Staff Editorial: Serenity, not controversy

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April 4, 2008

1:38 AM

You probably haven’t heard much out of the College recently. After the 18 months of near-constant controversy, a quiet March has signaled a return to semi-normalcy. The fate of the College no longer hangs in the balance with each passing day of uncertainty and unrest. Mid-terms have come to a welcome end, and though final papers loom just a few weeks out, for now we can all take a moment or two to soak in spring at the College.

Perhaps next fall the search for a new president will reignite the same passions that raged at February’s end, but for the time being, the campus has moved on. Indeed, as the grounds burst into bloom and sunbathers sprawl in the Sunken Garden, all but the most allergy-plagued students seem just a little brighter. This relative calm offers us the opportunity to reflect on some aspects of College life that would have been buried in more hectic times.

In particular, we’ve been impressed with Interim College President Taylor Reveley’s efforts to interact with students on campus. Far from holing himself up in his office, he has actively engaged himself in campus events. Just after stepping up to the presidency, Reveley took part in a student question-and-answer session to help allay concerns about the transition.

And, as the men’s basketball team met with improbable post-season success, we found Reveley there as well, cheering them on from the sidelines. This former dean of the law school has experienced no trouble in transferring his passion to the undergraduate population.

Though we may now praise Reveley’s steady hand in guiding the College through turbulent times, he deserves kudos for the law school’s performance as well. Under his guidance, Marshall-Wythe edged forward one spot in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, even as the College continued its skid in the opposite direction. We hold out hope that Reveley’s leadership can effect a turnaround.

To be sure, our new president has yet to truly prove himself, but he’s performed admirably since inheriting the position not 60 days ago. Foreign policy and the weekend’s parties have replaced the presidency and the Board of Visitors as topics for dinner-table conversations on campus. Other student activism has returned in
the wake of protests.

Just this week, 12 campus groups came together to promote sexual assault awareness, an issue that could have gone unnoticed in more troubled times. Or, like the Sex Workers’ Art show, it might have morphed into a political football. But it didn’t. The College, thankfully, has lost its lightning rod status. We’ll let you know if we hear of anyone clamoring to get it back.

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