Last night, just after 6 p.m., the News’ Managing Board of 2012 arrived at 202 York. They talked, argued, laughed and drank. They planned, edited and laid out stories and columns. Finally, a few hours before the sun crept up the stairs, they published this newspaper. It was the last time. Come next week, a team of talented successors will take over the newspaper and we, the editors, will be set free, let out to pasture. Recidivism won’t be a problem. But we will miss the News, and you, our readers.
But before we miss you, we have to thank you: for picking up the paper, for clicking and commenting, for complaining and complimenting. At a place as pressurized and high-achieving as Yale, it’s easy to forget that no matter the position, we’re still human, still fumbling college students. We at the News learned as we went along. Thank you for bearing with us. When we made mistakes, you called us out. And when we broke news or took a stand, you spoke out.
This year of news at Yale has given us all a lot to talk about. There was sexist chanting, club tazings, Pundits parties gone awry, partnerships with Asian autocrats, and a government investigation into sex at Yale. Steps forward were rarely clear. As our university began to understand new challenges — in our culture, our city, and our global expansion — we fell into fiery debate. It didn’t always yield answers, but it was always valuable. Taking ownership of Yale and its problems was a better education than any QR or Hu. It prepared us for the active, messy work of life.
Last year, the Managing Board of 2011 left the paper with a simple plea, published in this space: “Speak up, Yale.” This year, if comments, columns, forums and fights were any indication, we did. Yale was at its best when it didn’t shy away from the difficult questions, when it didn’t censor or silence. After our editorships, we’ve realized that Kingman Brewster Jr., former Yale president, definitely knew what he was talking about: “It won’t make for a quiet life, but it will make for an interesting paper.”
It’s no cliché to say that Yale stands at a crossroads. We have inherited an institution with a powerful but troubling history. Its stodgy orthodoxies are worth shedding, while its nobler principles demand protecting. Leaving behind entitlement and homogeneity will take work. But as Yale grows and globalizes, stopping our values from losing meaning might take a fight. Beyond the billions, the bureaucracy, the administrations, and the controversies, Yale is still just an idea, to be shaped and put into action by those lucky enough to live, study, and work here. Yale is a lot more than a four-year holdover on the way to “analyst” or “associate.” It’s our campus to make and remake.
In eras past, the gents around the tables down at Mory’s were spoiled, entitled and privileged. But Yale was here to teach them to return the favor, to lead through service — in politics, the military, writing and entrepreneurship. An education here was not an intellectual exercise, but the prerequisite of civic action. How much of this Yale do we stand to lose? And how much does Yale depend on us, only temporary wanderers within its walls, to teach and improve it in turn?
A campus newspaper cannot answer these questions, beyond printing the facts and starting a few conversations. But its readers can. After tomorrow, we’ll be readers again too. It has been an honor and a privilege putting out this paper. We can wish the Board of 2013 nothing more than that same thrill. They have no idea what they’re getting into.