Flames of the Torch: A look back and a look ahead

In keeping with a somewhat odd Torch tradition, this is the last issue of the current editorial board.

This doesn’t mean that it’s the last issue of the year, just that this issue spells the end of Editorial Board XC, and our next issue on April 3 will begin the reign of Editorial Board XCI.

We’ve barely had a second to catch our breath during the 20 issues (plus Courtside) we’ve produced since we took over in last March, so we wanted to take this opportunity to go over some of the highlights (and lowlights) of the past 12 months.

The biggest thing we’ve advocated for, no matter the subject, is transparency. We’ve demanded it of everyone from Student Government, Inc., all the way up to Rev. Donald J. Harrington, president of the University. We resolved to ask the tough questions, and to keep digging until we got answers.

We haven’t gotten all the answers, especially from Harrington as it relates to all of the questionable expenses associated with him and his chief of staff Rob Wile. We don’t know whether the Board of Trustees is taking its internal investigation seriously, or if the trustees are simply pawns of Harrington’s.

We’re using the term ‘we,’ but not because the Torch is a monolith. This editorial board is different than the one we just elected Monday, with different priorities and different style. But what won’t change is the tenacity and diligent reporting you’ll see in the Torch about this issue, or any other major issues that pop up at St. John’s.

Another issue that we’ve covered in depth is the push for a gay-straight alliance on campus. Led by the College Democrats, the movement for equality on campus seemed to be gaining steam rapidly, with an online petition garnering close to 500 signatures. One can be encouraged that there have been and will continue to be meetings with Dr. Kathryn Hutchinson, vice president of student affairs, but change does not come quickly – especially at St. John’s.

We’ve done our best to shed light on these issues and hold people like Hutchinson and Harrington accountable for the actions they make and the positions they take. At the end of the day, however, there’s only so much the Torch, or any media organization for that matter, can do.

We can expose how Wile was given reportedly interest-free loans taken from the University’s general fund, which includes money taken from tuition. We can talk to dozens of gay people who say they don’t feel like there’s a place for them at St. John’s.

But we can’t do it all.

Whatever change comes to St. John’s will come because it’s demanded by students, faculty and alumni alike – not because of something written in the Torch.

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As with any group ceding power, we hope that we have had a positive impact on the school and the community. We are truly proud of the work we have done and we have faith that the Torch and its readers will continue to promote the ideals we championed this year.

We’d like to give our sincerest thanks to the people who have helped us along this year and the people who brought their stories to light.

We also know there are so many more stories to be told and we’d like to encourage students, faculty, and alumni to reach out and help us tell these stories. There are still so many stories we were never able to tell and wish we could have.

We know that there are a lot of great things in store for this next editorial board – keep reading!