The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Editorial: Reflecting on 2023

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette

2023, for Lafayette College, was a year of overhauls … and a year of controversies.

Several sports teams overcame yearslong dry spells to become some of the most dominant in the Patriot League – or in the case of football, Patriot League champions. The college, to a chorus of complaints, switched to a new food provider, Parkhurst Dining. Student Government received a makeover after years of dysfunction. The Lafayette, now in its 150th volume, underwent a design revamp after a decade with the same look, though nobody seemed to notice.

Leaders and institutions were toppled. The men’s basketball team saw its head coach, Mike Jordan, fired after he was found to have committed “gross misconduct.” The incumbent Student Government president, Matwos Tadesse ‘24, was narrowly denied a second term as club leaders lamented a lack of funding, an issue that continued throughout the tenure of Olivia Puzio ‘25, his successor. Miss Jackson’s Kitchen, which was just getting off the ground after a year in operation, shuttered suddenly in October. John Meier, the provost of four years, will give up his post to return to teaching.

This year also saw opportunities bloom anew. Students from families making less than $200,000 annually will now be able to attend Lafayette, a college that in August purchased a hotel, without taking out loans. Students, regardless of gender, will now have more opportunities to perform after two a capella groups ditched their gender requirements while, in another sign of Lafayette’s embrace of an inclusive agenda, the college hired its first-ever vice president for inclusion. The new vice president for student life, Sarah Moschenross, similarly pledged to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into her work at Lafayette; she joined the administration in September to fill the role left vacant by Annette Diorio, a Lafayette stalwart. 

Not all was rosy atop the Hill, however. The dining controversy culminated in a bombshell report by The Lafayette – denounced for causing “misinformation” by the college administration – alleging mistreatment of dining employees, which led to a sizable protest being staged on Family Weekend and demands being made for an investigation into Parkhurst by Student Government. Lafayette spent the latter months of the year fending off two lawsuits, one by Jordan alleging racial discrimination and another by an alumna demanding a refund of pandemic-era tuition. Lafayette drew the ire of both City Hall and the federal government, the former for illegally cutting down dozens of trees while working on the $1.2 million trail leading downtown and the latter – which made international headlines – for allegedly partaking in antisemitic discrimination in the wake of the Israel-Hamas War.

Scrutiny by the national media did not stop at the antisemitism investigation, however. Months before the group became the nexus of controversy on college campuses during the war, Lafayette rejected a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, leading to the college being placed among America’s worst elite schools for free speech. The Chronicle of Higher Education also found Lafayette to have one of the lowest percentages of Pell Grant recipients in the nation. All the while, Lafayette was selected as the site of 2024’s sole vice presidential debate, a historic accomplishment for the college.

This was a long year, too long to fit everything that happened into a neat 600 words – the Fizz onslaught, which happened in January, feels to us like a distant memory. Where there were shortfalls, let us hope that the year’s end serves as a reset. Where there were strides being made toward a better campus, let us hope that the momentum continues into 2024.

Here’s to a new year.

The Lafayette Editorial Board

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About the Contributor
Emma Sylvester, Photo Editor

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  • C

    Commies SuckFeb 1, 2024 at 1:00 pm

    Shut up, commies.