From The Editorial Desk

This week’s Commentary section is not unnoticeably filled with articles about the weaknesses of Phillips Academy. In fact, this term’s Commentary section has found itself more or less chock full of students daring to take arms against what they see is wrong and stand up for what they feel is right. And while we may have come under some heat for publishing words less easily agreed with than shot down, I am proud of the way we are closing out this school year. Harrison Hart ’09 and Anabel Bacon ’09 fought hard to teach the Commentary section the value of journalistic integrity. I won’t soon forget the time Harrison sat us down and told us to always seek to do no harm. At the time, I scoffed—“do no harm” seemed like an oversimplification of principles. What if harm had to be done in order to serve some greater good? What if harm was taken when no harm was meant? And, after all, who sought to do harm? If anything, I saw the Commentary section as a force of good, a beacon of light or some other overblown metaphor for exposing truth. Now, looking back on a year that has seen everything from an Affirmative Action conversation that seems far from finished to the heartfelt confessions of freshmen, from pieces critiquing new Commons to pieces critiquing our critiques, looking back on a year that has seen away our ’09 editors and placed 2010 in the front lines of battle, I’m starting to see what Harrison meant. As I read through the articles printed on these three pages, I saw many things I would once have labeled as “necessary harms.” This week, Ishan Kapoor ’09 calls out the administration for a perceived superficiality in the administration’s ways. Tiffany Li ’09 challenges us to reject the growing trend of quiet submission. Chris Meyer ’11 examines with a critical eye the first year of our new Dean of Students. “Necessary harms,” I would have argued with my former Editor, “these are necessary harms.” And I would have been wrong. These articles, while critical and, at times, fierce, are no detriment to this campus. They seek not to insult or put down but to, instead, improve that which all of us hold dear—Phillips Academy. Each among us has his or her own idea of an ideal Andover, and each article criticizing the administration or Commons or student apathy seeks not to harm but to bolster, not to break down but to build up; we each have our own ideal Andover, and we are each trying to bring it to fruition. This year, Commentary has called out, shot down and spoken up. But I can say with confidence and conviction that, despite outside criticism, this term Commentary has upheld that principle Harrison taught us. We have been harsh, we have been critical, we have been brash at times and stubborn at others. But we have not been a detriment to this campus. We have not stood in the way of anyone’s ideals. Our words have sought to build, not destroy. We have most certainly made mistakes. But I do believe that we have done no harm. Jennifer Schaffer is the Editorial Board Chair of The Phillipian and a three-year Upper from Bolingbrook, Illinois.