this historic shift. You can count on The Commentator to report on any changes made to the curriculum and for continued coverage of student and faculty reactions to those changes. Universities move slowly; any academic decisions made now will surely be in place for the better part of a century, so we should be certain to carefully judge the decisions being made.
However, The Commentator offers far more than coverage of campus happenings. We present the YU Student’s perspective on issues outside the university as well.
And this year, the YU Student will have plenty to feast his (or her) mind on.
American politics stands at a critical moment right now. The coming presidential election presents two ex- tremely distinct paths for this country to take, or at least the two candidates would have us think as much. We stand on the edge of a fiscal cliff that would destroy our country if no action is taken to avert national crisis. Po- larization has torn the political landscape to pieces; gun violence is making us rethink public safety; upheaval in the Middle East is shaking fundamental tenets of inter- national policy; the search for sustainable, environmen- tally-friendly energy alternatives continues to elude us; and globalization has started to make Americans think again about being the best, most powerful country on the planet.
Israel finds itself at a historic pivot point as well. It is growing continuously more anxious about the Iranian threat, not to mention the possible challenges posed by the new regime in Egypt. And let us not forget the pro- found social changes occurring in our homeland. The expansion of the mandatory draft to Haredim may be the first step toward breaking down large fences between Israel’s sectarian groups and the recent OWS-esque demonstrations may bring socio-economic issues to the forefront for the first time in decades.
Now, you can read all about these issues in the New York Times and Economist, but you won’t find the YU sStudent’s perspective; for thoughtful and respectful discussion of YU Student opinions, The Commentator is the only forum.
And of course, we’ll be covering all the fascinating stories on and around campus and exposing dirty under- bellies all year round so you won’t miss even one heart- beat of this living, thriving—somewhat strange—little underworld. And you wouldn’t want to miss even one of those crucial beats—I’ve never had a heart attack, but I hear it’s not a pleasant experience.
So, please, read The Commentator, keep your finger on the YU student pulse, and have a wonderful year at Yeshiva University.