The Dolphin

Out of the Archives: Are We Still in “The Time of Troubles?”

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On April 20th, a listening session was held in the Panasci Family Chapel in response to the Syracuse University Theta Tau video scandal. The videos depicting college students using racial epithets in a hazing ritual involved a Le Moyne student, and the session was meant to be a forum for students to communicate directly with President LeMura, Provost Marina, Dean Costello-Sullivan and several other members of the leadership.

What struck me, and struck several attendees, was the lack of student presence. Very few students attended the session, and nearly all had something to say relating to their safety on campus. The Theta Tau videos are just the latest example of the echo-chambers created through racism. The evolution of the civil rights movement into Black Lives Matter and the March for Our Lives has inadvertently began to create echo-chambers of individuals whose beliefs are not socially acceptable, but are retained in their own groups.

The middle group, the students who don’t participate on either side, are complicit to these echo-chambers. At Le Moyne, this middle group has always existed, and can especially be seen when looking at what is referred to as “The Time of Troubles.” Lasting from 1968-1972, it refers to the time of social upheaval at Le Moyne during the Vietnam War. The school had a group of extremely active students, centered around the International House, an organization centered around activism in North and Latin America. Other than these students, very few individuals on campus were involved with on and off campus activism.

Enrollment was steady, as were graduation rates, but the Jesuit mission of educating the whole self was failing. In the October 1969 issues of The Dolphin, a full page was taken up by the paper’s logo, the lyrics of the Bob Dylan song “Restless Farewell” and a note from the staff that read: “As of this issue The Dolphin ceases publication, because nobody gives a damn but us.” The paper was failing not because of a lack or readership, but that not enough students were contributing.

True change cannot be made without leaders. And this school has the leaders in the student body. It is the students that rally behind a leader that gets the change enacted. The “Time of Troubles” had the leadership. They got classes cancelled in honor of the slain Kent State students, they organized committees and meetings and protests. But many of these events did not have their desired effects of thought and change because on the leaders showed up.

As I do in this column, I encourage you to think about how you relate to the past of your institution. Are you actively contributing to the change you feel should occur? Or are you a student; going to class and doing your homework and hanging out on the weekends but nothing more? Take stock of yourself and our school, our new “Time of Troubles.”

Want to read cases about student apathy and activism? Come check out the Archives in the Library, email me at [email protected] or our Archivist Father Bosch at [email protected]

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Out of the Archives: Are We Still in “The Time of Troubles?”