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As 2011 ends, where do we go from here?

by The Pendulum,
  • A word frequency graphic generated using all of the editorial headlines from 2011 shows that “Elon,” “campus” and “future” lead the most commonly used words, but “moving,” “world” and “education” aren’t far behind, demonstrating clear themes in the past 12 months. Created with Wordle.net.

It has not been an easy year. It hasn't been easy on our campus, on this nation or on the world. We have an economy still dragging its feet, a government that hasn't accomplished as much as we hoped but still declared cafeteria pizza a vegetable and a population fed up and rioting in cities across the country. Hurricanes, floods, windstorms, tornadoes and snowstorms caused billions of dollars in damage from southern California to Alabama to Vermont and everywhere in between.

In distant lands, there hasn't been much peace either. An earthquake and tsunami in March devastated an area in Japan, nations all across the Middle East and Africa struck up battles to bring down oppressive regimes and the  most wanted man in the world was killed. The seven billionth person also was born.

Even on this seemingly pristine campus, we've seen battles concerning open records laws, reporting, racism, censorship and conflicting messages from administration. In recent weeks, some have even criticized The Pendulum for sensationalizing these issues and making too big a deal out of them. But the reality is if we don't, no one will. The media have traditionally served a watchdog function and we have been proud to carry that torch.

Overstepping boundaries, denying information and blocking the free exercise of speech and other constitutionally-guaranteed rights are behaviors that should never be tolerated and need to be brought up, and for that, we will never apologize.

Even as we planned this editorial, we found students being prosecuted by the university for comments made in last week's edition, and once again, we took up the charge, as we will continue to do for anyone on this campus or in this community.

This week, we received two letters to the editor, which can be viewed below, which demonstrated to us two perceptions of the paper. One was written by a local man, Robert L. Simpson, who argues that The Pendulum and the university are promoting an immoral LGBTQ lifestyle, as demonstrated by our coverage of LGBTQ-related events and initiatives on campus. But we'd like to remind Simpson and anyone out there who finds our coverage biased, that we would gladly cover any event being held on campus by the American Family Association or the Family Research Council, both anti-gay activist groups. If a group of students founded a Tea Party chapter on campus, we would cover that, too, with the same thoroughness we apply to all other organizations.

In the second letter, a Residence Life student says she feels misrepresented by the article in which she was included. She asserts The Pendulum misquotes students, takes what they say out of context and students have not identified themselves as related to The Pendulum when conducting interviews. We, like the rest of the universe we live in, are not perfect. There will be incidents, but like any respectable news organization, we strive to do our best, to make ethical decisions and to correct problems as they come up.

And that is where you come in. If you see injustice perpetrated on campus or in these pages, tell us. We want to know, we want to grow and we want to be better for you, our readers.

In the broader scale of Elon University, in 2012, construction will continue, new housing will open, policies will be implemented, a new class will come while another will leave, and everyone will have to come to terms with the decisions made this year, while encountering new obstacles and challenges. Not on our Campus won't go away, with the word "diversity" still on everyone's lips.

Across the nation and the world, we, as a human race, have to decide to throw our support behind new democracies in regions fraught with centuries-old conflict, and we have to figure out a way to repair our broken financial system and put a system in place to prevent it from collapsing again.

Meanwhile, the world will keep turning. Babies will be born, people will die, storms will form, groups will fight and there's no way to predict how it will all turn out. But that's life. And that's half the fun of it, anyway.