As somebody who has been writing for The Equinox for almost two years now, I’ve had the chance to write all kinds of stories including sports, arts and entertainment, news, etc. No section has quite intrigued me, however, as much as the opinions section due to the opportunity to really make change.
After all, we are often referred to as “The Student Voice of Keene State College.” Lately though, I’ve found that the more and more opinion pieces I write, the more discouraged I get as I never receive feedback on any of the things I have to say. As a student, I have come to accept that not many of my peers read the paper, but what I find to be truly troubling is the fact that it seems like the administration doesn’t seem to ever have any response to the feedback either.
This is a bold claim so I’ll start by giving an example of one of my articles where I had a legitimate problem with something the school is doing and just heard nothing back. This is my article from last spring titled, “Why KSC Should Add Time To The Drop Period.” I wrote this article after I realized that the add/drop period was only a week and I felt like this didn’t give students proper time to really understand if they wanted to truly stay in a class or not.
In my slightly biased opinion, this article was pretty well written and with these pieces I always make sure to not just complain, but actually offer solutions I think would work. I also feel like I was fair to the school and didn’t just unfairly hate on them by legitimately sharing my honest experience. Unfortunately, the school didn’t seem interested in what I had to say.
Another example was an article I wrote recently titled, “A Junior’s Response To ‘Housing: Junior On-Campus Requirement.’” I wrote this article after discovering that one of the options presented to KSC in order to get financially well was potentially making juniors live on-campus. As somebody who lives off campus, this frustrated me endlessly and I presented numerous counterpoints to many of the college’s reasons to live on-campus, but also felt like I was completely fair. While this article was written recently, I think the time has passed where I would legitimately have heard anything back if anybody was going to say anything.
Before I get too far, I’m certainly not saying that I know everything and that the school should make every change that I’ve ever suggested. I’m just a student and I will be the first to say that there may be factors that I’m not considering or don’t quite understand. What is upsetting, however, is the complete lack of response.
If somebody in administration was to reach out to me saying “x, y and z are the reasons this can’t happen,” I would understand. Instead though, I hear nothing back and it makes me question if they even care about what their students actually have to say.
Another frustrating aspect is that The Equinox is a highly respected college newspaper with us recently winning a fourth straight Pacemaker Award, which is often referred to as the ‘Pulitzer of college journalism’, so one would think that we would truly be taken seriously. Instead, we seem to only hear feedback when it’s a mistake we made and not the consistent, quality content that we put out every single week.
In addition to this, I would often say during my time as an editor that if something about the school upsets somebody they should write, but honestly, I’m not so sure about that anymore because it may just fall on deaf ears. This makes me especially defeated because I very rarely feel like I have a chance to provide legitimate feedback to the school and saw this as a way to do that.
To conclude, I am not giving up on opinion pieces because I truly love writing these. I am, however, simply inviting a member of administration to prove me wrong by really hearing their students out, providing feedback and overall making Keene State a place where students can truly feel heard.
Cristian Valentin can be contacted at: