By Shea Stevenson
This is my last issue as Opinions Editor for The Vanguard, a title I never figured I’d hold, and one that I’m incredibly lucky to have been handed. My thoughts as I go are mostly already said in my “Why I’m Leaving BC” piece, except for one important detail that happened about a week after I wrote it: I am not actually leaving BC. That decision is spearheaded by lots of personal factors that amount to “I can’t physically get to any other campus five days a week.” Everything I said in that piece is still true, except that I could not predict the future – even for a couple of days.
In other words, it would be nice to leave, but it seems for now that this is it. This is the case for a lot of students here. The inadequacies of the school are stomachable because… where else am I going to go? But we deserve a school that’s nice. I think most of us, at this point, understand that. But to review:
The reason your school is decaying is that the entire CUNY system is decaying, and the system is decaying because it is being strangled of its funding, on purpose, day after day and year upon year. It’s being strangled because the city makes investors happier that way. The city, as a side note, has investors. You don’t know any of them. Your school used to be free! In living memory! That is not absurd to demand, and it is eminently possible for the city to give, but they don’t think they have to. And not only free, but free with food. Free with working elevators. Free with paper towels in the bathrooms. Imagine that.
BC’s redemptive factor is that there are, in fact, people in these buildings, and many of them are intelligent, interesting, and even sometimes friendly. I love the faculty that I know, and I love the people I’ve met, and I think there is opportunity here for people who have the means to chase it.
This idea too often gives the system itself credit, as if the people were a function of the school and not the ones that allow it to survive, the school more often a function of the people. It is not the buildings or the bureaucracy or the website or even the pool tables and the Farmer’s Fridge vending machines that make BC decent. It is that there are indeed cool people here. They often work against the infrastructure to be here, in fact.
It is rewarding to write for The Vanguard because it allows you to talk (albeit one-sidedly) to “The People.” The People, if you’re reading this, thanks. I hope that there was at least a day where you picked up a paper and flipped to this section and thought, “Hmm. Neat.” That’s all I ask. It would be nice if, perhaps, on the wings of our words, the school could get funding and/or the students could mobilize towards a righteous cause (I have more hope for this recently than in the past, having seen many righteous student displays in spite of, say, outsized police presence). But I digress.
There aren’t many words for goodbyes here. I hope that my work for The Vanguard speaks for itself; if I had anything left to say to you, dear newspaper reader, I’d stay. If something comes to me, I’ll return. But this piece has everything I think you need to know. The rest is superfluous. Your school ought to be better. I want to tell you that much.
Gabriela, Michela, and Owen (erstwhile editors): you’re the best. I’d have been an intern someplace else without you, probably in the English Department where I belong, and not sticking my fingers in the school’s journalism.
So, to The People: I’ll be around, but I won’t be here on this paper, as you’re surely so used to seeing me. Pay attention because everything is dying, and only we can fix it. Thanks again, and I love you.