Living History

By: Fruma Landa  |  May 19, 2021

By Fruma Landa, Editor in Chief 

One of the many objectives of a newspaper is to document moments in time with the goal of providing individuals in later generations with primary sources about events which occurred. This year, we witnessed history being made, and I am proud to say that as a newspaper, we had the privilege of documenting it. Aside from living through the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed first hand the groundbreaking lawsuit against YU regarding their refusal to provide LGBTQ+ students on campus a club. These two instances, although vastly incomparable, will root themselves in history. 

One of the most important things about living through history is that we take part in making it. Every news article regarding COVID-19 cases or testing procedures on campus leaves a paper trail for future historians to follow while researching institutions’ response to the pandemic. Articles depicting the struggles and pain of the pandemic can be used down the line to understand how the pandemic influenced the lives of college students, socially, emotionally and academically. Every article published this year contributes to the knowledge people will have about the pandemic in the future.

Aside from contributing to history via documentation, students on campus have done their fair share of changing the future of YU, thus making history. The YU I am about to graduate from is not the same YU I enrolled in. Initiatives such as the Beren Campus Rosh Chodesh Minyan and clubs such as the Jewish Activism Club and Students Against Sexual Assault have done great work changing the landscape of our communities for the better. While these initiatives and clubs were not active when I arrived at YU, they have been active for several semesters and show no signs of slowing down. The formation of these clubs, as well as the articles written about their events, root these clubs in the YU experience. 

Unlike the above YU-supported clubs and initiatives, not all life-changing clubs have been granted the right to exist on campus. In my first year at YU, the YU Pride Alliance, an unofficial club dedicated to providing resources and community to the LGBTQ+ student body, had not been formed. There were previous attempts to start an LGBTQ+ related club, and conversations of how to best support LGBTQ+ students on campus were already in motion, but we were still far away from change. Although controversial, the YU Pride Alliance has the power to drastically improve students’ lives for the better as it provides life saving resources to queer students and has the ability to connect students to a larger LGBTQ+ community on campus. The formation of the YU Pride Alliance, although not included in the lists of YU clubs, has not been left out of history. The trail, beginning at the LGBTQ+ march, to the many attempts to gain club approval, to the eventual lawsuit, can be traced throughout YU Observer articles. 

Writing about events has the ability to record them for the future. But further, documenting new initiatives gives movements a voice which allows them to gain visibility and support, ensuring continuity. 

As a newspaper, we have the ability to strengthen movements and create history. This privilege comes with extreme responsibility. I am proud that the initiatives that changed the face of YU between my first and last semester have been neatly recorded in the YU Observer, ensuring they are not lost in time. I am confident that the YU Observer will continue to document the happenings of YU, and I look forward to reading about our history in the making.