Editorial: Dear Class of 2028

Editorial: Dear Class of 2028

To Case Western Reserve University’s incoming Class of 2028: You are in a remarkable position to enact change at CWRU. Let the Editorial Board explain why.

In November of 2022, President Eric Kaler sent out an email to the student body calling the Undergraduate Student Government’s (USG) passage of Resolution 31-15—which calls on the university to divest from Israel—“clearly a vote against Israel and an aggression toward the Jewish members of our community.” This single email now lives in infamy, a paradigm of the administration’s shattered relationship with its student body. Though relations between students and administrators is oftentimes fraught with division and hatred, many students see this email as the start of what would become the loosening of respect.

Even today, this relationship is still not fixed. If anything, it has worsened. Just this semester, the administration formally suspended CWRU’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an unprecedented decision. The suspension came after the administration suspected that members of SJP glued flyers to surfaces around campus, allegedly causing damage. The student body—having been through these motions before—saw the suspension for what it was: the administration forcing its viewpoints on its students, thus furthering a culture of distrust.

Reading this, you might have many questions. Is this university right for me? Should I even go here? Is there any solution to these problems? This isn’t something you typically want to hear as you matriculate. You’ve probably heard statements from many tour guides and orientation leaders about how good a school CWRU is and how many opportunities it provides its students. Hearing about these momentous issues can be shocking. It’s understandable that you’d feel conflicted.

To be honest, CWRU is an enigma. It is home to some quality educational programs and offers a plethora of research opportunities. If your idea of having fun is watching musicals, writing with a group of people who share that similar interest or taking part in engineering design teams, then you’ll find a lot to love about CWRU. The campus community is full of many talented, bright individuals who are motivated to do as best as they can. CWRU does offer a lot of opportunities for its students—this much is true.

On the other hand, though, the administration seems to be at odds with its own ideals. Figures such as Kaler talk about the importance of peaceful discussions on the issues that divide us, yet they go so far as to suspend an entire student organization for posting flyers. It’s confusing, even to students who have been here for many years.

So, can we do anything? The answer is yes, but only if students speak up and advocate for themselves and others. Those who have been here for many years now have grown discontent, apathetic almost. The recent USG elections only saw 600 students vote total during a time when more people need to speak up. For incoming students, however, you are the future of this university. You will determine the direction that CWRU takes going forward. If the administration wants to maintain CWRU’s reputation as a school where academic excellence is a priority, then it must listen to what matters to its students.

To you, incoming students: Don’t be afraid to stand up for what is right. Advocate for those whose voices frequently go unheard. Don’t let the university’s hard-handed decisions keep you down. You are all capable of being the bearers of change in a world that capitalizes off suffering and hatred. Let a new incoming class be a new era for CWRU, one in which peace is paramount, in which all people can feel safe on campus, one that can carry the torch forward.

These next four years for all of you will be full of highs and lows, moments of feeling lost and moments of suddenly finding yourself. This is a big torch to carry, yes. You don’t have to fight or advocate every second of your life. You’re allowed to rest and enjoy the college experience as normal. You’re allowed to hang out with friends, attend social events and forget about school every now and then. You’re not a machine. You can only go so far before you wear yourself out.

Feel free to explore what CWRU offers. Learn about or join a student organization at the Student Activities Fair at the end of your Discover Week. There truly is a niche for you, no matter what it is. Attend CWRU’s sports games—or join a team yourself. Relax in the traditional CWRU hangout spots such as The Jolly Scholar and the Tinkham Veale University Center. Though CWRU is replete with many problems, that doesn’t mean that your entire college career needs to be mired in distaste.

So, Class of 2028, as you transition from being high school students to joining the crazy ride that is college, keep in mind that you are the next generation. You have the power to turn CWRU into what it should be. You are the student body that CWRU will have to represent for the next four years. Take this as a moment to be the change that students have been fighting for for many years. With that power, anything is possible.

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