- Madison Lazenby
Letter From the Editor, August 2022
To the Hamilton Community,
And just like that, we’re back on campus! This time with nearly 500 new students living among us!
As I’m sure you’re already aware, there is a lot to talk about. Though the impact is still yet to be seen, this is not the same Hamilton that it was just a few short months ago, just as this is no longer the same country that it was a few months ago, or even just yesterday.
The news of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in June was no surprise after years of explicit promises from Republicans to do so and the leaked draft opinion in Politico, which spurred on protests across the country, including at Hamilton. Still, the news of the actual decision was, for many, just as devastating.
Just a few days ago, the Washington Post estimated that since the Dobbs decision, “20.9 million women have lost access to nearly all elective abortions in their home states.” This equates to about 1 in 3 women in the US. Since the article only uses the language choice of “women,” it is possible that the study left out hundreds of thousands of transgender and nonbinary people who have also lost access to abortion, making that terrifying number even larger.
And this is all without considering how abortion and reproductive healthcare have never been truly accessible to everyone in this country with a dark history and present day marred with racism and eugenics. Prior to the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, many states took as many measures as possible to limit abortions. Some states only had one clinic, meaning that anyone seeking healthcare would need to drive several hundred miles to access it. Further, with the continued renewal of the Hyde Amendment, often defended by President Biden until his 2020 campaign, federal Medicaid dollars have been barred from offsetting the cost of abortion, making the service unaffordable to many.
In reality, reproductive healthcare has never been a right for many. Not for Black and brown people. Not for people in the South. Not for people without cars. Not for people who can’t afford it.
It’s a cruel additional twist, then, that gas prices and inflation have soared in the last few months.
The brightest spot of news happened just yesterday, when President Biden announced the cancellation of between $10,000 and $20,000 of student loan debt. Though there is still a long way to go in order to cancel all student loan debt—which would ultimately help minimize the racial wealth gap—this news was still a blessing to many. So many people were frantically and excitedly checking on their student loan total on Wednesday that the Nelnet website crashed.
There is, in short, a lot to talk about, especially in how Hamilton will respond to all of these issues and all the other ones I couldn’t fit into just one letter.
I was glad to see that in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, President David Wippman immediately reaffirmed all of Hamilton’s services and announced the possibility of offering Plan B through the Health Center*. I hope that the state of our economy and the need to cancel student loan debt will spark conversations about just how unaffordable Hamilton is, even with their need-blind admissions and 100%-of-need financial aid policies.
Still, I recognize that Hamilton is not the red light on our roads in life. Hamilton could suddenly lower their tuition prices and provide reproductive healthcare to students, but that would not be enough. Those issues need to be taken to our government, which is supposed to work for us.
Though Hamilton should be leading all other colleges as an example, Hamilton—and colleges in the first place—should not have to be a sanctuary for students seeking reproductive healthcare. Though Hamilton should be significantly cheaper, it should not have to be on its own choice.
Abortion needs to be free, on demand, and without apologies.
Higher education needs to be free for all.
People should not have to be lucky enough to be a student at a liberal-enough college in order to access these basic human rights. Whether it be the ability of LGBTQ+ students and teachers to freely express their identities and seek gender affirming care, Black communities to be invested in and prosper rather than face over-policing and police brutality, or even free and fair elections where losers peacefully leave office, the answer is the same: these are things that our government should guarantee us. And even if you don’t go to one of these colleges, even if our government couldn’t care less about protecting our health and bodily autonomy or the ability to obtain an education, we will help each other.
I sincerely believe that we can start to help each other by using our voices as loudly as we can.
I want to hear from you—each and every one of you.
This is the Monitor, Hamilton’s social justice paper. We publish news, opinion, interviews, and statements about social justice at Hamilton and beyond. There are no applications to join our staff and submissions are open to all who find themselves to be a part of the Hamilton community.
I’ve had many people ask me in the last year if I founded the paper—but nope! We’ve been around since 2015, and we’ve been online since the Spring of 2020. This last year, we published several critical news pieces and statements, grew our staff, and reenvisioned our online presence**. This year, we will continue to grow and offer our community – both on and off campus – an honest, thorough, and vigorous watchful eye on the powers that be. I could not be prouder of the work that our staff has put into this paper and I am honored to be able to facilitate their work. I would want nothing more than to have you, dear reader, be part of this team.
I can’t wait to read, hear, and watch what you have to say.
Madison Lazenby ‘23
Editor-in-Chief of the Monitor
* Don’t worry, we’ll be checking in with them soon to know if this is actually happening.
** Follow us on Instagram @hamilton.monitor and on Twitter @HamiltonMonitor