June 1971

Southwords explains ethics, errors Maps increasingly liberal trend
no author

   It would take very little nerve for the editorial staff of Southwords to lambaste in this last issue every student, teacher and administrator we don't like. It would be fun to reveal all those confidential remarks we have been listening to all year. It would be entertaining to watch the surprised and insulted faces as we walked out the door.
    But we tried to be ethical all year and we refuse to stop now simply to satisfy those tasteless people who would like to see us do those "fun" little things.
    In this past year's editorials, we have suggested library reforms, criticized the underground newspaper, commented on national and Student Council elections, urged support for practical candidates and workable plans, attacked National Honor Society elections, called for a more active SC (we know how well that one was received), continued our age-old crusade for optional semester finals and pointed out another side to Ted's famous last words.
    We have managed to misspell both the names of the paper (it's SOUTHWORDS) and the editor-in-chief. We replaced the "n" in Knapp's name with an "r" on the front page. In one issue we forgot to put clarifying editor's notes on three open letters. We had one upside down gymnastics picture and, lest the sports staff be blamed, we wish now to explain it was the editor-in-chief's fault.
    In the following issue, we had an upside down sketch of the voting machines--that was nobody's fault, but a mistake made in the print shop. However, it caused election chairman Chris to worry that someone would get into the voting booth and try to vote standing on his head.
    In the past four years, the class of '71 has gone from close observation through strict attendance procedures and careful supervision of attire (remember when the "big" thing to do was wear culottes on Friday?) to a rather liberal dress code, an upper class lounge and non-mandatory assemblies.
   Southwords, too, has come a long way in that time. We have gone through one liberal, two conservative and one slightly-to-the-left-of-middle-of-the-road editor. Items that used to get six inches on the front page have been moved to a few lines in the calendar to make room for open campus, school board and SC news.
    The senior class has also been through four SC elections. It is impossible not to see the increasingly liberal trends in student thought. "SC should not just sit on their hands and wait for the students to come to them--they should seek out students' opinions....SC should take a stand....debate....draft a resolution on how SC and the students feel."
    Sound pretty reasonable? Now, yes. When these words were spoken, by one of our first and most courageous "radical" students, they smacked of insurrection.
    The young man who spoke them began his campaign speeches with "There's something wrong in Student Council." His name was Rich, and he was the "radical" SC presidential candidate in 1968 when the class of '71 were freshmen. Unfortunately, he lost to his quite conservative, football playing opponent Jim.
   Next year we heard, "I believe students should have the rights that are constitutionally theirs." The speaker was SC presidential candidate Tim. Tim also lost, but to the liberal John rather than so-called conservative Bill. Under John, South got rid of its antiquated dress code. Students were notably happier with John than they had been with his predecessor.
    Last year, all the candidates could accurately have been labeled liberals. President Ted turned out to be a bigger hero to the student body than even John had been because he went farther than any of his predecessors. He announced his frustration and anger with the administration at an all-school assembly after a less-than-spectacular school year. Ted's courage in speaking out as he did was unprecedented. It reflected the pitch student discontent had reached. The student body echoed Ted's sentiments by electing as his successor Bill--clearly the most radical presidential candidate in SC history.
    Where Maine South will go after this, we don't know and certainly the graduating seniors, for the most part, will have little say in the matter.
    Southwords expects the liberal trend to continue on all fronts. If the trend moves quite rapidly, we expect polarization between students and administrators with local adults being either apathetic or pro-administration and the faculty being torn between two powerful giants--its students and its superiors.
    The best thing now is reason. Both sides must make concessions since both have good and bad in their plans. Those in the middle--the best place for a target to be--must act as arbitrators and stabilizers. Maine South is moving toward an obscure goal--the balance in student-administrative relations. The only way South will reach that goal, or any other, is by traveling down the middle of the road.