By Connor Martin – Editor-in-Chief
Responding to Tyler Baldino’s kind words through a Letter from the Editor may seem cowardly, even churlish. One might even call it hiding behind The Hill. Coincidentally, that is exactly what I’m doing; the 11 x 17 dimensions of our paper make for an excellent disguise when opened up to two pages. It also gives me a quality opportunity to browse the contents of this disgraced newspaper.
Today, as I buried my fraudulent face into the paper for the sixth day in a row, I noticed some interesting details I’d like to highlight in this letter to the entire St. Lawrence community.
The number of alcohol-related transports tallied in the security blotter (given to us directly from Safety & Security) is listed as 16. Incidentally, that adds up to just about 7 more than our total for last semester (9, also listed in the blotter, which we get directly from Safety & Security). I myself recall being astounded at the large sum of transports racked up over the course of these first few weeks of this semester. So astounded, in fact, that I called Safety & Security a second time just to make sure. They confirmed the number I had previously listed.
It occurs to me as I write this that it doesn’t excuse the heinous crime of not clarifying what alcohol-related transports are to begin with. Mr. Baldino was indeed correct. The transport tally includes incidents related to alcohol in that the subject was either consuming, or had consumed alcohol at the time of their joyride on the vomit-comet to CPH. This does not in fact mean that every transport was whisked away due to alcohol poisoning. What a relief! Knowing that people 16 people were hospitalized by something that wasn’t an aggressive game of flip-cup sets my mind completely at ease. They probably cut themselves knitting, or maybe tried to eat a Dr. Feelgood a little too fast.
Retrospectively, I feel nothing but shame for the absolute aggrandization The Hill has taken with it’s reporting techniques, both with regards to the blotter, and with Elena Pelse’s article (if anything, the freshmen were dropping like fresh autumn leaves, their pastel shorts and flannels fluttering to the ground with seasonal grace).
It’s on that note that I’d like to transition to the latter. Some read Elena’s piece as satire, others as embellishment, and Mr. Baldino read it as absolute blasphemy. Whatever your opinion may be, I’d like to note one unwavering component of her piece that transcends any sort of classification; people are talking about it. As any good editor might tell you, a paper is only worth its salt if people actually read it. The task I gave myself this semester was to bolster readership and increase The Hill‘s relevance to the rest of campus. Odds are if you took Ms. Pelse’s piece with absolute solemnity, you’d get pretty incensed, both at the author, and at the paper that published it. If that is indeed the case, I encourage you to take a second look.
Yes, she did not fact-check the vague and aggressive statements she was making, and she probably feels a little silly about that right now. However, laced into the article were acute and accurate observations about the changing nature of campus nightlife. Increased tension with Canton Police off campus, paired with the closing of some of our favorite underage establishments like Spicy and the Ticker has driven our younger student body back onto campus, leading to a larger amount of incidents Safety & Security (and SLU EMS) are forced to deal with. For those of you who doubt this, I’d like to admit to one piece of unreported editing within the paper: The weekend of our second issue, the one that got Tyler (can I call him that now? I’ve been talking about him so much that we MUST be on a first name basis at this point) so incensed, contained a blotter with 10 transports as well as a slew of other offenses. I’d like to admit to having paired down that particular blotter. While my initial ambitions drove me towards reporting the entire week of hidden gems (Pat Gagnon must be able to build a small tower with the amount of confiscated grinders he’s accumulated), I simply had no room. Adobe Indesign’s metrics buckled at the contents of one weekend’s festivities, and we would’ve had to find a way to include a whole new page if the entirety of the week’s blotter was to make it in.
Keeping all that in mind, I’d like to point something out. We print our paper on what is conveniently called “tabloid” sizing. While this doesn’t actually correlate to our content, it gives me a chance to gracefully segue into my conclusion. I want, and will always want The Hill to be sensational, to get people talking, even get them mad, mad enough to write in about it. This should be an outlet for the voice of student, faculty and staff alike, and even whiney brats like yours truly. As someone who grew up as an only child, it’s easy for me to forget that there are voices other than mine, and the ones inside my head. The Hill is absolutely a forum for open dialogue on campus, but it also has feelings. It is a living, breathing entity, and as long as I have my upper-level English lit. homework hanging over my head Wednesday nights, I will do everything in my power to avoid completing it, particularly if there is an opportunity to write a snarky rebuttal to a complaint about the paper.