History Repeats: Editor’s Note, September 21, 1989

By: Deena Yellin  |  September 19, 2019

By Deena Yellin, Editor in Chief

“The library, the vans, the dorm conditions, the athletic facilities, the cafeteria…

To some, the Observer has traditionally been a springboard of endless complaints and blind swipes at the administration. One need only flip through the pages of this issue to see ample evidence that this tradition continues. 

What these people fail to realize is that this litany of complaints is not so much a result of spoiledness or groundless emotionalism, but a reflection of the little progress made in solving the problems that have plagued SCW for years.

Recently, I read issues of the Observer dating back thirty years. Somehow, I was not surprised to see just how little has changed since then. I was overcome with a feeling of deja vu as I read of problems that we are still grappling with today. A January 1966 letter to the editor concerned the poor dormitory conditions, an November 1965 editorial cartoon contrasted SCW’s lack of facilities with Yeshiva’s expansive facilities and a November 1966 editorial complained about the five dollar fee required with late registration. 

To many, this is a disheartening revelation since it means that we have spent a good number of years complaining with no success. However, from a historical perspective, written protests do not imply that there was activism on the part of the students. In the 1960’s, college students made national impact through their activism. They were vocal in their criticisms both in writing and in action. The message to SCW students is that without concomitant student involvement, little can be achieved. 

Often, when the administration is not faced with student protest, they merely shrug and let the problem linger on for yet another year. It is evident that when it comes to SCW, the administration rarely takes action and for steady progress to be made, student protest is required…

The role of a student newspaper is to be a forum for student opinion and a springboard for news ideas. However, without student action the ideas will not be put into practice. This month’s Observer contains many of the problems and issues students are currently facing and discussing. The next step is for students to take the initiative. 

The issues raised in the Observer should be a challenge both to the administration and the student body. The administration’s challenge is to seek practical solutions to the problems[…]The Observer, in the coming months, will seek to pinpoint some of the areas which need solutions[…] The Observer invites all students and faculty to use the newspaper as a vehicle by which to express their views and publicize suggestions to the problems of SCW. 

The Observer’s goal is to promote positive action. We don’t want to sit passively by when change is so desperately needed. In a letter to the editor written in the March 12, 1962 issue of the Observer, a student wrote, ‘The complaints are not new ones. They have existed since 1954. Seven and a half years has not seen marked improvement. Let us turn the tide before it is too late.’ 

I couldn’t agree more… and thirty five years is too long a time for problems to remain unsolved.”