A year of the unpredictable: 2002-03

In September it seemed, as it perhaps always seems but never quite turns out to be, that this would be a year of predictable news. We were on a campus and in a country just beginning to heal from the unimaginable tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and we were ready for eight months of steady recovery. There was President Levin’s 10-year anniversary to look forward to, and what was sure to be his blockbuster reformation of Yale’s early decision policy. The Committee on Yale College Education would conclude its academic review and release a long-awaited and potentially monumental report sometime in the spring. And, of course, there were the yet unsettled contracts for Locals 34 and 35, and the possibility of a strike that would lead, labor history told us, to countless disruptions to student life as we know it.

We look back now on a year shaped by the unpredictable and marvel, as the editors of the News did last April, at what Yale has seen, weathered and recovered from in a year. But for a reshuffling after beloved former Provost Alison Richard left for the University of Cambridge, the administration has surprised us little, with admirable stances on affirmative action and student visas, predictable responses to unions, academics and admissions. We remember instead the traumatic mornings — from the Friday in January when we woke to news of a highway car accident that killed Kyle Burnat ’05, Andrew Dwyer ’05, Sean Fenton ’04 and Nicholas Grass ’05, driving home from a DKE event in New York, to the Friday of last week when we woke again, a campus weary from loss and wary of the city, to the death of Lyric Benson ’02, shot by her ex-boyfriend in her Manhattan apartment. We reflect, also, on the candlelit evenings — the vigils in memory of students and professors, in support of free speech, in sympathy with those facing conflict around the world.

We left last May a University united by a year of struggle. We will leave next month a campus divided by a month of war. And we look forward, again, to a year of recovery — hoping for the predictable, but anticipating otherwise.

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