The Pendulum has moved to a new site at ElonPendulum.com

Organizations encounter obstacles in Elon's past, fuels preparation for future

by The Pendulum,

When the growth of a university overrides the growth of those it seeks to serve, something goes awry. The coexistence of institutional desires implemented by administration and the needs of those that should benefit is not always easy; this much is obvious. In fact, Duward T. Stokes' book "Elon College: Its History and Traditions" outlines many such instances where the push and pull of rule and opposition caused strife among students and faculty alike.

The historical nature of Elon's internal dealings have much to do with current events: once more, Elon's administration is struggling to define the boundaries of its expansion plans and the preservation of what students hold dear. After much speculation and uncertainty, Oct. 14 brought with it a tense Media Board gathering in which the news was finally broken: by January 1, The Pendulum's staff and belongings would be vacated to make room for a three-floor building to enhance Elon's downtown features.

The final decision left alumni incensed, students confused and staff members to wrestle with the burden of solving a problem they were unaware existed.

But the issue here goes far beyond hurt feelings.

To whom much is given, much is required

This phrase is reminiscent of Elon University's publication, The Pendulum, in past, present and future. In the beginning, most were extremely aware of the simple need for news knowledge and distribution and what it would mean for the student body to cultivate a desire to consume it. Thus, when both the Elon College Monthly (1891) and the Maroon and Gold (1920) was created, expectations were high, especially so for Veritas, a newspaper created with support and sponsorship from the student government.

"Veritas represents something very special – something that is new to Elon and unique to the majority of small schools. I am a strong believer in the freedom of the press, even when it hurts. No issue can ever be skirted, but a level of objective criticism must be maintained," the SGA president during the 1969-1970 fiscal year, Noel L. Allen said.

The staff published a compendium on the first page of the initial issue, publicly disclosing their acknowledgment of the influential nature of the endeavor they were embarking upon.

"Discussion of issues on campus is symptomatic of interest in and eventually regard for the institution and conditions existing therein. And without a valve which will open rapport, discussion can only be limited in scope, uninteresting, ineffective. To serve as this value, then, is the end Veritas hopes to achieve," they wrote.

Despite its determined intention to succeed, the paper wasn't always in the university's good graces.

"It has served as a medium for attacking college policy, promoting student unrest, criticizing persons in the administration and on the faculty. With only two or three significant exceptions, we have chosen to ignore the paper," Earl Danieley said.

Its presence on campus was short-lived and publication ceased in November 1969.

A decade later, The Pendulum began as a bi-weekly tabloid in conjunction with the Student Government Association. Its first adviser, Mary E. Priestley announced the aims of the paper in its first issue.

"We intend to report events which are important to both the students and faculty, to develop a channel by which students and faculty members may voice their opinions, to dispel rumors by gathering all the facts and to ensure their validity before the article is printed," she said.

True to our word, that is precisely what we have done.

This publication has transformed itself into a valuable, trusted news source for Elon students and community members to look to for quality information. It has grown into an organization that many ascribe to work for, that the university endorses as one of its most successful organizations and one that is revered nationally.
The controversy surrounding this move is not just about The Pendulum. This is about Phoenix14, about WSOE, about student media and other organizations that have done their best to provide Elon with services it will be proud of for years to come. This is about setting the standard of appreciation — one thing that cannot be compromised if the bar remains as high as it is for us to deliver what we say we will.

'They' who giveth, taketh away

Biblical reference aside, the point stands.

Yes, we know we need a paper – we needed one then, and we will always need a forum in which to keep students abreast of their lives here and the lives of others they coexist with. This much is indisputable. But the aforementioned facts are not for naught — they demonstrate a history wrought with struggle to achieve what many organizations around the country have not. For this reason alone, the mishandling of The Pendulum's relocation says much more than miscommunication about building codes and construction time lines. Our being left in the dark about plans for the future of our paper's operation is a demonstration of an utter lack of regard for the work done before the current staff was instated and well after we leave.

The disrespect doesn't lie in the demolition of bricks and mortar — this we can live with. Sentimental value has no place in a medium that is constantly evolving, or, apparently, at a university that has plans to promote growth with or without our consent. The whispers of change that slowly wafted in our direction were no way to find out about such an integral change taking place in our futures.

This is not about the loss of a physical place we have treasured, though it has been misconstrued to mean that alone. The Pendulum has moved its staff and equipment many times to various areas on campus, and as many are quick to point out, we have succeeded with the most meager of resources. That certainly speaks to our strength, to our perseverance. It is not the keyboards that matter, it is the fingers making the strokes. It isn't the door we enter, but the ones we kick down.

So the sun has set on this chapter in Elon's progression to fulfill its commitment — we understand. But with that change has come an unfortunate message: Elon's obligation to long-term promises leaves short-term grievances inconsequential. Let us hope that we can live with the history we are creating.