From the Editor
By Gerry Boyle '78 P'06
Published May 24, 2007 | Issue: Spring 2007
For me, feeling the tension between Colby students and the surrounding community has been like having two family members bickering. You love both of them and wish they would get along.
I spent more than 15 years as a columnist for the Morning Sentinel, wending my way through central Maine, finding stories in places that sometimes seemed light-years, not mere miles, from Mayflower Hill. In that time, I grew to understand, respect, and like most of the people I wrote about. I like and respect Colby students, too. There have been times when"hearing disparaging remarks directed both ways in the town-gown relationship"that I've wished I could physically bring the two sides together. An hour chatting over a cup of coffee would do wonders to promote understanding.
That's why David Wilson's story ("Good Neighbors?
") is so important. With thorough reporting, Wilson airs the tensions that have existed between the community in which we all reside on one side and Colby and Colby students on the other. And, I think, the story shows that real progress was made this year, culminating in students' plans for a Colby-Waterville festival to be held this fall. Nicholas Cade '08, the Student Government Association president-elect, says the idea is for students and residents to get to know each other better. Good for him. Ignorance leads to suspicion and stereotyping. Knowledge leads to understanding and respect.
Wilson's story explores the historical and more recent events that have brought us to where we are today. Police cracked down on underage drinking off-campus; students adjusted accordingly. Champagne on the Steps was readjusted, too, and students and administrators made sure it came off safely.
The town-gown tensions have coexisted with growing and enthusiastic community service and with the College's efforts to support the area economically and creatively. Those efforts, including underwriting productions at the Waterville Opera House and funding economic development projects, are important. Equally important is the one-on-one interaction that allows students and area residents to know each other as more than caricatures.
So read the story. Know that good things are coming of all of it, and that working together, Colby and the community can make progress.