Letter from the Editor: Seeing best, worst of Eastern helped create connection to it

Cassie Buchman, Editor-in-chief

Whenever people ask me about what I like best about being editor-in-chief, I usually ruefully grin and tell them that “there’s never a dull day.”

Working in a university where there’s always something happening, this was always bound to be the case.

Now I am graduating, and I won’t be on campus every day. This makes me realize just how connected I have become to this place.

After covering Eastern for the last four years, I have seen the best and worst sides of this university.

I witnessed some of the fear and frustration that came as people who were loved by their colleagues and who loved their jobs and this university lost these jobs because of the state’s incompetence and an effort to “right-size” the university.

I saw the sniping and snarky comments people made at each other during the vitalization project, a convoluted, confusing time for many.

I saw people try to take the easy way out, who didn’t want to be held accountable for the choices they made; who, for whatever reason, didn’t take input from others, even when it was needed and would benefit everyone involved.

I saw people try to cover up ‘bad’ news with a ‘good’ spin; who refused to hear the truth because it was too hard.

From a political side, I saw state legislators, people who were supposed to protect their constituents, drag out a budget impasse that starved universities and colleges in their district for political points, to impress voters so partisan that any kind of compromise was seen as dirty.

Through meetings, through interviews, through watching what goes on behind-the-scenes at Eastern, I was able to observe all this.

But what will really stay with me is when I was able to see this community at its best.

I saw people who told me they had never really spoken up before, who had never really been politically active before, getting involved in politics to fight for the funding Eastern needed.

I saw people who had to pick up the workloads of multiple others because they had to, all while trying to save face for the students’ sake.

When programs were going to be eliminated, I saw people defending theirs and others’ departments passionately, working tirelessly to make sure they and their colleagues had a say.

In times of tragedy, I saw people who lost loved ones¬—beloved friends, classmates, neighbors—come together and comfort each other..

After President Donald Trump was elected, I saw students, faculty, staff and community members, fearing what the new administration meant for themselves, their family and friends, speak out and stand up for those in marginalized communities. Most importantly, they took action to show that one man’s hatred wasn’t indicative of a whole country.

In short, I witnessed bravery, compassion and a sense of community I have never seen anywhere else while at Eastern.

As the former editor of this publication, I will always wonder if we went far enough in our coverage, if I went with the right leads or served our readers in a way they deserved. If we were too hard on some people, while going too easy on others.

There are definitely mistakes I made, things I regret not pursuing further, for whatever reason, and these will stick with me.

There are stories we weren’t able to tell and things that may have slipped us by. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Having a small staff, this will happen.

We were only able to start the tip of the coverage of the reorganization of Eastern this year—but don’t worry. I know this summer and fall’s staff is more than capable and ready to take it on, as well as keeping up with whatever else comes their way.

They already have ideas, and I have full faith they will do it.

So thank you for commenting online; your news tips, your compliments and criticism these past four years. It all helped us grow.

But most of all, thank you for reading.

Cassie Buchman is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].