An Important Clarification

Beloved Andover students: How do you see our community? Through what kind of lens do you take in and interpret what goes on here? Is your perspective telescopic? Do you take a high, long, wide view and tend toward grand encompassing narratives of what it means to be of Andover? Or is your view microscopic, finely focused on this or that matter at hand, leading you to scrutinize closely, read between lines and ferret out nuances and hidden agenda? What color is the lens on your scope? Do you tend to view all things Andover in a pretty, rosy way, always emphasizing what is best about us, even in challenging or less than perfect moments? Or is your lens tinted (tainted?), leading you to cynical interpretations, combative stances and sardonic, derisive or just plain snarky commentaries on life and living in this little village? In this, my third (upper) year at PA, I have been asking myself these questions. At this writing, I report that I have given myself the challenge of being neither nor. I am, instead making an effort to maintain a kaleidoscopic view on life here – trying to constantly, methodically, turn and turn and turn the scope through which I view our community. My thought and hope is that by doing so I will not fall into a rigid and false impression (whether distortedly rosy or distortedly dark) of who we are, but instead pay attention to the myriad reflections and refractions of all that we are. After all, we are too many to be just one way. And yet in some crucial respects, we must find ways for the many to be one. This is the paradox of mono-and-multiculture. It is a logical fallacy to see monoculture and multiculture as at odds. The diversities of what we believe and value and how we do this or that do indeed branch out in all directions, but these varieties must root back (in real and not merely rhetorical ways) to some core principles, expectations and agreements for any sense of genuine community to prevail and persist. I hope that the recent email you received clarifying expectations and explicating consequences for misbehavior in the Chapel will be perceived not as a “crackdown,” over-reaction or curtailment of the independence and freedom we all value so highly here. Instead, I hope you will see past what for some will be a visceral abreaction to the institution of any restriction of any sort and use your critical thinking skills to see the simple logic and fundamental truths inherent in the message. And I hope that, if you are someone who views this message through a glass darkly with resentment and objection at the ready, you will at least realize that you have fellow students who have grown sick and tired of the embarrassing conduct in the Chapel and are now relieved that something is being done about it. That is, it would be a misconception to see this as a kids versus adults issue. It is not. It is a couth versus uncouth issue. The (straightforward conditional) logic is this: (1) if you agree to live by the rules of a community you should live by them and (2) if you choose to breach said rules, you should expect and accept the consequences. (No doubt, some of you pre-pre-law scholars will be inclined to raise questions about just versus unjust consequences. I beg you, give it a rest.) The fundamental truths are these: (1) we love you; (2) we love you too much to let you develop bad habits of mind and action; (3) we have faith in you and your fundamental goodness; (4) we are your biggest fans and will always be right behind you with encouragement, praise and a pat on the back for all the amazing things you do or try to do; and (5) when what you do or fail to do is inconsistent with your goodness or our community standards and something other than a pat on the back is warranted, then like any devoted teacher, coach, or parent (in loco parentis or otherwise) we’ll be right behind you for that too! I wonder now through what kind of lens of what color you will view this message. Love, Carlos Carlos Hoyt is the All-School Meeting Coordinator and the Associate Dean of Students.